GLASGOW — Scotland’s nationalists are coming to terms with a longer trudge toward their dream of independence than they had hoped.
The decisive victory of Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in the U.K. general election has dashed any hopes of an independence referendum this year. Scotland’s nationalist government needs formal permission to hold such a vote from Westminster, which will not be forthcoming, despite the prime minister’s promise to “carefully consider” a request.
But Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, and her troops are steeling themselves for the long game. They are banking on the argument that with Brexit now on track for January 31, Remain-voting Scotland will be wrenched from the EU against its will.
Her Scottish National Party argues that Indyref 2, as it has become known, is warranted because of Scotland’s changed status since the previous “once in a generation” referendum vote in 2014, in which the independence camp lost. If the U.K.’s divorce turns sour, then that argument will likely become more potent.
Right to choose
Scotland’s leader lost no time after the election result in setting out her stall for Indyref 2. Even before Johnson had made it back to the House of Commons despatch box, her government published Scotland’s Right to Choose — a document laying out the case for breaking away.
“We have a situation where the vast majority of people in Scotland do not want Brexit” — Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish first minister
Its reasoning is that Scotland must now, regrettably, reconsider its place in the U.K. due to the untold damage it argues Brexit will cause and the subjugation of the nation’s interests by a dominant England.