As Western Europe rang in the new year, Scotland’s first minister tweeted out a hopeful image for Scottish folks still sore about the UK’s departure from the European Union.
“Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on,” Nicola Sturgeon, who also heads the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), tweeted on Friday. The message concluded with emojis of the Scottish and European Union flags and hearts. In the photo, a projection against the Berlaymont building in Brussels, Belgium, home to the European Commission, the words “Europe” and “Scotland” intersect over a heart.
Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on 🏴❤️🇪🇺❤️🏴 pic.twitter.com/qJMImoz3y0— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) December 31, 2020
In the 2016 referendum that saw the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union, every single constituency in Scotland voted to remain in the politico-economic bloc. However, just two years prior, Scotland also voted to remain in the United Kingdom in a historic vote on independence from London.
That said, continuing opposition to the Conservative government’s Brexit plan by the SNP has seen growing calls for a new independence referendum for Scotland - something Sturgeon has pushed for in recent months. In November, she hinted at potential legal action if London attempts to block a new referendum in 2021.
Since 2014, opinions about remaining in the UK have shifted in Scotland, whose head of state has been united with the English crown since 1707. Since August, polls have shown a majority now support separation from London - a trend only helped by Johnson’s insistence that Scottish autonomy has been a “disaster” and former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s “biggest mistake.”
On Wednesday, Johnson signed a new post-Brexit trade deal with the EU. Members of the devolved Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh voted to “refuse consent” to the deal, saying it "would cause severe damage to Scotland's environmental, economy and social interests."