Scottish voters go to the polls today to decide whether their country should break its 300-year union with Great Britain and declare itself an independent nation.
Is this the end of the UK as we know it? Polls show the yes/no question too close to call. Speculation is rampant. Will newly enfranchised 16 and 17 year olds tip the vote in favor of independence? There is evidence that younger voters strongly favor Scotland going it alone. How much of the lukewarm unionist sentiment will turn into votes for maintaining the status quo? There is evidence that some “no” voters feel intimidated by the pro-independence forces who have become more strident and emotional over the last few days.
But the real uncertainty lies in what happens if independence wins? The possibilities run the gamut from minor changes to economic Armageddon.
So what happens if things go awry? Rehman imagined a worst-case scenario: “They get their independence, oil revenues are not as large and long lasting as they thought, and boom! They get into trouble. Who bails them out?” With Scotland a part of the U.K., the Scottish economy can lean on the Bank of England as a lender of last resort. If Scotland’s on its own, there’s no one to catch it when it falls. “The Bank of England has made it very clear that it will not” play that role, says Michelle Egan, a professor at American University’s School of International Service.
In the end, Scotland’s economic situation comes down to a whole lot of uncertainty, and uncertainty can wreak havoc on an economy. Kerley says it’s already having an impact, driving down the value of the pound.
An independent Scotland would be kicked out of the European Union — and its lack of tariffs and trade barriers — and be forced to reapply as an independent country. Any of the EU’s 28 member nations could veto their admittance — including Spain, which doesn’t want to encourage its own separatists in Catalonia.
It may even encourage Great Britain to dump the EU, which might destroy the organization entirely.
You’ve read what the pundits and commentators have had to say. Now it’s your turn. Should Scotland be an independent country? Please leave your answer below in the comments. If you haven’t registered to comment yet, please take a few seconds to do so.