Philosopher Abroad – Anarchy in the UK

Life as a political philosopher in the United Kingdom sure is interesting these days. Less than half a year after I moved to Scotland, the UK formally left the European Union. As it did so, it dragged an unwilling Scotland along with it – about two-thirds of Scotland had voted to remain in the EU, the highest proportion of all the UK’s constituent countries. The COVID-19 pandemic, which struck shortly afterwards, widened the gap between Scotland and the rest of the UK yet again. While the UK government led by Boris Johnson stumbled from one poor decision to another scandal, Nicola Sturgeon’s messaging from the Scottish parliament at Holyrood was clear, to the point and confident. Interestingly, Westminster and Holyrood did not differ that much at all in their policies to curb the spread of COVID-19, but the optics were vastly different for the two leaders. In the meantime, calls for a renewed referendum on Scottish independence are growing louder, fuelled by the UK changing the terms of the agreement only two years after Scotland had voted “no” in the 2014 referendum. Many Scots who were on the fence in 2014 were swayed to vote against independence by the prospect of automatically leaving the EU when leaving the UK. In the upcoming Scottish elections in May 2021 pro-independence parties are set to narrowly achieve an absolute majority in parliament even though the electoral system is set up to prevent any one party from achieving a majority. Interesting times indeed.

Read more…