August 25, 2014
TOPIC: On Sept. 18, 2014, the Scottish people will vote on whether Scotland should be an independent country.
SOURCE: Britt Cartrite, an associate professor of political science at Alma College, can provide commentary and analysis on Scotland’s vote for independence and the possible outcomes of the referendum. Cartrite, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, has research interests in nationalism, ethnic politics and Scottish identity. He can talk about why some Scots want independence but others are happy remaining British.
On the referendum:
“There are many levels to this very complex issue, with interactions taking place at the Scottish, British and European levels. The people who are pro-independence are focusing on democracy and control, while those opposed are focusing on uncertainty and fear. The two sides aren’t addressing each other; they are talking past each other.”
“Proponents for independence say a yes vote would make Scotland more democratic, bringing power closer to the Scottish people. A yes vote would mean control over Scotland’s oil resources and control over foreign policy — the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were very unpopular in Scotland. A yes vote also would enable Scotland to remove UK’s nuclear forces and missile sites from Glasgow, which also are deeply unpopular in Scotland. In addition, independence would enable the Scots to make decisions consistent with their Scottish/Scandinavian sensitivities. At the British level, proponents say, ‘Why not? Scotland makes up only 6 percent of our population, so their independence won’t impact us.’”
Arguments from the “Better Together Campaign”:
“Those against independence say the country would be too small and the economy not viable or diversified enough. They are skeptical of the politicians who would run an independent Scotland. There also is fear about what would happen to health care and pensions. What would the currency be? Would there be a border with UK with passports? The emphasis for the ‘no’ proponents is uncertainty. At the British level, those opposed to independence say independence could lead to the eventual breakup of the United Kingdom, with Wales mobilizing and fear of conflict in Northern Ireland.”
“If the referendum fails, all the major players have agreed to come together to negotiate expansion of Scottish power in the UK. But many are skeptical that would really happen. Now, Scotland’s power in relation to the UK is less than Michigan’s power in relation to the U.S.”
Prediction and best case scenario:
“Unless something emerges in the next 30 days, the referendum will most likely fail. A 60-40 vote, either way, is a good outcome. However, the worst case is a 51-49 yes vote, which means Scotland is independent, but with almost half of the Scottish population — those who voted no — angry.”