Scottish independence: voters looking at the EU. Sturgeon short of one seat at Holyrood said for the approval of the referendum a simple majority will be enough
London, 9 May The electoral victory of the SNP in Scotland at yesterday’s British Local Elections emboldened the leader Nicholas Sturgeon to relaunch a new independence referendum. This, in case of victory of the independentists, would bring Scotland back into the EU. Brexit, in fact, dragged Edinburgh away from the block against its will.
When in 2014 (two years before the Brexit) the independence referendum was held and the remainers-unionist won, the winning anti-independence campaign was based on the fact that, in itself, as independent nation Scotland would have been automatically out of the EU. This was the main argument persuading the electorate to stay in the UK.
But when two years later England’s pro-Brexit prevailed (though narrowly) in the referendum, Scottish felt, and actually were, betrayed: out of EU without their consent.But when two years later England’s pro-Brexit prevailed (though narrowly) in the referendum, Scottish felt, and actually were, betrayed: out of EU without their consent. The anti-England, anti-Boris, anti-Brexit, anti-British nationalism sentiment become overwhelming.
The risk of ‘secessionism’ from Holyrood is incumbent. After the vote result, Sturgeon warned if Westminster will oppose a new Scottish independence referendum “that will demonstrate conclusively that UK is not a partnership of equals and astonishingly that Westminster no longer sees it as voluntary union of nations. That in itself would become the most powerful argument for Scotland becoming an independent country”. Scottish PM also set the path for the approval “All the SNP and the Scottish Greens stood in a clear commitment to an independence referendum within the next parliamentary term and all are clear that the timing for a referendum shall be decided by a simple majority”.
UK Local elections 2021: Scottish PM Nicola Sturgeon pushing for a second independence referendum
Nationalist pro-independent SNP fell short of an overall majority by one seat gaining: 64 seats. Sturgeon said in order for the timing of the independence referendum to be approved it “shall be decided by a simple majority”.
Soon after yesterday’s threat from Holyrood, Westminster launched the invite to talks: Boris Johnson is calling today a conference of Local governments for a Covid recovery plan. The sudden step towards the devolved administration is also due to the Labour’s landslide victory in Wales where Mark Drakeford was confirmed first minister with 30 of the 60 seats of the Senedd.
For such a regressive Conservative government in charge from eleven years, losing one of the four devolved regions of what they call emphatically ‘one nation Britain’ means a political debacle.
Paradoxically ‘one nation Britain’ is hanging by a thread of deeply rooted division and all becoming increasingly extreme mainly because of the exit from the EU: tensions for resurgent IRA and new ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland, a politically split Wales, an independentist Scotland, increasing unemployment and post pandemic poverty.
But, let us be outward: the renewed pro-European stance is not only due to the Conservative’s narrow minded and national-prop politics. It’s also due to what the EU is doing itself as a regional union since the Brexit vote: correction and improvement of Labour rights, immigration policies, competition regulation under many aspects of legislation. Introduction of substantial social protections and benefits to face the pandemic and, recently, the plan for a social EU unemployment support.
We could also talk of the Bloc’s common foreign policy addressing China and Russia as a world’s region of 27 countries or about yesterday’s Commission’s announcement of talks restarting for a free trade agreement with India. So far UK’s only post-Brexit free trade agreement is the one with Japan: voters do not only look at social media propaganda. You might argue why then England, except for big cities like Liverpool and Manchester, voted Conservatives. Well this is a complex matter involving level of education and access to information, poverty, Labour Party incapacity to reach the wider society.