The fallout from the Conservative Party’s massive win in the British elections continues. It’s washed ashore in America, as the far left is fearful that the results do not bode well for the eventual Democratic candidate against Donald Trump.
But of more immediate concern to the British is what is happening in Scotland as a result of the election. The separatist Scottish National Party destroyed the Conservatives as the Tories now hold only one seat. This has emboldened the SNP to prepare to call for a second referendum on independence.
The first referendum in 2014 was fairly close with those voting against independence winning 55-45. But the Scots are strong supporters of the EU, voting 62-38 to Remain. And with Brexit now assured by Johnson’s election and the SNP in such a strong position politically, it’s an open question whether Boris Johnson will be the last prime minister of a truly “United” Kingdom.
Immediately after the result, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared the result in Scotland a “mandate” for her government to push ahead with a second Scottish independence referendum.
“Boris Johnson has a mandate to take England out of the EU but he must accept that I have a mandate to give Scotland a choice for an alternative future,” she said.
Scotland isn’t Johnson’s only separatist headache. Northern Ireland’s nationalists won big over the pro-Conservative unionists on Thursday and may demand a referendum on uniting Ireland.
“We are heading towards a border poll, I can’t give you a definitive date, but we need to do the spade work now and prepare ourselves,” Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said.
“We need to, in an orderly fashion, structure the conversation about a new Ireland and constitutional change. I don’t think unionism should be alarmed or frightened, this is a huge opportunity for everybody who lives on this island.”
Unionists and nationalists have been at odds for decades and while it very well may be a “huge opportunity,” there are many on both sides who won’t see it that way.
But the Scots, sensing their own huge opportunity, may be difficult to dissuade.
Sturgeon will now seek formal legal powers from the UK government to hold a referendum.
Johnson has previously insisted that he will refuse any such request and indeed made his opposition to a second independence referendum central to his party’s campaign in Scotland.
That Johnson’s Conservatives were nearly swept away in the vote in Scotland and Northern Ireland should worry anyone who supports a continuation of the status quo in the United Kingdom.