Scottish independence '˜inevitable', claims top historian

One of Scotland's top historians believes that Scottish independence is 'still on the cards, but not for some time'.

Wednesday, 27th April 2016, 7:57 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2016, 10:42 am
Tom Devine thinks that a vote to leave the EU could strengthen want for another independence referendum Picture: Ian Georgeson

Tom Devine, a history lecturer at Edinburgh University said that it would be a long process and not even a Brexit vote would spark an immediate vote.

“There is no quick fix. (For independence to happen) it has to be a steady demonstration of convincing argument over time,” Tom Devine told Reuters.

“But I think the identity thing is so strong now that it probably just needs a final push.”

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After the independence vote, which saw 55 per cent of voters choosing to remain part of the UK, Nicola Sturgeon announced that the SNP wouldn’t call for another referendum unless it was clear that a majority of Scots backed independence. Although the SNP have said that a vote to leave the EU could lead to another referendum being offered.

Devine said either way, another independence referendum was likely within the next 10 years, with the “allure” of independence tempting many Scots.

Tom Devine said: “Scotland remains a restless nation.

“Most Scots continue to believe in an important role for the state and so resent the downsizing and privatisation policies of Westminster, so inevitably independence will therefore retain an allure for some time as a potential escape from what many north of the border - though not yet a clear majority - see as a politically unacceptable ideology.” Devine says the SNP, ironically, is now in a position promoting a union.

“No British prime minister wants Scotland to ‘go’ on their watch, and this is a fantastic bludgeon with which to beat Westminster. There is still a lot to be pushed for via more devolution,” he said.