IF a second referendum is held on the issue of Scottish independence, as appears likely, the context will be very different to the 2014 poll when the United Kingdom remained intact and the Queen reportedly ‘purred’ in delight when she was informed of the outcome by an indiscreet David Cameron.
Back then, the UK was a member of the European Union. Now the dynamics are very different. While Scots voted in favour of the EU last June, the rest of the country did not and Theresa May is now preparing to begin Brexit the process in the face of relentless resistance from the Scottish Nationalists and others.
Even though there’s no guarantee that an independent Scotland will meet the entry criteria for the EU, this is not stopping Nicola Sturgeon, the abrasive First Minister, from threatening a fresh constitutional challenge because she does not want Britain to leave Europe’s single market.
The Prime Minister’s profound point – there’s no single market more important to Scotland than the United Kingdom – will not appease Ms Sturgeon who needs a referendum to divert attention away from the SNP’s growing failings when it comes to economic competence and education policy.
And with a majority Tory government further fuelling Scotland’s tiresome grievance culture, Mrs May faces the fight of her political life to persuade sufficient Scots to see sense and realise that it’s the combined strength of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which makes Britain the great nation that it is.
Though Brexit has added an element of uncertainty to the country’s future, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the United Kingdom will prosper once it is free from the EU and Ms Sturgeon should, at the very least, have the courtesy to wait for the final outcome before making any pre-emptive decisions.