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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019

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

Scotland has been left reeling from the Brexit result. Do its people want another shot at independence?

Daragh Brophy reports from Ayr, Scotland:

I don’t know… I really don’t know. What do you think?

THE REALITY IS still sinking in for many Scots.

And in fairness, it’s a lot to process.

Sarah Harris, walking home in the evening sunshine in the coastal town of Ayr, tried to sum up the events of the day – but eventually gave up, with a shrug.

All these different things… The prime minister’s resigned. There’s a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn.

Add to that Sinn Féin’s demand for a border poll in Northern Ireland, the inevitable tussle for the Tory leadership – and, of course, to top it all, the question of what happens next for Scotland.

Her son, John, has a view:

I mean, you saw the map of Scotland right? Every single constituency voted to remain and now we’re being forced to leave by a party we didn’t vote for in the first place.

The last vote on Scottish independence was divisive, Sarah said. They both voted to stay in the UK, two years ago. But if they were asked the question again?

We were just talking about that. Would we vote to leave? We may do.

John agreed.

I’m more inclined to.
Even after the last time we felt really sad because we felt really sorry for the people that did vote to leave the UK last time. There was a sense, a feeling, that their hopes had been dashed – and you kind of felt emotionally for them.

20160624_174222 Sarah Harris and her son, John. They voted to stay in the UK the last time. They might change their minds, if given another chance. Source: Daragh Brophy

Stay or go?

A tumultuous morning across the UK yesterday was compounded by the disparity between the results in England and Scotland.

The Scots voted by 62% to 38% to remain.

That’s triggered a call from first minister Nicola Sturgeon for an independence vote to be put back on the table, just two years after the country voted in that ‘once in a generation’ referendum.

Not everyone agrees. Other locals we spoke to throughout the day yesterday said 2014’s campaign had been simply too divisive, and that there was no appetite for a rerun.

While recent polls suggest independence doesn’t yet have majority support, other Scots who have been talking to local broadcasters in radio and TV voxpops said that they (like Sarah and John) would vote to leave the UK in a fresh referendum – having voted to stay last time around.

“I think there’ll be an independent Scotland now – I think she will get that,” Sarah Cuthbert told us. She voted to part company with the United Kingdom last time – and she thinks there’d be more support for independence, in a rerun.

Just down the road, sisters Linda and June Dalton said they were startled at the Brexit result.

Said Linda: “Cameron’s thrown in his jotter – so what does that mean? Do we get Boris? I actually thought that we’d vote to stay in. I was quite, quite surprised.”

20160624_174825 Sisters Linda and June Dalton. Source: Daragh Brophy

Both would be happy to see another vote. As to whether it would make a difference – Linda reckons the Brexit, combined with Sturgeon’s popularity, could be a factor.

Or as she put it:

I think this wee lassie that’s in now is a lot more popular than the guy that was in previously.

Tweet by @Ali  ¯\_(ツ)_ Source: Ali ¯\_(ツ)_/¯/Twitter

So will it happen? The consensus among political commentators here is that Sturgeon won’t clamour for a rerun, unless she can be reasonably certain of a win – otherwise the question would be very much off the table for more than a generation.

Already, though, #indyref has been trending on Twitter in Scotland. And a pro-EU rally in Glasgow last night saw people show up draped in Scottish flags, and carrying pro-independence banners.

Sturgeon’s cabinet will meet in emergency session later today, and is expected to agree plans to put forward legislation for a referendum in its programme for government later this year, the Guardian reports.

What happens next? Politicians won’t be the only ones having difficult conversations  about that very question this weekend. The country’s talking about little else, it seems.

Tweet by @Bunbeg Brian Source: Bunbeg Brian/Twitter

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