Analysis | Why Scotland’s Independence Push Faces Barriers

Enormous. Scotland voted by 62% to 38% to remain in the EU in 2016. Only two years earlier, claims that Scotland would have to apply to rejoin the EU if it left the U.K. undermined nationalist momentum. Now Brexit has allowed Sturgeon to argue that there’s been a fundamental change in circumstances. Johnson’s delivery of a “hard Brexit” — taking Britain out of the EU’s single market –- has fueled grievances, hitting Scotland’s fishing industry particularly hard, while the U.K.’s Internal Market Act, which allows the British government to override the Edinburgh parliament, has led to accusations of a power grab. Johnson’s bumbling, upper-class personality has made him unpopular among Scots, who identify more readily with Sturgeon’s directness. Leaked comments by Johnson, who called devolution “a disaster,” have only reinforced those perceptions.

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