UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Independence for Scotland

By April 2021, the “union is now weaker than at any point in living memory,” judged Britain’s influential weekly Economist magazine. The chances of a breakup are mounting. “The causes are many, but Brexit is the most important,” the magazine noted. And it blames Johnson partly for the rising risks “by putting party above country and espousing a hard Brexit.” Scottish public opinion appears increasingly behind the idea of having another independence vote. Polling data suggests that the Scottish Nationalists will storm to a big win in the May 2021 Scottish Parliament’s elections and seem set to win an overall majority. The SNP is campaigning for another independence plebiscite to be held by 2023. And public surveys suggest a small majority would back seceding from Britain.

The SNP has steered clear of suggesting it would call a wildcat referendum along the lines Catalonian separatists did in Spain in 2017, which triggered a violent standoff between Madrid and Barcelona. Nationalists currently recognize that a ‘non-legal’ vote could easily be de-legitimized with a boycott campaign the British government would almost certainly organize, calling on union-supporting Scots ignore the vote.

Scottish Nationalist Party leader Nicola Sturgeon said she believes British PM Boris Johnson will have to grant another independence vote. “If people in Scotland vote for a party saying, ‘when the time is right, there should be an independence referendum,’ you cannot stand in the way of that, and I don’t think that is what will happen,” she said.

Unsettled by Brexit and London's handling of the COVID-19 crisis, Scots appear ready to part company with the UK, according to consistent opinion polls. Since the start of 2020, opinion polls have given "Yes" campaigners a consistent lead over their unionist rivals, with one mid-2020 survey predicting a total reversal of the 2014 referendum result — 55% in favor of separation, versus 45% against. Much of this swing is tied to Brexit. Scots voted against leaving Europe by almost two-to-one in 2016, and the ascendancy of Prime Minister Boris Johnson — who prepared to take Britain out of the EU without a deal — proved anathema to many north of the border. The public think that Nicola Sturgeon handled the coronavirus crisis brilliantly, and they think Boris Johnson had done badly. Sturgeon said she would set out plans for a second independence referendum ahead of the 2021 Scottish Parliament election. Should she win that poll convincingly, the UK government — which must approve a second vote on secession — may have little choice but to oblige.

The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said on 24 January 2021 she would seek a fresh referendum if her Scottish National Party (SNP) wins a strong showing in Scottish parliamentary elections in May – even though British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said such a vote should only be held once in a generation. “I want to have a legal referendum, that is what I am going to seek the authority of the Scottish people for in May and if they give me that authority, that’s what I intend to do,” she told BBC television. “He’s frightened of democracy,” Sturgeon said, referring to Johnson. “If the SNP win the Scottish election in a few months’ time on a proposition of giving the people that choice, what democrat could rightly stand in the way of that?” she said, adding that “the polls now show that a majority of people in Scotland want independence“.

Sturgeon said 13 December 2018 she will be able to make a judgment on a second independence referendum by the end of this year. She told the BBC: "I still believe that whatever future Scotland chooses for itself, and you know what side of that I'm on, that is a future that shouldn't be imposed on us - it's one we should have the ability and choose for ourselves".

The year 2018 was challenging for the Scottish National Party. In the June 2017 election pro-UK parties took 63.2% of the votes. The nationalist leader had a narrow window of opportunity to stage another referendum before the pro-independence majority at Holyrood is likely to disintegrate at the 2021 Scottish elections.

In its independence referendum in 2014 people voted against becoming an independent country by 55% to 45%. While in the Brexit vote, Scotland voted to remain in the EU by a majority of 62%.

Support for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom has risen to its highest point in the past four years, largely driven by voters who want to remain in the European Union, according to a poll published 27 April 2019. As the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) meets for its two-day spring conference, the YouGov poll showed support for secession had risen to 49 percent from 45 percent in the last YouGov poll carried out for The Times in June 2018. YouGov also found that 53 percent of Scots thought there should not be another referendum on independence within the next five years.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said 16 October 2016 that it's "highly likely" that Scotland will secede from the United Kingdom in the near future. She said preparations for a second independence referendum were already underway. Sturgeon told members of her pro-independence Scottish National Party that: "I have never doubted that Scotland will one day become an independent country and I believe it today more strongly than I ever have before." She further pledged to "explore all options" to prevent Scotland being taken out of the European Union against its will following the UK's decision to exit the bloc.

Opening the Scottish National Party conference in Glasgow, Nicola Sturgeon said she would take the first step towards a second independence referendum for Scotland within days. "I can confirm that the Independence Referendum Bill will be published for consultation next week," Sturgeon told delegates. She argued that in the event of a "hard Brexit" - particularly the UK leaving the EU without retaining access to the single market - then Scotland "will have the right to decide, afresh, if it wants to take a different path."

Despite being careful not to set a desired date for the vote, at one point saying "whenever that might be," Sturgeon did say the decision should fall prior to the UK leaving the EU. That timeline remains very muddy, but as it stands, British Prime Minister Theresa May intends to trigger an exit process - slated to last two years - early in 2017.

Independence means Scotland’s future will be in Scotland’s hands. It means Scots can make more of Scotland’s wealth, talent and resources for the benefit of the people who live in Scotland through a stronger economy, more jobs and people getting a fairer return for their hard work and efforts. It will allow Scottish governments to do specific things like improve childcare, make the tax system fairer, cut energy bills and scrap the “bedroom tax”.

Independence is about improving the quality of life for all people across Scotland. Scots will be able to take decisions on the economy designed for Scotland’s particular needs and based on Scots own priorities. Similar countries to Scotland have seen higher levels of economic growth over the past generation. That is because they have the bonus of being independent and are able to make the right choices for their nation and economy. If Scotland had matched the levels of growth of these other independent nations between 1977 and 2007, by 2012 GDP per head in Scotland would have been 3.8 per cent higher, equivalent to an additional £900 per head.

While the UK overall narrowly favored Brexit, a large majority of Scots voted on 23 June 2016 to remain in the EU. The referendum reopened the question of Scottish independence. Addressing reporters at Bute House in Edinburgh on Saturday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a second referendum on Scotland's independence was "clearly an option" in the wake of the unprecedented decision by UK voters to leave the European Union despite Scots' support for the EU.

The SNP went into the May 2015 elections for Scotland's devolved parliament - in which the party won an unprecedented third consecutive term in government - on a manifesto pledge that a second referendum would be helpful only if there were a "significant and material change in circumstances" since the 2014 referendum, in which just over 55 percent of Scots choose to remain in the United Kingdom. , Sturgeon said that Brexit constituted such a material change. "It is, therefore, a statement of the obvious that a second referendum must be on the table," she said, "and it is on the table."

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 30-06-2021 12:04:13 ZULU