Monday, March 13, 2017

SNP In Scotland Plays a Big Gamble With Independence

Just two and a half years ago, the Scottish National Party (SNP) got their way and a Referendum for Scotland's independence from the UK was held. Today, due the the tension of Brexit, Scottish First Minister has proposed yet another Referendum. But you can argue that, in two and half years a lot has happened, and the SNP is in a strong position to ask for another Referendum.

This approach appears like the highest and most risky political gamble the First Minister will play. She surely knows what she is doing and her chance of winning the Referendum is unsure. The Prime Minister knows that the First Minister is focused on making her job more difficult. The Scotland's First Minister has surely done her calculation well requesting the Referendum in the very time frame that the UK government will be struggling to contain the Brexit decisions.

If the Scottish Parliament approves another demand for Referendum, it would surely be undemocratic for Westminster Parliament to stop it. So again, the Prime Minister will be between a rock and a hard place to agree or not to agree. But could Theresa May call Nicola Sturgeon's bluff and deny a democratically approved Referendum outrightly or refuse the date? The timing is critical here.

Would the UK govt accept the proposed timing by the First Minister to hold the Referendum in the autumn of 2018 but not later than spring of 2019? Brexit discussions would be forming into real agreements around then. This timing, if followed, would put the Prime Minister in a position to either break up the UK or get the so-called 'soft' Brexit. It is clear that the Prime Minister does not want either. So it'd be interesting to see what she does.

For either outcome above, the Prime Minister could end up being ousted. If she goes for a 'hard' Brexit which in turns increases the possibility of Scotland voting for independence, and in addition, for Wales to agitate for 'Independence' and Northern Ireland's evil to return to torment it due to the possibility of the return of hard border, Ms May could lose an election if not stabbed in the back by her own party. On other hand, if she go for a 'soft' Brexit, so to not break up the UK, she could also be ousted.

For Ms Sturgeon however, the risks is very precarious. It could cost her her job if not cause her party their majority; losing will dictate their place in the next elections. If they win it, Scotland would find itself in a difficult 'divorce' process with the UK. But worse still, not being part of the EU that they are voting for independence for. Double irony!

In essence, this is like the fight of two cockerels. The winner is unpredictable and the possible outcomes are totally not attractive. It's who blinks first now that matters... and could save a lot.

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