In Scotland, the pandemic a boost for the popularity of the pro-independence

En Écosse, la pandémie dope la popularité des indépendantistes

Edinburgh | in the light of The surveys, but as sales of masks to tiles, the popularity of the First minister of scotland Nicola Sturgeon, and her fight for the independence of the nation, are doing well.

When the responsible independence has visited a store from Edinburgh on the point of reopen after months of confinement and wearing a mask of protection in tartan, recalling the pattern of the kilt in scotland, the model has sold like hotcakes.

The history could remain in the status of anecdote, but it is active in the full resurgence of popularity for Nicola Sturgeon, which was credited to robust handling of the pandemic of novel coronavirus, which benefits in turn to the cause of independence that it defends ardently.

According to a poll by Panelbase published last week, Nicola Sturgeon has 60% of favourable opinions for his handling of the crisis and 54% of Scots support now independence, rejected six years ago by referendum at 55%.

After a strong growth in the general elections of the british December 2019, the recent wave of favourable opinions up his party, the Scottish National Party (SNP), a position of strength for the election of members of the scottish Parliament in may 2021.

“In this period of great uncertainty, people are looking for a leader who can reassure them,” says Iain Black, of the Convention on the independence of Scotland, a multi-stakeholder group advocating this cause, questioned by the AFP.

“Nicola Sturgeon has been exceptionally good to communicate his compassion during daily briefings (on the disease Covid-19, editor’s note). It has helped to reduce the anxiety of people by providing a sense of certainty during the pandemic. This is not something we will forget anytime soon,” said he.

Play the caution

If the different regions of the United Kingdom came together in the containment of the march 23, they have adopted different calendars to loosen the restrictions.

Nicola Sturgeon stood out of the british Prime minister, Boris Johnson, accused of having failed to grasp the sheer magnitude of the health crisis in the country, the most mournful in Europe with nearly 45, 000 deaths of people tested positive.

When the conservative leader announced a gradual lifting of the confinement as of the month of may in England, she preferred to play cautious, believing that the virus is still too prevalent in Scotland, where it has killed about 2,500 people.

Its firmness in the face of the central government in London has earned him the support of the leaders of the other nations that make up the Uk, Wales and Northern Ireland, marking the isolation of Boris Johnson.

“Small, independent country”

The opponents of Nicola Sturgeon have often blamed the ex-lawyer to be a figure clivante in arguing tooth and nail for the independence for the independence of Scotland, despite the defeat of the referendum of September 2014. But these divisions now seem less marked.

“For many nationalists, in the last three months illustrate how Scotland could better govern itself as a small independent country,” explained the political scientist John Curtice, of Strathclyde university in Glasgow, in the Sunday Times.

“It has been able to convince former unionists of the merits of this claim”, he adds, predicting a strong increase of the SNP in elections for the scottish 2021.


Even before the pandemic, Nicola Sturgeon justified his claim of a new referendum on independence – that Boris Johnson refuses him categorically – by the strong opposition to the Brexit in Scotland, against the current of the United Kingdom. For it, the output of the countries of the european Union at the end of January does not reflect the will of the scottish people.

“The feeling anti-Brexit is extremely strong in Scotland,” confirms Gordon MacIntyre, who leads the business network Business for Scotland, in favour of independence. “Many of those who voted against independence in 2014 were voted for the maintenance in the EU in 2016”, he adds, questioned by the AFP.

He believes that “the union (british) is going to be” dead ” if the trade negotiations post-Brexit between London and Brussels do not succeed by the end of the year, would further weaken an economy that scotland already overwhelmed by the pandemic.

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