Second Scottish Referendum Unlikely After Voters Punish SNP

The nationalists had hoped Brexit might convince more Scots to support independence. It doesn’t look like it.

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond attends a meeting in Edinburgh, November 12, 2014
Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond attends a meeting in Edinburgh, November 12, 2014 (Scottish Government)

A second Scottish independence referendum seems unlikely after the region’s separatists lost almost half their seats in Britain’s general election.

The Scottish National Party won 56 of Scotland’s 59 seats in Westminster in 2015 but lost 21 of them on Thursday.

Among those defeated were Angus Robertson, the SNP frontman, and Alex Salmond, the former first minister of Scotland.

No majority

The SNP had hoped that Brexit might convince more Scots to vote for independence a second time around, but gains for the unionist Conservative Party, who picked up twelve seats in Scotland, as well as Labour, who got an extra six, bely that assertion.

A majority of Scottish voters (still) don’t want to secede from the United Kingdom, despite them voting to remain in the European Union last year, when the majority of people in England and Wales opted to get out.

Neglect

Another reason for the SNP’s poor performance is that voters have woken up to the fact that the party — which still controls the regional Scottish government — has neglected education and health care in its single-minded pursuit of independence.