IndyRef2: ‘Difficult to maintain union by saying no’ says McEwen
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Senior Fellow at the think tank, UK in a Changing Europe, Professor McEwen argued that independence was not a settled issue in Scotland. During an interview with Express.co.uk, she said Boris Johnson would not resolve the issue by constantly saying no to a referendum. Conversely, she said that Nicola Sturgeon would not get independence unless she got more support and a clear will from the Scottish people.
Professor McEwen said: “It is a challenge for the Prime Minister too.
“This is because it is difficult over the longer term to maintain a Union by saying no.
“This is without testing the will of the people to maintain that Union.
“What we can ascertain from opinion polls is that Scotland is split on the issue, this is an issue that divides Scotland.
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“We are not at the case with independence right now, that it is clearly the will of the people.
“We can’t say that independence is the will of the Scottish people nor can we say that maintaining the Union is the will of the Scottish people.”
Professor McEwen concluded that the idea of independence would prove challenging for Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon for different reasons.
She said: “I suppose one of the biggest challenges for Nicola Sturgeon is equally a challenge for Boris Johnson.
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“It is that there is no settled will among the people of Scotland in either direction.
“Actually, I think public opinion is more complex than that sort of yes or no binary choice.”
Professor McEwen also warned that the Westminster Government and Boris Johnson could turn the independence argument into a battle between Governments.
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“The other risk here is that at the moment independence is an issue that divides Scotland.
“It is a debate within Scotland and the risk for the British Government and Boris Johnson is that he allows it to become a fight or a contest between the Scottish Government and the UK Government.
“That would change the optics of that battle and we know from years and years of data that there is far more trust in the Scottish Government in Scotland than in the UK Government.”
Whether Scotland would become independent if it ever had a referendum remains a hotly debated topic in both UK and Scottish politics.
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