Advisers to No 10 and the Cabinet Office have tried to find a way to prevent the historic Glasgow summit this fall from becoming an ‘announcement’ for Scottish independence.
The strategizing was prompted by fears Ms Sturgeon was trying to hijack the summit for her own political ends, according to meeting notes and WhatsApp messages seen by The independent.
According to the notes, it was suggested that public statements linked to the summit should focus on Glasgow as a city in the UK, and that the mentions of Scotland should refer to its place within the UK in wherever possible.
It has also been suggested in posts that Prime Minister Boris Johnson should avoid sharing a platform with Ms Sturgeon before and during the event, and that he should ‘neutralize’ her by including other decentralized leaders. to the extent possible.
“It can be labeled as a role for her [as one of the UK’s leaders] but it avoids taking the front of the stage ”, we read in a message.
“We cannot let this be used as an advertisement for an independence campaign,” said another.
Without counter-strategy, according to meeting notes, there was a risk that the Scottish leader could “hijack” the summit by using it as a “soapbox for her obsession with independence.” The notes also record the efforts made to ensure that the union flag is displayed as much as possible.
Sources familiar with the meetings and correspondence also said a deliberate decision has been made that the Prime Minister will not meet with the Prime Minister on a recent trip to Scotland, as part of the wider effort to present the Cop26 and the green investment as a “British victory”.
On a recent visit to Scotland, as the Prime Minister avoided meeting Ms Sturgeon, he told the BBC that “there would be a role for Nicola, for Mark Drakeford [Welsh first minister], for everyone in the Cop26 ”.
A British government spokesman said The independent that the summit was a “massive undertaking for the whole of the UK” and that “the Prime Minister looks forward to working with his colleagues to organize a successful conference”.
“The Prime Minister is leading the call for greater global climate ambition and action to tackle climate change ahead of Cop26, and he pledged to build on our world record for emissions reductions and take steps to ensure we reach net zero by 2050, ”they said.
Sources close to the Scottish government said they were furious that energy was being spent on using the summit to promote efforts to keep the union together, rather than on its primary purpose of dealing with the climate emergency .
A Scottish government source said the plan said “a lot more about the Prime Minister and his entourage than the Prime Minister”.
“Cop26 in Glasgow is a vital opportunity in the global fight against climate change – the world is ‘code red’. This is what we should all be focusing on, instead of pathetic, childish attempts to score points, which simply demonstrate the depth of Downing Street’s paranoia. “
The wargaming evidence has pointed to criticism from other groups, including financial executives, who have suggested the summit is likely to fall short of its primary focus of tackling climate change. Executives from several of the world’s largest asset management firms said The independent that they had effectively given up on “anything significant” going on in Glasgow this year.
Instead, they were waiting for Cop27 in Egypt in 2022, where they believe that instead of limiting themselves to a few relatively limited coal divestment deals – which are expected to be done in Glasgow – they are likely to secure action. to limit the level of funding available. for all companies related to fossil fuels.
Prominent city figures said the meetings were planned haphazardly, lacked clear requests and left them unsure of what was expected of them. And while the use of coal was an obvious target, after it became a goal at the G7 and G20 summits, they said they hoped the measures would go further, with clear targets set for the divestment of gas-related investments as well.
“Coal was, and is, a handy fruit. This summit should have found a clear path to faster divestment from oil and gas. It has also completely failed to convince the emerging markets, which are the most dependent on the use of fossil fuels to try to develop their economies at a sustained rate, ”said an asset manager, whose company manages several hundred billion pounds sterling.