Nationalists vow independence vote after winning majority in Scottish Parliament

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Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. pave the way for (something) / peɪv ðə weɪ fɔr / (idiom) – to make it easier for someone to do something or for something to happen

    The research done by scientists around the world paved the way for the development of an effective vaccine.

  2. high-stakes / haɪ steɪks / (adj.) – involving a lot of risks or serious consequences in case of failure

    My brother likes to make high-stakes investments in hopes of making money fast, but I prefer to be more careful with my money.

  3. referendum / ˌrɛf əˈrɛn dəm / (n.) – a public vote by the people of a country, state, etc. on an important political or social issue

    The UK held a referendum about its membership in the European Union in 2016.

  4. justification / ˌdʒʌs tə fɪˈkeɪ ʃən / (n.) – a good reason or explanation for doing something

    The man refused to give any justification for the crimes he committed.

  5. consecutive / kənˈsɛk yə tɪv / (adj.) – following one after another without anything in between

    We’ve been experiencing heavy rains for three consecutive days now.


Read the text below.

Pro-independence parties won a majority in Scotland’s Parliament on May 8, paving the way for a high-stakes political, legal and constitutional battle with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the future of the United Kingdom.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the result meant she would push ahead with plans for a second independence referendum once the COVID-19 pandemic was over.

“There is simply no democratic justification whatsoever for Boris Johnson, or indeed for anyone else, seeking to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose our own future,” Sturgeon said.

“It is the will of the country,” she added after her Scottish National Party (SNP) was returned for a fourth consecutive term in office.

The British government argues Johnson must give approval for any referendum and he has repeatedly made clear he would refuse. He has said it would be irresponsible to hold one now, pointing out that Scots had backed staying in the U.K. in a “once in a generation” poll in 2014. (Reuters)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Johnson pointed out that Scots had backed staying in the UK in 2014, but supporters of the new referendum say that was before the 2016 Brexit referendum. Do you think Scotland should be able to hold another independence referendum? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • In some countries, the government must follow the results of referendums, but in other countries, the government can ignore them. Which do you think is better? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Aside from Scotland, there are many places in the world that talk about gaining independence (ex. Catalonia in Spain, Texas in the US). Why do you think these places want independence? Are there any places in your country that want independence? Discuss.
  • Aside from independence, there are many different reasons to hold a referendum (ex. making marijuana legal, building a new library). What kind of referendum would you like to start for your area? Why? Discuss.