Scottish Independence

Should Scotland become an independent nation?

Scottish Independence

Yes because... No because...

Scotland is markedly different from England. Historically, it previously existed as an independent a...

Scotland is markedly different from England. Historically, it previously existed as an independent and sovereign nation until the signing of the Treaty of Union in 1707. Socially, the Scottish possess a strong regional identity and are more likely to describe themselves as Scottish rather than British.

Many of the differences between Scotland and England are typical of any nation in the world, with the exception of the smallest, i.e. it is not unusual for parts of countries to have strong regional identities. This is true even for the different regions in England itself (e.g. London, Newcastle, etc.). These differences on the whole will not lead to fragmentation of the UK but will instead serve to strengthen the fabric of British society which is becoming increasingly multi-racial anyway.

Scottish Independence

Yes because... No because...

The difference in voting patterns between the Scots and the English unfortunately mean that the latt...

The difference in voting patterns between the Scots and the English unfortunately mean that the latter have more say than the former regarding the formation of British governments in general elections. For e.g., in the 1992 general elections, even though a majority of Scottish voters voted for the Labour Party, due to the voting patterns elsewhere in the UK, especially in England, the Conservative Party eventually retained power instead. Independence would enable the creation of a more representative democracy for Scotland.

It would be illogical to suggest that any one region ought to determine the identity and composition of the government decisively after any elections. There are fewer parliamentary constituencies in Scotland simply because it is smaller than England geographically and has fewer residents than England. The electoral system in place in the UK is representative of the UK electorate as a whole.

Scottish Independence

Yes because... No because...

At present, certain matters (e.g. defence and foreign affairs) are still decided for Scotland by the...

At present, certain matters (e.g. defence and foreign affairs) are still decided for Scotland by the UK Parliament in Westminster, London. Some of the decisions taken at Westminster are not always in Scotland’s best interests - for example, the renewal of the UK's Scotland-based Trident nuclear submarine programme. However, even if all Scottish MPs were to vote against such measures, it is unlikely that they will influence the eventual outcome of the results as Scottish MPs are outnumbered by English MPs at Westminster. More importantly, many MPs (including Scottish MPs) tend to vote according to the line which their political parties have taken, and are not necessarily motivated entirely by concern for the regions they represent.

The devolution of power and the establishment of the Scottish Parliament which took place in 1997 afforded the residents of Scotland the opportunity to elect their own Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) to legislate on a range of matters concerning them. Power has thus been shifted by a considerable degree from Westminster to Holyrood (where the Scottish Parliament is located).

Scottish Independence

Yes because... No because...

Scotland has all the trappings of an independent nation – it now has its own Parliament and Executiv...

Scotland has all the trappings of an independent nation – it now has its own Parliament and Executive. It also has its own legal system and courts too. And more than ten years of devolution has shown that Scots are more than capable of running their own affairs.

The Scottish Parliament is more of a regional assembly than a national legislature. It is ultimately still subject to the powers of the UK Parliament. Furthermore, the court of final authority for both Scotland and England is the same, i.e. the House of Lords.

Scottish Independence

Yes because... No because...

The oft-quoted argument that Scotland will be unable to survive economically without England is pate...

The oft-quoted argument that Scotland will be unable to survive economically without England is patently untrue. Scotland has 70% of Europe’s energy reserves, primarily in the form of oil that is found in the North Sea. Profits from the extraction of such oil, for e.g., are channelled to England. As a matter of fact, it is submitted that Scotland may actually enjoy more robust economic growth than at present, were it not for the policies of the UK government which are usually biased towards London and the South-East of England.

The truth is Scotland does receive subsidies and development aid from the UK government annually to boost its economic growth. Scotland receives more from the UK government than it gives to it. The income derived from oil reserves alone would be insufficient to maintain Scotland’s present rate of growth, much less propel it to greater heights.

Scottish Independence

Yes because... No because...

Scotland will not be hindered by its relatively small size in order to exist as an independent natio...

Scotland will not be hindered by its relatively small size in order to exist as an independent nation. There are many other countries in Europe and the rest of the world that manage to sustain impressive rates of economic growth besides defending itself from potential and actual threats to its territory (e.g. Luxembourg, Singapore etc.). It is also inconceivable that an independent Scotland will not be a member of NATO and/or form a military alliance with England.

Scotland is far better disposed in safeguarding its economic interests and territorial sovereignty by remaining a part of the UK, which is larger in size. Crucially, the continued development of the European Union (EU) into a quasi-political union may eventually reduce the autonomy of its Member States. There may come the day when individual Member States will lose their identity as national entities in order to be a part of a 'United States of Europe'.

Debates > Scottish Independence