Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom

I gazed out at the mesmerizing view in front of me. A city stretched out, a beautiful ocean reflecting the sky above it. Behind me, the Scottish flag, blue etched with a white X-shaped cross, waved proudly.

The intense divide between the Scottish, English and the Irish was one of the first things I realized after coming to London. Despite sharing stark differences in culture, language and traditions, the regions continue to make up the United Kingdom. There’s a common joke that the easiest way to offend a Scot would be to ask if they’re from England.

It doesn’t really come as much of a surprise that, following the Brexit referendum, Scotland is fighting to become an independent nation. Unlike England, the majority of Scotland voted to “remain.” The next logical step for many Scots was to break away from the United Kingdom to function as a separate country. But doing so would be a mistake.

There are many reasons why Scotland would be rich as an independent nation. It has a plethora of natural resources, ranging from tidal energy to wind turbines. It has some of the best universities and colleges in the world. According to the Office for National Statistics, Scotland has the most educated population in Europe. It is also a strong financial hub.

But Scotland’s current prosperity doesn’t guarantee its success as an independent state.

Bill Fleet, an aircraft engineer currently living in Scotland, said he is in two minds about whether Scottish independence would be a good thing. He is concerned an independent Scotland would not be allowed to join the European Union, and wouldn’t do so well economically if not a part of the EU trade market.

Fleet isn’t alone in his worries. The Independent reported that more than half of Scots don’t want another vote on their independence. This is for a variety of reasons. Being a part of the United Kingdom could mean more economic stability. Currency would be a tricky matter. Unemployment could rise due to separate tax regulation systems. Overall prices of goods could rise due to an increase in trading costs.

Besides this, Scotland is tied to the rest of the United Kingdom in many ways. All of the U.K.’s submarine-based nuclear power bases are in Glasgow. Many oil reserves are in Scotland, and dividing up the reserves would be a complicated and difficult process.

Fleet said he feels people are being forced to push for an independence vote although most of them, particularly in the younger electorate, don’t know what will happen if and when Scotland becomes independent. Much of the Scottish culture is mingled with, and sometimes even stems from, the British culture.

When I was in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, this weekend, I definitely got the sense Scotland has its own traditions and lifestyle. I saw only one United Kingdom flag my entire time there. Although English was still the language of communication, I heard different dialects during my time there.

At the same time, I also spotted Nando’s, William Hill, fish and chips restaurants, massive Marks & Spencer stores and plenty of other symbols of the British culture. Although the Scots and English may not like being associated with each other, the relationship between the two regions is more characteristic of one between siblings, rather than one between enemies.

Scotland could certainly be a strong independent state, but as the saying goes, we are stronger together.

Saniya More is a sophomore dual major in international relations and broadcast and digital journalism. Her column appears weekly in Pulp. She can be reached at ssmore@syr.edu.


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