Humanity Hallows Issue 4 Out Now!
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A student’s take on First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon’s plans for a second Scottish referendum
By Luke J Goodstadt
Scottish Independence may be typified by bawdy working class men standing around in kilts (without underwear) belting out “Freedom!”, at the top of their Scottish lungs. However, as Nicola Sturgeon moves towards publishing a second bill on Scottish Independence, it is time for Britain to once again seriously consider the so-called Scottish Question, without quoting Mel Gibson.
This question has permeated the seams of British politics ever since England and Scotland unified in 1707. Although it hasn’t been as prominent as the Irish Question, Scottish politics have always been starkly different to that of their English counterparts. Scotland has always shown its determination to be seen as completely different from the English, politically, socially and economically, so what are the remaining reasons for unification?
As a ‘United Kingdom’, officially all money raised by the government through taxes and other means is to be shared out across the Union. Shared currency is also a benefit of unification. The pound traditionally performs well against the other world currencies. However, at the minute, that pattern seems to have taken an opposing route (not that anyone is to blame for that, cough, cough).
However an increasingly strong argument for separation has formed over the last few years. Headed by the Scottish National Party (SNP), Scotland seems to have become even more nationalist than it has been for some time. The SNP argue that Westminster, although having devolved many powers to the Scottish Parliament, do not afford them the same amount of funding as they do for the south of England.
They argue that, if Parliament wants to renew the Trident Missile Programme, then the programme should be moved away from Scotland, considering the large majority of the Scottish people do not want it there. They also argue that Scottish influence in Westminster is far too small, with the decisions made by English and Welsh constituent MPs being able to significantly overpower the wishes of the Scottish people, meaning that decisions for Scotland are ones that Scotland does not necessarily agree with. Hence the slogan, ‘Scottish votes for Scottish issues’.
But by far the biggest argument in favour of Scottish Independence has been born from the fallout of the ‘Brexit’ decision coupled with the points that were made at the last referendum for Scottish Independence. The Scottish people were told that if they left the UK they would not be in the EU, and the EU was the biggest funder of Scottish projects, even bigger than Westminster! Many Scots made their decision based on this point, and voted to remain as part of the UK.
Yet, when the referendum for membership of the European Union ended in a ‘Leave’ vote (with Scotland obviously voting to remain), it meant that, yet again, England and Wales were forcing Scotland into doing something that they didn’t want to do. Not only that, but the rest of the United Kingdom had only convinced Scotland to remain a part of the UK by reassuring their membership of the EU.
Thus it is easy to see why the Scottish people are angry, and why another Independence Referendum is on the cards.
Whether you are a unionist or a separatist, a Brexiteer or a Bremainer, it is abundantly clear that the Scottish Question needs a solution; and that that solution can only come from within Scotland itself.
If Scotland does go independent, many things will change. There will be no more Scottish MPs, no more Alex Salmond (whoop whoop), no more Black Grouse Whisky, no more Scottish cyclists winning us gold medals. The biggest change, however, will probably be that The Proclaimers will inevitably go down in history as the first soft rock group to write a national anthem.
Luke J Goodstadt is currently studying History and Politics. When he is not attending lectures he enjoys cycling, reading and writing.