On May 18, Nicola Sturgeon was officially re-elected as First Minister of Scotland. Her second term was the result of past elections in which the Scottish National Party (SNP), led by Sturgeon, won 64 of 129 seats in the Scottish parliament.
In general, the victory was expected, as was the fact that the undisputed leader of the SNP will again take the chair of the head of the second most important public entity in the United Kingdom. Another thing is important - by voting for Sturgeon and her party, the Scottish voters, in fact, made it clear that the issue of holding a new referendum on independence could not be “shelved, and Great Britain in its present form could soon face collapse.
London's official position on the Scottish Question has changed little in recent years. The desire to keep the northern neighbors within the United Kingdom is one of the key priorities of the British domestic policy not the first century. This is especially true today in the context of Brexit, the impact of which on the situation can hardly be overestimated. In addition, it is important to take into account the "sovereign" aspect. Once claiming world domination and occupying an area of more than 30 million square kilometers, Britain today retained less than 1% of its former possessions. The wave of decolonization that unfolded in the XNUMXth century left from the once truly Great Britain - "an empire over which the sun does not set", only the island of the same name off the coast of Western Europe, Northern Ireland and a handful of small pieces of land scattered around the globe. Many of the latter, by the way, are in a very controversial status. Take, for example, the Falklands, which became the reason for the war with Argentina, or Gibraltar, because of which disputes with Spain have not stopped for many years.
In general, it is rather strange why so many countries were so eager to get out of the wise rule of the British crown. Indeed, unlike other European colonialists, the share of the British in the same Australia was several times higher than, for example, the French in Chad. The USA, Australia, New Zealand are all newly founded states that have decided to get out of the direct control of the British crown. Some are peaceful, and some, like the United States, are military. And if the desire of the same India for independence is quite natural and understandable, given that this is, in fact, a people conquered by the British Empire, then in these cases a fair question arises. If the British are the core of British culture, they are so good at managing and possess such developed institutions of civil society, then why have even their own fellow citizens tried to escape from under their influence at all times?
As you know, history has a tendency to repeat itself. The first time is like a tragedy, the second time is like a farce. It is such a farce that the attempts of official London to contain the final disintegration of the British state to the historical region inhabited by the Anglo-Saxons - the territory of modern England - look like. The Irish, Scottish, and more recently the Welsh question are consistently trying to remove from the agenda, drown out, distort. All in order to leave Britain unified and avoid the declaration of these countries of independence, which many of them have been waiting for generations.
In order to understand what independence means for the Scottish people, it is enough to turn to history. Devastating wars, coups d'états and brutally suppressed uprisings - London's relations with its northern neighbors have always been far from good-neighborly. However, one way or another, but the ambitions of the British for sole dominance on their island were nevertheless satisfied at the beginning of the 18th century, when Scotland de jure became part of a union state with the capital in London. Scotland's loss of sovereignty began with the signing of the Union Act in 1707, by which the Scottish Parliament ceased to exist in favor of a unified legislature in London. Ironically, today it was the Scotland's parliament, re-established almost 300 years later in 1999, that became the heart of the revived struggle for independence.
A little over a decade since the restoration of the Scottish Parliament in the early 2010s, two issues have characterized British politics. The first is about revising the terms of membership in the European Union and the second is about the independence of Scotland. And here the British government showed extremely cold calculation, extracting the maximum political benefit from the situation. The issue with the EU was temporarily postponed, and the Scots were offered to hold a referendum on independence. It is important to conduct it once a generation, i.e. "Close the issue" for at least the next twenty years.
One of the key arguments of the “No” campaign led by British Prime Minister Cameron (“No” - the answer to the bulletin's question whether Scotland should become independent) was that, having seceded from the United Kingdom, Scotland would at the same time cease to be part of the European Union, which, of course, will have a negative impact on the economy countries. Moreover, it was obvious that, given the then wide influence of Britain in the EU, the question of the Scots joining the union would meet, if not resistance, then a complete lack of enthusiasm on the part of European officials.
As the head of the European Commission (2004-2014) Jose Manuel Barroso stated:
If a new country appears, a new state that has seceded from one of the current EU member states, this country will have to submit a new application for membership ... And of course, it will be extremely difficult to get the approval of all EU members for the accession of a country that has separated from another country. member of the EU.
Simply put, Scotland made it clear that if it leaves the United Kingdom, if it will enter the EU, it will not be very soon and with the maximum amount of bureaucratic delays. Given the fact that few were talking about a real exit from the European Union in public British politics, Scottish voters still chose not to leave the United Kingdom.
