The recent election results in Canada have, for the time, killed any hope for Quebecois secession. The Conservatives squashed the Bloc Quebecois along with the Liberals in the rest of the country. However, in Scotland, the Liberals’ loss appears to be the secessionists’ gain.
The Telegraph — The Scottish National Party yesterday won an outright majority, the first party to do so since devolution in 1999. The victory will allow [First Minister Alex] Salmond to trigger a referendum on Scottish independence during the next five-year parliament, the first formal challenge to the Union of England and Scotland in its 304-year history. In a surprisingly emphatic win, the SNP claimed 65 seats in the 129-seat Holyrood parliament. … “In this parliament, we shall bring forward a referendum and trust the people with Scotland’s constitutional future,” he said. Before the election, Mr Salmond said a referendum would be held in the second half of the parliament, meaning 2013 at the earliest. The nationalist surge represented a humiliation for the Labour Party, which had been expected to win in Edinburgh. Iain Gray, the Scottish Labour leader, said he would step down this year, describing his party’s results as “dreadful”. (H/T: Soylent Green)
But will England allow them to get away scot-free?
In theory, ministers at Westminster could change the law that created the Scottish Parliament to prevent the SNP holding a referendum. But [British Prime Minister David] Cameron signaled he would not try to stop a vote being held. “I will do anything as British Prime Minister to work with the Scottish First Minister and to treat the Scottish people and the Scottish government with the respect they deserve,” he said. “If they want to hold a referendum, I will campaign to keep our United Kingdom together with every single fibre that I have.” Before the election campaign began, polls gave Labour a comfortable lead over the SNP, whose promise of an independent Scotland had been battered by the financial crisis that effectively bankrupted similar-sized nations including Iceland and Ireland.
I don’t think it’s the size of the nations so much as their practices (and those of Europe as a whole) which led to the financial crises; which also affected larger nations such as Portugal and Spain. I’m not sure whether or not they should secede (that’s not for me to decide), or even if they have the right under the Treaty of Union to do so (although Ireland set a precedent in 1920); but apparently PM Cameron thinks they have the right to hold such a vote. I wonder how this relates to membership in the European Union… Would an independent Scotland be bound by agreements made by the United Kingdom, or be allowed to choose their own way? That might be a big factor in how people vote.