On Monday, Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, made the powerful speech that can be viewed below. In it she announced, in no uncertain terms, that she will begin the process of securing a second referendum on Scottish independence.
This has, predictably, divided people. There are those who support Scotland’s right to vote on its independence again, and those who oppose it. I can 100% say I belong to the first group of people.
That is not to say, I desire a break-up of the UK, or to say I support Scottish Nationalism, but I believe, looking at the situation, it is obvious that Scotland not only has the right and the mandate to hold a second independence referendum, but very compelling reasons to do so.
During the initial independence referendum back in 2014, the unionists consistently made the point that leaving the UK meant leaving the European Union. This fact formed a core basis of the anti-independence argument.
Now Scotland is being dragged into a hard-exit from the United Kingdom by the Tories, where 62% voted to remain in the EU. A much higher mandate than the 55% who voted against independence in the first independence referendum. The following cartoon demonstrates the situation perfectly:
As Sturgeon notes in her speech, she was elected on a manifesto which clearly stated a second referendum would be sought in the event of ‘a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will’.
That seems pretty explicit to me!
So the core argument which led to a No vote for Scottish independence is made void by the Brexit vote, of which Scotland unequivocally opposes, and the Scottish Assembly was elected on a manifesto which clearly promised a second referendum if the current situation (exactly as described) was to happen.
It is clear that Sturgeon has the mandate, and the right, to hold this referendum – but should she?
I believe she should, however much I love our close relationship, it is not an equal one. There have been promises for decades, coming from both Labour and the Tories, that the UK will become an equal partnership, but it has never been so.
Recent events have highlighted the inequality of this relationship even further, and the slim majority of Scots who still wanted to a part of this subservient union due to the uncertainty of leaving the EU will be looking at independence and the relationship between Scotland and England very differently now.
I love Scotland, it is a beautiful country and a place I visit regularly, and I wish it were not this way. I wish the English government were to treat Scotland like the equal partner it should be, but this does not appear likely. So, as a person who campaigned for ‘No’ in the Scottish independence referendum (2014), I fully support the second Scottish bid for independence.