Scotland is barely a few months away from the all-important date of September 18, when its citizens will vote to decide the future of their country. The stakes are high: on one hand, there are supporters of an independent Scotland, whereas on the other hand, there is UK Prime Minister David Cameron who will be left “heartbroken” if Scotland chooses to be independent.
To save his heart, and to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom, David Cameron is even willing to offer 500m British Pounds (roughly $850m) to Glasgow. But nothing seems to quell the spirit for freedom in Scotland.
What Will Independence Mean For Scotland?
To begin with, independent Scotland will not be an end in itself. In fact, independence is just one page of the book. The bigger part involves Scots gaining powers that have so far been denied to them: sustainable economic growth, social justice, elimination of inequality, and above all, a Scotland-first approach.
Independence would mean that Scotland is able to develop its own identity — not as England’s neighbor, nor as a Home Nation within the United Kingdom, but as a sovereign state in its own right. Independent Scotland would envisage a voice for progressive ideals, democratic values, freedom and equality.
More importantly, if it does vote in favor of independence, Scotland will have an opportunity to become the type of nation that it wants to be.
A Challenging Road Ahead
As a part of the UK, Scotland was forced to fight UK’s war in Iraq and elsewhere. What will be the foreign policy of a free Scotland? This is the question that the whole world is asking.
If Scotland decides to go the UK-route and vehemently seek membership of NATO and/or similar entities, the very purpose of freedom will be defeated.
Thus, when pro-independence leaders claim that Scotland’s new Constitution will have specific provisions on how and when Scottish armed forces would be involved in action around the world, it sounds like a reasonable argument. Of course, we will have to wait to see the actual implementation of this claim.
Moving on: as of now, there are nuclear weapons installed in Scotland — barely twenty miles from Glasgow. After independence, Scotland will have to figure out its own nuclear policy. Once again, if it goes the traditional route and fails to see the harm in having UK’s nuclear arsenal on its soil, its freedom would become meaningless. On the other hand, if the Scots do decide to go nuclear-free, it would be another step towards ensuring the safety and peace of Scotland in particular and the world in general.
Similarly, for nearly 40 years, the United Kingdom has delayed the achievement of the UN target that developed countries spend 0.7% of their Gross National Income (GNI) on official development assistance. As an independent nation, Scotland will need to speak out against such double standards.
Even before its independence, Scotland has given a lot to the world. Adam Smith, David Hume, Alexander Graham Bell — this is one long list! Scotland’s tradition of innovation and invention dates way back in history. But as a constituent state of the United Kingdom, Scotland’s achievements were either ignored or overshadowed. This is where independence becomes super-necessary. A free Scotland will be free both in spirit and action. An independent Scotland can uphold its rich tradition and also ensure that the whole world benefits from Scottish progress.
Scotland, as a country, has always managed to impress me. It was the first country to initiate a Climate Justice Fund. Despite being a part of UK (and by that logic, a part of the developed world), Scotland did not hesitate in admitting the visible truth that climate change was caused primarily due to the rapid growth of the developed world, but it were the developing nations that had to pay the bigger price. Obviously, after independence, Scotland’s impressive track-record vis a vis the environment will continue to impress even further.
The virtues enshrined in the hearts of the Scottish people and the Scottish leaders are indeed praiseworthy — a commitment to fight against global poverty, restrict the use of nuclear weapons, tackle climate change, and avoid unnecessary wars. Such virtues can be put into practice only if Scotland is truly free from the dominance of its neighbor.
The times are changing for Scotland. Whether or not Scots vote for freedom is yet to be seen. But all said and done, Scottish freedom would mean the birth of an altogether new set of aspirations and dreams. Rest assured, an independent Scotland would be a country that the world can count on!