Open the British newspaper and open the news website, you will find that the topic of “Scotix” (Scotix) takes up a lot of space.
As the number of Catholic residents supporting the “unification of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland” has surpassed Protestants in recent years, the call for a referendum on the independence of Northern Ireland in 2024 has gradually increased. The more independent parties retained power in the recent local elections in Scotland, which also gave a boost to the Sinn Fein Party in Northern Ireland, which advocates secession from the United Kingdom.
A report by the Carnegie Center for European Studies in the United States at the beginning of the year stated that the current “United Kingdom” model in the United Kingdom will not survive 2040. For a time, the “United Kingdom” fell into a precarious state.
After the British local elections in 2021, the Scottish National Party plus the Scottish Green Party just got enough seats in power to form a local government that tends to support independence. Since 2007, the Scottish National Party has been in power in Scottish local government for 14 years. There are five years left before the next local elections, and the Scottish National Party will be in power in Scotland for a total of 19 years.
In early May, the leader of the Scottish National Party, Nicholas Sturgeon, who won enough votes to be the first minister of Scotland, shouted to London in the Scottish Parliament: After the epidemic, Scotland called for a second independence referendum.
During the contest between the Conservative Party and the Scottish National Party for seats, Prime Minister Johnson made a serious statement to Sturt: The second referendum was “irresponsible and dangerous.” In contrast to the Scottish National Party focusing its campaign issues on the second independence referendum, the Conservative Party’s campaign strategy is to focus issues on epidemic prevention and economic recovery.
It is not without public support behind Sturgeon. For almost a whole year in 2020, 20 consecutive polls show that more than 50% of Scotland support independence, and the rate of support for independence of Scots under 35 is as high as 75%.
On May 6, 2021, local elections begin in Glasgow, Scotland, UK. Scotland’s Chief Minister Nicolas Sturgeon interacts with voters at the polling station
An ideal blueprint for an “independent Scotland” is “another Denmark.”
In the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the factions that supported leaving the United Kingdom lost because the United Kingdom was still a member of the European Union. At the time, British Prime Minister David Cameron breathed a sigh of relief, thinking that the “United Kingdom” was finally saved. However, a 2016 “Brexit referendum” changed the state of the “United Kingdom”. Compared with a large number of English people who voted for “Brexit”, Scotland tends to stay in the European Union. However, Scotland, whose population is less than 10% of England, has never been able to influence the outcome of the entire Brexit referendum. In the eyes of the Scots, they are really wronged because they were dragged by the English to “Brexit”.
The New Yorker used “political genius” to describe Sturgeon: most nationalists generally hold a right-wing stance, but the Scottish National Party under Sturgeon’s stance is on the left, even more left than the Labour Party, the largest opposition party in Britain. After 1955, the British Conservative Party has never won a majority in Scotland. And Sturgeon knows that Scotland’s basic disc is to lean towards the left.
Supporting immigration, opposing Brexit, supporting the national minimum wage system, increasing public medical expenditures, and opposing the docking of the British strategic nuclear submarine “Trident” in Scotland. These policies lean toward the left, but they are surprisingly combined with Scottish nationalism.
In fact, in the eyes of many young people in Scotland, an ideal blueprint for an “independent Scotland” is “another Denmark.” After all, the population and land area of the two are the same, and they are also located at relatively high latitudes in Europe. These “Left-British factions” believe that Scotland can join the European Union again, just like Denmark, and apply to join the Nordic Council to become a small Nordic country with high welfare.
It can be said that the Scottish National Party has successfully won over left-wing voters who are dissatisfied with the Conservative government, as well as voters who have genuine Scottish nationalist tendencies. This stance makes it difficult for the two mainstream parties in the UK-the Labour Party and the Conservative Party-to succeed in Scotland.
England dubious north and south
of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’s “United Kingdom”, in his inaugural speech of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has been described as “the world’s best foursome” (awesome foursome). Johnson promised that under the leadership of his Conservative Party government, the “Breaking Four” will live a good life after Brexit.
However, success and failure are also failures. The situation in which the four components of the United Kingdom are now stubbornly separated is not unrelated to Brexit. Although the current British local elections do not involve regime change, they are also a projection of the direction of public opinion. The rise of the Scottish National Party was based on seizing the Labour Party’s votes, and the Labour Party’s opposition to Brexit was not firm enough, which affected its reputation in Scotland.
The Labour Party has repeatedly lost the election in the past decade in the UK. One reason is that it was replaced by the more left-wing National Party in Scotland. British historian David Starkey said: “The alliance of left-wing intellectuals in southern England and the blue-collar class in the northern industrial zone within the Labour Party is about to disintegrate and cannot be repaired.” The Scottish National Party in the northern part of Great Britain Sitting big, in fact, has helped the Conservative Party to stay in power for a long time in disguise: the Labour Party has been in a long-term opposition due to the loss of the Scottish votes.
