As the UK prepares to vote in the December 12th general election, Scotland remains divided in which way to vote. The election will focus on the situation of Brexit under the leadership of Boris Johnson, and how to go about it. Specifically, they need to decide whether they want to stay in the UK or become an independent nation. In Scotland there is a number of different political parties each with their own agenda and opinions on how to vote on Brexit and whether or not to stay a part of the UK.
In 2014, Scotland voted against becoming an independent nation. A few years later in 2016, the UK general election were held. The majority of Scottish voters voted to remain in the European Union. But much to their dismay, the result of this election gave way to the Brexit movement which, for some, reignited the movement for an independent Scotland. Now some Scots are looking to break away from the UK and become their own country because of the mess Brexit has made across the UK and around the world.
Scotland plays an important role in this upcoming election as the country holds four of the ten most marginal seats. So theoretically, they could have a deciding impact on the vote.
For reference, there are a number of smaller parties in Scotland but only two prominent ones. One of the major parties, the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) is fighting to stop Brexit and make Scotland an independent nation. SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, stated that, “the people in Scotland have an opportunity to unite and demand the right to choose a better future as an independent country – where we always get the governments we vote for and where we have the powers we need to make Scotland the best it can be.” (The Scotsman) The party seeks to call for another referendum on independence sometime in the later half of 2020. On the other hand, another party known as the Liberal Democrats want to do away with Brexit and keep Scotland a part of the UK. One of their leaders, Wendy Chamberlain stated, “We are better off in the UK with the relationships we have across these islands, as well as remaining in the EU and maintaining those relationships we have across the continent,” (CNN)
Both parties will look to secure a majority and competition will be fierce among regions. For instance, in town of North East Fife, where St. Andrews University is located, the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) won by just two votes in the 2017 election.
Students at St. Andrews in the “Students for Independence” group have said that it feels like Scotland is a second-class country controlled by England. Instead they want to “sit next to England at the table, rather than in the back taking the scraps they can throw”. (CNN)
The students also pointed out how England takes advantage of Scotland in terms of their nuclear weapons. Scotland’s west coast is used to house these dangerous weapons while England is free of any kind of these weapons.
The question is whether Scotland would be readmitted back into the EU, however. With a national deficit of 7%, Scotland would need to lower this number to 3%, which is the maximum deficit EU member states looking for admission can have. But leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, argues that the deficit would go down under an independent Scotland.
The Liberal Democrats, who are fighting against an independent Scotland, have significantly less support than the SNP. They hold just four seats out of the country’s 59, in companions to the 39 held by the SNP. Liberal Democratic leader, Wendy Chamberlain, believes that Scotland is better off staying in the UK and in the EU.
Another party, called the Scottish Labour, is looking to remain in the EU. But it has also stated that it wouldn’t necessarily be against a second referendum vote. Interestingly enough, this Labour Party is looking to restructure the UK in a way that Scotland will want to be a part of.
Finally, there is another party looking to secure the vote. The Conservative party isn’t huge in Scotland but polls are predicting it will have a majority in the UK as a whole. They are in support of Brexit and are against a second referendum.
As the election gets nearer, a new polls suggest that 51% of Scottish voters would support Scotland becoming independent if the UK leaves the EU. In another poll 58% of Scottish voters said that if the UK remains in the EU then they would be against Scottish independence. The future of Scotland remains unclear thus far and the results of the election will certainly have major impacts either way.
Campbell, Glenn. “General Election 2019: It’s More than Just Brexit in Scotland.” BBC News, BBC, 4 Dec. 2019, www.bbc.com/news/election-2019-50649585?intlink_from_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.com%2Fnews%2Ftopics%2Fc302m85q107t%2Fscotland-brexit&link_location=live-reporting-story.
Reporter, Scotsman. “Scotland Would Vote for Independence If Brexit Goes Ahead, New Poll Suggests.” Politics, 8 Dec. 2019, www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scotland-would-vote-for-independence-if-brexit-goes-ahead-new-poll-suggests-1-5058877.
“Scottish Independence: The Vote That Could Destroy the United Kingdom.” CNN, Cable News Network, www.cnn.com/interactive/2019/12/world/uk-election-scottish-independence/.