/ 07 May 2021

No haver as Scotland votes

For the first time since Brexit, Scotland is holding an election. The polls opened last night, and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hopes to lead the Scottish National Party (SNP) to another term in government. Why point it out? If Sturgeon wins, it’s likely a new referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom will follow.

If you call 2014 recent… At that time, Scottish voters were given a choice to stay in the UK (which Scotland joined in 1707) or become an independent country. The ‘stay’ vote won with 55% support. But a lot has changed in 8 years, and that comes down to Brexit. In the 2016 Brexit referendum, Scotland voted heavily in favour of remaining in the European Union. Since then, Sturgeon (who currently leads a minority government with 61 of the 129 seats in Parliament) started the push for another referendum on independence. This election, she has campaigned heavily on Scotland rejoining the EU.

Calm your Highland cow there are a few steps to go… Opinion polls suggest the push to break away from the UK is one of the most important issues this election, so we’ll see if that pans out. But even with a victory in hand, ushering independence through a referendum won’t be easy. For it to take place, Sturgeon would need the approval of the UK Parliament – and PM Boris Johnson isn’t on board. He says the 2014 result should answer questions about Scottish independence for at least another 40 years… And Sturgeon has rejected calls for a ‘wildcat’ referendum – one held without approval. But a big win for the SNP today could put immense pressure on the UK to allow the vote – and that’s how the 2014 referendum came about. So you can never say never… Votes will not be counted today, but a result is expected to be announced on Sunday our time.

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