Scottish Independence

March 27, 2012, 2:48 PM GMT+0

In recent months the issue of Scottish independence has been the source of much political debate in the UK. Following the Scottish National Party’s election victory in 2011, the potential for a referendum became a reality with a binding referendum set to take place during the current Scottish Parliament.

Since this time, however, various problems have arisen concerning both the timing, and the ambiguity of the questions put to the public.

The issue of Scottish independence is one of huge importance in the UK. It raises multiple questions regarding the impact the change could have upon Scotland’s own prosperity, in addition to the wider effect upon the UK as a whole. Would an independent Scotland be a positive or negative change?

What are your views on the potential for Scottish independence?

Politics Lab participants put forward a number of arguments both in favour of, and against the idea. Issues such as Scotland’s right to self-autonomy, and the ability to define its own economic direction were seen as positives of the potential change. However, negatives were also pointed out such as the strength of the UK when it is united, and questions over Scotland’s ability to support itself as an independent country.

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Here’s what PoliticsLab participants had to say...

1. Scotland SHOULD be an independent country

Scotland is a nation and has a right to independence

Scotland is a nation. It signed up to a Union with the British Empire, but with the demise of that, the UK is too wee for a Free Trade area. Europe makes far more sense for modern Scotland, and we need separate representation there. I have no problem with a sovereign Scotland and a sovereign UK sharing some institutions where they are mutually beneficial” FC, Falkirk

“Because Scotland is an identifiable nation and because independence is the increasingly normal state for a nation Anon

“If Scotland want independence, they should have it. They should design and decide on the referendum. Nothing to do with Cameron or Westminster. It's their country and their right to make their own decisions. Also, I am Welsh and I think it will help the cause of further devolution / independence for Wales. I am fed up of living in a colony of England. I don't feel in any way British or part of the UK and I imagine the Scottish people feel the same” Jen Hughes, Pontypridd

We are a different country with our own laws, history, culture and heritage, it is time to reclaim our nationhood and to have full control over our own destiny. Scotland is an ancient nation that has been independent for many more years than it has been in union. It is the normal state of affairs for nations to be politically and economically self-determining” Gavin H, Ayrshire

“All nations have the right to be independent and Scotland was a nation before many others in Europe etc.” Jenny, Norfolk

Scotland would benefit from more autonomy

I believe that Scotland can do better outside the UK, with more control over our resources and the economic levers needed. Furthermore I think an independent Scotland would be more able to be socially just, with welfare set in a way that does not disproportionately impact on disabled people” Anon

“I think Scotland can be a really progressive country, and tackle its problems if it has control over its own resources and responsibility for its tax and spend. I also think it can be a beacon of peace, were it not forced to send its people to die for flawed causes” Stephen S, Hamilton

“The Scottish have a right to self-determination. The UK is no longer sustainable as it is too lop-sided in favour of London and the SE of England. Scotland would be able to fully assess and deliver policies that would meet their needs as a nation rather than be dragged along with Westminster decisions” Anon

I think the Scottish government should be allowed to raise its own taxes. The differences between Scotland and England/Wales in terms of tuition fees, health and social care funding and so on mean that there is little similarity or common purpose on the decisions and policies that impact the lives of most people in England/Wales” Anon


“I believe that Scotland should stand on its own feet. If they wish to provide services not available in England & Wales, their own taxpayers should fund them. It should be possible for an English Parliament to work with a Scottish Parliament to our mutual benefitAnon

It would solve the West Lothian question

“So that England can have its own parliament again. This will resolve the West Lothian question. I think the independence of Scotland will help England become its own master again, and not be ruled by Scottish MPs” Malcolm, Sussex

Scottish MPs should not be allowed to vote in Westminster, they should not be allowed to dictate on whether we keep Summertime rather than changing the clocks” Brian, Sale

“Politically we have little influence on Scottish affairs, but Scottish MP's can vote in issues relating to England e.g. University fees Jayare, Salford

“I believe this will happen sooner or later - it's not going to go away. Scottish MPs can vote on English matters in the Commons - English MPs can't vote on Scottish matters - that's insane and very unfair Anon

“At present Scotland is nearly an autonomous nation with powers over the British government and England in particular. England has very little say on Scottish affairs. If Scotland had independence all Scottish MP's in Westminster will be removed and this gives back power to the English regarding English affairs Anon

Scotland and the rest of the UK do not want the same thing

“I believe that a fresh start is needed in the determination of policies and the way forward for Scotland. While it's true that the union has benefited all nations, any dissolution will not alter that fact. The simple fact is that Scotland and England have grown too different in their viewpoints, and independence is the best way to maintain a friendly relationship between the nations” Philip, Ayrshire

