Five years to Brexit: Scottish independence as an inevitable outcome?

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Brexit has disrupted the UK’s institutional calm. When it became clear after the June 23, 2016 referendum that the UK would leave the European Union, it turned out that Scotland voted in large numbers for EU membership.

source: Belgian

Immediately, many Scots wondered again if it was better for them to stand on their own two feet. With Prime Minister Nicolas Sturgeon, independence supporters already have a strong ally.

In 2014, the unionist parties in British politics believed that many Scots had given up on their dream of independence. Then Prime Minister David Cameron authorized a referendum in which 55% of the electorate voted against independence. According to Cameron, the matter was settled for an entire generation. Two years later, there was the dreaded Brexit referendum. While 52% of Britons chose to leave the European Union, 62% of Scots voted for membership. Immediately the question of Scotland’s future within the United Kingdom became a hot topic again. The independence movement took on a pro-European character and the demand for a referendum was again raised.

Against this background, parliamentary elections were held in Scotland on May 6. Despite back-to-back lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the painful episode in which Prime Minister Sturgeon was forced to admit that her government “may not have done everything right” when sexual assault complaints were received against her predecessor and mentor Alex Salmond, that election was about the future. Scotland. Sturgeon and her Scottish National Party scored a resounding victory: they won 64 of the 129 seats in the Edinburgh Parliament, too few for an absolute majority.

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Ahead of the election, Sturgeon promised voters a new referendum if her party was allowed to lead the country again. Meanwhile, she has been reappointed as prime minister and is in exploratory talks with the Greens on a cooperation agreement. If that depends on sturgeon, the new referendum will take place in 2023 at the latest. Before the election, she said, if she could not persuade British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to agree to organize the referendum, a unilateral referendum law would be voted on in Parliament and Johnson would challenge the law in the Supreme Court. However, the chance that Johnson will allow a referendum and risk becoming a UK gravedigger does not exist.

The outcome is hard to predict

In the meantime, sturgeon explained his policy for the coming years. She wants to focus on economic recovery after the pandemic and invest in healthcare, but she is also insisting on organizing a new referendum in the medium term. If you can work out a deal with the Greens, you’ll have a comfortable pro-independence majority. The Scottish Greens want to sell their hides dearly and help implement social and climate-friendly policies, but they believe the best way to do so is with a “truly democratic nation-state”. “Independence is our way back to EU membership,” reads prominently on the party’s website.

If there is a referendum in Scotland, it is difficult to predict the outcome. Pre-election polls showed that the pro-independence camp had the upper hand, but that the Alhasin were catching up. Yes, Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom may have survived years of negotiations. Those talks will remind us of the Brexit saga, but they threaten to become more complex. The interdependence between Scotland and the United Kingdom was much greater, until recently, than between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

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Sophie Baker

"Award-winning music trailblazer. Gamer. Lifelong alcohol enthusiast. Thinker. Passionate analyst."

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