Since the SNP was formed in 1936 it has had a dream that Scotland should be independent from the rest of the UK – an idea which has been scoffed at by many for years since. However, this dream has recently become a much more realistic probability since the SNP won a minority government in 2007 and went on to win a majority in the Scottish Parliament in 2012. During this time they have put forward an approximate time in 2014 for the country to decide it’s state within the UK. On 15th October 2012, Alex Salmond the First Minister of Scotland and David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister met at St Andrews House in Edinburgh to agree and accept the deal, having signed the “Edinburgh Agreement” which will give Scotland the “legal powers” to hold a referendum on independence, which is going to be held in 2014. “
For this reason it is a highly relevant and important issue which is being blasted from every media angle available.
Firstly, the main concern of an independent Scotland is the tremendous cost. The question on many critics minds is - how are we going to afford it? As the “credit crunch” developed this resulted in the government using the publics money to keep the banking system on its toes – and in turn has dramatically decreased our budget by millions.
Many people fear that our tax money is not being spent on the right and most-needed things. Many of these people believe that tax money should be spent on important things that will have an improved effect on the public such as healthcare, education and housing. However, this money is actually helping unstable banks. The current recession has had a worrying effect on the public and has seen many people struggle; how is an independent Scotland going to help this? However it is worth noting that as an independent country our proportion of the debt taken on would be considerable less. And there is also the argument that we would have had a much more regulated FSA which perhaps could have decreased the financial difficulty we now find ourselves. But this is all speculation.
Statistics from a recent poll in late 2011, early 2012 and more recently at the start of 2013 have shown a vast rise in support for independence and a decline in support for the United Kingdom. However, strong views towards independence began to sway in early October 2012; the Polling Organisation found that support for the UK had grown for a previous 44% to 53% while support for Independence had fallen from 38% to 28%. The numbers of different polls taken throughout the years have proven that many people have no hope for independence. However, as we saw from the opinion polls surrounding the May 2011 Scottish Parliament election – this is not a reliable source to base an outcome on, anything could happen in the next 20 or so months.
State pensions and the National Health Service are two of many worries that many Scots hold. Recently however, a source named “Your Scotland, Your Voice” stated that “benefits, tax credits and the state pension would continue to be paid as now in an Independent Scotland” which highlights what people are trying to do in order to put critic’s minds at ease. Also unlike our southern neighbours – it has been promised that our NHS system will not become privatised. The SNP argue that Health has never been a major problem to Scotland, especially with the establishment of free prescriptions and personal care for the elderly. On the other hand, the “Controversial Health and Social Care Act” which was recently passed does not apply to Scotland which creates many doubts for the public. Scotland has always had its own version of the NHS and maintains a long history of medical research. The high standards and level of care, training and research remain better quality and superior to the English NHS.
Another major worry that the public face is a change in currency as it would be a massive struggle to change all of the population’s