In the coming weeks, the Scottish government intends to determine a specific date for the second referendum on the country’s independence.
One of the consequences of Britain’s exit from the European Union was a sharp intensification of separatist sentiments in Scotland. New polls show that a majority of Scottish voters want an independence referendum.
Against this background, the Scottish government decided in the next few weeks to determine a specific time frame and wording for a second referendum on secession from Britain. Correspondent.net tells the details.
Scotladnia wants to return to “home”
The Scottish government will set a specific timeline and wording for a second referendum on the country’s independence from Britain in the next few weeks, The National reported.
The first independence vote was held in 2014, when 55 percent of Scots voted in favor of remaining in the UK.
However, in 2016, the majority of participants in the UK-wide referendum to leave the EU voted for Brexit, while the Scots voted against (63 percent).
Immediately thereafter, the ruling Scottish National Party, which has traditionally advocated independence, set out to hold a new vote in Scotland.
On January 1, 2021, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the imminent return of the country to the European Union.
“Europe, Scotland will be back soon. Don’t turn off the lights,” Sturgeon wrote on her microblog on Twitter, attaching to her tweet several emojis with flags of the EU, Scotland, hearts, as well as a photo symbolizing unity with the EU and her country.
In April 2019, Sturgeon promised to hold another referendum by May 2021, as the majority of the population wants it. In October of that year, the 200,000th march was held in Edinburgh in support of independence from Great Britain.
In January 2020, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson denied the Scottish authorities a new referendum. He recalled that Sturgeon and her predecessor had pledged that the 2014 vote would be the “only one in a generation” independence referendum.
A year later, on January 3, 2021, Johnson announced that the Scots were not yet ready for a new referendum on independence from Great Britain.
“They do not have a unifying force in the national atmosphere, it should be like this only once in a whole generation,” the British prime minister said.
He noted that a referendum on the continuation of Britain’s membership in the EEC took place in 1975, and the referendum leading to Brexit in 2016. According to Johnson, in this case we are talking about “the right time frame.”
The chasm between Scottish public opinion and British authorities has widened amid the coronavirus pandemic, with Sturgeon acting more decisively when Johnson’s government was just “expressing concern” about the second wave.
In a November poll commissioned by BBC News in Scotland, 72 percent of those surveyed said the Scottish government was coping well with the pandemic, with 15 percent dissatisfied. About three quarters of Scots have a negative attitude towards Johnson’s actions.
According to a poll published by The Sunday Times in the summer of 2020, “yes” in the independence referendum could prevail with 54 percent of the vote.
John Curtis, a British public opinion researcher and professor at the University of Strathclyde, believes that “the foundations of public support for the Union of England and Scotland have never been more vulnerable.”
“It is not surprising that in the eyes of nationalists the last three months have proved that Scotland would have been better governed if it were a small independent country. More importantly, it seems that former unionists are now also convinced of this,” the political scientist commented on the results of the poll.
Nicola Sturgeon does not want to act contrary to the law: she said that the Catalan option, when a unilaterally announced referendum is not recognized by either the central government or opponents of independence in the country itself trying to secede, is unacceptable for Scotland.
Supporters of Scottish independence hope to force London to agree to a second referendum, either through the courts or through political pressure through elections.
Parliamentary elections are due to take place in Scotland in May 2021. At the moment, the party of the first minister holds 64 out of 129 seats in parliament, that is, there is only one vote short of the majority.
However, according to the poll, which was held in February this year, according to the results of the new elections, 71 MPs from this party can get into parliament. That is, the Scottish National Party will receive the majority of votes and will be able to pass the referendum bill.
Sturgeon is confident that the majority of Scots will favor secession from the United Kingdom. According to her, after gaining independence, Scotland will immediately apply for re-accession to the European Union and will be accepted as soon as possible. Thus, her country will return to its “home of origin”, where it has already been for over 40 years.
The vote will be formalized as a “consultative referendum”, the right to organize which the Scottish government has.
The Scottish government, Sturgeon noted, will “vigorously oppose” any legal objection from the UK government to this effect.
As a result, the parties will decide the dispute about the legitimacy of the referendum in the Supreme Court, predicts the authoritative edition of The Economist. And even if he recognizes its holding as legal, it is not at all a fact that the legal consequence of the “consultative referendum” will be real independence.
The level of anti-British sentiment in Scotland has steadily increased during the difficult negotiations on Brexit. The Scots do not want to lose the economic benefits of the duty-free customs regime with the EU, and historical ties with the old continent also play an important role.
In the event of the withdrawal of Scotland, the United Kingdom will lose a third of its territory and eight percent of its population (about 5.5 million people). However, economically and geostrategically, the UK will lose more, including 9.2 percent of GDP and 96 percent of hydrocarbons, primarily oil and gas fields in the North Sea.
The United Kingdom will lose 19 universities, fishing fleets, whiskey producers and, most importantly, naval bases, including for the Trident nuclear submarines.
In addition, the withdrawal of Scotland would jeopardize the integrity of the remaining kingdom, as it would provide an appropriate example for Northern Ireland and Wales.
Many analysts believe that Little Scotland will benefit from membership in the European Union, as it will have much more rights than the United Kingdom. In principle, Scotland meets all the criteria of the European Union, and if independence is declared, the process of accession to the EU will take a few years.
However, a report from the London School of Economics and the City University of Hong Kong says Scotland’s economy will shrink by at least £ 11 billion, or about seven percent if it becomes independent.
The report argues that the harm from leaving the UK common market will be two to three times greater for the Scottish economy than leaving the EU. This is only about the impact on trade.
The authors of the report emphasized that their analysis only covered the impact of increased trade costs and ruled out other economic or fiscal problems after independence, such as a decrease or increase in domestic investment, changes in immigration, changes in currency or taxes.
The UK is Scotland’s largest and most important trading partner, the report said, accounting for 61 percent of exports and 67 percent of imports, roughly four times more than Scotland’s trade with the EU.
In response, Scottish Economics Minister Fiona Hislop said that independence has far-reaching benefits.
“As an independent EU member free from the damage caused by Brexit, Scotland will become part of a huge single market [ЕС]which is seven times the size of the UK market, “she commented on the report.
Hislop cited the Irish economy as a model: “In the real world, thanks to EU membership, independent Ireland has sharply reduced its trade dependence on Britain, diversifying its economy towards Europe. And in the process, its national income per capita exceeded that of Britain.” …
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