THE upcoming elections this week featured in the newspaper comment sections, with reflections on the ramifications for independence in Scotland.

The Daily Express

Leo McKinstry said Thursday will see the biggest set of local and regional elections since 1973.

“The very future of the union is on the ballot paper, with the SNP seeking a mandate for another independence referendum,” he said. “A dominant performance by Nicola Sturgeon’s party could signal the start of the UK’s break-up.

“ The SNP is certain to remain easily the largest party, despite its own recent bitter fall-out between Nicola Sturgeon and her predecessor Alex Salmond, who has created his own separatist party called Alba.

“It remains unclear how much damage Alba will do to the SNP, though the recent friction - along with concerns about the Scottish economy and a hard border - has certainly undermined popular support for independence.”

The Guardian

James Mitchell, professor of public policy at Edinburgh University, said a referendum will only happen after the Covid crisis has passed and a citizens’ assembly has considered “the kind of country we want Scotland to be”.

“So long as the union is centre stage, the SNP and Tories will benefit so long as Labour fails to articulate a clear alternative,” he said. “Labour is damned for being insufficiently unionist by the Tories and too unionist by the SNP.

“The electoral system may have produced more Holyrood parties than Scotland returns to the Commons, but Holyrood is now more adversarial and polarised than ever. The narrow prism through which this election is viewed makes it very difficult to see that changing after this election.”

The Daily Mail

Dominic Lawson said Nicola Sturgeon, was ‘hopelessly floundering’ on the issue of quantitative easing under questioning from Justin Webb on the Today programme.

“When Webb asked the same (unanswered) question for a third time, Sturgeon said: ‘Sorry, I’ve lost sound. Hello?’ It was like a scene from The Thick Of It,” he said. “This was a truly important question, given the SNP will, if they gain a majority, claim a mandate for a second independence referendum.”

He said the SNP’s position is they would retain sterling if they gained independence.

“An independent Scotland’s structural deficit would, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, be equivalent to around 10 per cent of GDP — and it says the figure would have been as high as 25 per cent last year were it not for the support of the Bank of England and the Treasury.

“Yet under EU treaties, Scotland would have to bring its deficit down to below 3 per cent. Good for the BBC’s interviewers in London for challenging Sturgeon on these matters. Even if the line goes dead at awkward moments.”