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Should Scotland seek independence?
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COVID-19 has demonstrated the divide between Scotland and the rest of the UK

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's competent handling of the pandemic thus far has bolstered her case for independence. Not only has she driven Scotland into a safer context upon ending the lockdown, but she has also provided a stark contrast to Boris Johnson's handling of the disease.

The Argument

The pandemic offered a surprising case for Scottish independence. The incompetent response from Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government in Westminster made the perfect example of why Scotland is better off in Scottish hands. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's handling of the pandemic in Scotland has yielded demonstrably safer circumstances for Scots. In her much more cautious approach to lockdown and reopening, Sturgeon has been able to keep infection rates low and, most importantly, kept the death rate lower as well. As of the middle of July, Scotland's ratio of deaths was at about 63 percent of England's. The number of daily new infections per-capita in Scotland was at a quarter of England's as of August 2020.[1] The public trust of Sturgeon is also substantially higher than that of PM Johnson. According to the BBC, Sturgeon polls at 82 percent, while Johnson sits at a stark 30 percent. Scotland is making clear where their faith in governance lies.[2] Heading into the Scottish parliamentary elections in 2021, the SNP is polling a clear majority.[3] With independence on the tip of Scotland's tongue, the COVID-19 pandemic has not done anything to help unionists in the country. Scotland and the SNP should seize the opportunity to make its case for why Scotland will be safer, healthier, and more prosperous as its own nation, rather than in the hands of a fumbling UK government.

Counter arguments

Scotland has worked itself into a renewed fervor over independence during this pandemic. While England has had higher infection rates and a slightly higher death rate, these differences are more readily explained by factors such as population density, travel, etc. Not only does England have many more urban centers, but most of the major airports in the UK are in England. Nicola Sturgeon would make you think it was a matter of leadership, despite Scotland going into lockdown on the same date as the rest of the UK. The SNP has also framed every misstep by the UK government as a bolster for independence. While polls have indicated increased support for the SNP, and independence, since the pandemic began, these polls are historically very volatile. The disapproval of the Conservative government in Westminster does not necessarily translate into support for Scottish independence.[4]



[P1] Scotland's handling of the pandemic has been much better than the UK government's. [P2] Public trust of the UK government has fallen sharply amid the pandemic. [P3] The SNP is polling for a clear majority in next year's elections. [C] The COVID-19 pandemic has offered Scottish secessionists a renewed chance to make its case for independence.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Scotland went into lockdown on the same date as the rest of the UK, so any difference in outcomes may be explained by other factors such as geography, population density, and travel. [Rejecting P3] Independence polling has sharp rises and falls in support, so any recent boosts should be taken with a grain of salt.


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 29 Dec 2020 at 21:49 UTC

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