“What if..?” The possible consequences of the Scottish Independence

09On Thursday the 18th, the Scottish population will finally vote on the independence from the UK, which would not take place before March 2016 anyway. With the referendum right around the corner, we have tried to come up with a list of possible consequences of the vote.

Experts have listed four possible outcomes for that which concerns currency. English MPs refuse the idea of Scotland keeping the sterling as a part of a formal ‘currency union’ with the UK, while keeping the pound, but not as a union, could be inconvenient in case of financial shocks. Creating a new currency would be costly, although it would grant more control over monetary policy; while joining the Euro would not be immediate nor easy.

As for the political consequences, Cameron’s resignation wouldn’t be mandatory, but independence would lead to a loss of power on his side and a consequent rise of the Labour Party, which incongruously campaigns against the separation but  admittedly only believes in the Union so long as it rules it. No problems for the Monarchy, as the Scottish independence does not imply it becoming a republic, since the referendum concerns the 1707 Union of the Nations and not the 1603 Union of the Crowns.

Finally, what would happen at the international level? Being a free, peaceful, democratic country already under EU regulations, Scotland would easily be able to join the EU provided it had, as any applicant, the approval of every other Member State, including those – as Spain, Belgium, or  Italy- that are still facing separatists challenges. But the boost it would give to the British eurosceptic movement could be an -unwanted- encouragement to international eurosceptics.

Even worse would be to deal with the permanent membership of UK to the UN Security Council, as the conditions under which it was conferred -UK having a vast empire and power- would change. And that might lead to the taboo issue of the reorganization of the UN.

Having evaluated the possible outcomes, mainly economically and internationally, it seems to be too high of a price to pay for independence. And the Scots might feel the same way, as the No voters have regained consensus after a slight loss last summer. Even the Queen broke the monarchy’s silence pleading for a more careful decision, and the leaders of the three main political parties in the UK have made one final attempt at dissuading from independence, vowing to grant more powers to the Scottish Parliament. The Nos are now leading the polls by 52% to 48%, but the gap is too narrow to tell. As British historian Dan Snow declared, “We believe unity is better than division, and co-operation is better than competition”.

Maria Felicita Ferraro



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