Should Scotland Become Independant?

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  HeatherE 2 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #15657

    anonymous
    Participant

    Scottish independence is a political aim of political parties, advocacy groups and individuals for Scotland, which is a country of the United Kingdom, to once again become an independent sovereign state.The Scottish Government has expressed its intention to hold an independence referendum in late 2014. What do you think about this?

  • #18485

    Jonny the Grognard
    Participant

    If it gives back all the money we have ever given it then yes. But seriously I believe it is not a good idea. It may seem perfectly reasonable on paper, but further fracturing our little island will greatly diminish our influence and power on the world stage. 

  • #18486

    anonymous
    Participant

    Still undecided on this yet (I've got to decide by 2014 as being Scottish, I will be voting).  Emotionally, a large part of me says “Yes” but so much else of it is a “Not sure”.  We could make it work and I've always been a supporter of more local rule (not just for Scotland) though maybe that means “devo-max” instead, even if nobody has formally decided what that would entail.My wife is a staunch Scottish nationalist (as well as a royalist which apparently isn't contradictory).  This makes for interesting dinner time debates.

  • #18487

    Andrew Edwards
    Participant

    Perhaps as an American, I'm not the best person to be commenting on this, but as a political scientist, I do find the whole affair quite interesting.Put simply, no, I am not in favor of Scotland becoming independent. The impetus behind the 2014 independence referendum seems to be largely driven by Scotland, and by that perhaps I mean First Minister Salmond and the Scottish National Party specifically, wanting complete control over the revenues generated by sales of crude oil from the North Sea. Other issues such as continuation of the monarchy and foreign relations do not seem to be as clearly enunciated as the economic and financial ones.In my opinion, the fundamental arrangement of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom does need an overhaul. A federated system, such as what exists in the United States and elsewhere, might go a long way to solve some of the governance problems facing the British government, such as the West Lothian question. England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland would have separate executives, legislatures, and judiciaries administering affairs on a local level, but there would be a central government for national and international affairs. The central government, embodied by Westminster and Downing Street, is what is there now, but there is not really a working local level analog for all the constituent nations.Anyway, ending with a somewhat humorous aside, Scotland is actually the only constituent nation of the United Kingdom from which I have not been able to trace my ancestry from. My immediate family is English and Irish, and tracing my paternal line back about 200 years does indicate a Welsh connection too, but so far, nothing Scottish. So, again, I might not be the best person from which to get an opinion on this issue...

  • #18488

    anonymous
    Participant

    Not wishing to start a political or idealogical argument here by the way, it's just an issue that is close to my heart!  :D

    Perhaps as an American, I'm not the best person to be commenting on this

    I think it's interesting to hear the views of slightly more independent spectators... hundreds of years of Scottish vs English rivalry (not always as good humoured as it tends to be these days) can cloud things locally.

    Put simply, no, I am not in favor of Scotland becoming independent. The impetus behind the 2014 independence referendum seems to be largely driven by Scotland

    Isn't this the way it should be?  Wasn't American independence driven by America?

    Other issues such as continuation of the monarchy and foreign relations do not seem to be as clearly enunciated as the economic and financial ones.

    I agree that foreign relations, particularly the status of Scotland (and indeed possibly a constitutionally different United Kingdom) within the European Community are an uncertainty, as are the ability of Scotland to secure international loans to assist it in funcing its share of the UK's financial defecit that it will inherit, lacking any "credit rating" as a new country.  The status of the monarchy however is I think pretty clear cut.  The Queen is after all the Queen of Scotland in her own right, the crowns being merged by King James VI of Scots (who went on to take the title of King James I of England).

    In my opinion, the fundamental arrangement of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom does need an overhaul. A federated system, such as what exists in the United States and elsewhere, might go a long way to solve some of the governance problems facing the British government, such as the West Lothian question. England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland would have separate executives, legislatures, and judiciaries administering affairs on a local level, but there would be a central government for national and international affairs. The central government, embodied by Westminster and Downing Street, is what is there now, but there is not really a working local level analog for all the constituent nations.

