Scottish independence is possible

Scottish National Party misses an absolute majority : The "Scexit" has to wait

The calculation that Scottish Regional President Nicola Sturgeon drew up was actually quite simple: The Scots, unlike the British, are open to the EU. Therefore it should be possible to get a new wind under the wings of the Scottish independence advocates after Brexit, thought the chairwoman of the Scottish National Party (SNP).

After a referendum on Scotland's independence - perhaps in 2023 - accession to the EU would then be possible again, according to the SNP's calculation. But the vote in the Scottish regional parliament has shown that it is not that easy after all.

[If you want to have the latest news from Berlin, Germany and the world live on your mobile phone, we recommend our app, which you can download here for Apple and Android devices.]

The landslide victory Sturgeon dreamed of failed to materialize. The SNP just missed an absolute majority. Thanks to a collaboration with the Scottish Greens, the regional president will continue to try to pave the way for a repeat of the 2014 independence referendum. Because the Greens also want to break away from London. However, the outcome of the election should confirm that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes that independence is not on the agenda. And such a vote would not be possible without the Prime Minister's approval of another independence referendum.

Sturgeon had already tried to deal wisely with the issue of Scottish independence. She knows that for most of the people north of Hadrian's Wall, the fight against the corona pandemic is still more important than the question of whether the union with England, which has existed since 1707, should be dissolved. Therefore, as a precaution, she had declared that a possible independence referendum should only be put on the agenda after the end of the pandemic.

Narrow poll majority against separation from London

But it didn't help her too much. In the vote on the regional parliament in Edinburgh, the Scottish National Party has once again become by far the strongest party. But a mandate for a separation from London cannot simply be derived from the vote. It is more likely that most Scots weigh up coldly what the economic advantages and disadvantages of a "Scexit" would be. And in the constantly fluctuating opinion polls, a narrow majority comes to the conclusion that the network within the United Kingdom is not such a bad thing: In the polls, the opponents of Scottish independence are currently ahead by a nose.

The separation from Northern Ireland threatens

But Johnson is not off the hook yet. Much more dangerous for the existence of the United Kingdom than the aspirations of the Scottish Independence Friends is the situation in Northern Ireland. There, after the conclusion of the post-Brexit agreement, the old antagonism between pro-British unionists and supporters of a link to the Republic of Ireland has flared up again. Johnson put the mess on himself. Because in the negotiations with the EU he agreed to a solution that would create a new customs border. And that is what separates Northern Ireland from the rest of the country. It could be the beginning of a permanent division in the UK.

Now new: We give you 4 weeks of Tagesspiegel Plus! To home page