The Conservative Party, which has been in power for a long time by winning the South of England, has become a dead end with the Scottish National Party. The Conservative Party, which owns the entire British power, has stated that it will not allow a referendum on Scottish independence shortly after the 2014 referendum, but Sturgeon insists that a second referendum on independence is imperative, and even has to file a court order to try to pass it. Judicial channels opened the door to the second referendum.
On September 8, 2014, Nicolas Sturgeon and Scottish actor Alan Cumming took a selfie during the “Y e sSc otland” independence movement in Glasgow
Spain, which faces the issue of Catalonia’s independence, has already made it clear that it opposes Scotland’s accession to the European Union as an independent country.
Opponents of the Scottish independence movement believe that Scottish independence does not have a direct impact on the English economy, but it can seriously damage the living conditions of a generation of Scotland. For Scotland, England was originally an indispensable export market. The English market accounts for 61% of Scottish exports and 67% of imports, about four times its trade with the EU. These trades can be carried out without tariffs.
On May 8, 2021, the votes are counted after the local elections in Scotland, UK
The London School of Economics stated in a report in February this year that if Scotland leaves the UK, its economy will suffer a trade shock two to three times more severe than the impact of Brexit. The worst economic impact after independence will not appear until decades later. In the long run, Scotland’s economy will shrink by 6.3% to 8.7%. The prerequisite for economic recovery is that Scotland can join the European Union as an independent sovereign country and obtain the blessing of the European Union’s market. However, one reality is that joining the EU requires the unanimous consent of all member states, and Spain, which faces the issue of Catalan independence, has already made it clear that it opposes Scotland’s accession to the EU as an independent country.
“British” identity is exhausted
A writer for The New Yorker magazine chats with some English businessmen in an English bar. When they talked about the Scottish independence movement, this group of English people said: “Who cares about them?”
It is true that Scotland’s weak position gives the English people a kind of arrogant capital. In terms of area, England is 1.66 times that of Scotland; in terms of population, England has 54 million people, which completely overwhelms Scotland’s 5.4 million; in terms of economy, Scotland will only account for 9.5% of the entire UK’s GDP in 2020.
For ordinary people in England, staying in Scotland is really not their own business, and it has very little impact on their daily lives. However, the British government, including the royal family, is very embarrassed. No British prime minister wants to be accused of tearing the “United Kingdom” on his back. After all, the loss of Scotland also means a knock-on effect in Wales and Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom may collapse into four independent countries. The British royal family has always been operating in Scotland for a long time. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles respect folk customs and customs, and naturally hope that the status quo of the “United Kingdom” will not change.
From the perspective of Britain’s international status, the departure of Scotland also has a negative impact on Britain’s international image. The total GDP of the United Kingdom has lost a layer of skin. The only submarine nuclear deterrent force in the United Kingdom, the Trident submarine, which is docked in Scotland, must also find another docking location.
According to the British Prime Minister’s reply to Sturgeon, the decision whether to hold a referendum on Scottish independence should be a matter for the next generation. As the Labour Party has been weak in the past ten years, it is hopeless to regain the left-wing votes in Scotland, and the traditional industrial areas in northern England (the traditional Labour Party votes) are also at risk. It is entirely possible that we will see the Conservative Party continue to rule for a long time in the next decade.
The Conservative Party government announced that it will invest more than one billion pounds in Scotland to improve Scotland’s roads and railways and other transportation facilities, and to open up England’s medical and educational resources to the Scots.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was elected in 1997, admitted in a recent interview that the decentralization policy of local government led by him completely deviated from the purpose of letting the Scots get rid of their independence ambitions. The problem that politicians cannot solve in the short term is that the identities of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have changed. Many locals no longer call themselves “Britishes”, but label themselves as “Scots”, “English” and “Welsh”. The famous British travel writer Jane Morris, who passed away last year, showed his mental journey in the book “Europe”: “At the end of World War II, I considered myself an Englishman. Our empire’s vision is all over the world; in 21 In the 21st century, I consider myself a Welshman, and our destination is Europe.”
It can be seen that various parts of the United Kingdom have very different views on their own belonging and the status of the entire United Kingdom in the world. With the decline of Britain’s international status, people in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland no longer participate in affairs in the world with the eyes of the “United Kingdom”, but focus on the three acres of fields in front of them. This may be a big trend in the future.
Can the “United Kingdom” formed by England and Scotland since 1707 survive in this century? Many people think that it will not survive.