Scotland Debates Leaving the UK

Scotland Debates Leaving the UK

Mia Cafaro, Editor-in-Chief

Scotland has been a part of the United Kingdom since 1707, but it has recently re-introduced the idea of leaving this union and once again becoming an independent nation.

   In Sept. 2014, the Scottish National Party introduced a referendum which posed the question, “Should Scotland become an independent country?” to the Scottish people. At the time, 55 percent of the population voted that Scotland remain a part of the U.K. 

   The issue was set aside until 2016 when the Brexit vote passed. Brexit refers to the decision of the U.K. to leave the European Union. Tensions have been high recently, as of Jan. 31 was the day Brexit was officially enforced. While England and Wales voted to leave, Scotland voted to stay by a wide margin.

   The Scottish National Party views Brexit as a “material change in circumstances” that could warrant a second referendum. To keep a potential split as legal and legitimate as possible, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon requested a Section 30 order from U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which would be an agreement to the transfer of powers.

   Prime Minister Johnson reportedly rejected this proposal. His rhetoric has been described as hyper-unionism, which emphasizes the partnership of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales above all else. This development does not bode well for the SNP and has most likely guaranteed that the new referendum will not be voted on this year.

   The reason Sturgeon was so eager to get the Section 30 order approved was to save face with the EU. If Scotland ever does become independent, the SNP intends to have the nation reinstated as part of the EU, the major advantages of which would be peace and security, as well as being a part of the single market.

   Scotland is valuable to the U.K. because of its resources, namely oil and renewable energy. Sturgeon has argued that an independent Scotland could become a pioneer of clean energy production. Those in Scotland who are pushing to stay in the U.K. agree that developments in clean energy could transform the economy, but think separation from the U.K. would hinder that goal.

   Now that Brexit is over, this argument will rage on until a clear decision is made. Until then, the U.K. will have to fight to stay together.