Scottish independence needs at least one more generation – Gwynne Dyer

Scottish independence needs at least one more generation - Gwynne Dyer

May 11, 2021 at 1:03 pm

Governor (first minister) from Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, announced in 2014 that the referendum on Scottish independence, wanted and lost that year, would be held “once per generation”. That generation proved to be too short-lived.

Britain voted to leave the European Union in a referendum in 2016 in which the British approved the exit (Relieve) while the Scots asked to stay (stay) Shortly after that vote, Sturgeon said that circumstances had changed enough to warrant another referendum on Scottish independence. This time, he hoped, Scots would vote to leave Britain and join the European Union.

The correct answer from London should have been “Well, let’s say whoever gets two out of three wins”, but Sturgeon would never have accepted. Freedom is a one-way process. No independence movement has ever promised that if people vote yes and then change their mind, another referendum could be held and a return to the previous state.

without a majority
Furthermore, Boris Johnson became prime minister only because whoever wanted Brexit won the 2016 referendum. He fought tooth and nail to avoid a second referendum on the issue (which, according to some polls, from mid-2017 would have had the opposite result of pulling out). And, today, Johnson would not accept something similar for Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon described the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) modest success in the 6 May local elections (including the renewal of regional parliaments in Scotland and Wales with autonomy on some issues) as a “historic and extraordinary” event. . The second justifies his request for a referendum, but in reality he got just one more seat than last time.

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SNP is not in a position to form majority yet. He would also form another pro-independence coalition, or at least an electoral alliance, with the Green Party, to form a government in the Scottish Parliament. In short, he is not in control of the situation, neither in Scotland nor in the United Kingdom more generally.

It is the Scottish voters who are the main obstacle to Sturgeon’s hopes

Johnson, of course, has openly declared his opposition to a second independence referendum. The law is on his side. Annex 5, Part 1 of the Scotland Act states that certain aspects of the Constitution – such as the union between Scotland and England – can be decided by the British Parliament at Westminster.

Ninety-nine percent of MPs in Westminster are non-Scottish and more than half of them belong to the Johnson Conservative Party. For this sturgeon can not expect any help. She continues to argue that she will take the matter to court, but the law is clear and even the hopes are low that the judge will agree with her.

In any case, it is the Scottish voters who are the main obstacle to their hopes. Recent opinion polls and the May 6 election say the same thing: a split right in the middle on the issue of independence. This is a slight improvement from the 55 percent against independence in the 2014 referendum, but not enough for another referendum today.

think twice
In addition, some elements may make Scottish voters more suspicious of independence. The new “border” between the United Kingdom and the European Union, drawn across the Irish Sea to avoid a land border between Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom) and the Republic of Ireland (EU country), has led Scottish nationalists to think is twice.

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Circumstances are different: after 1547 there were no further wars on the border between Scotland and England. But joining the EU is part of a package offered by the SNP, and the problems at the Irish border serve as a reminder to Scots that, if talk goes to port, there will be a “difficult” between Scotland and England. “There will be a limit.

A complex and costly question that seems difficult to solve. Boris Johnson’s government has chosen the toughest Brexit deal ever, and so Scotland’s eventual entry into the EU as a sovereign country will have to deal with customs, migration controls and all kinds of complications at the border with the EU. England. Scotland will also lose the roughly £2,000 per capita subsidy that each citizen currently receives from the UK government.


An independent Scotland would be a plausible country with the same area and population as Denmark. However, the growing sense of resentment lacks what makes this freedom necessary. This may sound like an attractive prospect, but most people also think about the upheaval and cost that would be paid for such a separation.

Nicola Sturgeon knows this and promises to do nothing until the COVID-19 pandemic is over, even if she talks about a referendum. It is reasonable to think that, when this happens, he will find another reason to postpone his requests again, as a second referendum defeat would represent the end of independence for a generation. This time a real generation.

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Just like it happened in Canada after the second independence referendum, which failed in Quebec in 1995.

(Translation by Federico Ferron)


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