Scotland Remains Part of Great Britain
By Marie Fester (Contributor)
Social media was buzzing on the night of September 18th as votes were counted in Scotland. The question “should Scotland become an independent country?” resulted in a 55% “No” vote and 45% “Yes” one and a turnout of 84% (BBC, The Week, The Guardian)! So, who exactly was involved in this, you might ask?
The two campaigns, “Better Together”, represented by Alistair Darling (BBC) and “Yes”, represented by Scottish First Minster Alex Salmond (BBC), went head- to-head in two debates. The first was one was clearly won by Darling and the second by Salmond (BBC).
Darling, an MP for the Labour party was also backed by the Tories and the Liberal Democratic parties. These pro-unionists were also accompanied by much of the international community’s support including that of the US President Barack Obama and the Spanish government (Business Insider). Their perspective is a mainly economic one, pointing to Scotland’s ageing population and high healthcare and pension costs that are indeed supported by Great Britain’s slightly younger population (BBC).
The “Better Together” campaigners are also strongly supportive of the devolution of government from England to Scotland. They want more control in their own assembly (Washington Post).
Salmond, meanwhile, represents a party that has been gaining momentum since the 1970s (Washington Post). The Scottish Nationali Party (SNP) first won a minority government in 2007 and a majority government in 2011. Strong proponents of a more socialist state they are what we would call sovereignists or nationalists. Their main reason for this is the growing conservatism in the UK and the resulting privatization of healthcare. They too support the devolution of government.
Should the SNP have had their favoured outcome of “Yes” vote, it remains unclear whether or not Scotland would have kept the pound as currency, and it is unlikely they would have taken the Euro what with having learned from recent crises within the Euro Zone. It is also possible that the new country would not have become member of the European Union. For these reasons and many more, much of the world breathed a sigh of relief when the No vote was released as having won.
Prime Minister David Cameron has established a committee to inquire and reform the independent governments of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. While this may radically change parts of the British constitution, it is considered necessary after this referendum’s results. Cameron’s party is advising that the process goes slowly, so as not to be too hasty.
It is seen as unlikely that another referendum will take place soon in Scotland. However, they are still looking out for their national interest in devolution of government. For now, it seems that the United-Kingdom will remain, in the words of Barack Obama, “strong, robust and united.”