Scottish Nationalists Plan Second Independence Referendum Warning UK Is On ‘Borrowed Time’

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned that the United Kingdom is “living on borrowed time” and has told supporters of independence that they have years of hard work ahead of them to achieve secession.

One year on from Scotland’s failed independence referendum the Scottish National Party is still making its voice heard after sweeping the board in Scotland at the U.K. general election.

In a speech to SNP members, Sturgeon said, “my message to David Cameron today is the same as it was when I met him just after the general election.

“what happens to support for independence in the months and years to come will depend as much on what you do as it will on what we do.”

Sturgeon cautioned her supporters’ wild-eyed optimism in the wake of electoral success, saying that secession wouldn’t come just because they “are more impatient for change.”

The referendum for independence was defeated by a hefty 10 percentage points. But despite the setback the SNP membership rolls exploded and support for independence has at times drifted toward majority opinion in Scotland. In a recent survey, 47 percent of Scots said they would vote “yes” while 42 percent would vote “no.”

Sturgeon slammed the prime minister, telling the crowd, “if you continue to ignore Scotland’s voice, if you continue to disrespect the choice that people across this country made in May, more and more people will conclude that Westminster simply can’t deliver for Scotland.”

Sturgeon has counseled against having another re-run of the referendum too soon, fearful that her fellow Scots will vote to remain in the U.K. The SNP is acutely aware of the Canadian province of Quebec’s failure to secure independence in a second referendum held in 1995.

The SNP have hedged its bets, saying there will be a number of so-called “triggers” for another referendum in the party’s 2016 manifesto for the Scottish parliament elections.

One such trigger could be the U.K.’s upcoming referendum on European Union membership. The SNP is adamantly pro keeping Scotland, but if the U.K. votes to leave it is likely Sturgeon will call for a second referendum.

However, the leader of the successful campaign to keep Scotland in the U.K., Alistair Darling said:

It’s quite clear that she doesn’t want a referendum and she is letting then down gently but letting them down she is.

Sturgeon has consistently attempted to stoke nationalist feeling by talking of Scotland being “ruled” from Westminster by a Conservative government that only has one member of parliament north of the English border.

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