EXPERTS: SCOTLAND DIVIDED ON SPLIT WITH UK; WALES UNLIKELY TO LEAVE
Scotland is still undecided over whether or not it should remain part of Britain while a Welsh referendum on independence is unlikely in the next few years, political experts have said, Isobel Frodsham reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).
Last week’s elections saw the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) gain two more seats in the nation's parliament and retain their title as the largest party, but fall one short of a majority. Over in Wales, the largest party, Welsh Labor, gained an extra seat but also fell one short of a majority.
Polls showed Scottish people were split 50:50 over whether they should leave Britain, while in Wales around 10 to 15 percent of its population feel it should be independent. It is unlikely that First Minister for Wales Mark Drakeford will hold a referendum over the next few years but First Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon will call one once over 50 percent of its population is in favor of independence, experts told dpa.
"There will be moves to hold a referendum in the not-too-distant future and no one will know what the outcome of that will be," John Curtice, leading pollster for Britain, said. "We are looking at a country which is deeply divided, that feels intensely about it on both sides, reckons it matters and that's now the starting point for the next phase of this process.”
Scotland held a referendum on independence in 2014 in which 55 percent of voters rejected breaking away. Manifestos for each of the parties in the 2016 election were more "ambiguous" in whether or not they would hold another referendum on Scottish independence in the future, whereas this year’s manifestos featured the topic hugely, Curtice said.
Alistair Jones, associate professor in politics at De Montfort University in Leicester, said there were a lot of “serious divisions” between England, Wales and Scotland.
“The problem is the Scots and the Welsh don’t want to follow Boris Johnson’s agenda on how to take the UK forward ... there is a much greater commitment in those two countries to the National Health Service and to the public sector as a whole," he told dpa. "What you see in Wales is huge Welsh nationalism, pride in being Welsh, the language and in the culture, and a dislike of the English, but there is no stomach for an independent Wales as things currently stand."