As comes as no surprise to anyone, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said a second independence referendum is “highly likely”. This is not really major news because she predicted such a scenario during the campaign and has already said as much. Yet the map of the referendum results shows Scotland all in yellow (the colour of the Remain camp apparently); it is clear that as far as Scotland is concerned, they want to stay – big time.
However, if you look at the map closer (specifically the leave results) then the picture looks quite similar to what was seen throughout England. Specifically, rural areas of Scotland are far less supportive of the EU than their city-dwelling brethren. Nationally, the vote was 62 to 38 per cent in favour of remaining, but in rural areas the vote was much closer to the UK vote (55 to 45 per cent in favour of remaining). Contrast this to the map of the 2014 independence referendum and you see some interesting fault lines in Scotland (seriously, the Highlands said ‘no’?). However, pundits have argued the vote to remain in the UK depended in part on staying in the EU. With this in jeopardy, the next vote may provide a different outcome (although I am doubtful).
The most interesting thing, though, is the fact the SNP are so obsessed with independence from Westminster, they see no problems in aligning themselves with Brussels. Sturgeon said it was “democratically unacceptable” for Scotland to be taken out of the EU against its will. Yet there is no apparent democratic deficit when it comes to the EU, where Scotland would most certainly be outvoted on a regular basis or forced to accept things it voted against? That seems to be OK with the SNP. In fact, this is the strongest argument against Scottish independence: if you leave the UK and sign-up to the EU, then you will not be independent for long.
It is this issue I am at most odds over with the SNP. Every argument they make for independence from England is worsened by aligning themselves to the EU. Do you really think Brussels and the other 27 members are going to be as concerned about Scottish issues as Westminster? Granted, I understand the frustration with the empty, patronising promises coming out of Parliament and how English the English can be. I am all in favour of Scotland becoming more independent – but not independence; both of which would be lost if they went to the EU.
Yet the SNP seems hellbent on gaining independence, will the rest of Scotland follow?