Scotland’s Quest for Independence

Photograph: Alamy

Samuel Kim, Reporter

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In September, news buzzed about Scotland’s possible independence from the United Kingdom. There were many speculations about the final decision, but Scotland decided to remain a member of the United Kingdom.

Scotland was divided into two factions: one that called for independence from the United Kingdom, and one that wanted to remain a member of the UK. Both sides had their advantages and pitfalls.

PROS

Most laws enforced in Scotland are decided and passed in England. A lot of the time, the rules only take into consideration the effect the laws can have on English citizens, not Scottish citizens. Therefore, if Scotland had its own government, it would be able to pass laws that would more directly pertain to the Scottish citizenry. In addition, the House of Lords (the senior committee of the legislative branch) is mostly taken up by Bishops from the Church of England, and is very conservative. Scotland strongly embodies a democratic ideology, so if they were independent, they would be able to form their own government.

A big issue is the stock of nuclear missiles currently residing in Scotland. The missiles belong to the United Kingdom and are stationed in Scotland, but the Scottish National Party (SNP) strongly embraces an anti-nuke policy.  Therefore, had Scotland voted for independence, the SNP would have been able to move the unwanted weapons to England.

Scotland would also have a much stronger economy if they were independent. Scotland has a vast amount of oil, and if they were independent, they would benefit wholly from the profits from the oil.

CONS

Despite the advantages of being independent of the United Kingdom, there also would have been downsides if Scotland decided to break away. Scotland relies heavily on the United Kingdom for political power and influence. Had Scotland declared independence, they would most likely have had to reapply for admission to the European Union. Since many European governments are grappling with separatist movements of their own, they would most likely not provide Scotland’s admission. Hence, Scotland would lose its vital bonds and relations with other nations, which could prove detrimental.

Another big disadvantage of being independent of the United Kingdom is finding a new currency. An independent Scotland cannot use the Euro or the pound, so it would have to introduce a new currency. Doing so will cause great economic turmoil, because the government would have to reduce public spending greatly.

Although Scotland decided to remain a member of the United Kingdom, the debate still continues. Scotland will likely keep pushing for autonomy within the UK, which may lead to more fiscal independence.

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