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Brexit, Scotland demands secession. For historian Tom Devine it’s entirely the fault of Theresa May

Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon demands a new vote on independence from London, to be held once the Brexit’s details have been defined. For Catholic historian Tom Devine, "the path undertaken by Theresa May’s government is strewn with obstacles”

scot“If I were Theresa May right now I’d be afraid. In fact, whatever her views may be – and I’m aware that a large number of Conservative politicians can’t wait to get rid of a combative, defiant Scotland – being recorded in history as the British Premier who paved the way for the destruction of the United Kindom is not exactly an appealing prospect.” Sir Tom Devine, Catholic, named Baronet by the Queen in 2013, believes in an independent Scotland.  However, he is also a talented scholar, regarded as the leading authority in contemporary history from the lands to the north of Hadrian’s Wall. “There is a concrete possibility that the decision of Scottish premier Nicola Sturgeon to hold a referendum when the terms of the UK’s Brexit agreement with the EU have become clear – i.e. in the period comprised between fall 2018 and spring 2019 – might lead to Scotland’s separation from the rest of the United Kindgom, and that the latter might implode, since also Northern Ireland is unwilling to leave Europe”, Professor Devine explained.

The weight of history. Scottish Premier Nicola Sturgeon yesterday called for a new referendum on independence from London to be held once the Brexit terms have been defined. The news immediately hit front pages and prompted new surveys nationwide. “After all, in the Brexit referendum of past June 23, 62% of Scottish people voted in favour of remaining in the European Union, and their decision should be followed through”, Devine claimed. Scotland, “as a nation, was established between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and

We have the moral obligation to be in charge of our future.

The 1707 union with England was the result of an agreement between two independent nations, after Scotland was conquered by England, as had occurred for Wales and Northern Ireland. Hence it could be undone at any moment if one of the two partners wishes to separate.”

Changed situation. Professor Devine noted that the percentage of Scots supporting independence has increased over the past months, up to 50%, and probably more, according to the latest surveys. “In 2012, two years before the last referendum on independence, only 28% of Scots wished to leave the United Kingdom. By September 2014 that percentage rose to 45% and now we’re at 50%. Hence, there is great consensus for independence. Not only. Also economic conditions are much more favourable compared to three years ago.” The possibility of a new referendum depends on the Brexit negotiations and the resulting decisions. According to the expert, the Scottish Premier will keep his munitions at bay until the conditions negotiated by May with Brussels are clear. “That is what most Scots want, including those who wish to remain with the UK and would oppose independence.”

“It reminds me of Mrs. Thatcher”. The history scholar firmly believes that this point has been reached owing to “the arrogance of Premier Theresa May and of her ministers.” “Scottish nationalistic leader Nicola Sturgeon asked to be reassured that Scotland would have a privileged status once the Brexit was concluded, along with access to the single market with terms comparable to those that are likely to be granted to the car industry. However, those requests were not taken into account.” Devine added: “They weren’t even discussed by the government. This is an arrogant attitude, which recalls that of another Conservative premier, Margaret Thatcher, largely believed to have caused Scottish nationalism.” According to the Scottish history scholar, “the last word on the Brexit has not been said yet.”

“The path undertaken by Theresa May’s government is strewn with obstacles”,

Devine said. “The politicians entrusted with the negotiations, Boris Johnson and David Davis, are certainly not the most diplomatic members of the Conservative Party. Indeed, the talks could be extremely long and complicated, and they could come to nothing. Or else, if the outcome of the talks resulted in a hard Brexit, as would seem the case, namely an exit from the free market, Westminster’s Parliament could decide to say No in the light of the negative repercussions on our national economy. I also think that all 48% of citizens who voted against the Brexit could give rise to their own political Party, representing a veritable opposition to the government’s line of action. Moreover, there is still hope for those who want the United Kingdom to remain in Europe.”

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