Ruling against second Scottish independence referendum

The British Supreme Court has ruled that the Scottish government cannot hold an independence referendum without the UK government's consent. Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon, who had promised a new referendum, reacted with disappointment but says she will accept the decision. Commentators discuss the ruling and question whether it is really such a big blow for Sturgeon's Scottish National Party.

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The Scotsman (GB) /

Only under two conditions

The issue is by no means off the agenda, writes The Scotsman:

“If - despite the cost-of-living crisis, climate change, the Ukraine War - more than half of the Scottish electorate back nationalist parties standing on the single issue of independence, then the Westminster government would be wise to take this seriously by entering into negotiations about a second referendum. However, they should only do so with at least two preconditions. First, that holding such a vote would preclude another being held for a significant period, 20 or 30 years. ... And second, that a 'super majority' - perhaps of 60 percent - would be required.”

Der Standard (AT) /

There could be only one judgement

The court proceedings were completely unnecessary, writes Der Standard:

“The Union parliament in London decides on the union of the two kingdoms. The House of Commons gave the go-ahead for the 2014 referendum on Scotland's independence. The result was clear, with 55 to 45 percent in favour of remaining in the now 315-year-old union with England. ... But it is also true that Brexit, with all its negative effects, which was pushed through with English votes, and the continuing Tory chaos in London have greatly changed the political conditions. The argument that the 2014 vote must be valid for a generation is becoming weaker by the day.”

The Times (GB) /

Sturgeon letting her country go to the dogs

Sturgeon is just trying to distract the public's attention with the independence issue, The Times writes:

“Her nationalist government is a disaster for the Scottish people. The health system is in crisis. Schools, once the envy of the whole island, are among the bottom of Europe in terms of literacy and numeracy. ... For Sturgeon to claim that independence offers the solution to these self-inflicted problems is an insult. The same goes for her plea to the electorate to vote on the constitutional question alone in the 2024 election. The Scottish electorate has the right to judge the SNP's poor record rather than their manufactured grievances. And they will. Sturgeon's replacement plan will not work.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

The ban was the goal

The SNP has no real interest in a referendum right now, the taz believes:

“The idea was to demonstrate that it does not have this right. The only thing that keeps the SNP in power is permanent proof of alleged discrimination on London's part. Its own track record in government is disastrous. ... The Brexit, which is repeatedly cited as the reason for a new referendum, won't make secession any easier. On the contrary: with a return to the EU, which is what the SNP wants, the border between England and Scotland would become an EU external border. Border controls on the British Isles are not acceptable to the majority. So the SNP would lose an independence referendum in 2023. The refusal to hold this referendum strengthens it.”

ABC (ES) /

Catalonia should follow suit

The Scots are doing a better job than the Catalans, ABC comments:

“The British Supreme Court ruling makes it clear that one part cannot decide without the whole. Sturgeon has not only abided by the ruling, but has always promised a legal referendum. ... This is another major difference compared to Catalan separatism, which preferred to denigrate the Supreme Court, pass blatantly unconstitutional laws and hold an illegal referendum. ... There is no call for rebellion. ... In the midst of a severe economic and political crisis, the UK can still teach us a few lessons.”