Scotland on the way to second independence referendum?

Scotland on the way to second independence referendum?

“Boris Johnson is not untouched by democracy!” said Nicola Sturgeon for Sky News’ morning show just days before the Scottish general election, as Nicola Sturgeon didn’t hesitate to spin the vaccine metaphor. While he is credited with an excellent health record, the Scottish prime minister is still in touch. Thus she avoided answering a shameful question about vaccines: if she were a member of the European Union, would independent Scotland have benefited from a British vaccine or would it have fallen behind in vaccinations as most European countries have?

In the domestic segment of this crucial election, as the SNP separatist Holyrood fights to maintain its majority in parliament, every vote counts. “Thursday, there is no doubt that the separatists will win, explains Libertarian Daily columnist Michael Fry. National. There is no real suspense. But the whole question is whether the SNP will get an absolute majority or will it have to depend on some other party to rule. “

There is no doubt in the victory of the separatists on Thursday. There is no real suspense.

a referendum on the referendum

While one in two is in favor of Scot independence, this ballot has become a referendum on the referendum. For most observers, if Nicola Sturgeon was re-elected with an absolute majority of 65 deputies, she could invoke the validity of the ballot box to force the organization of a second referendum as she promised in all forums. does. And this despite the end of the unacceptability that still opposes Boris Johnson. Because, in the United Kingdom, the Scottish Parliament does not have the capacity to hold such consultations without the agreement of London.

While the number of voters in favor of independence reaches new heights, for the first time in this election, three separatist parties are in the race. In addition to the SNP, which has ruled Scotland for 15 years, the Greens, who are also pro-independence, are on the rise. On Thursday, they may increase their number of deputations which is currently only five. “They may be kingmakers,” explains sociologist David McCrone of the University of Edinburgh. Especially in the 15 years since, the SNP is experiencing a certain fatigue of power. This is normal, the party needs to renew itself. This does not prevent Nicola Sturgeon, who was Minister of Health from 2007 to 2012, from being admired by two to three Scots for her effective management of the pandemic.

But, the real surprise of this campaign was the unexpected candidacy of the free electron Alex Salmond. The man who led the SNP for two decades founded his own party, after being acquitted of sexual assault charges against him. Called Alba (Scotland in Gaelic), he could have played the role of troublemaker. Because it is not excluded, thanks to the proportional list system, which serves to rebalance the traditional ballot by constituency, Salmond can elect some deputies.

Sure enough, says McCrone, “It’s a one-man party. Salmond only founded it to take revenge on Nicola Sturgeon, whom she alleges didn’t give her enough support. In her commercials, that herself.” Presents in the north-east, he addresses the ever-present Nationalists. One of them gives the example of the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 where the Scotsman Robert IIs Bruce defeated Edward II of England. A vote for Alba would be a vote for a pro-independence “super majority” in parliament, argues one that could also help split the vote.

There is also a tough competition for the second place in this election. In 2016, the Conservatives took it over from Labor. This year, Conservative leader Douglas Ross is promising massive investments in transportation and health. If this feat were to repeat itself, it would confirm the decline of labor’s once-hegemonic in Scotland. A decline that is reminiscent of the one experienced by social democracy almost everywhere in Europe, underlines David McCrone.

a new strategy

Since Brexit, rejected by 62% of Scots, support for independence has grown to around 50% and sometimes exceeds the majority. A significant change since the failure of the 2014 referendum where yes was no more than 45%.

Although she still says she wants “a legal referendum”, the Scottish prime minister recently raised the tone. “If Boris Johnson Wants To Block Him” [le référendum]’He will have to drag us to court,'” she said in Glasgow. This new strategy was defined last January in a government document called referendum route. Without prior negotiation, Holyrood can invoke Section 30 of the Scotland Act, allowing it to pass legislation in areas usually reserved for Westminster. To oppose the referendum, London would have no choice but to appeal to the Supreme Court.

“It is not certain that the SNP can hold a second referendum as long as Boris Johnson is in Westminster,” Michael Fry said. He will never cooperate with SNP. As for Brussels, Scots would not have the right to hold a referendum without London’s permission as the Catalans did in 2017.

if boris johnson wants to block him [le référendum]We have to drag him to court.

Nicola Sturgeon says if yes wins, Scotland should benefit from a fast-tracked entry process into the EU. However, Europe is more discreet on the subject, despite its many disputes with London. Last month, 170 cultural figures signed a forum to encourage 27 to open their doors for an independent Scotland. Among them were the Italian writer Elena Ferrante and the French philosopher tienne Balibar.

However, it is difficult to see the EU as the “savior”, says Michael Fry. Certainly, “the SNP needs international recognition, but with its vast bureaucracy, the EU is far from attractive. And it is even less so since its vaccine strategy failed. It has not been excluded.” “Given this dead end, at least as long as there is Boris Johnson, the struggle for Scottish independence will experience a decline in Quebec”. We will have to wait for Thursday’s results to learn more.


A previous version of this article, which incorrectly stated that Edward II of England won the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, has been edited.

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