Experts: Scotland divided on independence; Wales referendum unlikely


Scotland is still undecided over whether or not it should remain part of Britain while a Welsh referendum on independence is unlikely in the next few years, political experts have said.

Last week’s elections saw pro-independence party, the Scottish National Party, gain two more seats in the nation and retain their title as the largest party, but fall one short of a majority.
Over in Wales, the largest party, Welsh Labour, gained an extra seat but also fell one short of a majority.

Polls showed Scottish people were split 50:50 over whether it should leave Britain, while in Wales around 10 to 15 per cent of its population feel it should be independent.

“We are looking at a country (Scotland) which is deeply divided, feels intensely about it on both sides, reckons it matters and that’s now the starting point for the next phase of this process,” John Curtice, leading pollster for Britain, told dpa.

Manifestos for each of the parties in the 2016 election were more “ambiguous” in whether they would hold a referendum whereas this year’s manifestos featured the topic hugely, Curtice added.

Alistair Jones, associate professor in politics at De Montfort University in Leicester, said there were a lot of “serious divisions” between England, Wales and Scotland but a Welsh referendum is unlikely.

“What you seen in Wales is huge Welsh nationalism, pride in being Welsh, the language and in the culture, and a dislike of the English, but there is no real stomach for an independent Wales as things currently stand,” he told dpa.

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