    "Federal" seems to be a dirty word in British politics but to me, it isn't such a bad idea.  We're already part way there with the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies.  As there is no equivalent for England, issues like the West Lothian question (where Scottish members of Westminster parliament can vote on England specific legislation) do exist and this needs to be resolved - another argument in favour of more local assemblies, leaving Westminster to deal with national issues like defence and foreign relations.  This is what most people expect the devo-max option to entail though in theory, it should be applied across the UK.From what I can see, the devolved powers and local government that we have had since the Scottish Parliament reformed in 1999 has overall been of great benefit to Scotland.

  • #18489

    Andrew Edwards
    Participant

    Put simply, no, I am not in favor of Scotland becoming independent. The impetus behind the 2014 independence referendum seems to be largely driven by Scotland...

    Isn't this the way it should be?  Wasn't American independence driven by America?

    Ah, I see what you did there.  :PUnless things have gotten so bad, that the English just want to get rid of the Scottish with not a moment to lose, yes, you would be correct.

    ...wanting complete control over the revenues generated by sales of crude oil from the North Sea.

    Any opinion on the oil factor? Maybe I'm seeing something something that's not there, but it does seem to be the elephant in the room.

  • #18490

    anonymous
    Participant

    Any opinion on the oil factor? Maybe I'm seeing something something that's not there, but it does seem to be the elephant in the room.

    I don't think any reasonable person could argue that if Scotland became fully independent, oil extracted from its territorial waters wouldn't belong to Scotland.  Given that Britain (and America for that matter) have fought wars in very recent history over oil however, I can see this being a problem.

  • #18491

    TaylorsSC
    Participant

    What barriers are there keeping the Uk from having more devolved government, like US states or Canadian or Australian provinces?It seems like a healthy way to go. I can certainly understand why there would be natural resentment to anyone outside the London orbit.Again, I'm from South Carolina, so outsider here.Is there any move to an English Parliament? Where would it be? Somewhere like Birmingham or Manchester? Perhaps an ancient connection to Winchester?My first journey to the UK was this April, and one morning, while walking in Edinburgh, we noticed the Scottish government offices at St. Andrews house, which looks remarkably like one of the main government office buildings in SC's capital of Columbia. I suppose out of ignorance I was really surprised just how recent a move it has been to transfer some local services from Westminster to Edinburgh.

  • #18492

    anonymous
    Participant

    What barriers are there keeping the Uk from having more devolved government, like US states or Canadian or Australian provinces?It seems like a healthy way to go. I can certainly understand why there would be natural resentment to anyone outside the London orbit.

    From what reading I've done (and I'm no expert on politics), the big difference between a federal system (USA, Canada, etc) and a devolved system (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but not currently England) is that in a devolved system, ultimate control still rests with the central government which has a constitutional remit to revoke devolved powers if it feels the situation calls for it.  The right to have local government is written into each state's own constitution in a federal system and this is something that the central government cannot overrule.I do find it a little contradictory that Westminster on one hand is constantly pushing against giving over too much power to less local rule in Brussels while at the same time seeming to resist the expansion of local devolved powers within the UK.I've been thinking about the original question again.  I'm proud to be Scottish first and foremost but am also proud of my British heritage and the part that Scotland has played in that.  Much of the what made Britain "great" was after all forged from Scottish ingenuity and the blood of Scottish soldiers serving in the British army.If the referendum was tomorrow, I'd vote "Devo-max" if that was an option however if it was a straight yes or no, I think on reflection I'd have to vote "Yes" because I'd fear that a strong "No" vote would be misinterpreted as a general desire to retain as much power in Westminster as possible and could even result in a reduction in currently devolved powers.  I don't think sufficient numbers would vote Yes for us to get independence but if they did, maybe it would be a sign that there might just be enough will to actually make it work.

