With Brexit Happening, Scotland Seeks Independence

Kilchurn Castle, at the northeastern end of Loch Awe, in Argyll and Bute, Scotland.

Scotland’s Parliament just voted to hold a new referendum on Scottish independence.

Scotland flagYou may be saying, "Wait, didn't they do that a few years ago?

Yes, Scotland voted on independence in 2014. It was close—55% of voters opted to remain part of the UK.

The reason Scotland wants a new vote so soon can be summed up in one word: Brexit.

In 2016, the UK voted narrowly to leave the EU, but most voters in Scotland indicated that they wanted the UK to remain in the EU. Now that Brexit is taking effect, with the UK (including Scotland) leaving the EU, Scotland’s Parliament sees this as a chance to part from the UK and stay in the EU, all in one historic move.

Scotland has grave concerns over losing its connection to the European market. In the recent words of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, "We stand just two days from losing our EU membership and all of the rights that go with it."

For some citizens of Scotland that have been neutral on (or even against) independence, the fact that splitting from the UK would allow them to remain in the EU could impact their vote.

Even casual followers of the Brexit fiasco may have noted that one of the major sticking points for several concerned parties was the answer to this question:

What about the border with Ireland?

The Republic of Ireland is and will remain a member of the EU, while Northern Ireland is part of the UK. Brexit will create significant commerce challenges in the region, with a new "hard border" being the likely result.

Scottish commerce may be in for a similar shock.

With a shared land border between Scotland and England, if Scotland were to remain in the EU, commerce difficulties like those anticipated in Ireland are sure to arise.

Even if Scotland opts for independence in this latest referendum, the results are not binding without the British government's agreement. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's current view is that the results of the 2014 vote on Scottish independence should stand.

When the citizens of a place, especially one as old as Scotland, are seeking independence, it's exciting news for geography buffs. At Seterra, we'll be keeping an eye on the situation and are poised to update the affected quizzes if and when it does happen, even if it seems unlikely to happen at the moment.