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The Effects of Scottish Independence

27th November 2013

In September 2014 the Scottish public will vote to decide the future of Scotland and whether or not it will become independent from the rest of the UK. If the public are in favour of independence it will have severe affects on the rest of the UK.

There has been a lot of conversation surrounding the effects that Scottish independence will have on the UK for example:

What would happen to the Labour Party?- A large majority of the Labour party support comes from Scotland and according to David Aaronovitch "If the Scots vote Yes then the UK is heading for its most significant constitutional crisis since the Great Reform Bill clashes of 1830-32.” However on the other side of the argument Vernon Bogdanor states that the main change would be that “Labour would have to tailor its message more to voters in England", which might lead to more Blairite policies.”

Would it Encourage Welsh Independence?- According to Professor of Political Sciences at Cardiff University, Roger Scully, there is very little interest from Welsh people in becoming an independent country, he believes that independence “is not really a serious option.” However Leanne Wood, the leader of Plaid Cymru, the Welsh version of the SNP believes that if Scotland become independent it will “change the nature of the debate and independence could become a serious mainstream option.”

What would happen to the Eurozone and would Scotland join Europe?-In order for Scotland to join the EU it would have to reapply, however it may not be an easy process as the EU will hope to set an example to other regions hoping to become independent in Europe such as Catalonia. Also Alex Salmond wants to join Europe without having to use the Euro; he hopes to create a ‘sterling-zone’ shared with the UK.

How will it affect national debt in the UK?-It is estimated that the UK debt in 2016/2017 will be £1.5 trillion and Scotland would take £122 billion of this total. However Alex Salmond has also stated that if the UK refuses to enter a sterling zone, Scotland may walk away from the total debt.

What will happen to Team GB?- With the Olympic Games in Rio fast approaching after the referendum, people are questioning what will happen to the very successful Team GB. Just now the British Olympic Association have said that decisions will be made after the referendum, however Scottish Sport Minister, Shona Robinson states “If Scotland votes for independence we will be an independent country by the time of Rio 2016.”

What would happen to the UK’s Oil Revenue?-There is supposedly between 15 and 24 billion barrels of oil left in the British North Sea, 90% of which lies in Scottish waters.  However if it was divided up by population, Scotland would end up with only 10% of this total. There are rumours that Scotland could consider selling oil as a debt swap.

In addition to these questions, there are many other queries over Scottish independence and what it would mean for the rest of the UK. The vote takes place on the 18th of September 2014, not long after the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup. It is in the hands of the Scottish public to decide what is best for the future of their country.

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