    Is there any move to an English Parliament? Where would it be? Somewhere like Birmingham or Manchester? Perhaps an ancient connection to Winchester?

    I do feel that the English are getting left out of all of this and that there should be one or more assemblies that deal exclusively with local matters in England, leaving Westminster to deal with truly national issues.  I don't know if the location of this is that important in this age of instant communications but I do think it should be clearly separated from Westminster.  If that means siting it away from London then I'd probably suggest Birmingham or Manchester as good alternatives with decent transport links.  Alternatively, how's about following historical precedent and using Winchester for a Southern assembly and York for a Northern one?

    My first journey to the UK was this April, and one morning, while walking in Edinburgh, we noticed the Scottish government offices at St. Andrews house, which looks remarkably like one of the main government office buildings in SC's capital of Columbia. I suppose out of ignorance I was really surprised just how recent a move it has been to transfer some local services from Westminster to Edinburgh.

    That was home of the Scottish Office since the 1930s I think.  The new parliament building at Holyrood was opened in 2004 (with much controversy over its design and cost).  Remember that while we've got a parliament now for the first time in hundreds of years, Scotland has always retained some amount of autonomy having for example our own very distinct set of laws and an entirely different education system to the rest of the UK.Just re-read this.  Sorry for rambling on a bit over this!Pete.

  • #18493

    Jonny the Grognard
    Participant

      Alternatively, how's about following historical precedent and using Winchester for a Southern assembly and York for a Northern one?

    It may just be my own personal bias but I dislike that idea of following historical precedents intensely because I believe that such as post should be given to the largest city in the north, which I believe to be Manchester.And honestly, about your point about England being left out, England is small enough that a single centralized seat of government works well for it and change is not needed or particularly wanted in most parts. Most people I have spoken to have cared little if Scotland gains independence or not, since they believe that it will not affect their lives in the slightest 

  • #18494

    anonymous
    Participant

    As a half-Scot who spent his formative years (Age 8 to 14) in Scotland part of me really wants it to happen but I can see the massive downsides.If the Scottish people want to lose free NHS prescriptions, free University access etc then they should stay part of the UK as they ultimately gain more from membership per head than other countries.It is up to the people who live in Scotland at the end of the day and lets see how they vote.

  • #18495

    Chris
    Participant

    Sorry if this goes on a bit but there is a lot to say about this without sounding too biased. I am English, I love Scotland and I would prefer each country in the UK to remain unified.  This is such a delicate subject that is hotly debated by many to the point of complete hatred between mainly Scottish and English citizens (but it greatly affects also those in Wales and Northern Ireland), which is shame considering that we on these small islands have a rich and varied history that share of common heritage. Many people, after reading comments on the plentiful websites that provide user comments to this very question, seem to have mixed opinions about whether or not Scotland should become independent, some comments quite heated with many Scots wanting total autonomy, and who can blame them, but is it really the right thing to do after a 300 year political union? Well, personally, I still don't know for sure but I am heading for no simply because Scotland's independence doesn't just affect Scotland and this should be, at least, considered. But then there seems to be a one third per centage either saying 'no' or 'not sure', giving their reasons why they think so. There is always going to be sore spot for Scotland's independence from the times of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce but let's not forget that King James VI (of Scotland) became king of Scotland and England (well the British Isles) in 1603 and the two countries have been unified, even if with strained relations, since the early 1700s.Scotland is great for so many things including their strong history fantastic education system and the Proclaimers!! But what are the argument for independence?1. Freedom of Scotland's dependency on the UK.2. It is believed Scotland can match the successes of other small countries by going it alone.3. Scotland to have their own voice in the UN and EU (Brussels).4. Cutting business taxes to help stimulate growth, which will be needed because Scotland will not (for some time anyway) be able to afford a welfare state.5. UK oil (or rather their own oil as Many Scots see it) to strengthen Scotland financially. Scotland, if independent, will be a potentially wealthy country based on the number of people living there, the country's own needs and what it can sell to foreign states without oil. 6. Total autonomy. They already have their own parliament, laws and legal system and having total autonomy gives them total freedom.What about the arguments against independence:1. The UK economy is stronger unified.2. Scotland has more power as part of UK than independently.3. Scotland's public spending is way higher than it's revenue and so would have to raise taxes and/or cut public services.....yes, this is bad thing.4. Independence means losing out on UK oil....yes UK oil (this another hotly debated subject too lengthy to discuss here), which would be devastating to Scotland financially (oh, there's still the Falklands oil too, which they wouldn't get a share of).5. Scotland would have to provide its own defence and security at more financial strain on already stretched resources.6. Devolution is showing us that it has the full potential to work; 300 years of union should not be so easily dismissed on a huge political and financial gamble that will not only affect Scotland but the rest of the UK as well.But their independence could be the platform for a cataclysmic decline in social and financial infrastructure for many years before Scotland finds it feet. What about the pound (sterling); do they keep the pound or move to the Euro, which could be a massive mistake.I am all for Scotland having power over the running of their country but surely this would prove financially effective through devolution (regional Governments) to maintain steadier financial strength and security of the UK whilst allowing each country an equal voice . Independence effectively severs connection; the UK's debt is proportionately divvied out of which Scotland will get a sizeable amount and, financially, the country will have to start from scratch and will simply not be able to afford it.I am not saying Scotland shouldn't have their own identity, because they have an extremely strong and proud one, as does Wales, Northern Ireland and England. I am sure this post has potential to cause varied responses. I am not pro English or pro Scottish, I am pro UK and the UK is stronger in every respect with every country working together.

