Tabnak - As the Brexit negotiations are to be started this month, Scottish high-ranking officials are showing renewed signs of willingness to hold an independence referendum. However, London is strongly against the bid, fearing that such a move could complicate the process of exiting the European Union.
According to the international media, Scotland will begin the process next week for making a request to the British government to hold a new independence referendum between late 2018 and early 2019, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Monday.
Her announcement came as British Prime Minister Theresa May was set this week to trigger the process of leaving the European Union after last year's Brexit vote.
Citing a "brick wall of intransigence" from British Prime Minister Theresa May, Sturgeon asserted that the only way to preserve Scottish interests in the midst of the U.K. exit from the European Union is to put matters directly in the hands of Scottish voters.
"What Scotland deserves, in the light of the material change of circumstances brought about by the Brexit vote, is the chance to decide our future in a fair, free and democratic way — and at a time when we are equipped with the facts we need," the Scottish first minister and head of the Scottish National Party said in prepared remarks. "Whatever path we take, it should be one decided by us, not for us."
The "Washington Post” notes that the bombshell decision adds to the stakes as Britain prepares to trigger the start of two years of negotiations with the European Union to hammer out the terms of its departure.
It also raised the possible head-spinning scenario of British leaders finalizing their EU split while also figuring out how to handle their own internal breakup with Scotland, which then would likely ask Brussels for EU membership as Europe’s newest nation.
It should be noted that in 2014, Scottish voters rejected independence by a 55% to 45% margin, but Ms. Sturgeon said on Monday that the UK vote to leave the EU had changed the situation.
As a majority of Scots voted to remain in the EU, she said they should be offered the choice between the prospect of a hard Brexit - outside the single market - and independence
In an analysis of the story, the "Guardian” writs that Sturgeon is acutely aware that a second referendum held between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of 2019 cannot be a re-run of 2014. She acknowledged in her speech that there would have to be not just clarity about the impact of Brexit on Scotland but also about the "challenges and opportunities” of independence.
But Sturgeon feels she has two powerful cards to play. In 2014 Scots were assured the only way to stay in Europe was to vote "No” to independence. And, with Labor’s near-death experience in Scotland and consistently poor polling in England, she can suggest to the Scottish electorate that they are in for 20 years of rightwing Tory government if they don’t take their destiny into their own hands.
And in another take of the issue, the "Financial Times” writes that there seems to be a looming choice for the UK government: is a hard Brexit more important than the union with Scotland? Once upon a time, wise conservatives and unionists would have known the answer. Now, those calling themselves Conservatives and Unionists do little more than shrug.