Scottish independence prospect ‘payback’ for Brexit ‘It’s schadenfreude!’ | Politics | News

Director of the Scottish Centre on European Relations, Dr Kirsty Hughes, revealed that diplomats and commentators in the European Union view Scottish independence as “schadenfreude”. The argument over Scotland breaking away from the UK has intensified in recent days after the SNP‘s landslide victory in the Holyrood election last week, which also produced the largest pro-independence majority in the Parliament in the history of devolution.

Dr Hughes told Chatham House: “Some different commentators and diplomats and other people – when I asked them about the scenario in about 10 years time that Scotland might be independent and then asked them about the UK, I got comments like, ‘that would be extraordinary. That would be a national humiliation.”

She added that someone in Brussels noted it would be “schadenfreude and payback for Brexit”.

“I think it’s not just England, the rest of the world has already looked on with a certain degree of horror and bafflement of the self-harm of Brexit.

“Then to see this old state break up, it adds to that sense that UK politics is failing or not working properly.”

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It comes as former prime minister Gordon Brown has said if Scotland becomes independent during Boris Johnson’s premiership, that will be his lasting legacy.

The Prime Minister has since stood by his pre-election position, saying the focus should be on the recovery from Covid-19 and not on another independence referendum.

Speaking on Times Radio on Wednesday, Mr Brown claimed Mr Johnson’s lasting legacy would be losing Scotland if the country becomes independent, adding he believes the PM does not “understand” the union.

He said: “The problem for Boris Johnson is, I think he had one sentence in his speech yesterday, the Queen’s Speech, about the union itself.

“I don’t think he’s thought about it, I don’t think he understands it, I think he’s got to start beginning to understand it.

“He’s a historian, he must remember that Lord North was the prime minister who lost America and that’s all he’s remembered for, if Boris Johnson becomes the Prime Minister who loses Scotland and sees the end of the United Kingdom, that’s all he will be remembered for.

“We need to give some attention to this issue, and we need to do it pretty urgently.”

Mr Brown, who left office in 2010, has previously railed against the “muscular unionism” of the current Westminster administration, which has said it would like to finance projects in Scotland through local authorities as opposed to the Scottish Government – an approach widely criticised by the SNP during the latter part of the last Holyrood term and in the election campaign.


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More people in Scotland embrace their Scottish identity first before their British identity, according to Mr Brown, and he said you can be a “patriotic Scot” while also supporting the union – but he added the union should be one where “people are co-operating with each other rather than, as Boris Johnson seems to be doing, putting people at permanent war with each other”.

Mr Brown said about 40 percent of people in Scotland are not convinced either of the case for the union or for independence.

He called for a permanent forum of all the nations and regions to be set up where issues can be discussed, including the leaders of the devolved administrations and English mayors.

“Then we’d get a sense that we were talking about issues that have got to be sorted by all these people working together,” he said.

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