“I am William Wallace. And I see a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of tyranny! You have come to fight as free men. And free man you are! What will you do without freedom? Will you fight? […] No! We will run and live! ”
In the 1995 historical drama, the Scottish “Braveheart”, William Wallace referred with these words to the sense of freedom, the independence spirit. Regardless of historical accuracy, significantly argued in relation to the movie, regardless of the received awards, this seems to have reborn in the Scottish souls in recent times.
The 18th September 2014 referendum illustrates best the situation, as Scottish citizens will be asked to answer to the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?" "If the Scots vote Yes then the UK is heading for its most significant constitutional crisis since the Great Reform Bill clashes of 1830-32," wrote David Aaronovitch
As for Scotland itself, what is significant at this point is the continuous debate upon its domestic currency, its interest rates, taxation, regulation, investor protection and financial stability of an independent Scotland. It will also cover the educational system, the internal transportation and most importantly, the European Union’s membership, since the Scottish independence conundrum is developing in parallel with the UK debate of a possible withdrawal from the European institution.
Considering the historical bounds between the UK and Scotland, it is realistically hard to believe that a possible partition would put into question the ties that exist between them. Moreover, it is hard to believe that Scottish independence will bring a total gap in the already well-established relations with the UK or with Europe itself.
The two kingdoms united in 1707, with the Treaty of Union and subsequent Acts of Union, to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was formed by the Acts of Union 1800, which united the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland.
The independence impulse represented a real question mark ever since the First devolution referendum, in 1979 when The Scotland’s National Party organised a successful campaign entitled "It's Scotland's oil" emphasising how the discovery of oil could benefit Scotland's then struggling deindustrialising economy and its populace.
By 1997, a second devolution referendum took place in the years of the Conservative government after 1979, the Campaign for a Scottish Assembly was established, eventually publishing the Claim of Right 1989. According to DailyRecord, “Almost two-thirds of the public back Labour MP Douglas Alexander’s call for a new Scottish constitutional convention – involving the SNP – if we reject independence in September.”
Reactions and distractions
Publically, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Cameron “has called for "cross-party consensus" on further devolution if there is a No vote in the referendum on Scottish independence.” As for the opposition, the current First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond said that it would be "very foolish" to work on a project that would include multiple-party structures of the leading policy making processes.
Mr Salmond pointed in his speeches to the 1979 devolution referendum, when Scots voted in favour of a Scottish Assembly but instead got what Mr Salmond described as "18 years of Margaret Thatcher's government"
Another well-known figure and controversial reaction to the domestic issue within the United Kingdom is pictured by the author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling who has multiple times, publicly mentioned that a subsequent partition would not be a good solution and it does not bring with itself even better prospect, not internally nor internationally.
"I think that independence right now is not a great idea. […] We're in the middle of a huge, terrible; terrifying world recession just think now is a time for stability. […] And Scotland's doing great under devolution. I think economically we're in a pretty stable, sound condition. I would be personally quite averse doing anything that destabilised that in the next few years." Moreover, author JK Rowling has made a £1m donation to help fund the campaign against Scottish independence.
In any case, this particular issue represents a(nother) wake-up call for the EU. Apparently, euro-scepticism has become a common item to describe the EU current dynamics. By also taking the example of Spain’s Catalonia or other European strategic points, apparently states tend to believe that partition would be a better solution for their future developments and foreign and domestic policies. Whatever their choice, the consequence will be in accordance with it and will reflect their ability to connect better the puzzle of possibilities, necessities and priorities. Nevertheless, states should focus on their historical background and reflect on whether the European Union did reach its purpose or it could be considered as an alternative or an occasional option for individual increasing position on the international scheme.