  • #18496

    attackdonkey
    Participant

    Hi Chris. Okay. so lets mitigate some of the downsides in your list of reasons against secession. 1. the benefit of a "united economy" is not having to pay duties on foreign goods, and free unrestricted trade. Truth is England's economy is also better like this in regards to Scotland... So Secession wouldn't necessarily destroy this, you would just want to see free trade between the people living on each side of the border.

    2 Scotland has more power as part of UK than independently.

    Define power please. and who has that power? Economic power? well as I stated above, all thats needed for economic prosperity is free trade (along with freedom, property rights, and low taxes) and you don't need to be tied to the Union Jack to have that do you? but wait do you have that under the Union Jack?  If it isn't economic power then what powers are you referring to? magical powers? I guess I just need more clarification.

    3. Scotland's public spending is way higher than it's revenue and so would have to raise taxes and/or cut public services.....yes, this is bad thing.

    One of the benefits of a localized and smaller governments is to see whether or not those are bad things (for whom)... the case was prior to the Session of the South from the US. that more than 75% of revenue of the Federal government came from the South, but it was almost entirely spent in the North. For a while that shifted to where Mississippi actually got more money from the federals than they paid in... so there was wealth distribution from the Northern states into southern states. As it is now, no one really gets anything back because our taxes are being used to pay for our military on the other side of the world. and we are all being impoverished, but my point is that perhaps Scotland is in the position that Mississippi was in not to long ago, where tax monies find their way from the south up to the highlands... but in that case secession would be better in two respects 1. financially for the English, and 2. for the Scottish in the form of the dignity that they could stand on their own feet. They could of course really stand on their own feet and get off the government dole. pay for their own education, save for their own retirement... healthcare, whatever, of course having a free market would radically help as it is here in the states we have a facist system where only those approved by the government can operate... but on to the next point..  I think your 4th point falls under free trade.. and the economy question..

    5. Independence means losing out on UK oil....yes UK oil (this another hotly debated subject too lengthy to discuss here), which would be devastating to Scotland financially (oh, there's still the Falklands oil too, which they wouldn't get a share of).

