Hundreds of thousands of Scottish independence supporters are on the march in Glasgow in what has been billed as the largest pro-independence march to date.
The so-called “emergency” march was organized by the All Under One Banner (AUOB) campaign group as a direct response to last month’s British general election which produced a divisive outcome in terms of identity politics.
Whilst the Conservative party secured a resounding overall victory in the general election, it performed poorly in Scotland, where the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), won 48 of the 59 constituency seats.
The SNP’s impressive electoral performance has intensified calls for a second Scottish independence referendum (known as indyref2).
The leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon (who didn’t attended today’s march), wants to hold a referendum in the second half of 2020.
Sturgeon, who is also Scotland’s First Minister, argues that Britain’s imminent departure from the European Union (EU), is a game-changer in so far as the Scottish people didn’t vote to exit the EU in the June 2016 Brexit referendum.
In recent weeks Sturgeon and the SNP have increased the pressure on Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, by publishing a roadmap to independence, known as “Scotland’s Right to Choose”.
In an article for the SNP website on December 19, 2019, Sturgeon described the document as being “rooted in the principle of self-determination, in the material change of circumstances since the 2014 exercise of that right [reference to September 2014 Scottish independence referendum], and in the democratic mandate that exists for offering the choice afresh”.
But this highly legalistic document has failed to satisfy the broader Scottish independence movement, many of whom are present in today’s march.
The more radical elements in the Scottish independence movement are expected to become more prominent if as widely expected Johnson and the Tories persist in their refusal to issue a Section 30 order, a constitutional mechanism required to place indyref2 on a legal footing.
AUOB has claimed that up to 300,000 people attended today’s rally in Glasgow. The campaign group has promised additional marches in the months ahead as the Scottish independence movement continues to pick up momentum.
The groundswell of support for immediate Scottish independence is set to place greater pressure on Sturgeon who has hitherto been loath to depart from her strictly constitutional approach on independence.
In view of the British government’s strong opposition to a second Scottish independence referendum, the stage is set for a rise in tension and the resulting empowerment of more radical Scottish nationalists.