The day has arrived. Will the people of Scotland vote Yes or No to becoming an independent country? Years of preparation boil down to what goes in the ballot boxes spread around the country. Across the water, a lot of Irish eyes are watching to see what will happen when the voting closes at 10pm. It’s less than a century since the 26 counties of Ireland became independent of Britain, and now it’s Scotland’s turn to either follow suit, or stay with the British. I decided to talk to a few Irish people about the vote, and what they think of Scottish Independence.
Diarmuid McCluskey is an Economics teacher in Dublin, and he believes that the “Yes” vote is the way the Scottish should be going. “In one respect, I was kind of surprised that a country that was offered independence wouldn’t go for it. Then I found the ‘No’ side, most of their arguments seemed to be dependent on some form of fear tactic. It was quite negative! It raised a lot of fairly tenuous arguments.
But ultimately I think it will come down to economics and I think the fear over the pound or what currency the Scots will use. Or what the cost of independence would be. That would maybe tip the balance in favour of the ‘No’”.
On the other side, History and English teacher Fursey D’Arcy believes that Scottish independence is not the right direction for the country. “It’s a sad idea. In the present context the monetary future for Scotland is uncertain.” When asked how he would vote if he had the chance, he replied with an unequivocal “No!”
In comparison to the situation in Ireland when independence was won, the History teacher argues “It’s completely different. There’s been no revolution, or war. The World has changed, and there’s lots of money pumped into Scotland! The Scottish already have a parliament”.
If Scotland were to gain independence, it would inevitably have a huge effect on the United Kingdom’s respect in terms of how it is seen by the rest of the world. “It weakens the UK’s voice in Europe and the World. It could make the UK less relevant. It would also weaken the Tories’ anti-Europe stance!”
Diarmuid McCluskey believes this could be huge for life within the United Kingdom. “There’s all kinds of effects. There are political, social, cultural effects! I think a lot of the arguments have centred on transfers of wealth from one to another. Personally, I think that Scotland would be in the top 15 wealthiest countries in the world if it does become independent! This is mainly in respect of their oil reserves. Scotland has produced more oil than Abu Dhabi so I think it’ll be quite a wealthy country!
The perception I think in Britain is that they subsidise the Scottish, I don’t think that’s real. But the questions over their national debt and the currency they use and what potential rate they have in terms of borrowing money, I think there are some legitimate concerns there.”
18 year-old Rebecca Fisher is studying Journalism in Galway, and she believes that while there are problems with the “Yes” side, independence is the right way to vote. “If I myself had a vote it would go towards Scottish independence. As an unbiased observer I can openly admit that the “Yes” vote is flawed and that there could be serious repercussions from Scotland gaining independence that haven’t yet fully been explored. Regardless of these downfalls I do truly believe that Scotland becoming a free and self-governing state is the right decision for its residents and for their future”
Fisher also believes that the “scare tactics” used by the ‘No’ campaigners have deservedly backfired. “I found these tactics to be in bad taste and consequently ineffective. A lot of these tactics were using exaggerated facts and did nothing in the way of swaying voters towards remaining in the UK. Scotland as a nation are passionate about gaining their independence and are doing so in a peaceful and reasonable manner. Attempting to change their minds using ridiculous and apocalyptic scare tactics is both reckless and misinformed on behalf of the ‘No’ vote.”
At first I must admit I was unsure of Scotland’s capability to sustain economically as they have few national resources (imports and exports) that don’t rely on UK investment. While I am still dubious about this topic I do believe if done properly, Scotland will be able to survive this change economically if they receive the vast amounts of revenue and tax from their oil reserves. This could bring massive amounts of investment into the country and help to bring them to the European forefront economically.”
With the ‘No’ campaign pulling out all the stops, it seems apparent that they are afraid of the prospect of a Britain without massive cities such as Edinburgh, or Glasgow. “It is unclear yet how large an impact this decision could have on the UK in terms of their power and position in the world,” says Rebecca. “Scotland’s independence could cause an international ripple effect of instability for them. The breakdown of the United Kingdom as a whole will weaken their voice and stance in the rest of the world, especially with Scottish troops being pulled out of British wars. This begs the question whether they should have been able to hold that much power over their residing nations in the first place? Although these seem to all be on the negative side of things, Scotland gaining independence will set a great precedent for peaceful change and show the United Kingdom in a more positive light. “
Image: Irish flag © Jefferson Davis – jeffersondavis, flickr.
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