Promised thing, thing due. The Scottish Government goes " will shortly introduce a bill setting the rules for any referendum currently or in the future under the jurisdiction of the Scottish Parliament ". The announcement was made by Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday, April 24, before the deputies of Holyrood, the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.
In her speech, delivered two weeks after Brussels granted a second postponement of the Brexit date at the end of October, the leader hopes that the text will be voted on by the end of the year.
"We are rejected to the margins"
The Scots had already expressed for the first time in their history in September 2014 on their separation from the United Kingdom, but voters were against 55.42%. A result commented by David Cameron, then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who felt that the question of the independence of Scotland was now settled for " a generation ".
That was without counting on the 2016 vote for Brexit, while 62% of Scottish voters were speaking out against divorce. The possible exit of the European Union (EU) changes the deal and revives the desire for independence of a Scotland particularly turned towards Europe. Nathalie Duclos, author of « Scotland in search of independence? The Scottish referendum of 2014 Confirms: " While one-third of the population is opposed to Europe, Scotland is the only nation where all constituencies, without exception, have spoken out against a Brexit. "
Brexit driven, Scotland wants more autonomy
For the Europeanists, belonging to the United Kingdom now forces the country to leave the EU against its will. A situation that is deplored by Nicola Sturgeon, also head of the Scottish National Party (SNP), who was not involved in the exit talks by Theresa May: "We are being sidelined, sidelined in a UK increasingly out of touch on the international stage. Independence, by contrast, will allow us to preserve our rank in Europe. "
A second referendum – and a pro-independence victory – would be the only way in her view of protecting her country's prosperous economy, driven by exports of whiskey and oil. According to a report commissioned by the Scottish Government and published in 2018, Brexit could lose up to 8.5% of Scottish GDP without agreement with Brussels.
A difficult calendar to hold
For Nathalie Duclos, however, there is " little chance »That a referendum be organized before May 2021 in spite of the promise of Nicola Sturgeon to consult the citizens« during the term of this Parliament ". The researcher recalls that a number of steps will be needed before planning a second referendum: " Nicola Sturgeon first wants a new vote on a possible Brexit. It will launch a procedure only in case of effective exit from the UK from the EU. Yesterday she spoke about a bill setting the rules for a referendum, this is only a first step. And finally the British government will certainly have changed by 2021 … "
Whatever the occupier of 10 Downing Street, a green light from the British Parliament on the organization of a new referendum will be made only after tough negotiations. The United Kingdom, more than three hundred years old, is reluctant to lose a third of its territory.