United Kingdom Bad times for the Scottish independence movement

These are bad times for the Scottish independence movement

United Kingdom Bad times for the Scottish independence movement

These are bad times for the Scottish independence movement. The fall of former chief minister Nicola Sturgeon, due to the irregular financing scandal, has plunged the Scottish National Party (SNP) into the biggest crisis in the last two decades, consummated in recent weeks with the loss of a seat in elections specials before the Labor Party and the flight of an MP, Lisa Cameron, to the ranks of the Conservative Party.

The new nationalist leader and chief minister, Humza Yousaf, has barely managed to weather the storm with the party backing his new strategy at the party's national conference just held in Aberdeen. If the SNP wins a majority in Scotland at the next general election, scheduled for 2024, then it will claim the powers for a second referendum. That will be the renewed independence struggle, which may once again end in a dead end like the one this year, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in his battle with the regional government.

The polls show a technical tie between the SNP and the Labor Party, which has ostensibly recovered the ground lost in Scotland under the leadership of Keir Starmer. The Labor leader has also already anticipated his refusal to hold a new sovereignty consultation in Scotland if he becomes prime minister.

Support for independence (47% compared to 53%) has fallen as a result of the serious internal crisis of the SNP, according to the average of Statista polls. Even so, the difference is smaller than at the time of the 2014 referendum (45% to 55%) and the base of support for nationalism is greater than expected after the stunning fall of Nicola Sturgeon, who led the party by hand. of iron for almost a decade.

"A majority of seats is a victory, straight and simple," proclaimed Humza Yousaf at the SNP's recent national conference in Aberdeen. "If we win that majority, that will be our mandate to open negotiations with the British Government."

Yousaf, 38, the son of Pakistani immigrants and married to a woman of Palestinian origin (Nadia El-Nakla), had fewer problems than expected in achieving majority support for his new strategy, distancing himself from Nicola Sturgeon's previous proposal to consider the 2024 elections as a de facto referendum.

The SNP leader acknowledged having arrived in Aberdeen in the middle of "a nightmare" political and personal, with the background drama of seeing his in-laws trapped in Gaza. Yousaf has been the only leader of a major British party to dare to criticize Israel for "going too far" and implementing "collective punishment" on the Palestinian population.

"We are going to work together like we have never done before for a better future for our country," he declared at the time of gaining support for his new strategy. "Vote SNP if you want Scotland to be an independent country, it will say that on the first line of our manifesto."

The SNP therefore has the challenge of achieving 29 of the 57 seats up for grabs in Scotland if it wants to keep the flame of independence alive, knowing that it will be very difficult for it to emulate the 43 achieved in the 2019 elections. In the special elections held two weeks ago in Rutherglen, Labor's Michael Shanks managed to turn the polls around and capture more than 20% of the nationalist vote.

The escape to the Conservative Party of MP Lisa Cameron, in the run-up to the Aberdeen conference, was another hard blow. Cameron justified his departure by harassment against the moderate faction of the party and claimed to have received all kinds of personal threats before and after making his decision public: "That is where the political debate in Scotland has taken us, towards aggression, violence and anger."