Nine months after Boris Johnson led his Conservative Party to an epic election victory in the United Kingdom, surveys are showing an increase in support for Scottish independence — literally, the breakup of the British state.

Enthusiasm for ending Scotland’s 313-year-old union with England has spiked in the past, notably in the run-up to the 2014 independence referendum, when it looked, briefly, like the Scots were going to vote in favor of leaving the U.K. (The final result was 55 percent to 45 percent against.)

But separatism has traditionally been a minority pursuit in Scotland — the distant, if endlessly debated, dream of activists, writers and radicals.…  Seguir leyendo »

There was a moment, five days before 2014’s historic vote on Scottish independence, when the contest came alive. Electrified by an opinion poll that put the rival camps neck-and-neck, supporters of both sides poured onto the streets in a deluge of democratic fervor. A carnival atmosphere engulfed Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, as activists made their final, thunderous push for victory. The referendum was clinched, days later, by the unionists.

Today, my hometown feels a little different. Buchanan Street — the onetime epicenter of “IndyRef” activism — is shuttered and silent. The periodic protests against London rule have ceased. Scotland, like much of the world, is confined by covid-19.…  Seguir leyendo »

Con el brexit ya encarrilado, el debate público británico se ha reconfigurado vertiginosamente. Atrás quedan los tres años de purgatorio en el que el país estuvo expiando los pecados de su indecisión tras el sorpresivo resultado del referéndum de 2016. Los políticos centran ahora su energía, atención e ingenio hacia los asuntos domésticos que habían quedado relegados pero que urgían reformas: una seguridad social insostenible, infraestructuras decrépitas, desigualdades regionales y sociales, etc. Sin, embargo, un asunto brilla por su ausencia: Escocia.

El Partido Nacionalista Escocés (Scottish National Party, SNP) obtuvo un triunfo aplastante en las pasadas elecciones británicas (48 de los 59 escaños escoceses y el 45% del voto regional).…  Seguir leyendo »

Boris Johnson is prime minister of what is still, for now, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland — and he would very much like to keep it that way. Mindful of his own place in history, he has no intention of agreeing to a new referendum on Scottish independence that would risk, even invite, the break-up of Britain.

No wonder he announced this week that he refused to countenance such a vote. By doing so, he bought his government time. But this is a battle postponed, not a battle won. The question of Scotland — and, with it, the question of the United Kingdom itself — has neither been answered nor gone away.…  Seguir leyendo »

Les élections à la Chambre des communes du 12 décembre ont confirmé les spécificités de l’Ecosse. Le Scottish National Party (SNP) a emporté 48 des 59 sièges écossais (contre 35 en 2017). La campagne a été dominée par la perspective d’un deuxième référendum d’autodétermination, afin d’échapper au Brexit (62 % des Ecossais ayant voté contre celui-ci lors du référendum de 2016) et à un gouvernement conservateur dirigé par Boris Johnson. Deux logiques s’affrontent : Nicola Sturgeon, leader du SNP, à la tête du gouvernement écossais, réclame ce deuxième référendum au gouvernement britannique, lequel considère que la question a été réglée en 2014.…  Seguir leyendo »

El problema de nuestro sistema constitucional no es que exista un rey que no puede nombrar al ejecutivo, que no puede dictar leyes porque las fuentes del derecho son el Congreso, el Senado y el Gobierno, y que además no tiene capacidad para expresar sus afinidades políticas, sino solo hablar políticamente en el ámbito estrictamente institucional. El problema ante el que nos enfrentamos es una crisis de credibilidad del sistema político que tiene su origen en muchos años de corrupción, pero también en el abandono de dos ideas sin las que un país no puede funcionar: la fidelidad y el respeto a la verdad.…  Seguir leyendo »

Anti-Brexit protesters in Edinburgh on Wednesday. (Francois Mori/AP)

While Boris Johnson fiddles, fluffs and faffs about, threatening to yank Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 — “Do or die,” he said. «Come what may.” — my Scottish emigre heart burns with terror.

