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Nothing Is Settled in Scotland

The question of Scottish independence is not going to be "settled" anytime soon.
scotland british flags flying

A recent survey in Scotland finds that September’s referendum has settled nothing:

Two-thirds of Scots want another independence referendum within the next decade and more than half think one should be held within five years, a poll has revealed.

One might have thought that the referendum had been decided by a large enough margin to quash such sentiments, but that has clearly not happened. As I guessed it might, the ‘No’ victory seems to have just put off a final reckoning on the future of the U.K. rather than putting a stop to the independence debate. Whether independence for Scotland makes any more or less sense for the country in five or ten years’ time, the question is not going to be “settled” anytime soon. All indications are that the referendum campaign has significantly changed the political landscape in Scotland with consequences for the entire U.K., and the independence question seems likely to keep roiling British politics for the foreseeable future.

If the question is put to Scottish voters again soon, the result could be quite different. A separate poll now finds that support for independence has risen in the weeks following the ‘No’ result:

The YouGov poll for the Times newspaper put support for independence at 52 percent against 48 percent who wanted to stay in the union. By including those who would not vote or do not know, the split was 49 percent in favour of a split and 45 percent against.

By itself, it doesn’t mean very much, and it could just be a temporary expression of “buyer’s remorse” by ‘No’ voters that are unhappy with how the major parties have followed through (or failed to follow through) on the promise to devolve more powers to Edinburgh. These may be voters that can be lured back again to the unionist side, but that requires fulfilling the promises made during the last stages of the campaign. Even so, it does suggest that the majority that voted to stay in the union six weeks ago might not be there when the question is next asked, and there is now more reason than ever to assume that it will be asked again.



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