Journo: Success Possible If Scotland Independence Referendum Took Place Tomorrow

© AFP 2023 / Andy BuchananPro Independence supporters waves the Scottish flag during a rally in George Square in Glasgow, Scotland, on September 19, 2015.
Pro Independence supporters waves the Scottish flag during a rally in George Square in Glasgow, Scotland, on September 19, 2015. - Sputnik International
Last month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that she will push for a second independence referendum before May 2021. She explained that Scotland should have the option of staying in the EU as a separate nation amid uncertainty over Brexit. Sputnik has discussed this with journalist James Kelly.

SPUTNIK: Do you think Scotland could win an independence referendum as it was held again?

James Kelly: Well, yeah, I think that referendums are inherently unpredictable. You can't guarantee any result beforehand, because you get enormous swings in public opinion, sometimes much greater than you would get in an ordinary election.

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So there will always be a risk no matter when the referendum is held. What we do know is that the pro-independence vote will be starting from a very high base, because recent opinion polls from two different firms, that normally produce quite favorable figures for the no sides, have shown unusually high figures for independence recently.

So youGOV showed it's 49% 'yes' vote for independence. Panel base showed 48% 'yes' vote for independence, which is obviously higher than 45% that pro-independence side received in the 2014 referendum, and apparently a lot higher than the campaign started with, when that referendum started. So it's, we know that yes, it's starting with a very good chance to continue that. 

SPUTNIK: The decision by Nicholas Sturgeon seems to be fueled by the EU election results, however, there was a low turnout for those elections. How do you think those can be used to justify the move?

James Kelly: I don't think she is using the European election to justify the referendum, because she made the announcement initially a few weeks ago. What she said now is exactly what she said a few weeks ago.

And that was justified by the result of the 2016 Scottish Parliament election when the pro-independence parties, the SNP and the Greens between them receive 69 seats and the anti-independence party's received only 16.

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And that mandate was confirmed by a vote in the elected Scottish Parliament, which voted in favor of holding a referendum. So that's the real justification for it.

However, the conservatives obviously are saying that the European elections have got nothing to do with independence, they're going to the extreme and that's a very difficult claim for them to make because their campaign literature, the leaflets they send out, and I received two of them that said, every vote for the Scottish conservatives in this election will be a vote to send Nicholas Sturgeon a message: "No more referendums".

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If you make that sort of pitch you have to accept that people vote the other the other way, if people vote the way you don't want to vote, then they're sending the opposite message.

They are in fact voting in favor of holding an Independence Referendum. So although the European elections are the justification for the referendum, they certainly bolster the case for it.

SPUTNIK: Okay, and what more do the SNP have to do to convince the Scottish people to vote for independence?

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James Kelly: I think the real challenge is to get the referendum. Nicola Sturgeon has set an obstacle for herself almost by saying that she wants an agreement with Westminster to go ahead with a referendum.

I think almost the real bottle of actually getting the referendum because we know that the support for independence is already roughly 50/50.

So even if a referendum took place tomorrow, there will be a decent chance of winning it so the actual challenge is to actually get that referendum and I think that's what independence movement and looking for now is to see how she's going to break through that barrier she set herself of trying to get agreement with Westminster

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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