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Should Scotland seek independence?
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The SNP has strong support in Scotland

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has risen to the top of Scottish politics. Once a fringe party, they now control the Scottish government and hold the most Scottish seats in Westminster. They have made their mandate clear, and their strength signals support for independence.

The Argument

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has a clear goal: Scottish independence. Founded as a secessionist party, the SNP has slowly appeared as the power to beat in Scottish politics. Although they enjoyed rising and falling successes in their history, the last decade has proven to be the most consequential. Since the 2014 referendum, party membership is up, and the SNP controls the Scottish government and the most Scottish seats in Westminster. [1] Considering the party is unequivocal in their goals, their rise in support signals a growing interest in independence. The 2014 vote was surprisingly close and showed that more Scots were in favor of leaving the UK than expected. If we are to take the SNP's ascendance in the aftermath of 2014 as evidence, a second referendum may have an affirmative outcome on leaving the UK. Most importantly, heading into the 2021 Scottish elections the SNP is poised to take a solid majority in the Scottish parliament.[2] The SNP's strength signals democratic support for the independence movement. While the UK government is quick to deny calls for a second referendum and independence as a whole, it cannot deny the growing appeal of an independent Scotland.[3]

Counter arguments

There is no denying the strength of the SNP in Scottish politics. However, we must be hesitant to suggest that their support translates into pro-independence sentiment since Scotland has suffered from a miserable assembly of opposition parties in recent years. Much like the rest of the UK, Labour has seen as a complete nosedive in support within Scotland. Conservatives have not enjoyed Scottish support for some time, so it is no wonder that the SNP has risen above the rest. If opposition parties sufficiently invested their time in Scotland, rather than solely their English seats, perhaps the SNP would not have the same appeal.[4] This raises the important question of how SNP support reflects on the independence movement? If the SNP is the only viable and competent option for Scottish voters, perhaps the party's support is not reflective of the SNP's stated goal of an independent Scotland. Additionally, polling has been anything but reliable in recent memory, as evidenced by Brexit and the election of Donald J. Trump in the United States, both of which were not predicted by the majority of polls.[5] Scottish nationalists should not get too comfortable in their support because it may not translate into achieving their primary goal.



[P1] The SNP has had strong support in recent years, [P2] The SNP is clear in its goal of independence. [C] The strong, and growing, support of the SNP signals that independence is enjoying sustained support.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Scotland has lacked sufficient and competent opposition to the SNP. [Rejecting P2] Support for the SNP does not necessarily translate to support for independence.


This page was last edited on Monday, 2 Nov 2020 at 23:46 UTC

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