As a citizen of the U.K., I want Scotland to stay. Scottish independence feels wrong and it is wrong: voting No is the right decision. If Scotland breaks away from the U.K., they are running away from a problem, not solving it. As it stands now, Scotland has the best of both worlds — the political security of being part of one of the world’s largest economies while still having an independent Scottish parliament with power over the country’s health, education and, to a certain extent, tax rates. There is no question that there have been problems regarding Westminster’s relationship with Scotland, but the fact is that a Yes vote will most likely be followed by a victory for the Scottish National Party, which has controlled the Scottish Parliament for the last three years with only minor deviations from Westminster policy.
Simply stated, to leave the English economy behind is a huge risk. As of now, Scotland has the freedom to trade with the U.K. easily and without borders. This gives Scottish businesses access to 60 million people in the U.K. — Scotland’s most important market as it sells more to the rest of the U.K. than to all other countries combined. Independence would result in insecurity and instability for thousands of businesses. The nationalists do not have a definite plan to replace the pound because they have not acknowledged they will likely lose it. Were Scotland to leave behind the pound, they would put themselves in financial trouble. Separation from one of the most successful currencies in the world would be a huge mistake.
All of this upheaval would most likely result in job losses and reduced welfare. One in five Scottish jobs is with a company based in the U.K., and there is no guarantee that these jobs will be secure if Scotland becomes independent. This could result in thousands of job losses, as well as fewer opportunities for Scottish citizens to work with or in the U.K. in the future. The nationalists also have an idealistic plan for welfare that does not consider tax increases and welfare cuts are a significant possibility.
Above all else, the U.K. is a deeply patriotic nation, and to rip it apart is to do deep damage to the psyche of that nation. We are a nation of football, of the National Health Service, of poetry and of sometimes great food. It is a place where Andy Murray and Mo Farrah can compete on the same side with the voices of four nations cheering them on. Britain is epic, exciting and diverse — to turn our backs on each other is to break up both a nation and a family.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 18 print issue. Email Scarlett Curtis at [email protected]