Chris Deerin reports for the New Statesman that Scottish voters are starting to notice the ruling National Party (SNP) has neglected good governance in favor of the independence cause:
Its raison d’etre is independence; everything else — literally everything else — is just another brick to build the path. And so education reform cannot be either radical or unpopular, even if it needs to be so to work, because the SNP cannot afford to alienate teachers or the teaching unions or parents. Bricks, you see. Same with the NHS and doctors and health unions and patients. All the separatists have done — all they could have done, given their nature — is deploy the rhetoric of the radical while in reality body-swerving hard choices and conflict at any cost. And where they have found themselves taking flak, they’ve pointed south to Westminster: “it’s no’ our fault, it’s theirs”.
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she wants to hold a second independence referendum for the region in either late 2018 or early 2019.
The announcement comes days before the United Kingdom is expected to formally inform its allies in the European Union that it intends to withdraw from the body. Such a notification would trigger a two-year divorce process. If Sturgeon gets her way, that means Scots would be asked to choose between the EU and the United Kingdom by the time the terms of “Brexit” are known.
Sturgeon and a majority of Scots elected to remain in the EU in a referendum last year. They were outvoted by majorities in England and Wales.
The first minister told reporters in Edinburgh on Monday that she would do her utmost to represent Scotland’s interests in the negotiations with the EU.
Theresa May’s admission last week that the United Kingdom will have to leave the single market at the same time as it leaves the EU means the Scottish nationalists face a difficult choice: relent or demand a second independence referendum.
Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish National Party leader and regional first minister, had urged “flexibility” in Britain’s exit negotiations with the EU. 62 percent of Scots voted to remain in the bloc last summer against 47 percent of the English. Many feel like Sturgeon that Scotland is being taken out of the EU against its will.
A “flexible” Brexit, under which those parts of the United Kingdom that voted in June’s referendum to stay in the European Union would remain members of the single market, may be the answer to many political headaches, but it’s almost impossible to pull off.
Such a scheme might work for Gibraltar and Northern Ireland, which share land borders with the EU but not with Great Britain.
But it’s difficult to imagine how this could work for Scotland. Would continental goods that were exported tariff-free to Scotland be taxed at the English border? What about Europeans visiting Edinburgh or Glasgow without a visa? Would they need to go through customs if they wanted to see other parts of the United Kingdom?
Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has nevertheless called for flexibility, “particularly for those parts of the United Kingdom that voted decisively to remain in Europe.”
62 percent of Scots voted to stay in the EU this summer against 47 percent of the English.
The “biggest ever political listening exercise” to gauge public support for a second independence referendum Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced on Friday is really an admission of weakness.
Sturgeon, who heads the separatist Scottish National Party, said the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union in a referendum this summer will have “a deep impact on our ambition for this country.”
“The United Kingdom that existed before June 23 has fundamentally changed,” she told a party gathering in Stirling.
Whereas a majority of English and Welsh voters opted to leave the EU, a majority of Scots voted to stay in. They feel they’re now being taken out of the 28-nation bloc against their will.
Britain’s exit from the European Union could be delayed until there is agreement from all four parts of the United Kingdom on how to proceed.
Theresa May, the new prime minister, made good on her commitment to keep the union intact when she promised on Friday not to invoke Article 50 of the EU treaty — which would trigger a two-year divorce proceeding from the bloc — until all devolved governments agree on a strategy.
She spoke in Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union in a referendum last month.
Sarah Gordon argues in the Financial Times that Britain’s male politicians have failed to rise to the occasion and it is time to hand over to the women. Discipline and maturity may not be their exclusive preserve, she writes, but “the past few days could give one an excuse for believing so.”
There is something to be said for female power at a time when the men in her country’s ruling party appear to be living out their House of Cards fantasies.