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In Favour Of An Independent Scotland

10/04/2017 12:02
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In the debate surrounding the notion of an independent Scotland, the economic argument has unsurprisingly taken precedence. It is pretty clear that it would take years for an independent Scotland to join the EU, and, in this time, it would encounter numerous financial difficulties and uncertainties. It is unlikely that Scotland would be granted a free trade agreement, unless, of course, England is able to retain it in its negotiations as it leaves the EU. Scotland would additionally have to adhere to certain requirements that would make it more appealing in its application process to the EU, such as considering taking on the Euro as a currency. As a whole, it is unclear where Scotland's economy would stand as it established itself as its own country. Independence, it cannot be denied, would not be a simple and clear-cut process. However, in order to fairly consider the question of Scottish independence it is necessary to also consider the debate from another perspective.

Scotland is currently facing a frustrating situation where the Scottish majority did not vote to leave the EU but it has to leave regardless due to the UK's overall verdict. The outcome of Brexit has effectively demonstrated how Scotland's voice will never truly be heard. In addition to this, it is worth considering the amount of funding that is distributed to Scotland. Due to higher levels of public spending in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK many have argued that Scotland is given unfair favouritism. However, this argument does not take into consideration the staggering Scottish poverty level. As of 2015, 17% of Scots were living in poverty and 20% experienced poverty after housing costs. Patterns show that these figures are only continuing to rise. It is impossible, when looking at these statistics, to not acknowledge that there is a problem here. Scotland is currently reliant on Westminster's philanthropic nature. This is one thing that Westminster cannot really be counted on right now, under a Conservative government that is currently continuing its ambition of cutting down on even more benefits for the poorest in society. Right now the Tories are reducing child benefits, that will ensure that 'a quarter of a million children' will find themselves in poverty, while also scaling down on bereavement benefits that are leading to significant worries among terminally ill patients who are concerned for their families' futures. Indeed, the moment the Tories took power they quickly began to establish themselves as the Party of the benefits cuts, while pledging to reduce income tax for the wealthier individuals in society, proving their prioritisation of the rich over the poor.

Ultimately, it is clear that Scotland will never get the funding it needs from a Parliament that will always prioritise the interests of the rich. It is simply a fact that Scotland is in dire need of more funding that it will never get. Scotland's poverty figures are appalling when compared to the rest of the UK as a whole. Wales also has unsettling poverty figures but, unlike Scotland, it will never have the power to leave England. Scotland has a chance. Those supporting an independent Scotland recognise this, and they recognise the fact that Scotland currently has shocking economic problems simply due to Westminster's lack of concern for those at the bottom of the economic hierarchy and for Scottish interests as a whole.

Scotland does have something on its side. Its oil and gas industry, that according to estimates could make £1.5 trillion for the Scottish economy, could help to support Scotland in its early stages of independence. England is heavily reliant on Scottish oil and gas, which is evidently one of the reasons why Parliament is so reluctant for Scotland to leave, and why it began a scare-mongering campaign to encourage the Scottish to vote to remain in the UK.

In addition to the economic factor, the cultural element should also be considered. Scotland is basically another country with a different set of values, including a very different stance on immigration. Unlike the increasing "the English come first" mentality, the Scottish have been known to adopt a much more welcoming and empathetic approach when it comes to refugees. It is unfair that Scotland should have to leave the EU partially due to the Tory desire to allow in as few people in need of a new home as possible, when so many Scottish campaigns have taken place in favour of supporting refugees.

It is embarrassing that Scotland has to be associated with English values and that it has to accept English supremacy. At this stage, it is understandable that many Scottish people are starting to think that Scotland might as well be on its own. While, yes, an independent Scotland would encounter financial stresses for a few years, those who do not see the need for an independent Scotland do not recognise the English Parliament's total disregard for Scottish interests - as illustrated by a severe lack of funding for Scotland in areas that most need it and a disregard for the Scottish stance on values such as immigration, and its majority verdict on Brexit. At least in an independent Scotland, despite the problems that it would have to face, Scotland would have its own autonomy, and the Scottish people would be able to blame their own government for their problems rather than an English government that will never feasibly prioritise Scottish interests.

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