The Scottish National Party (SNP) won the Scottish elections last week with a large majority. For the fourth time in a row, he will form a regional government with the support of the Green Party. According to the election winners, this is a clear mandate for a referendum on the independence of Scotland. But the government in London does not want to allow this. And so the political struggle moves to the next round.
It is clear that the independence of Scotland was a major issue in the elections. Not only the aforementioned parties, which desire independence, but also the conservatives, their strong supporters United kingdom. On the contrary, they tried to rally voters with the promise of a unified state, Krishtof Krolles, an expert on Great Britain from the Association of International Affairs (AMO), explains to the daily Aktuálně.cz.
However, the Conservatives in Scotland eventually succeeded in winning only 31 seats out of 129. On the other hand, the Scottish National Party won 64 seats, and with eight green seats, it gained the majority.
Scottish Prime Minister and Scottish National Party Chairman Nicola Sturgeon described it as a historic victory and a clear desire for independence. However, polls have long since shown support for independence at around 50 percent.
“In the final vote, it will depend on the legal character of the referendum. That is, whether it will be announced sanctifying the central government,” explains Croule. He adds: “If it were with the consent of London, it can be assumed that the more moderate voters would vote for independence.”
But if London does not allow a referendum, as was the case in Catalonia and Madrid in 2017, support will decline, because such a drastic step would discourage some voters, as Croules predicts.
But sturgeon is one of the most moderate supporters of independence. Unlike his predecessor, Alex Salmond, who went to the polls with the new ALBA and promised voters a referendum at any cost. In the end he failed. The prime minister wants independence, but she does not want an illegal referendum, which the other European Union countries will not admit. According to Crowlich, a politician is a “constructive nation.”
Although the Scottish parties enjoy popular support, it is far from certain whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson will allow the referendum to take place. The strength of his Conservatives was strengthened again in the municipal elections in England, and according to Crollish, the Prime Minister could better withstand the political pressure from Scotland.
“If we end up in court, it will be because we have a British government that has refused to recognize Scottish democracy,” said Sturgeon after the election. “I support independence, the British government does not approve of it, it is legitimate. But the only people who have the right to decide are the people of Scotland. The only way to do that is through a referendum.”
Even before the elections, there was talk that the Scots would at least hold an “advisory referendum” permitted by the court in the event London did not agree. This is not binding, but if it succeeds, it will increase the pressure on the central government.
But even if the court allowed such a referendum, the British government could change everything with a simple law. “Everything we call a constitution in other states is a matter of simple laws and customs in Britain. The establishment of the Scottish Parliament is also a decision of the Simple Act of the British Parliament. And the British Parliament, in which the Conservatives have a majority, could change the analyst Kruliš.”
According to him, such a move would cost Johnson a lot of political effort and it all depends on how voters will react to him. However, from a purely legal point of view, it is possible.
Join the European Union
The last time Scotland voted for independence was in 2014, when it was in favor of only 45 percent of the people. At that time, Great Britain was a member of the European Union and independence meant leaving Scotland to join the union. But then came Brexit, which shuffled the cards. Independence could now be an opportunity to return to the European Union.
It is also for this reason, according to Crollish, that Sturgeon is trying to strain all political forces to sanctify the vote in the British Parliament. The analyst believes that if the plebiscite was held illegally, the chances of an independent Scotland becoming a member of the federation would be very slim.
If the referendum were to take place without internal conflict and the Scots gained independence, the country would be in a better position.
“European countries such as Spain and Italy have always feared separatism and will probably not agree to Scotland’s accession. But if Scotland gains its independence legally, the position of opponents will weaken greatly.”
The fact remains that Scotland, like any other country, must meet a number of economic and political criteria, and the currency issue will be a big point.
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