Scottish Referendum: What May Have Been a Partitioned Kingdom

Ryan Chung

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Scotland — On September 18th 2014, the Scottish independence referendum was implemented and the citizens voted either “yes” or “no” to independence from the United Kingdom. This referendum is similar to the dissolution of the union between Sweden and Norway. The plebiscite resulted in an overwhelming 99% of Norwegians voting in favor of independence. On the other hand, the majority of Scottish people voted against independence; 55% voted “no” and the other 45% voted “yes”. Alex Salmond, the Scottish National Party (SNP) leader and first prime minister of Scotland, actively advocated for the separation of Scotland from the United Kingdom. Although a referendum made purely by the Scottish parliament should not be acknowledged, Prime Minister David Cameron allowed it to be recognized. The Scottish parliament drafted and published Scotland’s Future on November 15, 2013. It is a document that is comparable to The Declaration of Independence because it was to serve as a basis for their independence. Almost 4.3 million people voted on this imperative decision, including sixteen and seventeen year-olds who, contrary to popular belief, shared and were influenced by many of the same ideas that older generations were presented with. Alex Salmond decided to resign from his positions after the defeat the “yes” party.

On the “yes” side, people saw this referendum as an opportunity to export their petroleum, chemicals, and whisky to other countries within the UK and outside of it, something that they cannot do while they are a part of the UK. Independence would mean deciding whether to join the European Union or create a new currency, having talks with the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Also, the Scottish government would be able to impose its own taxes and spend the tax money according to Scotland’s own parliament’s plans. On the “no” side, many members of the older generation were concerned with their retirement pensions being paid. Many political figures in England believed that the strong ties between the nations in the United Kingdom allowed for a strong unified government and economy. Prime Minister Cameron emphasized that although certain administrations were temporary, the partitioning of Scotland from the UK was permanent. The United Kingdom will stay unified, but the relationships between Great Britain and the other countries of the UK may never be what they once were.