Is Scotland immigration friendly
The big dream of independence
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson loves this tactic, it is called the "dead cat strategy" and it works like this: If an unloved topic gets too much attention, it is best to "throw a dead cat on the dining room table" like Johnson once stated in an article. What he meant: You have to create a distraction.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) also seems to have subscribed to this strategy. As soon as criticism arises here and beyond Hadrian's Wall, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon throws a dead cat on the table. Whether it concerns the education system, the difficulties faced by companies in the Corona crisis, the sluggish start to the vaccination program, the dream of independence is always sought. Once Scotland is autonomous, it is promised that everything will be fine.
In fact, the majority of the population seems to believe so, although a number of problems could already be solved by the regional government. According to the latest polls, up to 58 percent of people in the north are currently behind the idea of Scotland's independence. Brexit is seen as the strongest driver. In the 2016 referendum, a clear majority of Scots voted against Britain's exit from the EU. With their pro-European stance, Sturgeon rose to become the actual opposition of the conservative Tories. She likes to portray herself as anti-Boris, which was particularly beneficial to her during the pandemic. The First Minister gave the impression that she was in control of the situation.
A gift for the independence fans
To the astonishment of many observers, she was able to skilfully whitewash up the fact that the crisis management is hardly better than in England. The virus is also raging in the north, and measured in terms of population, the region is one of the most affected in the world. But while Johnson is confusing with grandiose slogans, unrealistic promises and U-turns, Sturgeon is cool, matter-of-fact, and serious. Johnson is, if you will, a gift for Independence fans. This is one of the reasons why Sturgeon's political star shines brighter than ever. Nevertheless, Brexit plays into your hands. "Scotland is coming back soon, Europe", the Prime Minister prophesied at the turn of the year.
The words sounded like balm for the battered souls of the EU friends, even if the reality is much more complicated. Would Brussels want to accept Scotland at all and thus open Pandora's box for further separatist movements in Europe? The SNP insists that joining the community of states is not an expansion. Rather, it is basically calling for EU membership on the same terms as Scotland has enjoyed as part of the Kingdom for the past 40 years. Euro? Rather no. Exceptions? Rather yes. But how does Scotland intend to thrive economically as an independent country? So far, the opponents of the spin-off have not given specific answers to the innumerable questions.
But the Scots are not that open, liberal and immigration-friendly. Far too often this image is unfortunately mixed up with tartan patriotism and anglophobia. In this respect they differ little from the English nationalists. If Sturgeon accuses the Tories of leading the country into disaster by leaving the EU, the question may be allowed: Why would a separation of the Scots from the Kingdom cause less damage? To be able to hold a referendum, Boris Johnson would have to approve anyway. But he refuses.
The Scots elect a new parliament in May. Should Sturgeon's SNP celebrate a landslide victory, as everything indicates, it will be difficult for Johnson to stick to his no. Nevertheless, he has a majority of 80 seats in the lower house, he could sit out the dispute. Politically it would be madness for him. A breakup of the kingdom would also end his career. It will be interesting to see which dead cat Johnson throws on the table in the summer.
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