Now is not the time for a second independence referendum

Now is not the time for a second independence referendum

As the Scottish Parliament votes for a second independence referendum, Murray Brown argues that the SNP should wait before endangering the Union.

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The United Kingdom is not a country but a complex union of four nation states consisting of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. The people of Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have all aspired for greater autonomy from Westminster. The question that is often asked is ‘Why should Scotland stay in the United Kingdom?’: a problematic question in itself! If Scotland leaves the United Kingdom the United Kingdom would cease being a Kingdom United! The UK has been united in times of troubles and jubilation, which have allowed it to become a more cohesive body. It was this cohesion that led the United Kingdom to play a major part in defeating the Nazi regime in Germany in the 1940s, and this cohesion that allowed Scottish Olympians to play their part in the success of Team GB in London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Scotland is a country that is different from England politically speaking, being more egalitarian when it comes to areas over tax and higher education. However, Scotland has a devolved Parliament and powers, given to them by the UK Parliament, so the Scottish Government can make important decisions over the areas of taxation and education without interference from Westminster. In September 2014, there was a referendum on Scottish Independence. The two sides in the Referendum were Better Together, who campaigned for the union, and Yes Scotland, who campaigned for Scotland to become an independent nation. After a fraught campaign, Better Together won with 2,001,926 votes to Yes Scotland’s 1,617,989; the people of Scotland made their voices quite clear that they did not want to see the breakup of the United Kingdom.

the amount of Scots that wanted to remain in the United Kingdom was higher than those that wanted to remain in the European Union

On the other hand, it can be easily argued that the situation and views amongst Scots has changed since then, as the SNP have managed to drastically increase their support number of representatives in the UK Parliament. Also, Scotland voted to remain in the European Union by 1,661,191 to 1,018,322 votes while England and Wales voted to leave. Nicola Sturgeon argues that Scotland should not be taken out of the European Union against the wishes of the Scottish people. On the other hand, it seems important to remember that she seems keen to ignore the democratic will of the Scottish people by wanting a rerun of a referendum that did not yield her party’s desired result. It is also important to keep in mind that, even though 16 year olds could vote in the Scottish referendum, the amount of Scots that wanted to remain in the United Kingdom was higher than those that wanted to remain in the European Union.

Economists warned of economic depression and disaster when the results of the Brexit referendum were announced on the morning of June 23 2016. This did not happen. The Chancellor, George Osborne said there was going to be an emergency budget if Britain voted Leave. This did not happen. I voted Remain because of my concerns about the status quo being put at risk and the fear of life being difficult for European immigrants wanting to come to this country. Even though the side I supported lost the referendum I have changed my mind to the extent that I am now a democratic Brexiteer, believing that we should leave the EU because the British public have made their voice clear. The impact of the referendum results do not seem to be as drastic as was predicted. The Scottish government should think logically about this issue, and wait for the Prime Minister to finish her negotiations with other European Union leaders about what a post-Brexit Britain would look like before they decide to put our nation, the United Kingdom at risk.

If the Scottish Government really wants to leave the United Kingdom they should get their affairs in order and think about what currency this New Scotland should use. They should think about what their border should look like with England and how they would police it. If a second referendum leads Yes Scotland losing a second time, an important question to ask is when will the SNP get the message? Would there be calls for more referendums after the second if it does not go their way? Finally, the main reason why the SNP  should not trigger a referendum is that they are playing politics with the future of the United Kingdom!

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