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Scotland, where next? November 24, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Just reading through the newspapers this morning, and the discussion here on the CLR yesterday, what seems very clear is just how unclear the process and structures within which independence for Scotland could be gained. Nicola Sturgeon was far from wrong when she stated last night at a rally:

“Today it has been clarified that the UK is not a voluntary partnership of nations,” she said, adding that the result would create only “temporary relief” for unionists. “No establishment Westminster or otherwise will silence the voice of the Scottish people.”


At a news conference held hours after the judgment, Scotland’s first minister said: “Today’s ruling blocks one route to Scotland’s voice being heard on independence … We must and we will find another democratic, lawful and constitutional means by which the Scottish people can express their will. In my view, that can only be an election.”

Downing Street immediately rejected the SNP’s proposal, while senior Westminster Tories said the prime minister’s strategy now was to simply avoid the issue of another independence referendum altogether.

One Tory insider said: “Rishi [Sunak, the prime minister] will just sit on his hands and do nothing. That’s the best approach now.”

Sitting on their hands and doing nothing has, in part, brought Britain to where it is. It’s often forgotten that these centrifugal forces in Britain date back decades, not simply the last ten years. The pressures that resulted in the establishment of devolved assemblies and governments were extant in the 1970s (consider the 1979 referendum in Scotland). The Tories sat on their hands for the best part of the next two decades too there.

The situation in Northern Ireland is not quite the same, with the communal/national identity distinctions adding a further factor, but there too the paths to separation from Britain remain remarkably opaque and a continuing source (and symptom) of instability.

And given the dominance of the SNP electorally within Scotland the status quo surely speaks to a fundamental instability? Even if that dominance doesn’t translate entirely into pro-independence support it does change matters. The polling here from 1999 points to that, and of course to the effects of Brexit. That sentiment isn’t going to simply dissipate, however much Westminster might hope that it does.


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