- When he was interviewed by Andrew Marr on BBC television prior to the referendum taking place in September 2014, Alex Salmond, who was Scotland’s First Minister at the time, said, ‘In my opinion, and it is just my opinion, this is a once in a generation opportunity for Scotland.’ Those words were no doubt intended to try and maximise the number of Scots who would turn out to vote, but when that vote went against the desires of the Scottish National Party (SNP), pro-independence politicians soon began thinking about having another bite at the cherry.
- The calls for a second referendum on Scottish independence became even louder when the UK voted (by 51.9% to 48.1%) to leave the European Union in June 2016. That overall result went against the will of Scottish people, who voted (by 62.0% to 38.0%) to remain in the EU, and so Alex Salmond’s successor, Nicola Sturgeon, has been extremely vocal about her beliefs that Scotland should go to the polls again.
- Whilst the Scottish National Party’s desire for a second independence referendum is incredibly strong, a recent survey conducted just last month by BMG Research found that 51% Scottish voters would rather wait until terms of the Brexit negotiations have been made clear. It is also the case that a simple desire for a second referendum is not enough to make it happen, because the UK government must give permission for such a vote to take place, and it seems unlikely that such permission would be granted before the UK has actually left the EU,
The Scottish National Party has always wanted Scottish independence, so it is no surprise that it continues to push that agenda regardless of the outcome of the one held in 2014. It may also be the case that the majority of Scots would vote differently in a second referendum, given that the majority wanted to remain in the EU and that the UK as a whole voted to leave. It would therefore be no surprise at all to see Scotland hold a second referendum at some point, but the big question is: when?
Given that Theresa May currently has enough to do in relation to agreeing the terms of Brexit negotiations following the UK’s decision to leave the EU last year, we highly doubt that she is in any rush to give permission for a second referendum on Scottish independence. If the Prime Minister manages to trigger Article 50 by the end of this month (which is itself no certainty) then the UK should be on track to leave the EU by the end of March 2019, and we can’t imagine her (or whoever is Prime Minister at the time) wanting to deal with a Scottish independence referendum for at least a few years after that.
That being the case, we feel fairly safe in concluding that another referendum may well take place at some point, but that there will be no Scottish independence referendum before the end of 2020.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip – No Scottish Independence Referendum Held Before End of 2020 – 10/11
*Please note that odds may fluctuate.