Residents of Scotland participated in an independent referendum on Sept. 18 to determine if their country would depart from the United Kingdom and, thereby, gain autonomy. Of the nearly four million votes on the matter, 55% chose to not separate from the United Kingdom. This referendum, while it did not succeed, will not be the last vie for Scottish independence.
The final polling numbers were a surprise to many, as prior informal polls showed a much more decisive victory for the United Kingdom and Scotland’s continued unification. This small gap has helped rally and motivate those in support of Scottish independence, but various issues continue to cloud the movement’s goal.
Concerns were expressed with regard to an independent Scotland’s ability to operate on the global stage. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy argued a Scotland that separates itself from the United Kingdom necessarily separates itself from the European Union. There would be, as Mr. Rajoy claims, no guarantee of a welcoming committee.
President Barack Obama revealed his thoughts on the possibility of an independent Scotland and its impact on the United Kingdom by saying, “… we obviously have a deep interest in making sure that one of the closest allies that we will ever have remains a strong, robust, united and effective partner.”
What currency an independent Scotland would adopt is of current speculation. If Scotland were to become a part of the European Union, then it could not forgo the euro. Whether an independent Scotland could continue to use the pound is being debated. The issue of currency will continue to be pivotal in discussions of independent referendums.
Activists in favor of independence, who can be identified by their “Yes” apparel, are still working toward their goal. Marie Penman, one such activist, hopes to diminish the powers responsible for supporting the “No” side of the debate by placing pro-Scottish independence politicians in power. She feels that politicians such as former Prime Minister Gordon Brown led far too much support in the wrong direction, causing a close vote to be unfairly influenced.
“It would send a powerful message if [Gordon Brown] lost his seat,” said Marie Penman.
Another independent referendum is a possibility, but it is highly unlikely to occur anytime soon. Those who say “yes” are biding their time as memberships in parties that favor Scottish independence continue to increase. According to “The Guardian,” a U.K. newspaper, membership of these political parties, such as Scottish National Party and Scottish Green Party, are seeing threefold increases post-referendum.