Posted by on March 15, 2017 at 1:59 pm

Professor Brendan Evans

Professor of Politics, Brendan Evans, talks about his opinion on the second Scottish Independence Referendum initiated by Nicola Sturgeon.

“As a former strong opponent of Scottish independence who was delighted at the result of the Scottish referendum which rejected breaking away from the United Kingdom, I now find myself in at least emotional sympathy with Nicola Sturgeon.

It will not be in the economic interest of England or Scotland if Scottish independence were to occur, but neither is it in their interest if a ‘hard’ Brexit occurs. Undoubtedly the result of the Brexit referendum restores the legitimacy of the Scottish National Party’s case to hold another referendum.

In the course of the previous Scottish referendum the case for preserving our Union was that it was a certain way of Scotland remaining in the European Union. In the last Scottish elections the Scottish National Party manifesto clearly stated that the only reason for another early independence referendum would arise if the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU. The Scottish Nationalist Party won that election.

Even after the result, Sturgeon offered Theresa May a compromise regarding the future position of Scotland within the EU and a guarantee that on leaving the EU many of the powers retrieved from Brussels could revert to Scotland so that ‘taking back control’ would have some real resonance in Scotland. While this may have been difficult for May to agree to entirely it would have been a basis for negotiation which could have fended off the Scottish demand for another referendum on independence. May did not accept this, however, and arrogantly insisted that the Scots must obey her. Politically Sturgeon could not be seen to accept this brush off and so we are in a position that the Scottish demand intensifies the difficulties that May and the Government have in the forthcoming negotiations with the EU.

I think that two immediate conclusions are true. First, the Government is behaving as if it has been subject to a right-wing coup in its fixation with pursuing its own version of Brexit regardless of the views of both Scotland and Northern Ireland, who both voted to remain in the EU. Secondly, the two recent referendums prove that such a method of making policy is foolish. During both the Scottish and the EU referendum absurd claims and un-deliverable promises were made on all sides, bolstered by simplistic propaganda in the tabloid newspapers, which now leaves our politics in a confused and sorry position.”

You can read more on this story on the BBC News website.

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