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Scotland independence: Yes vote is gaining ground
Should Scotland be independent? Here is the question that the Scots will have to answer, on 18 September, a referendum with colossal repercussions.
And for the very first time, the pro-devolution movement is taking the lead: if we believe the polls, 51% of Scots are saying “yes” to their country’s independence (Sunday Times). By playing the identity card against the English, Alex Salmond’s supporters have won 22 points within less than a month, “a vote for ambition over fear”. Escaping the liberal atmosphere, that is what the “Yes” side wants; the Norwegian model has become the new Scottish National Party’s attraction.
A clap of thunder for Scotland and for the United Kingdom. Many questions remain unanswered and the international statute of Scotland is still uncertain: state, republic or kingdom? Member of NATO? Nobody can tell. Will Scotland be the 29th country of the European Union? It would have to queue behind Serbia and Turkey… Joining the EU could take a very long time. And if there is independence, would this mean the creation of a border between England and Scotland?
The rest of the UK, which until now had not been very concerned about the Scottish issue, has suddenly woken up to the fact that the Scottish independence could become a reality. For the Brits, Scotland is not only about Andy Murray’s serve. Far from it. It is 300 years of common history. Scotland is also 10,000 soldiers, one airbase, and three naval bases of which a nuclear one. Its independence would result in important transfers of fire power and raise the crucial question of its defence. “A serious threat to his defence capability“, as the defence commission of the House of Commons stated.Another key point is the currency one: the Scottish First Minister promises to establish a monetary union between Scotland and the United Kingdom. But the “No” side ensures that this will not happen because of this some of the electorate is anxious and concerned about the future economic prosperity of their country. The split of the UK debt is at stake: if there is no monetary union, the pro-independence Scots are threatening to refuse to re-pay their share. The end of the Union Jack would be an economic disaster for the Brits. As much as 91% of the UK oil and gas resources is concentrated in Scottish waters.
In this referendum, the participation is an important issue due to the fact that the winner is likely to lead with a very small majority. For the occasion, the vote has been expended to voters aged 16 to 17. But all the Scots who are not living in Scotland have for their part been excluded from voted.
But whatever the outcome, the Scottish matter will not evaporate: the pro independence supporters might call another referendum – as they did to create the Scottish government and Parliament in 1997. September 18 might become an historical day for the UK, which would lose nearly one third of its territory.