Campaigners including Alastair Darling are working against an independent Scotland for economic, political and social reasons
This Thursday, Scottish voters will be given the chance to vote in the biggest political referendum in the history of the UK.
The No vote campaign, those arguing to retain the union as it is, is fronted by Alastair Darling. Many British MP’s, including the leaders’ of the three main parties in the UK, have demonstrated their support for the No vote.
The Royal family, along with well know figures, including David Beckham and J.K. Rowling ,who has lived in Scotland for the past 21 years, have declared their support for the maintenance of the United Kingdom.
The main implications for the independence are economic and business. The No campaigners argue that financially, Scotland will be a lot worse off if they decide to split from the UK. They claim that, while the Yes campaign has stated that Scotland’s abundance of oil will mean that Scotland will be financially better off without having to share it with the rest of the UK, the amount of oil has been exaggerated and is at risk of running out, leaving Scotland in a precarious financial position.
Some no campaigners have said that in the past year, revenue from the north sea has collapsed, leaving Scotland in worse financial shape than the UK for the first time in five years.
No campaigners also highlight the problems that Scottish businesses will face if they become an independent country. Currently Scottish businesses sell more to the UK than to every other country in the world combined. Scotland can trade freely across the UK. However this will become more difficult if Scotland becomes independent, resulting in fear for many business.
Well known banks and businesses have talked about moving out of Scotland if independence comes to fruition, while the Royal Bank of Scotland claimed on the 11th of September that it would pull out of Scotland, if the Yes campaigners won.
The currency of Scotland is also in question, with No campaigners claiming that Scotland will have to take on the Euro if it does become independent. Currently this is a requirement for new members of the European Union, which Scotland will have to apply for membership of. No campaigners have made it clear that Scotland will not readily be allowed to keep the pound, despite Alex Salmond’s indications. However Salmond has stated that Scotland will not adopt the Euro, currently considered a weak currency.
Salmond has stated that upon gaining independence, the nuclear war heads that are held in Scotland, for the defence of the United Kingdom, will have to be removed immediately. While this might be seen as positive for Scotland, No campaigners have suggested that the requirement for Scotland to take over the maintenance of the country’s defence, will prove difficult as this is more responsibility than Scotland has previously undertaken. Scottish parliament would also have to take on numerous other roles which were previously undertaken by Parliament in Westminster, such as the allocation of tax funds.
No campaigners have also said that Scotland will be able to access far fewer resources. Being part of the UK currently means it has access to resources from the 60 million tax payers, rather then the 5 million it will be limited to if it becomes independent. This will mean risks will increase, as these are shared out between a larger number of people when it is part of the UK.
Team GB will no longer be an entity if the Yes voters are successful. Scotland contributed 14 medals, to Great Britain’s winning medal tally at the 2012 Olympics, and half of them were gold. Not only would independence weaken the performance of Team GB and it’s chances of recreating the success in Rio, it may also prove difficult for Scotland to compete at all.
For Scotland, as with any new nation, to compete, they have to be able to meet certain technical conditions, such as having the right clubs and affiliations. While their success at the Glasgow Commonwealth games, ranking fourth in the medal table, may suggest that they are well equipped for the task, they will need to have become an independent recognised country by 2016 a task that may take a long time.
The splitting of Scotland from the UK, may result in a domino effect, with other member countries, or even regions in England, seeking their own independence. Polls in Wales have suggested that less than ten percent would vote for their own independence. However if Scotland are successful, this figure could rise once the possibilities are considered.
J.K. Rowling donated 1 million to the better together campaign, comparing the independence campaigners to the Death Eaters, Lord Voldemort’s most loyal servants, in her Harry Potter series.
Last week poles suggested that the campaigns were neck and neck, suggesting that whatever the outcome on Thursday, changes are likely to occur.