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A Brief on the Scottish Referendum for Independence from UK

A Brief on the Scottish Referendum for Independence from UK

By Kevin Gandhi

Edited by Namrata Caleb, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist

Scotland’s Independence Referendum

The Scottish Independence Referendum refers to a referendum on whether or not Scotland should be an independent country, separate from the United Kingdom altogether.

The Referendum Bill was put forward by the government on 21st March 2013, passed by the Parliament on 14th November 2013 and finally received the Royal Assent on the 17th of December 2013. The official question on the referendum will explicitly be “Should Scotland be an independent country?” with voting options as only in favour or against (Yes or No).

A few statistics:

Around 4.2 million registered voters are present and it’s the first time in the history of the United Kingdom, that 16 and 17 year olds have been involved in the voting process. The proposal, to be successful, requires a simple majority and only then will Scotland be declared as an independent country, officially.

Until 1707, Scotland was an independent nation. However, after the Act of Union with England was passed, the United Kingdom was formed, which also included Northern Ireland, and hence, Scotland.

Sides to the Argument – the 2 campaigns:

  1. Yes Scotland – This campaign, led by First Minister Alex Salmond, represents the parties, organisations and individuals campaigning for a YES Its main argument states that the revenue from Scotland’s offshore oil fields will be sufficient to sustain the country’s economy. It was launched in the capital, Edinburgh on 25th May, 2012.
  2. Better Together – This campaign represents the parties, organisations and individuals campaigning for a NO Established in 2012, it is supported primarily by 3 pro-union parties in Scotland – The Scottish Labour, The Scottish Conservative Party and the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

The American Insecurity:

Would the break-up of one of America’s greatest allies affect the one Superpower? Of course. Here’s why:

The break-up of the UK and Scotland would hamper the future of the joint US and UK nuclear deterrent system. Currently, Scotland fosters 58 US Trident II D-5 missiles leased from Washington by the British government. However, the government at Scotland, having a strong stance against nuclear armament, wants to ban the same within 4 years of independence. This move could potentially cost billions of dollars for the relocation of these weapons to bases in England or back to the States. Moreover, NATO would be left without a European nuclear deterrent precisely at a time of exacerbated security concern.

Cameron to the rescue!

In the final plea before the referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron begged the people of Scotland not to vote a yes reassuring his disliking pundits, that he “wont be here forever”.

In a teary speech made by Cameron, he warned the citizens that the separation would be a “painful divorce” resulting only in noxious consequences for all parties involved. His speech was full of metaphors as he ‘warned’ Scots that separation was just an expensive and attractive dream that had been sold by the Yes Scotland campaign, and that it would soon disappear. Moreover, he said, that for there to be a “concrete change” the two countries would have to stick together through thick and thin.

With speculation both for and against the likelihood of Scotland becoming independent, it is really hard to judge whether or not the same would happen. Strong statistics support both sides and now its only a matter of time till the Scots decide what has to be done.

Kevin is a second year, undergraduate business student at NMIMS University, Mumbai. His hobbies include listening to bands such as Coldplay and Oasis, writing, going on nightly runs and occasionally playing the guitar. He has also participated in various Model UNs across the country. He loves to travel and is an enthusiastic supporter of the Kolkata Knight Riders.

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