Scotland faces a number of challenges that could block both independence from Great Britain and any attempt to join the EU
As the clock on Big Ben chimed midnight, the transition period between the European Union and the United Kingdom had officially ended. Many in England had celebrated the country’s long planned and hard-fought departure from the EU’s embrace, yet across the borders in Scotland the celebrations were markedly muted. While in the 2016 referendum English voters were mostly for independence, Scotland had overwhelmingly voted to stay within the EU.
Nigel Farage, who is often regarded as the main driving force behind the successful Brexit campaign, celebrated Britain’s regained independence with a social media post, writing “this is a big moment for our country, a giant leap forward. Time to raise a glass.” In contrast, Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, bid farewell to a bleak 2020 that had seen Scotland’s healthcare and economy devastated by the coronavirus epidemic on the one hand, and its departure from the EU along with the rest of the UK on the other. Although the coronavirus is still spreading in Scotland at an alarming rate, just as it does in the rest of the UK, in her remarks, she had set the stage in rectifying the other grievance by promising to rejoin the EU in the future.
“Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on,” tweeted Sturgeon on Jan. 1. “As independent Ireland takes up her seat on the UN Security Council today, not (yet) independent Scotland is taken out of the EU against our will. Time to put ourselves in the driving seat of our own future, Scotland #indyref2,” wrote the Scottish leader.