Scotland’s Iron Lady

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Nicola Sturgeon est à la tête du gouvernement d’Edimbourg et le leader du SNP depuis maintenant 6 mois. Alors que la Grande-Bretagne est sur le point de voter lors des élections générales du 7 Mai, Nicola Sturgeon compte bien maintenir la pression afin d’obtenir un jour l’indépendance pour l’Ecosse.

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Nicola Sturgeon, the fifth and current first Minister of Scotland, also the leader of the SNP, has become so popular that a lot of English people have asked on Twitter how they could vote for the SNP even if they weren’t Scottish. Therefore Ms Sturgeon seems to have succeeded in persuading voters that her party can be a force for all Britain. She launched her party´s manifesto in Edinburgh on Monday 20th April and promised to make Labour bolder and better. She rules out any deal that would put the Tories in power in the event of a hung parliament. Indeed with the SNP predicted to win the majority of Scotland’s Westminster seats (some forecasts have estimated that the party could win more than 40 of Scotland´s 59 parliamentary seats), the party will be key for Labour which will need form a coalition with them.

If the SNP wins a large block of seats, it could become the third political force in the country and would be able to put Ed Miliband in Downing Street. If so, Nicola Sturgeon will try to get new powers for Scotland and will probably ask for a new referendum concerning Scotland’s independence. Moreover if the SNP becomes a force in the next Westminster Parliament, SNP MPs will be able to build alliances and shape legislation on a vote by vote basis. Therefore they wouldn’t be blamed for unpopular policies but could regularly claim policy victories.

SNP MPs are never going to be part of a majority in favour of David Cameron. But if elected, David Cameron would have to organise a referendum concerning Great Britain’s continuing presence in the European Union. In all likelihood, due to good economic results, citizens would vote NO. However, since the end of 2014 an opposition composed by a majority of anti-European MPs has been growing within the Conservative party, and could push David Cameron to resign, in favour of a new more Anti-European Prime Minister (like Boris Johnson?), and could end up convincing the population to vote YES. For Nicola Sturgeon, the referendum about Brexit is unavoidable, but if the United Kingdom leaves the EU she already plans to ask for a new referendum about Scotexit by using the fact that Scots don’t want to leave the EU.

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To conclude, the outcome of the election will be key for the future of the United Kingdom. In mid-term, Scotland could be separated from the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom could leave the European Union. Will politicians choose the status quo? But one thing is certain: Nicola Sturgeon will try to use all the levers she has to get Scotland’s independence.

Théophile PROTAT & Elise QUEYSSALIER

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