“They may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”
– A fake quote from the movie Braveheart
Of course, the fake William Wallace (as played by Mel Gibson) turned out to be incorrect. The Scots were at war with their neighbors on and off ever since Scotland emerged as an independent kingdom up until 1707 when it became part of the United Kingdom. But is that going to change in the near future? Rather than having a wildman on a horse with blue paint on his face riding in to lead his people to independence, we have Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. The rather slight, 5’4″ leader of the Scottish National Party may not be a master of swinging a longsword from horseback (or maybe she is for all I know) but she has a plan. She is now pushing for a new vote on Scottish independence, seeking to lead her people out of the United Kingdom and into independent rule. The challenge before her is the fact that they’ve tried this before (most recently in 2014) and failed. But perhaps the post-Brexit world will prove more fertile for such an idea. (Associated Press)
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is starting her campaign for a second independence referendum on Tuesday, arguing that Scotland would be economically better off outside the United Kingdom.
Sturgeon, who leads the Scottish National Party as well as the devolved government in Scotland, says she will release the first in a series of papers laying out the case for independence.
Scotland rejected independence in a 2014 referendum, with 55% of voters saying they wanted to remain part of the United Kingdom. The U.K.-wide government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson opposes a new vote on independence, saying the issue was settled in that vote.
Sturgeon is confident that the loss in 2014 won’t be a factor in the next attempt and the reason for that is Brexit. She notes that the majority of Scottish voters opposed Brexit and if they had known nine years ago what they know now about the course Great Britian would take, they would have voted for independence at that time. Now that they are no longer in the EU, she feels the Scots will be far more willing to split off.
This would seem to imply that if a Scottish independence bid succeeds, they would likely apply to rejoin the EU as an independent entity, and perhaps NATO as well. I doubt that either organization would object to seeing Scotland join since the EU is still smarting a bit over the whole Brexit thing and the EU needs all of the economic partners it can get.
None of this may matter in the end. After the news had been given time to sink in, others began to step forward raising questions about Sturgeon’s plans. One of her own allies questioned how she would pull this off if British Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to transfer the required authority for a new referendum. (Johnson has already indicated that he would not support such a plan at this time.) And then one of the leaders in the House of Commons pronounced that there shouldn’t be a referendum until 25 years had passed after the last one.
Yet Ms. Sturgeon’s former mentor Alex Salmond challenged her to spell out how she intends to achieve Scottish independence if Boris Johnson refuses to transfer the necessary legal powers for a referendum.
Mark Spencer, the Commons Leader, today suggested a second referendum should not take place until 25 years after the first vote.
Meanwhile, sterling slumped to its lowest level against the dollar since March 2020 as Ms Sturgeon’s renewed independence threats compounded recession fears.
Assuming that BoJo and the Parliament in London would just go along with and making such an announcement might have been a poor strategy. The 2014 referendum had to be approved in England, as would the next one, assuming it happens. If the leaders in Parliament want to draw the line in the sand at 25 years, that would put off the next attempt until almost 2040, assuming the world still exists by then as we know it today.
Of course, if everyone in London stands against her and the people of Scotland rally to her cause, Sturgeon might still have another option. But she’s going to need a horse and some practice with a longsword. She might also want to trade in her current preferred brand of blush for something a little more blue.