One of the rationales is weight of political leaders’ speeches for a particular result, namely: being within (the Unionists) or being without the United Kingdom (the Scottish National Party). The other reason of Scots’ uncertainty is absence of precise understanding of times to come under the new governing, or in other words, the disparity in successful life after the winning of independency. In practice, the latter serves as a great ground for the first reason causing the appearance of great many supporters of Scotland secession of the United Kingdom. But it is an extremely controversial matter whether they really want or need it.
Naturally, there are positive and negative motives of Scots’ aspiration for independence. Well-known reasoning of independence supporters includes several points. First of all, it is a need of increase of Scottish participating in affairs relating solely Scotland, and decrease of England’s interference into them, for only the absolute Scottish Parliament outright familiar with amount problems of its country is capable of solving them. Now “It has its own legal, police and education systems, complete control over its National Health Service, and so on. It lacks autonomy in foreign and military policy – an important point given that Britain’s controversial Trident nuclear deterrence submarines are based in Faslane, Scotland” (Rutland, 2014).
So the independence is that factor that can remove the needless and dangerous equipment of the territory of non-nuclear country. In particular, this is one of the burning points of the Scottish referendum – “… it wants to see the removal of nuclear weapons from Scotland within the first term of parliament following independence” (Phipps, 2014).
If only Scotland detaches from the United Kingdom, London loses its naval base. It is happen historically that up to 90% of the British Navy is based in the Northern part of the British Isles, just in Scotland. And in the case of Scotland’s independence, London and the Royal Navy have to pay for the lease of the naval base, which has suddenly become the property of a sovereign state.
One of the defining motives of the requirements for the independence of Scotland is a coastal oil and gas industry, the control over which in case of the Scots’ victory passes into their possession. Most of oil and gas fields developing now by the forces of the United Kingdom are located near shore of Scotland. It is well-known that the independent production on gas and oil fields are not planned. Still Scots can lease them to London for a very high cost. So the Scottish economy in such a way can become stronger, and only for needs of its people, not everyone in the United Kingdom.
The third reason for Scotland’s independence is more democratically established basis of the Scottish Parliament, which can benefit for the common democratic course of the country, namely: the British Parliament has a particular number of seats for church members, while the Scottish one is aimed at just political ruling the country separately of church.
The next point of Scots-for-independence is their belief in the need of greater mergence with Europe, particularly with such Nordic countries as Norway and Denmark, due to the similarity of political models of the country government (more common features than with England).
And the last negative factor, which pushes Scotland for gaining independence, is “… the amount of the UK’s £1 trillion national debt that will be inherited by Scotland” (World Affairs, 2013). In fact, its people are to pay the borrowings of the whole United Kingdom if Scotland is within the borders of the latter. So there is the simplest step on the way of releasing from the debt, which is the secession.
As we can see, there are numerous pre-requisites for Scotland to strive for independence, and it is probably obeyed for understanding, as the lofty ambitions of the country for the benefits of its people are on the surface of the issue. Nevertheless, there is also a reverse side of the question, or arguments against the Scottish independence.
One of somehow contradictory facts, in this regard, is the establishment of Scotland’s devolution with the consequence in creation of the autonomous bodies of
Legislative and Executive authorities in the region. It is “… ‘devolution plus’ (or devo+), which involved the devolution of income tax and certain aspects of welfare with the aim of making the Scottish Parliament ‘responsible’ for raising revenue as well as spending it” (Torrance, 2015).
On the one hand, it is the first step and significant attainment of Scotland on its way for gaining self-supportability (with the next step of independence). On the other hand, it is that position which can be perceived as enough one for standing within one of the most powerful and influential unions in the world. Moreover, the following improvement of Scots’ rights and powers is already in progress. According to David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, “… inside the UK Scotland can have the benefits of belonging to a larger more influential entity while enjoying an ever increasing measure of autonomy” (Tribute Vire Report, 2014).
By secession from it Scotland may probably challenge its powers and strengths in a new independent life on the world political arena without usual support of the United Kingdom. And no one can know for sure what kind of development it will be, for idealistic plans are hardly a half a battle, and sometimes unpredictable issues can change the whole picture radically. Even today Scotland’s membership in European Union can be a kind of shifty due to its slipping status. What is of a great clearness is that in the case of independence Scotland will have not so significant voice in scales of the world interaction.
The next point against the Scottish independence is new difficulties, which the people may face in their new life. As the common financial scheme of the United Kingdom becomes broken with Scotland’s secession, then it is naturally that the latter appears to lose the support of the union. So there is a need of external borrowings for implementation of the Scottish Parliament’s plans. As a matter of fact, it is announced by the Scottish leaders after logical deliberation and necessary calculation that there is a need to “…set out plans to borrow heavily in the first three years of a separate Scotland to fund three per cent annual spending increases. The UK plans only one per cent over this period. This would require £2.4 billion of extra borrowing in 2018/19 alone, according to a Scottish Government report…” (Johnson, 2014).
So it becomes clear, that even escaping the external debts of the United Kingdom, Scotland in its turn comes across other financial problems. The only justification in this case is the spending of the borrowed financial resources for the benefit of the young independent country, which difficult way has just begun, and there are new challenges in the future (it is a natural process).
Turning to the Scottish referendum of 2014, its figures speak for themselves, namely: “Opponents of independence won 55 percent of the vote while separatists won 45 percent with all 3.6 million votes – a record 85 percent turnout – counted. But leaders from across the United Kingdom said the union must change if it is to endure” (Reuters, 2014).
Its results are evident both for understanding of the independence preference among Scots as well as for necessity of improvement within the United Kingdom policy, for enhancement of the Scottish governing can save England from its separation. “The Scottish have avoided serious economic, social, institutional and political consequences. They have chosen the most favorable option for everyone; for themselves, for all of Britain and for the rest of Europe” (Macdonald, 2014).
Still, it is natural that those 45 per cent of independence supporters are tend to keep their opinion inviolate and believe in the win of independence in the future. And this already finds its proofs. “Some homes still display Yes Scotland and saltire posters in their windows, and some local groups are planning to keep open their Yes Scotland pop-up shops” (Carell, 2014). In any case, it is not seen by the British governors as the threat. As David Cameron said, “Whatever the result, we are a democracy. You have to respect the expression of people through the ballot box” (Reuters, 2015). And it gives the light for Scots believing in the essential necessity of Scotland’s independence.“…15 per cent of Scots think the country will become independent within five years and 32 per cent believe it will happen within ten. Overall, more than two- thirds of Scots believe the country will eventually vote for independence” (Whitaker, 2015).
So should Scotland become independent? Our strong feeling is that it is much better not to break so close ties between Scotland and the United Kingdom. Probably our position may be accounted for the English origin, but it is as objective as it is only possible.