Scottish voters participated in a referendum for independence from the United Kingdom on September 18. Scottish citizens voted against ending its union with the United Kingdom. Scottish voters made the correct choice as “breaking up after centuries of political union” would not be in Scotland’s best interest.
Scottish voters participated in a referendum for independence from the United Kingdom on September 18. In 2011, the Scottish National Party (SNP) won a majority of seats in Parliament, a victory that was successful largely due to the promise of a referendum. Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and British Prime Minister David Cameron promised to abide by the results; however, Scottish citizens voted against ending its union with the United Kingdom. Scottish voters made the correct choice as “breaking up after centuries of political union” would not be in Scotland’s best interest.
Upon an affirmative vote, Salmond voiced that Scotland would continue its use of the British pound, begging the question of whether Scotland would be truly independent? Cameron was actively against Salmond’s declaration, having warned that “Salmond’s idea that Scotland could keep using the pound after independence is badly flawed.” Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne concurred with Cameron: “If Scotland walks away from the U.K., it walks away from the UK pound.” He also feared that the burden of guaranteeing Scotland’s financial solvency would fall squarely on Britain’s shoulders. Consequently, if Scotland had voted for independence, it would no longer have been permitted to use the pound and would have to assume all difficulties in reviving an antiquated currency or possibly trying to use the euro.
Another unresolved question is, if it voted for independence, what would its relationship have been to the European Union? Salmond expected Scotland to remain part of the EU, seeing the Union as “indispensable” to its success. On the contrary, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso articulated it would be “very difficult, if not impossible” for Scotland to join the Union. Officials maintained that Scotland would have to apply for membership like any country that seeks entry and would not be grandfathered in simply because it was previously part of the United Kingdom. Scotland would have not have received special treatment or the enthusiastic welcome it sought from the European Union.
Scotland has a great advantage over other smaller countries through its inclusion in the United Kingdom and it would not have been in Scotland’s best interest to devolve. Cameron allowed the referendum to take place in the name of democracy, but “wants Scotland to remain part of an undivided United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.” As Cameron observed, being part of the larger kingdom provides Scotland with a certain degree of “security and strength,” one they would not possess if independent. Scotland already has considerable autonomy with its own Scottish Parliament and representation in the British Parliament. This form of two-tiered government gives the nation “more representation” than it would have as an independent entity. Thus, Scotland would have lost a substantial amount of advantages it enjoys while being part of the United Kingdom.
Scotland enjoys many benefits of being a member of the United Kingdom. Additionally, too many questions remain unanswered: what would the relationship with the European Union be? Would Scotland continue to use the British pound amid British refusal to continue sharing their currency with a sovereign country? Furthermore, Scotland would no longer receive the specific perks it has grown to relish for being a part of the United Kingdom. Too much uncertainty plagued the referendum and the Scottish people made the correct decision to remain a part of the United Kingdom.