Friday, January 1st, 2021
“Leave the light on”
Scotland is counting on joining the EU soon
Great Britain finally left the EU at the turn of the year. In the north of the country, however, the Scottish government is pushing for a new independence referendum – and then re-joining the Union.
After the final Brexit, hopes for a speedy return to the EU are growing in Scotland. “Scotland will soon be back in Europe. Leave the lights on,” wrote Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Twitter during the night. In Edinburgh a small group of activists demonstrated for independence on New Year’s Eve.
In the 2016 Brexit referendum, a majority of Scots voted in favor of remaining in the EU – but overall the majority across Great Britain voted for leaving, which means that Scotland, as part of the Kingdom, had to leave the EU. Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP) therefore argues that a new independence vote is now necessary after Brexit.
In a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, 55 percent of Scots voted to remain in the UK. The SNP now hopes to benefit from the frustration of many Scots over Brexit.
The SNP is considered the favorite for the Scottish parliamentary elections in May. An election victory would increase the pressure on the British government to vote for a second independence vote in Scotland. So far, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resolutely rejected a second referendum.
According to a survey by Savanta ComRes for The Scotsman newspaper in December, Scots support for independence has risen to a record high of 58 percent. However, Nicola McEwen, Professor of Politics at Edinburgh University, said it was “very difficult to spot a trend” as approval ratings fluctuated.
In Edinburgh on New Year’s Eve, a small group of activists demonstrated against Britain’s final exit from the EU internal market and the customs union. “Heartbroken, but not bitter – for an independent Scotland in the European family,” read one of the posters.