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Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
# tearing us apart
"She can get stuffed": Not everyone in Scotland is clamouring for independence
Nicola Sturgeon will be proceeding carefully in the wake of the Brexit vote. Scots aren’t short of ideas on what she should do.

Daragh Brophy reports from Glasgow:

YOU’D BE FORGIVEN for thinking Scotland was getting ready to pack its bags and wave goodbye to its union with the rest of the UK, listening to some of the news coverage of the last 36 hours or so.

But while first minister Nicola Sturgeon was quick out of the blocks yesterday morning with her warning that it would be “democratically unacceptable” if her country was forced to leave the EU, her statements since then have been a little less strident.

The SNP leader will be playing a careful, strategic game over the next days, weeks and months, as Scotland considers its future relationships with London and Brussels.

EU referendum Jane Barlow Nicola Sturgeon Jane Barlow

As far as its people are concerned – while there appears to be a growing enthusiasm for a fresh independence vote among some, the bond with Britain remains paramount for other voters.

At the heart of the conundrum facing Scots is the fact that the country voted by a clear margin to remain part of the European Union, while England voted to leave.

“I voted for the EU referendum I did not vote for another Scottish one,” Glasgow pensioner Rose said this morning, on her way to support Armed Services Day at the city’s central George Square.

We were talking as Sturgeon and her ministers gathered up the road in Edinburgh to discuss, amongst other things, a potential rerun of the 2014 independence vote.

Rose’s friend, Jean, had some advice for the first minister.

She can get stuffed.

“If David Cameron has to resign – why doesn’t Nicola Sturgeon resign? Because she voted to stay as well.”

As far as Jean is concerned: “We were born British and that’s it.”

Tweet by @Daragh Brophy Daragh Brophy / Twitter Daragh Brophy / Twitter / Twitter

While Jean’s stridency wasn’t echoed by others on the streets of Glasgow today – it’s an indication of the division and acrimony that arose in the country at the time of the last independence vote.

Many say there’s simply no appetite for a fresh referendum, after the bitterness of that campaign. Others believe it’s simply too early to talk about it.

“I don’t think that should really be on the agenda at the moment,” said John Branny, walking on King Street.

He voted Remain last Thursday, he added. “But I think we should let things settle for the moment, and maybe see six months down the line.”

20160625_112644 Daragh Brophy John Branny Daragh Brophy

The talk of the town 

The Brexit fallout is the talk of the town in Glasgow today. Stop and chat to any group of people and “we were just talking about that” is the most likely response.

Rallies have already been held to call for a rerun of the independence vote.

And while opinion polls in the coming weeks will be watched closely by the government – there are already indications that some who voted to remain in the UK two years ago might choose differently this time. asked dozens of people in Ayr and Glasgow for their thoughts on that subject between yesterday and today. And with the proviso that this is obviously by no means scientific, here’s a composite of roughly five of those conversations:

TJ: ”How did you vote last time?”
Person: ”To remain in the UK.”
TJ: ”And if you were asked again?”
Person: ”Emmmm…”

Tweet by @Daragh Brophy Daragh Brophy / Twitter Daragh Brophy / Twitter / Twitter

What now?

In her post-cabinet comments today, Sturgeon said she would seek “immediate discussions” with Brussels to “protect Scotland’s place in the EU”.

Ministers formally agreed to work towards a second independence vote, so the option is “deliverable”, while a board of experts is also being set up to study what to do next.

Writing in today’s Daily Record, Sturgeon’s former advisor Campbell Gunn summed up the delicate balance the leader now has to strike:

The decision she now has to make is all about timing. The UK Government are expected to apply formally to leave the EU in October, with the process taking two years.
A second Scottish referendum would have to be held before then, to avoid having to reapply for EU membership.
Does she strike quickly while Scots are angry at being dragged out of Europe against their will, or pause checking the polls for a period of sustained majority support for independence.
Either course has its risks.

Sturgeon and the SNP won’t want to risk another independence vote unless there’s a very good chance of a Leave vote. Meantime, there’ll obviously be lot of energy expended on how to deal with the rest of the fallout from this week’s ‘Leave’.

Read: Dazed and confused: Many Scots simply don’t know what’s next for their country >

Read: Donald Trump just descended from the heavens into the Brexit fallout >