    This is the point that made me want to respond. I'm not proud of it, but the truth is whatever military England, Scotland, Germany, or whoever else has (China, Iran, And N. Korea excepted) is just for show. the truth is The US has taken it on itself to be the world's police. Were the US to demilitarize, perhaps even listen to Jefferson and disband the standing armies, pull out of Germany, Japan, Australia and the rest of the world, and give me back some of my tax money... perhaps you'd see some of the other developed countries put a little more into their own defenses. and the 6th point makes too many assumptions... why is it devolution that the people are close to their government, and hold the reigns of power close to their chest? The future is always uncertain, but it's generally a good thing when people have more freedom, and generally the stronger their representation is the better chances there are of that freedom being attained. But good job on your pro-secession arguments! I like those.

  • #18497

    Anonymous

    I (kinda) support scottish independence!(I have a claim, part Scot-Irish.)  I mean, they have a goverment, a some what good economy, with oil, and finally and border (Hadrian's Wall). There are only one problelm, 1) Where will they control? Hopefuly The Ise of Man  (where my family is from) But a bit of me says no, partly because of Chris's argument, with “1. The UK economy is stronger unified.” You can read the rest above. But (crestfallen) I agree with Chris.   

  • #18498

    anonymous
    Participant

    HiIf the majority of Scotland wants it, let them have it, but as an Englishman I would not agree to supporting them once they get independence.  I spent many years working with Scots and culturally they are very much the same as English and as I look at the UK as a whole from Denmark, the idea of the two tribes being so culturally different the more I realise how linked together the UK is, however if that is what they want...For our American board members who maybe have a great-granddad link etc, and feel all patriotic, do not think of Scotland as occupied (I unfortunately met many American who do think this).  Most English, feel Scotland is just part of the UK, as you see Alaska as part of the US.  However, especially in these hard economic times I do hear more English moan that Scotland spends more than it makes, ie I believe many government services are totally free in Scotland compared to England and who bailed the Bank of Scotland out when it went bust a few years back?  Take a guess . . if it was not for London and Scotland was back then independent the Scottish economy would have melted.  Also, as for oil revenue, its drying up.  The Scots I know, to generalise, are all patriotic etc and love to do the whole Braveheart rubbish in the pub after a few, but next morning, when they think about economy, jobs and pensions they soon sober up, especially as the Bank of England has said it will not prop-up a Scottish economy.  Another, is Scotland makes a good economy from UK defence, this will all be lost.So what am I saying?  If they want it let them have it, but England should not prop it up and we (the English) then treat Scotland with the same level of partnership as we do any other EU country.  Maybe I am saying Scotland needs England more than the other way around.Historically and culturally, I think the two nations are far too connected and it would be bad overall.Rich

  • #18499

    Grindlowmarsh
    Participant

    Don't leave us Scotland we love you ;-)Actually as a Northerner I can somewhat understand why the Scots might want independence. Public southern school boys from Eton and Westminster dont represent people like me or have my best interests at heart. Independence for the North too.  ;)

  • #18500

    iain
    Participant

    of course Scotland should vote for independence5 million population out of a 62 million UK naturally tends to be forgotten about by Westminster

  • #18501

    anonymous
    Participant

    There is an interesting if somewhat rambling dark age themed (BHP tie in!) article on the BBC related to this, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27731725Personally as a midlander I think Scotland should stay but would support a federal UK along the lines discussed in this article.Garry

  • #18502

    HeatherE
    Participant

    I'm too late to the party, but will nevertheless add a comment as from a Scottish perspective. We all know the result now- a slim majority 'No' vote. Myself, friends and family individually oscillated in deciding our votes, while processing national, economic, political and maybe even some historical arguments on both sides! It was a really tough call for all of us. On referendum day, it seemed to me that (perhaps tautologically) the more politically liberal amongst my circle came down 'Aye' and the more conservative as 'Naw'. I'm touched by the pleas here (and, at the time, in real life!) from English friends to 'stay', as I can tell these come from valuing a shared, entwined history and (to an extent) values. We're still in the UK, but had we seceded that history would still, and will always, be there.

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