If his threat materializes — and even if it doesn’t — a million people like me may have to watch, voiceless, as their homeland, Scotland, decides for the second time since 2014 whether to remain a part of the United Kingdom. It seems more likely that a referendum conducted now would succeed in approving independence after it lost so narrowly the last time. Who in their right mind would vote to stay in a toxic relationship with Britain’s ruling Conservative Party, which drove us into this quagmire?…  Seguir leyendo »

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon holds a baby at the launch of the Scottish Nationalist Party Council manifesto at the Whale Arts center in Edinburgh, Scotland, on April 21. (Russell Cheyne/Reuters)

After Britain has its general election, the next question is likely to be whether there is another referendum on Scottish independence. Following First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon’s recent call for a second referendum, further constitutional crisis in Britain is a matter of when, not if. It was only in 2014 that Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom by a 55-45 percent vote. The referendum was described by the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) as “once-in-a-lifetime” event. So, what has changed?

The short answer is, of course, Brexit. For the SNP, this constituted a “material change” of sufficient magnitude to warrant a second attempt at independence.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Monday, Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon delivered the political bombshell that Westminster elites were expecting, albeit much sooner than anticipated. She announced that she is introducing a vote to the Scottish Parliament for a second Scottish Independence referendum. Sturgeon anticipates holding the vote sometime between autumn 2018 and spring of 2019.  Here’s what you need to know.

The vote is tied to Brexit

The early timing of the referendum is deliberate. It is timed to occur in the middle of Britain’s negotiations to leave the European Union. Last June, 62 percent of Scots voted to remain in the European Union during the Brexit vote, in contrast to the 52 percent of voters who opted to leave from across the United Kingdom, which includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. …  Seguir leyendo »

File photo dated 30/07/16 of a march for Scottish independence through Glasgow city centre, as a prominent campaign group has launched a new fundraising drive as it expects a second referendum to be held in May or September next year.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has announced her intention to hold another Scottish independence referendum in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. Campaign badges are being looked out and banners dusted down. But there are significant question marks as to what the legal basis will be for what is being dubbed indyref2.

In 2012, the Edinburgh Agreement was signed by the UK and Scottish governments, following negotiations that determined the legal basis of the referendum. What is known as a section 30 order was granted by the UK government which temporarily gave the Scottish parliament the power to pass a law allowing an independence referendum to be held.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May attend the commemoration of the Iraq and Afghanistan memorial in London. Photo: Getty Images.

Now that Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that she will push for a second Scottish independence referendum, how do you think this will change UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s approach to the Brexit negotiations?

I think what it means now is that Theresa May has a ‘two union’ problem to address. She has the problem, obviously, of the negotiations with the European Union which are just about to kick off, but she also now has the dual and interconnected problem of the union of the United Kingdom and holding that together. Which means that essentially she’s fighting a set of negotiations, or a political conflict, on two fronts.…  Seguir leyendo »

I’ve just spent several days among a pretty diverse array of Scottish nationalists — people who, whether by formal partisan affiliation or simply by political sentiment, believe Scotland should detach itself from the United Kingdom. The question I pestered them with was this: Why does a substantial minority of Scots, indeed perhaps a majority, want independence from London but union with Europe? Why, in other words, does Scottish “nationalism” — the desire to secede from an English-speaking nation with which Scots have been conjoined for centuries — usually also include a desire to pool sovereignty with a top-heavy and undemocratic league of 28 nations?…  Seguir leyendo »

‘While Scotland has not yet written off Britain, the Tories are starting to write off Scotland.' Illustration: Ben Jennings

If the United Kingdom collapses, it will not be because a majority of Scots are hell-bent on leaving but because the UK government is giving up on saving it. No union can survive without unionists and, after an election in which, to head off Ukip, the Conservative and Unionist party presented itself as the English Nationalist party, it is clear that the union is on life support.

Some unionist commentators are comparing the post-referendum Scotland of 2015 to the post-referendum Québec of 1995, comforting themselves that support for Québec’s independence has fallen from 49% in 1995 to just 25% now. But there is a big difference: whereas the rest of Canada has consistently stood as one to keep Québec in, it is London’s equivocation over Scotland that is becoming the greater risk to the UK.…  Seguir leyendo »

Scotland’s High Road to Home Rule

Almost no one in Britain expected the electoral earthquake of May 2015. Twin shocks shattered expectations about the next government and left a yawning fissure across the United Kingdom.

The first was that David Cameron’s Conservatives won a majority in the House of Commons, after opinion polls had predicted a “hung Parliament.” The second was Scotland’s becoming a one-party state overnight, after the Scottish National Party took 56 of Scotland’s 59 seats in Westminster. The main victim was Labour, once dominant, now vanquished.

