When Nicola Sturgeon decries a “full frontal attack” on Scotland’s parliamentary democracy, make no mistake. That’s exactly what the Scottish National Party leader wants. The latest brawl with the UK government is more than a disagreement over Scotland’s new law on gender recognition.
On Tuesday, the UK government became the first to use Section 35 of the 1998 Scotland Act, a provision that allows Westminster to block legislation passed by the Scottish parliament. While a skirmish in the culture wars can sometimes be catnip for the Tory faithful, this isn’t necessarily a fight the government wants to have, especially if it alienates support for the union in Scotland. But it’s not one Westminster can avoid either.