Scotland stands at a crossroads. This marks Thursday’s elections for the local parliament, which can be divided into several important issues. For example, whether the British state will follow the path of the independence referendum again.
Seven years ago, the country voted to remain in Scotland or secede from the United Kingdom. The referendum ended as follows: 55.3% against independence, 44.7% in favor. However, circumstances have changed since then, with Britain greatly dissatisfied with Scotland’s withdrawal from the European Union and the registration of Scottish nationalists calling for another referendum.
Political scientist Michael Keating of the University of Aberdeen talks in the Checkpoint podcast about how Scots thinking about Brexit independence has been affected: Scottish nationalists and trade unionists wanted to stay in the European Union. After Brexit, some trade unionists decided that the only way to stay in the union was to return to it. Thus it becomes an independent country. “
There are now two campaigns in Scotland against each other. On the one hand, there are those who want independence and at the same time return to Europe, and against them, those who oppose the referendum on independence under any circumstances and at the same time stand by Britain’s exit from the European Union. There is no clear majority of those who wish to be independent. But 50 percent of the population will want it – and want to bring it back to Europe, too, ”says Keating at the checkpoint.
The departure and referendum of the European Union multiplied five years ago due to the ire of Scottish nationalists. “Now they can say – they drove us out of the European Union, while they told us in 2014 that the only way to stay was to vote against independence. The opposite was true. On the other hand – if Scotland were in the European Union and the rest of Britain was not, then it would have to be created Solid boundaries between them. This is a more complex situation compared to 2014. So the call for independence may be more urgent, the arguments may be stronger, but the practical obstacles are now much greater, ”said the political scientist Keating, who also heads the Center for Constitutional Change in Edinburgh.
Sympathetic leader Sturgeon
Scottish parliamentary elections are taking place on Thursday, but opinion polls point to the victory of the ruling Scottish National Party, the main supporter of Scottish independence. The referendum was declared by Scottish nationalists in 2014 led by former Prime Minister Alex Salmond.
However, according to political analyst Michael Higgins of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, in the current vote in Parliament, the SNP vote does not necessarily mean support for independence.
“Voting for the Scottish National Party is not just about voting for independence. It also represents support for a certain form of government, efficiency and stability. The Scottish Nationalists have been with the government for many years. Their president, Prime Minister Nicolas Sturgeon, has reasonably large popular support – it is It enjoys the same abroad and across Britain. Many people who vote for the Scottish National Party vote for these qualities, not necessarily for independence. But it is hard to imagine that someone would cast the Scottish National Party vote, but at the same time did not want independence, ”Higgins comments in Checkpoint.
According to him, the First Minister of Scotland Sturgeon is a man in his place. Leading the Scottish government since 2014, and leading it after Salmond resigns. According to Higgins, sturgeon is a sympathetic leader: “Then there is the position of the Prime Minister as a prominent politician, woman. Symbolically, this is an important position that goes hand in hand with the way Scotland is perceived. As a modern country that practically looks like a liberal democracy of Scandinavia. A progressive place where talented people take charge, regardless of gender. “
Lack of interest in Westminster
According to Higgins, the British leadership does not pay much attention to Scottish politics. In light of recent events in Britain, the case of former Prime Minister David Cameron and the troubles of the incumbent Prime Minister Boris Johnson have been forgotten to some extent, the London elections in London have been somewhat forgotten.
Westminster doesn’t pay enough attention to Scotland, but it has simply become part of the Scottish political ecosystem. Westminster doesn’t care much about what is happening around the Northern Borders and in the Scottish Parliament. In a sense, what London thinks about Scotland is almost irrelevant. Of course, Westminster has authority. A big political and economic one for us, “notes an expert at the checkpoint.
The British government, led by Boris Johnson, has the final say in the Scottish referendum on independence. That is, if the Scots wanted the vote to be correct and legal. Michael Higgins concludes in the podcast that “for Westminster there will come a time when he will play a major role in both Scottish and constitutional politics.”
What steps is the British government taking in Scotland? Is the campaign for the independence of Scotland more just than the campaign for proprexit? Watch the full episode of Checkpoint’s podcast, which features political scientist Michael Keating of the University of Aberdeen and political analyst Michael Higgins of the University of Strathclyde, in the player at the beginning of the article.
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