With the uncertainty being wrought by the Brexit process in Westminster, many in Scotland appear to be feeling that the time is fast approaching to go it alone outside of the union with the UK.
The city of Dunfermline is due to hold its third annual march calling for Scottish Independence on Saturday amid increasing public anxiety over the Brexit process.
Assembling at the heart of the city’s Viewfield Terrance area, protestors will march for hours through the city’s streets demanding a second referendum on independence from the United Kingdom on the heels of a 2014 referendum on the same issue, in which the ‘No’ side won by a 55.3% majority.
Many ardent Scottish unionists, not to mention the British parliament at Westminster, signalled that the issue had been laid to rest after a clear majority voted to remain the UK in 2014. Yet, with a reported increase in the percentage of Scots supporting a clean break from the union with England, which was struck in the year 1707, Scotland’s political trajectory may soon start to stake a radically different direction.
Dunfermline’s ‘March and Rally for Scottish Independence 2019’ comes amid potentially drastic changes to the Scottish political landscape facilitated by Brexit. This week, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, who was the governing UK Tory party’s representative north of the border, resigned from her post partly over disagreements with the direction of Brexit being charted under Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Davidson, who was widely seen as a popular and uniting force for a Tory Party who in recent years has struggled to gain traction among Scottish voters, had previously alluded to having differences with Boris Johnson over his hardline Brexit stance, including his embracement of the possibility of a no-deal outcome – something with Davidson has expressed her opposition to in the past.
While being careful not to attack Mr Johnson directly, Miss Davidson said in her resignation speech in Edinburgh that, “respect is what is missing from our debates, and without respect you cannot have understanding and you cannot unite which is what we in Scotland and in the UK need to do.”
The political opportunities opened up by Davidson’s resignation have not been lost on the leader of the Scottish National Party, First Minister Nichola Sturgeon, who is eyeing the Tory Party’s 13 Scottish parliamentary seats, which many see as being weakened following the departure of Davidson.
Miss Sturgeon also asked why the rest of Scotland should have to put up with Boris Johnson when Ruth Davidson would not.
In addition to this, Sturgeon even went so far as to accuse Mr Johnson of acting like a “tin-pot dictator” over his recent decision to suspend parliament until just 17 days before the scheduled Brexit date of October 31.
“This is a dark day for democracy. Attempting to shut down Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit is an outrageous assault on basic democratic principles,” Miss Sturgeon has been quoted as saying.
According to the SNP’s own poles, there is now a majority for independence among Scots, with about 52% of them supporting a withdrawal from the union with the rest of the UK.