By this time tomorrow, the future might look very different for the United Kingdom. Today, Scottish voters decided whether to end Scotland’s 300 year union with England and Northern Ireland. Polls in Scotland were open until 10:00 PM Scottish time (or 4:00 PM Central Time), and millions of citizens have shown up to cast their ballots. The results of the election are expected early Friday morning.
The issue has sparked sharp controversy over the future of Scotland.
The Yes Campaign — the Scottish movement to separate — believes Scotland would be better off financially as an independent nation. According to the Yes Campaign’s website, an independent Scotland would make moves to close the gap between the rich and the poor by making changes that would benefit working-class citizens. The two major political parties have already committed to abolishing the controversial Bedroom Tax and putting a living wage into effect in Scotland. And, as the Yes Campaign’s site states, Scotland can afford it:
“Scotland has a strong and diverse economy, with high-performing sectors including oil, manufacturing, food and drink, tourism and energy.”
Some critics have questioned whether the pound would continue to be used as Scotland’s currency. The Yes Campaign maintains that the pound would continue to be Scotland’s currency, as there would be no benefit to either side to change it.
Why Say No Thanks?
The Better Together Campaign, in favor of a continued union between Scotland and the UK, believes the safest option for Scotland would be to remain a part of the UK. By separating from the UK, Scots would also separate themselves from their UK pensions, passports, and, allegedly, the pound.
Gordon Brown, former UK Prime Minister, has spoken out strongly against Scottish independence. He states that an independent Scotland would create “an economic minefield from which problems could explode at any time.” He cites the following financial risks that could result from a separation: mortgage and loan interest rates rising, debt default, prices of goods and services rising, and jobs dependent on the UK government vanishing. (Watch the full video of Brown’s speech on the Better Together Campaign’s Facebook page.) He paints an uncertain and grim future for a separated Scotland.
Who Will the Scots Be Tomorrow?
Both sides of the argument have strong claims to the future of Scottish identity. The Yes Campaign is fighting for the dream of a Scotland that controls all of its own resources. The Better Together Campaign stresses the long relationship that Scotland and the UK have had over the centuries, and the good that has come of it. One way or another, tomorrow’s decision will go down in history.
Photos courtesy of: Wikipedia