Scottish Referendum: the aftermath

What the future holds for Britain and Scotland.

By Emmanuel O.

Even though the Scottish Referendum ended in a “no” vote, there will still be some sweeping political and economic changes in Britain and Scotland.

Let me shed some light on the Scottish independence referendum for those whose interests usually do not involve politics or for those know little about what the referendum was all about, as well as a brief introduction to Scottish history.

Technically speaking Scotland is a country, within the sovereign state known as the United Kingdom, along with Wales, Northern Ireland and England. In the past, England and Scotland had maintained a monarchy-sharing arrangement for over 100 years. This was before the Acts of Union in 1707, which made the two nations a single entity with one parliament located in London. In 2011, Alex Salmond became the first minister of Scotland and promised a referendum within the upcoming election cycle. It was then in 2012 that British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed to allow the referendum to take place, although he did so because he knew it was bound to fail.

Fast forward a couple of years to 2014. As many are aware, the referendum took place on September 18, and although it was a close call, the “No” vote succeeded and Scotland is set to remain a part of the United Kingdom. Apparently David Cameron was right.

That being said, now that the results are out, the big question is ‘What does the future hold for Scotland and Britain?’ Hopefully this article will help to answer just that.

In the midst of the campaign that has just taken place and ended, during a passionate speech at Dunfermline, Fife, the three main UK parties made a promise to the Scottish people that they would receive more power in the Scottish Parliament. The question is whether Westminster will keep their devolution promise or not. Britain’s former PM Gordon Brown said “I will ensure that as a promise keeper, these promises that have been made will be upheld.” However, according to a recent development, Scotland’s Alex Salmond accused the three UK party leaders of “reneging” on the pledge they made mere days before the referendum.

“I am actually not surprised they are caviling and reneging on commitments, I am only surprised by the speed at which they are doing it. They seem to be totally shameless in these matters,” he said. “I think the vow was something cooked up in desperation for the last few days of the campaign and I think everyone in Scotland now realizes that.”

Future possibilities for both countries

One future intention for both countries is the devolution plan. This proposal deals with Scotland’s power to have an amount of control over all taxes, including both welfare tax and income tax.

There are also ongoing debates around which aspects of welfare benefit spending might be entrusted to the Scottish Parliament. The areas of welfare spending that have been chosen as candidates for devolution include Housing Benefit, the Work Program and Attendance Allowance.

Having said all this, the devolution plan is still in progress and has yet to become concrete. This should be as much as an issue for Scotland as for the Labor Party in Britain, as if they do not follow through with what they initially said or if they fail to fulfill their pledges, there could be negative consequences for them.

The “No” result in Scotland mostly resulted from fear of the consequences of secession and separation, although according to speculation, this will not be the end of this issue. Will Scotland attempt to still gain independence in the future? Well, we just have to wait and see. However, it is a big possibility being that such a shocking number of people voted “Yes” for the independence of Scotland.

For further readings and to keep up with the after-math, check the following links:

http://www.futureukandscotland.ac.uk/blog/scotlands-decision-future-snp.

http://esrcscotecon.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/scotlands-fiscal-future1.pdf.

http://www.futureukandscotland.ac.uk/

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-29277984

Sources:

The Telegraph, “Scotland: What the future holds”, By: Liam Halligan, Sept. 20th, 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/11110955/Scotland-What-the-future-holds.html.

BBC News Scotland Politics, Scotland Referendum: Alex Salmond says ‘No’ voters were ‘tricked’, 21 Sept., 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-29296282.

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