Failed U.K. Response to COVID sparks Scottish Independence support.

California flag waving in the midst of the Jan. 2020 Scottish independence rally in Glasgow.
One of the 80,000 marchers demanding independence in the January 11 demonstration in Glasgow, Scotland carried a California flag in the midst of thousands of blue and white Scottish flags. (Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Most Scottish people now support independence from the United Kingdom, 53% to 47%, according to an opinion poll published Aug. 12. No poll has measured a higher level of support for independence among Scottish people. Major U.S. newspapers published this news on Aug. 24, including the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury-News.

The article by AP reporter Jill Lawless credits this shift in Scottish opinion to the failure of the U.K. Government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson to control the spread of COVID-19. Currently, the U.K. has the 6th highest rate of COVID deaths in the world.

The bumbling impression that Johnson makes contrasts with the cool professional leadership of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. She has been First Minister since 2014, as leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP).

Independence supporters have demonstrated the desire for independence by holding regular marches across Scotland. For example, the January 11 march in Glasgow, pictured above, drew over 80,000 people.

Another Scottish Independence Vote is Almost Certainly Inevitable

Ian Dunt, writing in The New European, has explained why an independence referendum is probably unavoidable next year. Even before the COVID crisis, Johnson and his supporters, by demanding that the U.K. leave all European Union institutions, had made Scottish independence hard to avoid. When Northern Ireland ministers forced Johnson to allow their “country” to remain in the E.U. free-trade and customs zone, the people of Scotland reassessed their future.

Nevertheless, under British law, the Scottish people cannot hold a referendum on independence without permission from the U.K. government. The Johnson government refuses to relent.

Californians, however, will be able to hold a lawful referendum to start toward independence, if enough registered voters sign the ballot initiative petition, starting September 8. As noted earlier, the period to gather signatures coincides with likely election-related violence and repression this winter.

Meanwhile, Californians will continue to watch events in the British Isles to be inspired by the democratic aspirations of all 66 million U.K. citizens.

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