What is Scotland’s future going to look like?

Nicola Sturgeon defended her move of calling for a second independence referendum in front of an audience in Edinburgh, three days before the General Election.

The leader of the third biggest party in Westminster explained on BBC One why she believes the Scottish people should have a second chance at voting for their independence.

She had previously referred to the Scottish referendum as a “once in a generation referendum”, but now she has outlined the need for a second one to happen when Brexit negotiations come to an end.

When challenged by a voter, who asked whether the second referendum vote should apply for a minimum period of time per generation, she pointed out the exceptional circumstances of a new referendum, which would define Scotland’s position in Europe.

“When we voted in 2014, we were told that voting to stay in the UK protected our place in the European Union. Now less than three years later, we find ourselves facing the prospects of Brexit. We face an extreme form of Brexit that could have consequences for life in Scotland for generations to come,” she said.

“My proposition is simply this: when we get to the end of this process and we can see what the implications are for the future of our country, we should have a choice. Do we think that is acceptable and right for Scotland? Do we want to choose a different future?”

IMGP1494 from Flickr via Wylio
© 2015 julien ortet, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

Prime Minister Theresa May made it clear during a campaign visit to Edinburgh that a different future for the Scots was not on the cards.

“I’m a passionate Unionist, I want to ensure the UK stays together, we strengthen those bonds across the whole of the UK,” she said.

If predictions of her victory were to turn into reality, she will surely give a hard time to the Scottish First Minister.

As May reiterated before the campaign for the General Election had even started, “now is not the time” for a new independence referendum.

Sturgeon’s decision to set the referendum for 2018 or 2019 comes with its risks.

According to a recently published poll by Ipsos MORI, which collected the answers of 1,016 Scottish adults, 45 per cent of Scots would vote in favour of Scotland’s independence. This comes against 51 per cent in favour of the Union and four per cent who are uncertain.

Scotland has not been independent since 1707 when, under the Act of Union, England and Scotland merged into a new state: The Kingdom of Great Britain.

Regaining independence raises uncertainty over the relationship between a free Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The results of the General Election will prove decisive for the issue of Scottish independence. Only one week ago, Jeremy Corbyn pledged he would consider “opening discussion” with the Scottish government if he became Prime Minister, thus granting the possibility for a new independence referendum “if the Scottish people want it”.

Considering a scenario in which a Scottish referendum is approved and the secession from the union takes place, it will probably be necessary to start talking about two different borders dividing the north from the south of the UK, a new coin for Scotland and an independent parliament.

The latest YouGov poll estimates show that Conservatives are leading the campaign with 42 per cent, and if they were to gain the majority at Westminster, they would make it hard for Sturgeon to get permission for a second vote.

This is the reason why it is important for the SNP to keep a strong group of representatives both at Holyrood and Westminster.

However, Michelle Ballantyne, a Conservative member of the Scottish Parliament for the South Scotland region said, the Scottish National Party will claim a victory even if they lose a number of seats.

“They will try to assert that holding a majority of seats gives them a mandate for a referendum but ultimately it is the people who will decide. The General Election results will indicate how much the SNP’s hold on the popular vote is slipping and therefore whether nationalism has had its peak in Scotland’s future,” she said.

 

 

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