Geography

The Economist explains: Why do some Scots want to leave the United Kingdom? | The Economist

The Economist explains: Why do some Scots want to leave the United Kingdom? | The Economist.

Scottish devolution from the United Kingdom is a topic I have watched very closely since graduate school. While my personal opinion is that the better fiscal outcome for Scotland would be to stay within the union, I also see that socially a break from the crown would be beneficial to the Scots emotionally.

It seems leaving would mean financial suicide for the small country. Oil in North Sea will not provide enough revenue to cover all the needs of society and government. More taxation will be difficult to assess. And being somewhat remote makes it difficult to find enough foreign investment to bring new sources of revenue. As mentioned in the article, money is flowing from London to the highlands disproportionately, and cutting that flow will bring some misery to a public that is somewhat dependent on public aid due to a less-than-stellar economy. Remaining with the union is likely the best answer.

But, as an American, I can see similarities in the pro-secessionist argument to our own revolutionary leaders. Financially the people feel as though they are being treated unfairly and do not gain from many of the social programs available and may be taxed too much. They also feel they are woefully under-represented In government, causing the fiscal issues above. To gain control of their own destiny would certainly add a new sense of being a Scot, one that may have existed centuries ago but has since been snuffed out by the union. Socially, the new freedom may result in a renewed sense of purpose.

The real question remains though, will that independence bring real financial and social change? Or, will it result in the end of Scotland as we know it? The public seems to be in favor of staying put, at least for now. But, will the ever-present, underlying desire for freedom that seems to be part of the Scottish DNA keep tugging at their very souls leaving them in a continual social struggle for independence? This vote in September will likely not be the end of the discussion.

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