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EU referendum: The 'stark difference' between Wales and Scotland

By Cemlyn Davies
BBC Wales political reporter

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Hours after the EU referendum result was announced on Friday morning, Donald Trump landed in Scotland.

The man hoping to be the next US president was opening his new golf course and he immediately tweeted his observations: "Just arrived in Scotland. The place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back..."

Many were quick to correct Mr Trump, pointing out Scotland had in fact voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU, by 62% to 38%.

All 32 Scottish council areas backed 'remain'.

But Mr Trump's comments were perhaps more appropriate than they first seemed.

Since Friday morning voters across Scotland have been venting their frustration at the referendum result and while they may not have been "wild", they have been riled.

As for taking their country back, Mr Trump may simply know what's coming.

image captionAll council areas in Scotland backed Remain - in contrast with England and Wales

In light of Britain's decision to ditch the EU, the Scottish First Minister has confirmed that the Scottish government has formally agreed to draft legislation to allow a second independence referendum to take place.

Nicola Sturgeon claimed there has been a "significant and material change in circumstances" since the last independence vote and so 'indyref2' "is on the table".

She also said there was a "significant divergence" between Scotland and the rest of Britain.

Including Wales.

I was in Falkirk on Thursday covering the main count north of the border.

As the results from back home filtered through I was asked countless times by Scottish colleagues, officials and campaigners to explain what on earth was going on in Wales.

Having covered several political events in Scotland over the past couple of years I've found the Scots have a real interest in Welsh politics: they see obvious similarities between both nations' political journeys.

But this week's vote has exposed a stark difference in attitudes towards the EU.

Compared to Wales, independence has always been a more burning issue in Scotland too - culminating in the 2014 referendum.

One of the 'no' campaign's main arguments two years ago was that Scotland needed to remain part of the UK in order to guarantee its place in the European Union.

"They sold us a pack of lies," an Edinburgh taxi driver told me.

The cabbie said he had voted 'remain' but despite being on the losing side he believes he has "probably got the result I wanted because we'll go independent now".

image copyrightGetty Images

At the Scotland count in Falkirk on Thursday night I met Tregaron-born John Jenkins.

Mr Jenkins is an SNP supporter but contrary to the party line, he supported Brexit.

Responding to the final result - for Scotland and the UK as a whole - he told me: "This is the best thing that could have happened because we can have another independence referendum now."

In 2014 45% of the votes cast were for independence.

Should another vote be held, will enough people feel sufficiently disillusioned with recent events to tip the balance in favour of leaving the UK?

That is the key question now for Nicola Sturgeon who knows she cannot afford to lose another vote on independence.

Prior to the Brexit vote, the polls suggested support for leaving the UK remained around 50%.

It was thought that Ms Sturgeon would rather wait until that figure is closer to 60% and the economy was more stable before holding another vote.

And after four important votes under two years, the SNP leader would no doubt be keen to give the Scottish electorate a well-earned break before engaging in another passionate debate and exhausting campaign.

But now Nicola Sturgeon is unlikely to have that luxury: time is of the essence and she will be under pressure from party members to grasp this opportunity.

It is a test of nerve: for her, for Scotland and for the whole of the UK.

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  • EU referendum: Scotland backs Remain as UK votes Leave