As an Indian and someone who has lived in the UK with great interest in the history of Great Britain, I am super excited. The big day is today. Scotland will decide whether it wants to stay in the UK or break a unison of 307 years. It all started with the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill passed by the Scottish Parliament asking a simple question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Voters will have to answer with a simple YES or NO. For the first time ever, Scottish citizens of age 16 are being allowed to vote for a decision that may change the destiny of UK.
Alex Salmond, the first minister of the Scottish National Party (SNP) is the most high profile figure in pursuing the independence of Scotland and has been relentlessly campaigning for a ‘YES’ vote. Although most ministers in the Westminster and the Queen herself have asked voters to think carefully before voting because it is apparent that they want Scotland to remain an integral part of UK. You would have seen British Prime Minister David Cameron almost close to tears begging not to vote for an independent Scotland.
Why does Scotland want independence anyway? It’s because Scotland feels they would do better off as an independent country and the current ministers who make all the decision in London have neglected Scotland’s interest and are very short sighted. They want independence not because they are just patriotic as seen in the movie ‘Braveheart’ but a lot more into developing the economy as a sovereign state. Although many years back they had a rough history, this is not the time to bring it up. But it can’t be denied that a lot of Scots are voting YES out of pure patriotism.
North Sea Oil in Scotland is a major contributor to UK’s economy. Even though oil is slated to run out by 2050, it might help Scotland to run initially. Not sure how various resources will be split among the two nations in the event of independence. Scotland also has the potential to tap vast natural resources from wind, water and coastlines. Currently they are the worst investors in renewable energy, but maybe a new independent Government will look into it. That is, if they gain independence.
There are mixed feeling among the Britons and opinions vary. Online polls show equal support, ‘No’ leading with a small margin and ‘Yes’ more on biased newspapers. Its a 50-50 chance.
It will be interesting to see the development. Regarding currency, border, rules and what not? Many countries have separated from the UK. All have done well, no country has ever said gaining independence was a bad idea. It’s not the end of the world for Scotland after independence but a new dawn. As for Great Britain, they will no longer be great I guess.