Why Scotland wants to hold a referendum on independence again
On Wednesday (23 November), the United Kingdom’s top court delivered its ruling on a petition by the government of Scotland refusing to hold a referendum on becoming an independent country. “The Parliament of Scotland does not have the power to legislate for a referendum on Scottish independence,” the court said.
Under the Scotland Act, all matters relating to the “Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England” are reserved for the UK Parliament in London. Westminster could give the Scottish government the right to hold a referendum using a so-called “section 30” order, a process that was used to allow an equal vote in 2014, according to reuters,
The semi-autonomous Scottish government the following October asked “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Responding to the Supreme Court ruling, Scottish First Minister (head of government) Nicola Sturgeon said, “This is a tough pill to swallow for any supporter of independence, and certainly for any supporter of democracy.” “
Why does the Scottish government want a vote on independence from the UK, and why didn’t the 2014 referendum settle the debate?
Currently, Great Britain comprises the island that includes Scotland to the north, England to the middle and north, and the region of Wales to the west. Together with these, Northern Ireland forms the United Kingdom, a political union of nations.
But all these regions enjoy different types of relationship with the union as a whole. The nations of Britain have shared a single monarch since 1603, when King James VI of Scotland became James I of England. In 1707, a formal union formed the Kingdom of Great Britain.
In total, the population of the UK is 68 million, of which the Scots number about 5.5 million. In 1998, the then Labor government passed the Scotland Act, which created the Scottish Parliament and took some powers away from Westminster.
It was the result of years of demands. according to an article in Washington stateT, many Scots see the rule from London as a “fundamental lack of self-determination” – why Sturgeon has invoked the idea of democracy. Scotland also has its own legal and education systems, soccer leagues, and banknotes. The Scottish National Party, which is leading the independence campaign, also wants Britain’s nuclear weapons removed from western Scotland.
vote in 2014
The 2014 referendum on the matter “Should Scotland be an independent country?” The roughly 55 per cent vote going ‘no’ misses the status quo. Those who want to remain may agree with the argument that Scotland’s small population benefits from staying with the UK, or they may disagree with the SNP line – that moving away and being ruled by the Scots will bring prosperity There will be help.
But soon things began to change.
In 2016, the UK voted for Brexit with 52 per cent of the votes cast as a whole. Across regions, there were some fierce ‘remainers’ in Scotland – supporters of the demand to remain in the EU. After the result was out, many Scots expressed their displeasure at having to suffer the consequences of an outcome they did not vote for.
And then in 2019, Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party came to power with a huge majority. With its famous placards of nationalism and independence, many took the election result as a shift in views towards independence.
Furthermore, with a more conservative government in the UK over the years, dealing with a series of scandals, an economic crisis and several prime ministers coming and going within short periods of time, it is believed that Scotland is drifting further away.
Now what happened?
Sturgeon has repeatedly raised the demand. “The SNP is not giving up on the referendum route. Westminster is stopping it,” she previously said.
However, the UK government led by Rishi Sunak has categorically stated that another referendum will be avoided until the end of the current term of government – early 2025.
Following the ruling the First Minister could still push for the demand in other ways, adding that “today’s ruling blocks a path for Scotland’s voice to be heard on independence … the Scottish people can express their will”. In my view, it can only be a choice.