Labour’s unexpected collapse, under the leadership of Ed Miliband, was such that even if the party had held all its 41 Scottish seats (instead of losing 40 of them), it would have been doomed by its failure in England and Wales.…  Seguir leyendo »

Lo que les ocurre es que no tienen idea de la historia. Posiblemente tampoco de la política, pero como la política se ha convertido en ocurrencias y cabriolas, no me atrevo a tanto. La historia, desde luego, la desconocen por completo. Albert Rivera, por ejemplo, no sabe que Disraeli fue primer ministro con 64 años y repitió con 74, que correspondieron a los más gloriosos de la Inglaterra victoriana. Adenauer fue canciller de media Alemania destruida con 75, para llevarla al «milagro económico» y a ser hoy la nación más importante de Europa. Mientras Churchill volvió a ser «premier» con ¡77!…  Seguir leyendo »

Los sistemas electorales de cualquier democracia tienen un punto de falta de representatividad. No sorprende que las leyes electorales difieran tanto de un país a otro de Europa. Y no es extraño que en Catalunya, por ejemplo, llevemos más de treinta años sin una ley electoral propia y la que está en trámite difícilmente satisfará a una mayoría cualificada de la Cámara.

Los británicos sabían que su sistema de un diputado por circunscripción tenía muchas lagunas pero no alteraba el bipartidismo tradicional. El tercer partido podía llegar a obtener un 20% de los votos y su presencia en los Comunes equivalía a un puñado insignificante de diputados.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un euroseguro contra secesiones

Siempre que hablamos del referéndum de Artur Mas y de su inexistente derecho a convocarlo, que el Tribunal Constitucional acaba de desestimar incluso en su versión de juguete, hay alguien que esgrime contra el planteamiento nacionalista el argumento de que, de haber alguna vez una consulta, debería hacerse a todos los españoles «porque Cataluña no es una cuestión exclusiva de los catalanes». Dicho argumento es correcto. Tanto que resulta sorprendente que en ningún momento lo hayamos manejado a la hora de hablar del referéndum escocés del 18-S, pese a que sus nefastos efectos no nos han sido nada ajenos, lo que prueba que seguimos sin creernos de verdad la Unión Europea.…  Seguir leyendo »

It has been said that the British constitution is not worth the paper it is not written on. But then, as every American knows, the British don’t have one.

Nevertheless, constitutional issues keep pushing themselves to the fore — the European Union, the role and composition of the House of Lords, and, most recently, the referendum on independence in Scotland, which threatened to break up the country.

In 1998, Britain’s Parliament created devolved bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The devolved bodies, unlike the House of Commons, were to be elected by proportional representation, with the hope that separatists would not be able to win on a minority of the vote.…  Seguir leyendo »

A nadie debe extrañar que el reciente referéndum de Escocia sobre la independencia dejara intacto al Reino Unido. En el pasado, las regiones o comunidades han logrado la condición de Estados casi exclusivamente después de una lucha contra el sometimiento y la opresión coloniales, galvanizadas por el recurso a una identidad religiosa, cultural o étnica distintiva. Las quejas sobre la dinámica económica, las políticas sociales o las ineficiencias en la gestión de los asuntos públicos –la base de la campaña por el “sí” en Escocia– no son los cris de coeur de un movimiento por la independencia logrado. Es una mala noticia para los secesionistas de cualquier parte de Occidente.…  Seguir leyendo »

El futuro es ahora

El fallido proceso de separación de Escocia deja numerosas e importantes lecciones, particularmente útiles para la actual realidad española. La primera es muy obvia y enseña que para frenar las pretensiones de ruptura de un país el peor camino es asumir la agenda de los nacionalistas. Al no haberlo entendido, lo de menos es que el premier Cameron se haya hecho acreedor de una montaña de críticas por el error de cálculo que le llevó a pasar de la olímpica seguridad con que asumió la convocatoria del referéndum a la súplica angustiada con que afrontó el final de la campaña. Lo grave, cabría decir lo histórico, es que ha comprometido la integridad del país que gobierna y que si esa integridad finalmente se ha mantenido ha sido al precio de que todo el mundo, sin excepción, haya acabado insatisfecho y de que la Gran Bretaña entre a partir de ahora en un escenario de complicada inestabilidad constitucional, con secuelas evidentes para el futuro.…  Seguir leyendo »