The first strategy of the independence manual is to cultivate the sympathy of the international community. Nothing more successful, then, than a declaration of love and convinced Europeanism, on the day that Brexit becomes a reality .

The Nationalist Government of Scotland has launched, on the first day of 2021, an international digital campaign under the title Scotland is here. Scotland is Now (Scotland is here. Now it’s Scotland’s turn), and its first destinations have been France, Germany, Ireland and Spain.

The two nations with the last word in all EU decisions, and the two that harbor the most sympathy for Scottish independence sentiment. A young woman with an irrefutable look and smile, wrapped in the warmth of Scottish wool and tweed, stroll through the arid coastal beauty of the Highlands, in a campaign video .

A beacon keeps its light on. “We abandon you, but we leave you a promise: we will keep a space in our hearts and on our table. Our companies and our universities will always be open to you. You will always find warmth on our shores, but don’t forget to bring a jacket ”, he says, and he smiles at the camera from the top of the lighthouse.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) governs the autonomous territory in a parliamentary minority, but with the comfort of its 61 deputies in a territorial Chamber of 129 seats. There is nothing that irritates their political representatives more – they do not stop correcting the error every time it arises – than references to the formation as the Scottish “Nationalist” Party.

“My party is called the Scottish National Party. The word nationalism carries a whole series of connotations that have nothing to do with what the independence movement represents and my own formation.

But defending the right of a country to govern itself is not the kind of nationalism to which people refer – rightly – in pejorative terms, ”he tried to explain.the chief minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to a group of media (EL PAÍS, among them) in a recent interview.

Scotland voted against Brexit in the 2016 referendum (62% in favor of permanence, compared to 38% who supported leaving the EU). The wound has hurt even more, because two years earlier, in the 2014 independence referendum , one of the most powerful arguments of the defenders of maintaining the union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland, was precisely that the separation would mean abandonment of the community club.

55% of Scots, compared to 45%, chose to remain within the UK. “We now know that the only way to recover the enormous benefits that our permanence in the EU has brought is to become an independent state in the heart of Europe once again,” announced the SNP spokesman in the House of Commons, Ian Blackford, during the debate prior tothe approval of the trade agreement sealed between London and Brussels.

Scotland will hold new regional elections in May. All the polls point to an overwhelming majority of nationalists. Sturgeon has managed to maintain an image of seriousness and rigor, and has rescued the SNP from the low hours that brought defeat in the independence consultation, and the sexual abuse scandal in which his charismatic predecessor was involved at the head of the formation , Alex Salmond.

A popular jury acquitted him of the twelve accusations of attempted rape of party employees and supporters. The majority rejection among the Scots of the figure of Boris Johnson, to which his erratic management of the pandemic during 2020 has contributed, has been a significant stimulus for the independence movement.

Last August, a YouGov poll came to give an advantage of six percentage points (53% versus 47%) to supporters of separation. In November, however, the advantage was reduced to two points (51% versus 49%).

Sturgeon has pledged to hold a second referendum if his party wins the May election, presenting himself with that promise as the focal point of his program. The chief minister, however, insists that the priority remains to fight the pandemic, and that it will only be afterwards that a pro-independence push makes sense.

That, in any case, as he has written in a gallery published in EL PAÍSIt will only be through “a legal and constitutional path”. The Scottish leader believes that the British Government has no legal grounds to deny holding a second consultation, once the 2014 precedent has been set.

Johnson, however, has already made it clear that he has no intention of allowing that second consultation to be reopened. box, and promises a communication and new investment campaign to win back the hearts of the UK ‘highlands’.

“I think the majority instinct of the citizens of this country is to move forward together as one UK. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, all working together to express our values ​​around the world ”, stated the Prime Minister in his New Year’s address.

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