The pro-Scottish independence party won a stunning electoral victory. And its leader, Nicola Sturgeon, remains popular. But this does not mean there will be a split from the UK, says Elliot Douglas. Sunday’s election in Scotland went according to plan: The Scottish National Party (SNP) came to Edinburgh with the largest parliamentary seat and has held it since 2007. The legend was just one chair away from achieving an absolute majority in the House, in a proportional system designed to avoid a majority in the House. But the Greens, who are pro-independence in Scotland, have won eight seats. In other words, the Scottish Parliament today has the largest majority in history in favor of seceding from the United Kingdom. The next steps for pro-independence nationalists, however, remain unclear. The result is that Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon still has the green light to say that they have the mandate to demand independent Scotland. His party, the SNP, has promised to insist on a second independence referendum as soon as possible after the epidemic. The validity of such a referendum is a question mark, especially if it is done without the approval of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – they have already stated that they will not approve regardless of the situation. And despite the SNP’s victory, there is no reason to believe that such a referendum will go its way. The latest polls show support for independence of about 50% – an uneasy majority. The lack of an alternative Scotland, which has been part of Britain for over 300 years and a large part of its economic and foreign policy has been settled in London, won a decentralized parliament in 1997 – a concession that has led many optimistic national sentiments Can moisten But the SNP concluded in Edinburgh, first under its longtime leader Alex Salmond and then under his former ally, Nicola Sturgeon, who has been leading the party and Scotland since 2014. It was also in 2014 that the party held the first Scottish independence referendum. With a 55% to 45% victory for the Federalists – a pro-permanent movement in the United Kingdom. For many opponents of independence, this is the main reason that any second referendum would be unnecessary: the nationalists had a chance at it, and ruined it. But the British political landscape has seen some changes in the last seven years. Since then, there have been three general elections in the United Kingdom, where the SNP has performed record-breaking; The United Kingdom left the European Union, a decision which the majority in Scotland opposed; And, of course, there was the coronavirus epidemic, which many feel – rightly or wrongly – is being better treated in northern Britain. Through these turbulent years, the SNP – which was still relatively new to power when the last referendum took place – has managed to find its niche as the only pragmatic, anti-Brexit and largely pragmatic progressive party in Scotland. “Queen Nicola” Sturgeon has levels of popularity that envy other leaders in Britain and around the world. For example, Boris Johnson is aware of his lack of approval in Scotland and has not made a presence there during campaigning. In recent months, Sturgeon’s image has been rocked by a scandal that involved sexual harassment allegations against his predecessor and longtime collaborator Alex Salmond. But the management of the Covid-19 crisis has allowed it to play more presidential roles in Scotland: it has earned a reputation across the political spectrum as a pragmatist. His middle-class upbringing in Glasgow also puts him in strong opposition to the privately educated men who mostly dominate the Scottish South. This became clear on Election Day, when extreme rightist and criminal activist Zayda Fransen confronted him on camera in the streets of Glasgow, and Sturgeon soberly called Fransen “fascist” and “racist” and kept going. It is difficult to imagine another great leader of the British party so openly. But this question remains: Support for Sturgeon as an individual, especially due to frequent conflicts and changes in other leaders of the Scottish Party, is not the same as support for independence. For many Scottish voters, there was only one option this year: the SNP. It is now the mistake of the SNP to think that it turns directly into a majority in support of independence. Elliot Douglas is an English newsroom journalist in DW. Author: Elliot Douglas
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