And then the Scots, in the language of the characters of the famous British director Guy Ritchie, were "simply thrown." How else to perceive the fact that less than two years after the referendum on the independence of Scotland - on May 27, 2016, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain announces that Britain is waiting for a new referendum. Now about EU membership. Yes, the very membership that de facto convinced the Scottish voter to accept the arguments of official London and stay.
By the way, an important point is that it was the queen who announced the referendum. A key feature of the British political system is that the classical scheme of constitutional monarchy is in fact not as constitutional as it seems, and the influence of the royal family on British politics is much higher than it seems at first glance.
Thus, the sensational investigation of the British newspaper "Guardian" demonstrated evidence of direct influence on British lawmaking by Elizabeth II. As the publication found out, the so-called "royal consent", perceived as a formal tool and a legacy of the absolutist past, in fact allows the royal lawyers to effectively lobby for the necessary, from the point of view of the Crown, changes in British legislation.
The Guardian's investigation found that Elizabeth II and Prince Charles vetoed more than 1000 laws through the use of "royal assent". Among them, including, and laws on inheritance, land policy, and who would have thought about Brexit!
But, of course, the fact that the Scottish referendum will eventually be held first is pure coincidence. The government will certainly support the subsequent Brexit referendum. In preparation for the vote, Prime Minister David Cameron, of course, will once again take an emphatically unionist stance, this time towards the EU. 51.9 percent of voters will vote for the exit, and he will defiantly leave his post in the best traditions of the British establishment. Which, however, will have almost no effect on the vertical of power, because the leader of the party that won the elections becomes prime minister in Britain. In the event of his early resignation, the new head of the cabinet can be determined by a simple internal party vote. This is exactly how Teresa May, who replaced Cameron, became them. The ruling conservative party has not lost power. No new elections have been scheduled.
Regarding Cameron's resignation, there is another insignificant, but worth mentioning detail, replicated by the world's leading publications. After announcing his resignation from the porch of his Downing Street residence, he forgot about the microphone on and began humming on his way to the door. Entering the residence, he said two more words under his breath: “Right. Okay". You can assess this as you like, but what it is most unlikely is the victim of the biggest defeat in his career as a politician. On the contrary, it looks as if he somehow, without a doubt, incredibly knew in advance how the Brexit referendum would end and wanted to resign as soon as possible and move on.
Although for the Scots, 62 percent of whom voted to stay in the EU (the maximum among the countries of the United Kingdom), this was not a move forward, but a real deception.
In addition, if the prerequisites for the Scottish referendum are quite natural, given the long history of Scotland's struggle for independence, then the decision to leave Britain from the EU looks at least artificial, descended from the top down, imposed on the people by the ruling class. However, as practice has shown, belonging to the political elite does not mean the ability to think strategically. The cunning calculation with two referendums did not come true. The Brexit process dragged on. Relations with the EU have deteriorated. The economy sank. And the Scots realized that they were being tricked and demand satisfaction.
It is also important to note that according to the results of Brexit, the same Northern Ireland de facto remained part of the EU, and there are no borders or customs controls between it and the rest of Ireland. On the contrary, goods going to Northern Ireland from Great Britain began to be inspected. Given the historical background, such a precedent only adds fuel to the fire, again raising the topic of the unification of Ireland. And, given the scale of the conflict between the IRA and official London in the XNUMXth century, the establishment of a "hard border" between the British and Irish parts of the island may be a decisive factor for Ireland to finally become unified. Indeed, today all the prerequisites for this are taking shape. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already been warned of a "dangerous political vacuum" in Northern Ireland in a letter signed by four former representatives of the region to the British government. This happened after a massive wave of protests swept across Ulster in April. Too many locals felt that London had betrayed them with a Brexit deal with Brussels.
It is not known whether this was an attempt to pursue a more independent policy or to get closer to the United States, moving away from the EU, but the fact remains: Britain left the European Union. And most likely it will cost her at least Scotland. Brexit, in fact, is another example of how politicians themselves are destroying their country, pursuing goals known to them alone. As practice shows, the EU's influence on domestic political stability in Britain was radically underestimated, and the focus with the Scottish referendum in London will undoubtedly still be remembered. However, in this case it is an internal matter of Great Britain. So let her deal with it herself. None of her seemingly numerous allies, as it turned out, intend to help her in this.