Podcast: That’s why Boris Johnson’s Scottish election is so scary

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What should one know about SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon?

She is by far the most popular politician in Scotland. Now a polarizing politician, depending on which side of the England-Scotland border you are on. In London, conservative politicians speak of her as the most dangerous politician in Britain because she wants the independence of Scotland. As a person, I grew up in a working-class family on the west coast of Scotland, a few miles from Glasgow. Growing up in the 1980s during Margaret Thatcher’s time in power in Britain, she is colored by the closures that occurred in the small town she lived in. Thus a woman grew up with the feeling that those in power in London did not care what happened in Scotland, and what political decisions had led to. These cities in Scotland and the north of England were traditionally dominated by Labor voters, but Nicola Sturgeon was drawn early on to the Independence Party and managed to reconcile a kind of center-left politics with the nationalist message that Scotland must become independent in order to have a good future.

– She took a class trip, became a lawyer, and joined SNP early on. She ran for the first time when she was 21, and was perhaps a little political miracle and became a marital horse for Alex Salmond, who had been the leader of the Scottish National Party before she took office.

Scotland voted for independence in 2014, but it was a disappointment for the nationalists. How did Nicola Sturgeon deal with it?

Of course they were hoping to win, but at the same time they put on a good campaign. They were starting at a real disadvantage, and the entire campaign strengthened the SNP as a party, even if they lost. The Scottish elections were a bit back in 2016, but the cause of independence came to life only a month later when the British voted for Brexit. Then suddenly there was an opportunity again to vote for independence.

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The sturgeon is not pushing for an immediate withdrawal but is playing a long-term game, so why?

– For two reasons. The first reason is that if Scotland is to join the European Union, the withdrawal must take place in a way that is considered legitimate and legal, in both London and Edinburgh. She prefers to avoid confrontational rhetoric and pressure too much – because she knows that if she does not get permission from London, and if she continues to try to hold a referendum without permission, she will have a legal battle waiting in court. If the British government wins there, it will be difficult for support to move to Sturgeon if it hopes for EU membership. Many countries in Europe – such as Spain and France – have regions that want to explode, and do not intend to encourage them to secede without the approval of the central government, thus becoming a member of the European Union. It’s a delicate balancing act there. The second reason is that it has a more radical competitor in the election: Alex Salmond, the former leader of the Scottish National Party, who has formed a small nationalist party called Alba that wants to move faster. She doesn’t care much about EU membership, but can imagine being a member of the European Free Trade Association instead.

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Read more:

The elections could be the beginning of the end for Britain

This is how Scotland can become independent – and become a member of the European Union

Eric de la Reguera: Can Boris Johnson be prime minister?

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