STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
In a historical referendum on Sept. 18, Scotland voted against full independence and decided that it would remain united with England.
Derek Wilson, a Scottish law professor, gave a lecture on Sept. 18. He discussed Scotland’s potential independence and explained Scotland’s history with England and the relationship between the two countries, as well as the events happening in the days leading up to the vote.
Transitioning from a part of the U.K. to its own independent country would have been a strenuous process, and it would be a long time until direct English influence significantly faded, if ever.
Wilson explained if Scotland had gained total self-rule, it would have lost influence in Europe.
Such a change would also be problematic for Scotland’s economy. Scotland could continue using the English pound, but then the U.K. would essentially control the Scottish economy, which is what Scotland wished to avoid. Creating a whole new currency would be very difficult to set up, and moving exclusively to the unreliable euro didn’t seem like the best decision either. All of this went into people’s decision when they went into the voting booth.
“(Seceding) would essentially cripple (Scotland’s) economy,” said actuarial science major Anthony Pullano.
It is unclear whether or not that prediction would actually occurred, but the transition would have definitely be complex and drawn out.
Scotland wished to secede for various reasons. Scotland’s waters have become even more valuable in the past decades with the oil found there.
Taking control of the oil would make Scotland more profitable, and this scenario is part of why England wanted to prevent it from independence.
Also, all of England’s nuclear warheads are located in Scotland and its nuclear submarines are located in Scottish waters.
“It’s a really difficult situation,” said first-year Molly Silverstein. “I know that Scotland doesn’t want to be involved with (the nuclear weapons).”
Scotland also tends to be more politically left than the more conservative England. These are just a few of the ways in which Scotland and England differ, but these differences were not enough to sway voters to the cause of secession.
In order to understand the context of last Thursday’s vote and why the people voted to maintain the status quo, it is good to understand Scotland’s history with England and the United Kingdom.
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, known for her divisive conservatism, reinvigorated the Scottish Nationalist Party in the 1980s, the party that led the independence movement. This led Scotland down a path towards more autonomy.
In 1997, Scotland voted to have its own parliament with its own united powers, separate of the Westminster Parliment in London. The two countries were still united, but Scotland had self-rule to a degree.
“I’ve always considered myself British and Scottish,” Wilson said.
He’s never really distinguished the two, as do many of his Scottish brethren. Lucky for him, he will still not have to make a distinction.
Even though Scotland is not independent, they still have control of its own future.
They decided to stay united with England. David Cameron, the current British Prime Minister, has promised more powers to Scotland if they remain part of the union.