May 6, 2021 is a big day in the UK. Local elections are taking place around the UK, with London set to have a new mayor and new parliaments to be elected in both Wales and Scotland. In Scotland, Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party SNP, has promised that his party’s election victory will mark a new referendum on Scotland’s independence from Britain. There are some doubts that the SNP will remain the largest party after the next election, and opinion polls show that they will get their majority. The SNP may also work with the Scottish Green Party, which also wants an independent Scotland.
“If nothing drastic happens, there seems to be a majority in parliament in favor of independence,” said Corey Brown Swan, a researcher at the Center for Constitutional Change at the University of Edinburgh.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
– I think it will become clear after the election how the British government is positioning itself. The latest referendum follows talks between the British and Scottish governments, which today say no to Boris Johnson’s government, or at least “not now”. But Cory Brown Swann says he wants to see if they can continue in that order when the majority in the Scottish Parliament wants new votes.
Nicola Sturgeon wants to see a referendum legally negotiated, the legitimacy of which cannot be questioned.
– There are voices within his party and within the independence movement who think they can hold a referendum whenever they want, but I don’t think that’s what Sturgeon wants. We saw in Catalonia that the referendum was complicated without the consent of all parties.
This year marks seven years since Scotland last voted for independence from the London government. With 55 percent of the vote against 45, the answer was clear – but not overwhelming. Since then, opinion has changed. The year caught on shortly after Britain voted for Brexit, with most of last year saying they would vote for independence. However, by 2021, public opinion has been leveled, and now most studies show a narrow advantage to one side or the other.
According to Corey Brown Swann, constitutional issues and independence have been the focus of many years in Scotland.
– This is partly about the popularity of Brexit and the Nationalist Party, but there is also a Conservative government in London, and there is no clear mandate in Scotland if you look at how Scotland is voting. It’s not just the SNP that drives this trend, I think sometimes they would have talked less about freedom. This also applies to other parties, and it is difficult to say what the Scottish Conservatives mean other than their opposition to independence.
Tried to redirect
The SNP has been in the Scottish government since 2007, and there has been a debate over what they achieved at the time.
– They are generally criticized for handling the education system, have the results improved in the last 14 years? Labor tried to divert the debate to social issues, but the focus eventually shifted to the issue of independence.
If so, does the Scots want another referendum?
– According to opinion polls, they seem to want a new vote, but not now. One-third may want to vote in a year or two, the rest
Whether you like it or not over the years. So I don’t think there is a big hunger, which will create problems for the SNP. If they win, they seem to do, they should pursue policies that revolve around the education system and economic recovery when they talk about independence – which with some sections of the population may become more unpopular.