Scotland votes against independence: the world reacts

Union Jack

Yesterday Scotland voted against a split from the United Kingdom. This decision affects countries across the world who were anticipating the result.

As the results poured in in the early hours of the morning, it was not just the British who were reacting to the outcome. Across the world, journalists were eagerly transmitting the news back to their own countries, who watched with anticipation.

In Spain, the outcome of the referendum held the most bearing. On the ninth of November, Catalonia will have its own referendum, to decide whether they will remain a part of Spain. The referendum is currently considered illegal. However it is thought that they will soon be allowed to carry it out by the government in Barcelona.

The Catalan president is likely to be disappointed by the outcome, as it does not bode well for other states attempting to split from their unions. However those against the potential split will be relieved. It is thought that Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, will never give his approval of the vote, making the situation a lot less clear than the vote in Scotland.

For many countries, there is relief at the continued union. They likely feared a weakening of a strong trading partner and the implications this would have for the world economy.

In particular the U.S. feared the breaking up of their special partnership. While most Americans steered clear of the referendum, with Obama saying it was an internal matter for the U.K., Clinton warned against the separation, stating that Scotland’s future would be uncertain with a yes vote and it could severely weaken the Scottish economy.

Salmond policies made it clear that he wanted the removal of nuclear weapons from Scotland. Questions were raised over whether Scotland would enter in to a defence partnership with the U.S. that would enable them to maintain the relationship that they had had with the U.K..

For this to occur, Scotland would have needed to spend around 2% of its gross domestic product on defence, an amount that seems unlikely given Salmond’s stance on nuclear weapons. The continued union is likely to be met with delight by those who feared an end to one of the world’s strongest defence partnerships.

Many other countries, particularly those that have been rocked by unstable regions, will be breathing a sigh of relief at the outcome, safe in the knowledge that this is unlikely to lead to the breaking up of Europe and other countries.

In Romania, ethnic Hungarians had been striving for a yes vote for Scotland, in an attempt to help them achieve greater autonomy. China will also have wanted to avoid the Scottish inspiring their own minorities, for example those in Tibet, from seeking separation.

The referendum was not limited to Great Britain, but was an event which people across the globe watched with baited breath to see whether it would result in a change to the entire landscape of the world.

It remains to be known whether the events leading up to it, and the huge support shown for it, will inspire a change in the psyche of other groups who seek independence, or whether the no vote will quash those hopes.