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Scottish Independence – Good or Bad

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Scotland is at a turning point. The 300-year old Union is some say no longer fit for purpose. Some say it was never designed for the 21st century world and it is well past it’s sell by date and is holding Scotland back. The Scottish people voted to move forward, with a new, more Scottish approach from an SNP government. But many oppose these views saying that Scotland needs the rest of the UK and that the economic and social problems caused by independence would be catastrophic to the relationships between Scotland and the rest of the UK. In any case the government has published a white paper setting out a vision of independence and responsibility in the modern world. But is this idea beneficial to our country? Is Scotland ready to go it alone? Is Scotland ready to break free from the shackles of the UK? Are the Scottish people ready for independence? In this essay I will explore our options and inevitably present the information needed to make your own conclusion on Scottish independence.

There are strong arguments both for and against independence. The arguments for Scottish independence are described in the next few paragraphs. The SNP wants Scotland to have what other countries take for granted, freedom to decide what kind of society they want to live in and how they want to interact with the world. Scots want to be able to earn and spend THEIR own money how they like and to take responsibility for their own lives and not be told by some Englishman (who is not going to be affected by these decisions) what, when and where to do something and how to do it. But the English have been said to be antipathetic towards the SNP of a separate Scotland, but, It has recently emerged that almost 60% of people living in England support the idea of Scotland being made independent. In Scotland itself the figure stands at 52%, according to an ICM study undertaken on behalf of the Sunday Telegraph. The telephone poll, conducted on November 22nd and 23rd, interviewed 1,003 Scots and 869 English people, so it is by no means all-encompassing but its findings come as quite a surprise, given English apathy towards the issue in the past. The report also revealed that 48 per cent of people living in England are in favour of complete English independence – so more people appear to be in favour of ditching the Scots than the Welsh and Northern Irish.

Moreover, independence would enable Scotland to become more successful. Other small European countries have higher levels of economic growth and living standards than Scotland. Independence gives those nations the powers to shape their country for the better. Scotland could have this too. Off our east coast lies Norway, the second most prosperous country in the world. Off our west coast lies Ireland, the fourth most prosperous country in the world. Off our north coast lies Iceland, the sixth most prosperous country in the world. These independent countries represent an arc of prosperity – and Scotland has every bit as much potential as any of them. Scotland has abundant natural resources, an educated and skilled workforce and a globally recognised identity and reputation for quality and integrity. With independence, Scotland could join this arc of prosperity. Scotland could pursue economic policies designed specifically for our circumstances, to give us a stronger economy, better public services and a fairer society.

Furthermore and probably the SNP’s biggest drive for independence is through their old motto “It’s Scotland Oil”. This motto refers to the oil in the North Sea and it is said that although 90% of the North Sea Oil comes from the Scottish Sector of the continental shelf the revenue created by the selling of this oil would not benefit Scotland while it remained as part of the United Kingdom. The Continental Shelf Act 1964 and the Continental Shelf (Jurisdiction) Order 1968 defines the UK North Sea maritime area to the north of latitude 55 degrees north as being under the jurisdiction of Scots Law meaning that 90% of the UK’s oil resources were under Scottish jurisdiction,therefore proving the SNP are correct in the claim that the North Sea Oil is in fact Scotland’s Oil.

On the other hand there is a substantial amount of claims and information produced by the Labour Party that clearly shows Scotland would not be able to go it alone. Labour firstly argues that the division of the UK would lead to colossal problems. The first problem highlighted is that current citizens of the UK would have to apply for a Scottish passport rather than a UK one.

In addition to this it is argued that the economy of both the UK and Scotland would suffer as if one decides to opt for the Euro and the other doesn’t then the financial industry would get a whole lot more complicated and the economy would be affected by exchange rates that do not currently exist in the UK. Furthermore, if Scotland gets independence then in many other countries worldwide British Embassies would have to be replaced by British and Scottish embassies, this itself would cost the respective countries a great deal to do.

Thirdly, in terms of defence a split from England is a split form the British Army inevitably. This means that if there was to be a war involving either Scotland or the rest of the UK neither country would be in good stead to fight and win as good as they would if they were united. If Scotland gained independence problems would arise if a war broke out say between England and France these problems include the decision on where the Scots loyalties would lie.

Moreover, government spending per head is more in Scotland than it is in England and therefore those south of the border want independence to improve their standards of living as no longer would money made in England be given to Scotland by central government. Another reason that England wants a split form Scotland is that at the moment Scottish MP’s are permitted to vote on matters affecting only the English but the vice versa is not allowed due to the establishment of the Scottish Parliament and its separate elections. This is known as the West Lothian Question and was raised by then West Lothian’s representative in the Houses Of Parliament Tam Dalyell.For this reason England wish to split with Scotland so only English MP’s vote on English matters.

Fourthly and finally for the against independence argument is that if Scotland was to gain independence form the UK, Northern Ireland and Wales may follow suit to gain the benefits that Scotland would becoming independent. This would lead the UK to become four divided nations with different Passports, possibly currency, rules, legislation and most importantly armies. The division of the UK would also take the power and prestige of the Queen’s position and discard it, as there would have to be different rulers for each country; this is hardly going to be accepted by the Monarchy supporters.

In conclusion, there are strong cases both for and against Scotland gaining it’s independence from the rest of the United Kingdom, both sides have pros and cons but most importantly both sides of the argument have their supporters and at the end of the day that is what it will all come down to when a referendum inevitably is brought up. Scotland has its own parliament so why can’t they have full separation. The north seas oil in terms of longitude and latitude belongs to Scotland so it really needs independence to reap the benefits of the sought after fossil fuel. So with this information I have divulged to you make your own decision. Scottish independence. Yes Or No?






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