Break up and move on?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The momentum behind COP26 has created an apparently benign climate for low carbon investment in the UK, however that could all change at next week’s Scottish Parliament election. The 2021 Scottish Parliament elections will be the latest in a series of public ballots, since 2014’s Scottish Referendum, where the future of the United Kingdom is at stake. Due to Brexit and COVID19 it has perhaps been understated how important the Scottish election will be. However, depending upon its result, we could see British politics dominated by the issue of Scottish independence in the same way it was dominated by Brexit in recent years. Businesses whose investments depend on policy decisions yet to come must be mindful of this. As the question of Scottish Independence may leave politicians and officials will little time to consider anything else.

Should the SNP win a majority at next week’s Scottish elections it will re-energise its drive for Scottish independence. Independence has been the major theme of the SNPs campaign. Further the SNPs leader, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has gone on record stating that a vote for her party should be seen as a vote for another referendum. She has also claimed that she does not believe Westminster could stand in the way of that mandate.[1]

Recent polls have called into question whether the SNP can win a majority. A Sevanta ComRes poll released on 29 April 2021 showed the SNP support for the SNP slipping at both Holyrood Constituency and List levels: By 1 and 2 points, respectively. Results that would see the SNP fail to win a majority next week. They also showed support for Scottish independence declining by 2 points to 42 per cent, while support for remaining in the UK increased to 49 per cent.[2]

The polling is suitably close enough that nothing can be taken for granted though. Research published on 28 April 2021 from Lord Ashcroft highlighted that: ‘those naming the nationalists as their most likely choice put their chances of actually turning out to vote for them higher than those of other parties’ potential backers.’[3] Lord Ashcroft also noted that Scots feel that their politics cannot move on with the referendum question hanging over their heads.[4] This is very similar to the approach many Brits took to the 2019 UK Parliament elections, where the message ‘Get Brexit Done’ resonated with those who simply wanted to settle the question decisively and put it behind them.

Should the SNP win a Holyrood majority business needs to significantly step-up engagement with decision makers. An SNP victory is likely to result in a major constitutional crisis, and it is very likely that deciding how to respond will consume much of the Johnson Government’s time. This would only be increased should the UK Government concede to the demand for another referendum. As we saw with the Brexit referendum, where effectively the policy process was largely paused from 2016 first to fight the referendum and then manage its fallout. Businesses that are waiting for any kind of government decision will need to act quickly and press for rapid resolutions. Otherwise, they could find the decisions they have been waiting for delayed for the foreseeable future.


Discover how Brevia can help you and your organisation by contacting the Brevia Energy Team on 020 7091 1650 or emailing us at:

[1] Guardian, 11 April 2021, link

[2] SevantaComres, Twitter, 29 April 2021, link, link & link

[3] Lord Ashcroft Polls, 28 April 2021, link

[4] Lord Ashcroft Polls, 28 April 2021, link



What the Energy Security Strategy tells us about the Government’s current priorities

After several weeks of reported delays, disagreements and leaks, the Government has finally published its Energy Security Strategy. Crucially, the Strategy provides us with an insight into the main influences and influencers of this Government. With the next general election a mere two years away, the Prime Minister appears to be moving away from the climate focus seen at COP26. Instead focusing on internal party politics and maintaining support within the Conservative . Below, Brevia has unpacked some of the telling signs of what is currently influencing Government direction on energy policy.

Read More »

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will impact UK energy policy

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has changed the world. The ways it has done so are yet to be fully understood. Many of our post Cold War assumptions have been upended: Germany has abandoned its longstanding policy of maintaining a limited armed forces to commit €100 billion to defence spending; Switzerland has departed from its historical neutrality to apply sanctions to Russia; Finland is now openly discussing NATO membership and things we had assumed would never happen continue to do so on a daily basis. Set against the human tragedy that is unfolding in Ukraine, these events can seem small or insignificant in comparison. Nonetheless, they are likely to have enduring consequences for everyone in Europe. Particularly when it comes to how Europe, including the UK, powers itself.

Read More »

What did the White Paper tell us about the Levelling Up Agenda?

Last week, the Government published its long-awaited Levelling Up White Paper. The White Paper goes some way to answering the vexed question of ‘What is levelling up?’, by setting out twelve missions the Government hopes to accomplish by 2030. In addition, the Paper sets out a framework for extending devolution in England which could increase the transparency of the process. However, new funding commitments are thin on the ground, and critics suggest the Government has not provided enough money for Levelling Up to succeed.

Read More »
  • Get in touch to arrange your free monitoring trial.