Scottish public opinion is moving in favor of independence with several recent polls giving the separatists a 1- to 7-point lead.
Independence lost in the 2014 referendum by 10 points, but Britain’s exit from the European Union, and the growing likelihood that it will end the year without a trade deal to replace its access to the European single market, has many Scots wondering if they might not be better off leaving the UK in order to rejoin to EU.
Britain’s Conservatives won the election this month, but it may come at the expense of the union of the United Kingdom their party — which has “Unionist” in its name — is sworn to protect.
Conservatives neglected their responsibility to the union by calling the EU referendum in the first place. David Cameron hoped to resolve an intraparty dispute over Europe. He ended up dividing the four nations of the UK. Majorities in Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain in the EU. They were outvoted by majorities in England and Wales.
Rather than attempt a “soft” Brexit that might appease Scots and prevent either a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland or regulatory divergence between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, Cameron’s successors Theresa May and Boris Johnson negotiated a hard break: leaving the European customs union and single market in order to regain full control over immigration and economic policy.
Scotland’s National Party is arguing for a second independence referendum after gaining seats in Britain’s general election on Thursday.
Party leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon believes she has a mandate and Britain’s imminent departure from the EU changes the situation from 2014, when Scots rejected independence 55 to 45 percent.
German regulators have approved the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would help Russia bypass Ukraine and its other former satellite states in Eastern Europe.
Germany and the Netherlands, the two main beneficiaries of the pipeline, are virtually isolated in Europe in their support for it.
Nord Stream 2 would double the capacity of the existing Baltic Sea pipeline, but it makes no economic sense. Russia uses perhaps 60 percent of its existing pipeline capacity. The only reason for adding a connection is that Russia wants to be able to blackmail Ukraine without interrupting its gas supply to the rest of Europe.
Londoners overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU and a similar deal here could protect tens of thousands of jobs.
Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, agrees:
If one part of UK can retain regulatory alignment with EU and effectively stay in the single market (which is the right solution for Northern Ireland) there is surely no good practical reason why others can’t.