The U.K. has voted to leave the EU, and in return, Scotland looks ready to leave the U.K. The Brexit will have many consequences, but Scottish independence might be the most extreme.
According to NBC News, Scottish leaders started efforts for a new referendum to leave the U.K. shortly after the Brexit vote was confirmed, explaining that they were being forced out of the EU against their collective will.
— Rob The Bruce (@robster38) June 24, 2016
Although the U.K. voted roughly 52 to 48 for the Brexit, Scotland voted 62 to 38 against leaving. First Minister and Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon said the vote was “Democratically unacceptable.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the last vote for Scotland to leave the U.K. failed 55 to 45 percent. The SNP said at the time they should have the right to hold another referendum for independence if there were a “significant and material change” to the country’s circumstances. Sturgeon says the Brexit fits the definition.
One of the key arguments for Scotland to stay in the U.K. was that it would safeguard the country’s place in the EU, now that idea is flipped. A vote for Scottish independence is no longer a secession, but a reintegration into a large economic and political body.
Campaigners fighting to leave the EU prioritized immigration, according to CNN. The U.K. Independence Party leader, Nigel Farage, politely explained that the open borders left the U.K. vulnerable.
“The introduction of the EU passport, whilst a good idea (because) it allows nice people to travel easily around the continent, what it also does is allow bad people to travel freely across the continent.”
Scotland is trying to send a very different message, especially Nicola Sturgeon, who released a full statement after the Brexit.
“I want to take the opportunity this morning to speak directly to citizens of other EU countries living here in Scotland — you remain welcome here, Scotland is your home and your contribution is valued.”
Despite their differences, Sturgeon was clear that Scotland would still be the closest of allies to the remainder of the U.K., even as an independent country.
“Let me be clear about this. Whatever happens as a result of this outcome, England, Wales and Northern Ireland will always be Scotland’s closest neighbors and our best friends — nothing will change that.”
— The SNP (@theSNP) June 24, 2016
Nevertheless, independence would end about 300 years of collective history since the 1707 Act of Union that joined the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland.
If Scotland does gain independence, there will be consequences for the U.S. and Europe’s nuclear deterrent too. There are currently 58 U.S. Trident II D-5 missiles in Scotland, even though the country strongly believes in ending nuclear weapons. Scottish nationalist leaders have said that they intend to get rid of the weapons within four years of independence, that means a costly relocation for both the U.S. and the hypothetical remnants of the U.K.
President Obama has said that he would prefer Scotland to stay in the U.K., but then again, he also preferred the U.K. to stay in the European Union. The Brexit still has a major political proponent back in the U.S. Donald Trump said it was a great thing, according to CNN, even though he was in Scotland at the time.
The BBC reports that the U.K. faces another challenge to its borders in the wake of the Brexit: Northern Ireland.
Sinn Fein, the Irish nationalist party that supports the independence of Northern Ireland, said that the Brexit “has forfeited any mandate to represent economic or political interests of people in Northern Ireland.”
On the other hand, that area of the U.K. was not as united in support of the EU.
FT graphic showing just how divided we are pic.twitter.com/JUswOl08Xu
— Patrick Smith (@psmith) June 24, 2016
The U.K. has an uncertain future after the Brexit, for Scotland in particular, there will be difficult decisions ahead.
[Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]