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Young Scots ready for “Yes” as Sturgeon announces #IndyRef2 

On 28 June, Scotland’s First Minister and leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, formally announced an independence referendum, determining the constitutional future of Scotland, which would be held on 19 October 2023. 

Amidst great speculation – built throughout the parliamentary term – Sturgeon acknowledged that legal proceedings would have to commence between her governing party at Holyrood – the Scottish parliament – and the central Westminster Government, to legitimise the proposal in the UK law. Expanding on this, the FM suggested that if the bill was rejected by Johnson’s cabinet, it would only prove the Union between England and Scotland was not a “voluntary partnership”. She did, however, stress that, as with the UK-wide Brexit referendum, a “Yes” result would be “consultative”, and legislation would need to be debated and passed by both Westminster and Holyrood parliaments to complete the separation of Scotland from the UK. Furthermore, she added that the question of legal competence should now be passed on to the courts, rather than remain in limbo between the two parliaments, stating, “The lawfulness must be established not just of opinion.” In response to the proposals, UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, stated that Scottish independence would be “utterly tragic for the whole world” and “…right now the priorities of the country should be rebuilding after Covid”. This sparked criticism from many of the movement’s campaigners, who took to social media, echoing the FM’s statement that the £20 million set aside for the referendum, “represents just 0.05% of the Scottish Government’s budget”. 

A survey by Survation for the anti-independence group ‘Scotland In Union’, suggested 29% of the 1,050 people asked backed another referendum in 2023, while 60% said they were opposed. Furthermore, another poll by Panelbase for The Sunday Times, suggested 24% wanted another vote within the next 12 months, but a further 31% agreed it should happen within the next five years – meaning 55% of the 1,009 asked backed a second referendum at some point. While numerous polls held over the past ten days suggest scepticism amongst the Scottish population as a whole, several polls conducted since 2020, suggest a majority of Scotland’s younger generations support a referendum, as well as intend to vote ‘Yes’ to independence.  An Ipsos MORI poll carried out in November 2021, suggested 71% of 16 to 34-year-olds would vote ‘Yes’ in a potential independence referendum. As part of the survey, 19-year-old Scot, Adam Harris from Edinburgh stated, “In 2014 I was a firm ‘No’. It was just slowly but surely realising – over the past couple of years in particular – that there is so much that Scotland can’t control. I think it is not surprising that young people are more in favour of Scottish independence, as Scottish independence is becoming a progressive movement and young people do tend to be more progressive. For older people, it might just be the nostalgia of the Union which makes them want to stay” 

Last week, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that if the Supreme Court rejected the referendum bill, she and the SNP would fight the next general election on the single issue of independence, stating this would make the vote “a de facto referendum”. 


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12/07/2022

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Jamie Bryson



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