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A second Scottish independence referendum will complicate Britain's political landscape

A second Scottish independence referendum will complicate Britain’s political landscape

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently announced that her government wants a nationwide referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. He suggested that the referendum should be held on October 19, 2023. For the referendum to actually take place and be meaningful, there will be a lot of controversy and political wrangling from time to time. Any future British government would allow the vote to continue following the resignation of current Prime Minister Boris Johnson; But “Westminster will not grant such approval,” Politico reported.

However, Sturgeon plans to move on anyway. The statement added, “British rule over Scotland cannot be based on anything other than an agreed, voluntary partnership.” Since Scotland has been part of Great Britain since 1707, independence could lead to the rupture of a long-standing relationship.

Vote

In 2014, Scots were asked to vote to secede from the United Kingdom, and the attempt failed by a margin of 55-45%. It’s supposed to be a “once-in-a-generation” chance for independence, but the independence-seeking Scottish National Party has spent years building “support for a re-poll,” says NPR’s William Marks.

Earlier this month, in a series of statements, Scotland’s First Minister insisted that an independent Scotland would be “richer, happier and juster”. Separation from the United Kingdom would give “decisive decision-making power to the people who live here”, not “a decision by officials in London to pursue policies, such as Brexit, which would seriously harm Scotland’s interests”. “Other countries in north-west Europe, regardless of size, often do better than the UK on a set of key measures of well-being,” suggests Sturgeon. She concludes, “If the situation isn’t working, you have to find a better way to fix it.” Her answer is clearly freedom.

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Two years after Scottish voters decided to stay in the United Kingdom, the Kingdom’s voters decided to leave the European Union. However, Scotland voted to remain.

Why? Because the EU has funded improvements in Scotland over recent decades; As part of an effort to help the poorer parts of the union catch up with richer countries, the United Kingdom transferred some of its powers to the provinces at the same time. Eliot Ross, in The Atlantic, wrote in 2019: “The twin factors of the EU’s greater role in Scotland and the transfer of powers to Edinburgh helped strengthen Scottish nationalism,” he continued, “Brexit from the EU will testify. Scotland is leaving Europe despite our will.

Infection also played a role. Like former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in the US, Sturgeon held regular briefings, was popular with the public, and support for independence began to soar. Johnson’s own problems stemming from the pandemic — the “party gate” scandal — led to a referendum. In a January poll by The Scotsman, more than half of respondents believed the issue had hurt Remain’s cause.

But polls also suggest the latest independent bid may be dubious. An Ipsos poll last May showed a small majority (51%) of voters wanting to stay in the UK.

The prime minister’s first act would be to try to boycott the British government. He asked Scotland’s chief legal officer to go to the Supreme Court of England to decide whether the Scottish Parliament alone has the power to hold a statutory referendum.

If that doesn’t work, Sturgeon plans to take the issue directly to the UK electorate and her party will contest the next UK general election alone on the issue of independence. A successful referendum does not automatically mean independence. According to a Sky News report, “legislation will need to be passed by both the parliaments of the United Kingdom and Scotland to implement the decision.”

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Stay in the kingdom

However, there are still many Scots who want to stay in the UK. “The Conservatives, the largest opposition party in the Scottish Parliament, have said they will boycott any so-called unilateral referendum,” Rodney Jefferson wrote in Bloomberg. Conservatives will argue that “Scotland’s first minister should focus on improving health and education” rather than spending time and effort on independence.

Either way, the referendum is sure to be a hotly debated topic for a year or more. The results could be historic, as Sturgeon admitted a few days ago: “At this critical moment in history, it is time to discuss and make decisions about the future of our country.”


The EU has funded improvements in Scotland in recent decades; As part of an effort to help the poorer parts of the union catch up with richer countries, the United Kingdom transferred some of its powers to the provinces at the same time.

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