Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Scottish Independence Referendum (A short note).

On Thursday, 18 September 2014, Scottish people will vote in a referendum that will determine the future of Scotland. Through this referendum, Scottish people will decide to remain part of the United Kingdom or declare independence.

This is the fact that the majority of ordinary Scottish people are not satisfied with current situation due to mainly the economic, political and accordingly social inequality. Although, this referendum will take place during David Cameron's Premiership, but the root causes of these inequalities go farther back to Margaret Thatcher era; the era of full-scale privatization in the United Kingdom. The result of such a widespread Neo-liberal policy was fully beneficial for a minority and at the same time marginalized the majority of people across the United Kingdom.

The wave of such a gradual marginalization and deprivation damaged the economic, political and social structure of societies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland much more deeper than London. Since then, unfortunately, the other Prime Ministers of the UK have not addressed these inequalities in an appropriate and reasonable manner. The existence of such unsolved problems after four decades, has finally woken up the Scottish Nationalism. The victory of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in 2011, the coming referendum and possibly the yes vote of Scottish people in this referendum should be understood in this respect. As such,the today's emotional speech of Mr. David Cameron, which was shocking for me, and the last minute reform might reach nothing. Based on this short summary and what the media reveal, there is highly likely that the Scottish people vote Yes and Scotland would declare independence following this referendum.

Such an event would not be pleasant for the UK, Conservative Party and particularly for a politician such as Mr. David Cameron. His name would always be accompanied with the term  "separation of Scotland from the UK" for many years to come. This event might also entail an early retirement for Mr. Cameron in his political career. The separation of Scotland, however, might be accompanied with some other consequences in domestic as well as in the international arena. Here below, some of the possible consequences of this move would be briefly mentioned.

1- The separation of Scotland would damage the reputation and to some extent the power of the United Kingdom in the international arena in various forms among different countries.

2- This event would encourage the people in Quebec to once again push forward for another referendum in order to say good bye to Canada and the United Kingdom. Such a move would consequently spread across the UK among the people in Wales and Northern Ireland somewhere in the future, if the political system in the UK would not address the serious issues in these areas.

3- Such an event, in domestic arena, would damage the reputation of the Conservative Party and consequently would facilitate a good opportunity for the Opposition parties to take the power in the next United Kingdom General Election in 2015. In this respect, the Labour Party (Mr. Ed Miliband) would have more chance to take the power from the Conservative Party, although the Labour Party would lose some of its support following this separation.

4- Such an event, would be accompanied with the rise of Nationalism in the UK. This issue would be beneficial for all Nationalist parties e.g. BNP (the British National Party) in the country. The rise of Nationalism (accompanied with the proposal of Mr. David Cameron) might consequently influence the decision of the English people regarding the remaining within the European Union or not. This issue would depend on the type of policy and activity of the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties (as two powerful parties after the Conservative Party).

In sum: whether we like or not, we are in the transformation phase of rise and fall of empires. I hope the current policy makers, particularly in the West would perfectly understand this event and try to develop and adapt their policies based on reasonable and logical manner, which is suitable for the contemporary world, not based on some victorious nostalgia in the past. The current tension in Ukraine could be an important and great test for the Western policy makers in this matter.  

M. Sirani                          10.09.2014