Scotland referendum shadows UK future

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-9-9 0:18:01

Scotland will hold its independence referendum on September 18. A poll released Saturday suggested that pro-independence voters had taken the lead for the first time since the referendum campaign started. This dramatic shift in public sentiment has shocked the whole UK.

Scotland only has a population of 5.4 million, around 8 percent of that of the UK, but boasts a territory of about one-third of the nation. UK Prime Minister David Cameron inked an agreement in October 2012 ensuring that the Scottish parliament could hold a referendum on independence, known as the Edinburgh Agreement. Back then only about 30 percent showed support for independence and Cameron thought the referendum would put an end to the protracted controversy between the "Yes" campaign and the "No" group.

Now the UK is standing on a precipice. The Scottish National Party who takes a pro-independence stance is in office and its leader Alex Salmond serves as the First Minister of Scotland. Public will has reversed astonishingly within just one year, demonstrating that a secessionist party, once assuming power, will play a vital role in mobilizing the whole of society to pursue independence.

It is hard to say whether the proponents of independence will realize their dream in the referendum, which, however, obviously helps highlight and spread an independent spirit across Scotland.

Even if the "No" group aimed at keeping the Union intact wins the vote narrowly, it will in no way mean an end to the Scottish independence campaign.

If Scottish independence happens, Cameron will likely become a "sinner" of history for the UK. And if opponents win the vote, the UK government must be capable of tackling various consequences brought about by people's growing desire for independence. He may have to render more autonomy in tax revenue and social welfare to Scotland and defuse grievances from Northern Ireland and Wales.

Consolidated peace in an increasing number of countries makes smaller states feel more secure. Scotland is part of Europe which is one of the world's most stable regions with many affluent countries. Furthermore, they can rely on the European Union. Therefore some Scottish people contend that they will obtain more advantages at little cost by seceding from the UK.

If Scotland gains independence, the UK will descend from a first-class country to a second-rate one, which will once again break the balance within Europe. And its consequence may even wield influence upon international geopolitics.

The UK will become the biggest loser if such a scenario transpires. The elite of London have begun to feel panicked due to these potential risks and no longer wear an expression of pride for delivering the fate of Scotland to more than 5 million people through the vote on independence.

The Scottish independence campaign also tells us that established developed countries like the UK are far from stable as we previously imagined. 

Posted in: Editorial

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