When, if not now. The Scots play Scexit

The strategy of the First Minister (similar to the Prime Minister) Nicola Sturgeon (50) is clear. If its Scottish Nationalists (SNP) succeeds in gaining a majority of seats in the parliamentary elections, it will call a referendum on independence.

It will not go smoothly

However, her plan has several cracks. The composition of the British Kingdom can be decided exclusively by the London Parliament. So if the Scottish government really wants to declare a plebiscite, it must ask Westminster by law. However, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (56) has repeatedly warned that he will not comply with such a request.

I say that if Boris Johnson wants to stop him, he must take legal action against it.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Prime Minister

He recalls that the Scots had the opportunity to express their views on independence during the plebiscite in 2014, but then most of them rejected independence. According to the agreement of both governments, it was to be a “generational event”, which means that another attempt could be made in 20 to 30 years at the earliest. But this promise no longer applies, according to Sturgeon.

When the Scots last commented on independence, they could not have known that in a few years their country would find itself outside European structures. Moreover, the Scots did not even want Brexit: 62 percent of them wanted to stay in the EU. London then allegedly overlooked this will in further negotiations on future relations. Sturgeon therefore considers the new referendum on independence to be legitimate and legal.

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Johnson: It’s irresponsible now

“I say that if Boris Johnson wants to stop him, he must take legal action against it,” he adds firmly.

Nicola Sturgeon in front of the polling station

Photo: Pool, Reuters

However, public opinion has so far tended to remain in the United Kingdom. Part of society fears that a referendum amid a pandemic and post-chronic uncertainty would harm the country. Johnson sees it the same way. “Now is not the time for a reckless and irresponsible second referendum. After all, we only had one a few years ago, “Johnson said just hours before the polls opened.

In addition, as experts from the London School of Economics (LSE) have calculated, leaving the British Kingdom would be hit the Scottish economy three times harder than Brexit. The state coffers would lose 11 billion pounds a year (329 billion crowns). Some experts say that there would be more supporters of independence if Scotland were guaranteed re-membership of the European Union.

So can Sturgeon’s ambitious plan work out? It is relatively difficult to estimate how many seats each party will win, because the Scots use a mixed electoral system, where each voter actually has two votes. The Edinburgh Parliament has a total of 129 seats, with the majority needing 65.

According to a survey by YouGov, the SNP will secure a majority with a majority of four votes, while on Wednesday, a survey by Savanta ComRes indicated the opposite. The Greens, who are also in favor of a referendum, could thus become the tongue on the scales.

A close result is expected

According to surveys, the elections will be extremely tight

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YouGov: SNP gains 68 Members from 1219

SavantaComRes: SNP gains 59 Members

For independence would now 42 percent said Scots

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