The Question Of Scotland Isn’t Settled, Ctd


A recent survey finds that two-thirds of Scots want another referendum on independence from the UK within the next 10 years, while 58 percent want one in the next five. This confirms Larison’s suspicion that we haven’t seen the last of the Scottish secession movement:

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.

Pointing to another poll suggesting that the Scottish National Party could take all but four of Labour’s Scottish seats in next year’s parliamentary elections, Keith Humphreys speculates on the SNP’s potential to cause “an earthquake in British politics”:

First, the SNP has a reasonable chance of becoming a kingmaker in the UK general election of 2015. Particularly in the event of a Scottish Labour wipeout, it’s not unlikely that neither of the major parties will have enough seats in Westminster to secure a majority. Unlike in prior cycles, the Liberal Democrats, who have been bleeding support for years, may not be able to make up the difference, leaving the SNP with the opportunity to enter a coalition government. It’s obvious what price they would ask for this, though it’s unclear if either major party would be willing to pay it or would instead choose to muddle through as a minority government.

Second, if the SNP control Scotland, the West Lothian question becomes more important. Even if they are not included in the UK government, being able to vote as a bloc on English policies could give the SNP a free hand to extract concessions simply by making mischief wherever possible (e.g., when the ruling party can’t get all its ducks in a row on some English-specific issue). If the Scottish MPs were Labour, this problem could be minimized by the party leadership, but SNP members of the UK parliament would not owe anything to either major party leader.

Check out the Dish’s complete coverage of the independence vote here.