May Uses Anti-Brexit Points Against Scottish Referendum
For those of you not keeping score, or for those of you who have utterly lost the plot in the past week, Brexit continues to look like a Game of Thrones adaptation with part-time actors from the community theater group, sponsored by the local gray tweed uniform store. In the inexorable march towards illogical and ill-advised isolation, Theresa May’s government has made it clear that not only is it committed to leaving the European Union along a strict (and entirely self-imposed) timeline, but it is quite willing and happy to do so with maximum destruction to all institutions and principles in its path.
The latest Brexit woes involve the potential breakup of the United Kingdom itself as both Scotland and Northern Ireland began making noises about leaving the UK to remain part of the EU almost as soon as the results of the 23 June 2016 referendum were reported. Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party (SNP) were clear that the vote to leave the EU represented a fundamental shift in the terms under which Scots had voted to remain part of the UK in 2014, and thus necessitated another vote on their fate. Moreover, as Scottish voters had chosen overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, in contrast to much of England, the population deserved the right to exercise their dissent.
Last week, Ms. Sturgeon did exactly what she promised, and announced plans to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence by the Fall of 2018 or Spring of 2019. Citing the change in Scotland’s EU membership as a mitigating circumstance, Sturgeon’s announcement dominated the news cycle and put the May government on the defensive. The press was quick to pick up reports that the announcement, dubbed ‘indyref2’ was premature, and didn’t have the support that Sturgeon and the SNP believed it would. Theresa May was quick to warn the Scottish First Minister that now was not the time for ‘game playing’ as the plan was to negotiate an agreement with the EU that would benefit the entire UK, including Scotland. True to her word, May formally rejected the request for a second referendum and accused the SNP of jeopardizing talks with the EU to serve their own ends.