ARCHIVED The Independence Debate: What are the Future Prospects for Scotland?
Thursday 15 April 2021
12.00 noon – 1.00pm (BST)
8.00pm – 9.00pm (JST)
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To discuss the question of Scottish independence and the issues facing voters in May’s elections to the Scottish Parliament, Japan Society chairman Bill Emmott is joined by three experts who have been closely involved in the debate, Sir John Curtice, Iain Martin and Andrew Wilson.
If the pro-independence parties, including her Scottish National Party (SNP), retain a clear majority of seats in this election, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has indicated her support for a second referendum on Scottish independence to be held in the early stages of the new Parliament.
The 2014 Scottish independence referendum was said to be a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for voters to have their say, and saw 55% of voters saying ‘no’ to independence. However, with Scotland having voted clearly to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum, followed by a strong showing for the SNP in the 2019 general election (gaining 48 of the 59 Scottish seats in the House of Commons), there have been repeated calls for ‘indyref 2’.
What is the current mood of the Scottish electorate concerning independence? What impact might the recent public battle between Nicola Sturgeon and her predecessor, Alec Salmond, have on the elections, and the issue? What kind of face-off might there be if the Westminster Parliament refuses to legislate for a referendum? What are the implications for the rest of the United Kingdom of this debate and of Scotland’s choice?
Professor Sir John Curtice is Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, Senior Research Fellow at the National Centre for Social Research, and Chief Commentator on the What UK Thinks: EU and What Scotland Thinks websites.He has been a regular contributor to the British Social Attitudes Report series since 1986, an editor since 1994 and a Co-Director of the Scottish Social Attitudes survey since its foundation in 1999. He is President of the British Polling Council.
Iain Martin is a columnist for The Times. He is a former editor of The Scotsman (2001-2004), Scotland on Sunday (2004-2006) and a former senior executive at The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph. He is the author of the award-winning book Making it Happen: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the men who blew up the British Economy (2013, Simon & Schuster).
Andrew Wilson is an economist, businessman and former SNP Member of the Scottish Parliament 1999 - 2003. Following this, he re-joined Royal Bank of Scotland, working in a number of roles including as deputy chief economist and as head of group communications. He chaired the SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission, which gave its completed report to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in 2018. He is a founding partner at strategic communications firm Charlotte Street Partners.
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