Will Scotland leave the Union?

I thought so at first, upon seeing the election results with strong SNP dominance.  But upon further consideration, I’ve changed my mind.  Here’s why:

1. A ruling British government simply doesn’t have to allow another referendum.  Or they can time a referendum in a favorable manner, or insist on more favorable conditions the next time around, such as allowing Scots who live in England to vote.

2. Independence advocates realize that if a referendum fails a second time around, they will never get a third chance.  So they will hesitate before moving forward again.

3. Holding 56 out of 59 seats is a pretty sweet lock for SNP.  There will be a temptation to settle for the current form of electoral competition, rather than face a newly competitive Scottish national politics, or face being the backers of another failed referendum.

4. For many Scots, voting for SNP may be a substitute for independence (“we want to be as Scottish as possible, except…and who better to safeguard that Scots heritage politically?”) rather than a path toward independence.  SNP itself stressed that a vote for SNP was not a vote for independence, and every now and then, believe it or not, political parties should be taken at their word.

Arguably Brexit could prompt a quick and strong desire to secede, but otherwise I am betting on the Union to continue.


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