Scotland has a different emphasis as to what it wants (e.g. University fees, social policies, renewable energy, defence and how it wishes to be represented Internationally)” Anon

“The Scottish people have a distinct character and a strong sense of nation. It is clear that they feel the union does not benefit them much and that they operate within a very different political and cultural context. There is no reason at all for them to be forced to remain in the UK if they do not wish to” Paul S, London

Scotland has a distinct separate history and identity. It is one of social democracy and egalitarianism quite different from that of England. As a people we seek self determination to ensure that our people and our nation are given the opportunity to grow and develop as we want it to, not how a government far removed from our country decides. The fact that the population of England, now at some 50+ million, will always outvote and therefore dictate to the people of Scotland is no longer acceptable” Anon

Scotland is a separate nation with a separate identity and a separate set of political and personal ideals to England” William P, Fife

2. Scotland SHOULD NOT be an independent country

Our countries are stronger together

“We should be allowed to vote on the subject, as choice is the keystone of true democracy, but I believe we are stronger together rather than apart JP, Edinburgh

We are stronger together. We would be worse off if we were to break off. It would have a huge impact on interest rates, savings, mortgages, pensions, taxes and our currency at time where we need all the help we can get” Anon

The more countries can team up and work together the better, so I am against separatism. I believe if Scotland does become independent, it will turn out worse for them than for us” Anon

We are stronger together. Independence movement is based on nationalism and not common sense. Chris, Clacton

“As a Scot, living and working in Scotland, I am certain that the advantages of independence will be greatly outweighed by the disadvantages. As much as it goes against the grain to agree with David Cameron on anything, I have to agree with him that the UK is better/stronger together than apart” Anon

Scotland may struggle on its own

We don't have the infrastructure to support independence. We can't go it alone and expect the rest of the UK to provide our NHS, defence, benefits, and taxes. We would need to set up our own systems and we don't have the money to do so. Gordon, Wishaw

“No need to be. Scotland has prospered within the union. Not convinced of the long-term plans to support the Scottish economy Ash, Glasgow

“I'm Scottish and support the SNP but independence is a step too far. Independence would destroy Scotland financially. There's also too many un-answered questions - like defence, border controls, and the pound. If Scotland joined the EU as an independent country, they would have to join the Euro. Far better to be dictated to by the English than the Germans and French Anon

We do not have enough resources, too many people live on handouts therefore we would have to let in too many outside workers. Being a part of the European Union would mean more admin from them and we would not need a Scottish Parliament! Now is not the time to break away, it should have been done years ago” AM, Stirling

Scotland and the UK will lose influence internationally

“There is more to be gained by acting together - both countries' would be poorer and have less influence in the world if they were separated. We should all work for closer integration with our European neighbours not split into different factions” Fraser, Herts

“The United Kingdom is an effective player and contributor on the world stage. The dissolution of the Union would severely damage and limit the global influence that we currently have on key issues (Human Rights, Environment etc)” GCA, Scotland

“I simply believe that the UK is stronger together both in terms of economy and international influence PK, Wigan

The smaller we divide ourselves, the less influence we will have on the world stage. We want to be able to have a say in the big international decisions and be a voice that people listen to, not just a country that's past it. Additionally, the two regions are very closely tied - there are lots of people with family in both, who've lived in both or who feel closely affiliated to both. It's not something that you can easily say you're one or the other” Anon

“I think independence would weaken both Scotland and what remains of the UK. Not just financially, but also defence and international influence” Anon

The Union has a great history together

“England and Scotland have had a united monarch for over 400 years and a united government for over 300. Most of Scotland's greatest people and achievements (and there have been many and Scotland can justifiably be proud of that) have been during the Union and have been heavily influenced by that. Despite all the attempts at romanticism put forward by the SNP Scotland has benefited greatly from the union of the nations of these islands which has allowed the genius of the Scottish people to flourish far better than it ever could without union” Jack M, Manchester

“We have been a united country for 200 years and are stronger together. We share a tremendous history and it makes no sense to divide Anon

“We are and should remain one United Kingdom of Great Britain & NI. Scotland and the rest of the UK (England, including Wales and Cornwall, and Northern Ireland) have fought through so much together in the past, and our common history should unite us!” Peter B, Cornwall

“Scotland is a country within a country, the United Kingdom. We have a shared history and what I thought was an unbreakable common bond, we have achieved great things and faced down great adversities together as one country and we should continue to do the same. Also, whilst I was born and continue to live in England, I consider my nationality to be British; if ever I am asked my nationality I put British” Anon

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