The Scottish National Party (SNP) won the Scottish election last week with a large majority. For the fourth time in a row, it will form a regional government with the support of the Greens. According to election winners, this is a clear mandate to hold a referendum on Scotland’s independence. But the government in London did not want to allow it. The political struggle is moving to the next round.
Scotland’s independence was a major issue in the elections. It wants freedom not only for the parties mentioned, but also for the conservatives, the strong supporters United Kingdom. Instead, they sought to mobilize voters with the promise of a United Nations, explains Great Britain expert Greydoff Krulik, from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), daily to Aktuálně.cz.
However, the Conservatives in Scotland eventually managed to capture only 31 of 129 seats. The SNP, on the other hand, won 64 of them, with a majority of eight green seats.
Scottish Prime Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon called it a historic victory and a clear desire for independence. Nevertheless, opinion polls show that support for independence has long been 50 percent.
“In the final referendum, it depends on what the legitimacy of the referendum is. That is, whether it will be announced with the sanctification of the federal government,” Krulick explains. “If it had been with the consent of London, more moderate voters could be considered to have voted for independence,” he added.
But if London does not allow a referendum, as happened in Catalonia and Madrid in 2017, support will fall, as Krulick predicts that such drastic action will motivate some voters.
But Sturgeon was one of the few moderates to support independence. Unlike his predecessor, Alex Salmond, who went to the polls with the new Alpha party, promised voters a referendum at all costs. In the end, he failed. The Prime Minister wants independence, but he does not want to hold an illegal referendum that will not be recognized by other EU states. According to Krulik, the politician is “the creator of the state.”
Despite popular support for the Scottish parties, it is unclear whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson will allow the referendum. His conservatives have re-emerged in the UK municipal elections, and according to Krulick, the Prime Minister could better cope with the political pressure in Scotland.
“If we end up in court, it’s because we have a British government that refuses to recognize Scottish democracy,” Sturgeon said after the election. “I support independence. The British government does not agree with it. It is legitimate. But only the people of Scotland have the right to decide. The only way to do that is through a referendum.”
Prior to the election, there was talk that Scotland would hold a “consultative vote” allowed by the court if London’s refusal occurred. It will not be bound, but if successful, it will further increase the pressure on the central government.
But even if the court allows such a referendum, the British government can change everything with a simple law. “In other states we call a constitution the simple laws and customs of Britain. The establishment of the Scottish Parliament is the result of the simple law of the British Parliament.
For him, such a move would cost Johnson a lot of political effort, and it is a question of how voters will respond to him. However, from a purely legal point of view, it is possible.
Entering the European Union
Scotland last voted for independence in 2014, with only 45 per cent of the population in favor. At the time, Great Britain was a member of the European Union, and independence meant leaving Scotland to the union. But then came Brexit, and he changed the cards. Freedom may now be an opportunity to return to the EU.
That is why, according to Krulick, Sturgeon is trying to stifle all political forces to sanctify the vote in the British Parliament. If the referendum is held illegally, the chances of an independent Scotland joining the union are slim, the analyst said.
If Scotland gains independence by a referendum without domestic strife, the country will be in a better position.
“European countries such as Spain and Italy have long feared separatism and will not accept access to Scotland. But if Scotland gains legal independence, the enemy’s position will be greatly weakened,” Krulick added.
The truth is that Scotland, like other countries, will have to meet many economic and political criteria, and the currency issue will be a big point.
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