Boris Johnson has dismissed the possibility of a new independence vote happening in Scotland any time soon, saying such events should be held “once in a generation.” Unsurprisingly, his words invoked a flurry of negative reaction.
The British prime minister was asked to share his thoughts on a potential Scotland independence vote, a hot topic in the wake of Brexit finally happening, as he spoke to the BBC on Sunday. He somewhat dodged the question, sharing his thoughts on referendums in general instead.
“The only point I would make is that referendums, [in] my… direct experience in this country, are not particularly jolly events,” Johnson stated, apparently referring to the 2016 Brexit vote and all the drama that followed, as well as Scotland’s 2014 independence vote.
They don’t have a, notably unifying force on the national mood, they should be only once in a generation.
Asked why it was fair to hold a referendum on EU membership and not another on Scotland’s independence, Johnson argued that the Brexit one was held decades after the 1975 vote on joining the European Economic Community (EEC), which only transformed into the full-fledged bloc of the European Union in 1993.
“The difference is we had a (European) referendum in 1975 and we then had another one in 2016,” Johnson said. “That seems to be about the right sort of gap.”
The inflammatory remarks promptly came under fire from different sides, with many taking offence at Johnson’s words one way or another. Supporters of Scotland’s independence were quite expectedly the ones who got most irked by the PM’s comments.
Scotland is not his or his cronies possession – the decision is up to the people of Scotland. How many countries who became independent of the UK have wanted to become part of it again?
— Indie – Stay Home Save Lives 🏴 (@indieandluna) January 3, 2021
The most hardline ones even argued that Johnson and other ‘Englishmen’ should have no say in Scottish affairs at all.
The arrogance of Johnson – he thinks he can tell the Scottish people we can’t have a say in our own future!A PM we didn’t vote for leading a Tory Government Scotland hasn’t voted for since 1955 You tell Scotland nothing
— Annette Duff (@annette_duff) January 3, 2021
Others hit at Johnson’s – trademark, actually – habit of not answering direct questions and veering off into other topics.
Basically.Marr "Lets talk about Scottish independence…."Boris "Must we? I'm really not that bothered either way. Just a load of old nonsense and it's becoming a real hassle."
— JamesAithie 🏴 (@JamesAithie) January 3, 2021
The proposed timeframe of “once in a generation” was not exactly precise either. Many users argued that such a term has never been used in any legal documents, while an actual time span of a “generation” could vary “drastically.”
"Once in a Generation" is a meaningless term.Define it and you fix the argument, is it 10, 15 or 25 years?Scots have a right to self determination, It is undeniable that arguments that supported the winning side in 2014 have been undermined by Brexit.
— Christopher Bowles (@Bowleskov) January 3, 2021
How long is a generation?According to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, a vote to unite Ireland must wait seven years before it can be repeated.
— LeeBee (@boysinblue28) January 3, 2021
The concept itself appears to stem from remarks made by then-leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) Alex Salmond, who called the Scottish independence referendum a “once in a generation opportunity” back in 2014. The politician, however, stressed that it was his personal opinion and refused to make it an official stance of his party.
Referendums are not 'once in a generation'. Referendums are 'whenever democracy demands'. We have the democratic mandate. The legal right is ours on demand.
— NEIL MACKENZIE (@Neil_Mackenzie) January 3, 2021
Talk of Scotland’s independence has recently been reinvigorated as the UK has finally left the European Union. Scotland voted overwhelmingly in favor of staying in the EU back in 2016, with more than 60 percent of voters rejecting the Brexit idea back then. Moreover, Britain’s leadership has been accused of tricking Scotland into leaving, as staying within the EU as a part of the UK was one of the main talking points against independence back in 2014.
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‘Keep the light on,’ Sturgeon tells EU, suggesting Scotland might SECEDE from post-Brexit UK ‘soon’
The SNP leader and first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has openly expressed hopes of returning to the EU in the nearest future – this time, as an independent, full-fledged member.
“For too long, successive UK governments have taken Scotland in the wrong direction, culminating in Brexit. It’s no wonder so many people in Scotland have had enough,” Sturgeon said in a statement on Saturday. “We didn’t want to leave and we hope to join you again soon as an equal partner.”
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