United Kingdom

Sturgeon warning: UK faces ‘national humiliation’ over independence- ‘Payback for Brexit’

The Scottish First Minister has made her intentions to hold a second vote clear to Prime Minister Boris Johnson after securing a fourth consecutive victory in the Scottish Parliament election. She claimed it “is the will of the country” and warned Mr Johnson against “picking a fight with the democratic wishes of the Scottish people”. But should the leader of the SNP be successful, the UK faces the prospect of a “national humiliation,” EU diplomats reportedly claimed.

Asked what the implications of Scotland leaving the Union for the UK’s soft power would be, Director of the Scottish Centre on European Relations, Dr Kirsty Hughes said it would be a “huge shock to the rest of the UK”.

But, she added: “With or without Wales and Northern Ireland, England is a big country and its soft power is still going to be there. 

“It will need to rethink its own identity and what that means to projecting its soft power to the rest of the world.

“The remainder UK would be looked at very differently from the outside. 

“Talking to diplomats and others in the European Union (EU), they say the break-up of the UK would be a national humiliation and some have told me it would be payback for Brexit. 

“Others are horrified and baffled at what they see as the self-harm of Brexit and the prospect that this old state could break up would confirm their view that the UK is a state in turmoil.”

And former Permanent Secretary of the UK Department for Exiting the EU, Philip Rycroft, said the impacts would be seen “around the world”.

He added in May: “The loss of part of its territory, albeit through a democratic process, would be noted around the world and most people would conclude, understandably, it would be a diminution of the capacity of the remainder UK to project its interests.

READ MORE: Sturgeon told ‘find new customer’ for independent Scotland’s energy as UK would cut ties

“Scotland has always had a bigger part in the projection of the image of the UK internationally than its population size would suggest. 

“It plays a big role in the cultural influence of the UK and Scottish products are a big part of the British brand – losing those would diminish that brand.

“But I think the biggest impact will be on perceptions of Englishness among the English themselves, who make up 85 pecent of the UK’s population, and the projection of Englishness as a national identity.

“That identity has been subsumed into British identity for 300 years and the departure of Scotland would set in train a process of reflection the outcome of which is very difficult to predict, but, I think, would have a huge psychological impact.”

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But Mr Johnson does not appear to have any plans to allow Mrs Sturgeon’s plot to go ahead.

He told the Telegraph in May: “I think a referendum in the current context is irresponsible and reckless.”

Referencing the work of the armed services and the furlough scheme, Mr Johnson insisted: “I think there’s been an eloquent testimonial during the pandemic to the power of the union.”


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