Nicola Sturgeon has the backing of the Scottish Parliament for a second independence referendum. Sturgeon won the vote with a 10 vote majority. As of yesterday she has officially asked for a second referendum to be considered by Westminster.
In an article for The Guardian, Nicola Sturgeon had this to say. “Brexit – especially the hard Brexit shaped by May’s inability to shake off the agenda of the Ukip-tinged right wing of her own party – threatens to be an act of self-harm on a scale barely understood. The result is that we must now ensure that people in Scotland are given a choice between the hard Brexit deal now being negotiated, and independence.”
In light of Theresa May and David Davis both refusing in Sturgeon’s words to listen to ‘reasonable Scottish proposals’, it might seem reasonable for Scotland’s First Minister to take this stance as 62% of the Scottish electorate voted to remain in the EU,.
However, one must wonder whether Sturgeon is pursuing this referendum with such gusto as to distract from other areas where the Scottish Government in Holyrood is not doing so well.
In a survey conducted for The Economist, it was found that Scotland ranks third, just before Wales in terms of how well their schools are ranked for the British Isles in terms of Student Performance on a national and international basis. There are claims from Holyrood and from Sturgeon herself that this is the fault of Westminster, however, under the Scotland Act of 1999, the Scottish devolved government and Parliament have control over Education, as well as several other areas.
Healthcare, Education, Justice, Rural Affairs and Policing are all areas that were placed under the Scottish Government’s control in the Scotland Act of 1999. Yet, Healthcare and Education have suffered under the Scottish government. The NHS, like its counterpart in England and Wales is suffering from a lot of strain. Sturgeon and her colleagues in government do not seem to have found a way to properly handle this, and yet, instead of fronting up about this, the tactic has been to blame Tory austerity cuts.
There are the obvious arguments about the falling price of oil, and the faltering performance of the financial sector, since the last independence referendum in 2014. All of which would suggest that Sturgeon and the SNP are struggling for ideas, and hope to use the referendum as a distraction, just as Theresa May is using Brexit as a means for distracting British voters from other key issues.
If Scotland and the SNP want another referendum, then that is all well and good. They should be able to come up with suitable plans for managing the severe consequences that will come from the referendum, whatever direction it goes. As of yet, it does not seem as though there is a solid plan in place, and given Sturgeon has criticised May for the same crime, it does come across as quite hypocritical.
Oil and the financial sector are faltering, membership of the EU is not a guaranteed certainty, indeed, an independent Scotland would be at the back of the queue for membership. And whilst Sturgeon and her fellow SNP members lambast May for taking the UK out of the single market and the EU, which makes up roughly 30% of total trade for the UK, if they got their independence, they would be taking Scotland out of a single market with the rest of the UK, which accounts for roughly 30-40% of total trade for Scotland.
From the mannerisms of Sturgeon and her supporters, it does not appear as though this has been taken into serious consideration. If Scotland and the SNP want true and proper independence, this must change, and it must change quickly. This is not 1314, the world has changed since the last time Scotland stood on its own two feet. Plans are needed, security is needed, and business and investment more so than just banking is needed. Whether Sturgeon and her colleagues have plans for this, is not know. As long as that uncertainty remains, so too will challenges to a credible Independent Scotland.