The Scottish Referendum: Irresponsible as it is Infeasible

As we discuss the importance of Putin in Ukraine or ISIL consuming the Middle East, we see that a major referendum in The United Kingdom has been under the radar. On September 18th, the citizens of Scotland will go to the polls to decide on an issue that has been on the back burner since the days of William Wallace: will there be independence for Scotland?

In terms of real world feasibility, it does not seem like this would be a good idea. Although polls currently show the question is “too close to call”, we know that Scotland relies heavily on petroleum exports (which are dwindling), as well as British benevolence in terms of welfare and government services. The Scots are not a rich people with a robust economy. In the event of secession, they would be forced to spend money that they do not have to build an army and navy, to establish a new welfare system, to establish a federal legal code, make treaties, and propose a national direction the electorate can get behind. Yes, starting a new country in the 21st century is not as easy as the protesting 19-year-old Scottish yard workers make it seem it is.

Forgetting how unlikely the success of Scottish Independence is from an economic standpoint, we have to ask: Why is this even allowed in the first place? I was under the impression that boundaries in Europe should not change in a post WW2 era. The Scottish people are not oppressed, are not taken advantage of systematically, and do not undergo abuses condoned by the UK government or law.

To me, it seems as if this entire thing is unnecessary. It puts undue pressure on The Bank of England, it threatens the legitimacy of The United Kingdom (and increases regional hatred), and it more or less ignores centuries of history on the British Isles. Countries are not dynamic jurisdictions left to be adjusted to the fleeting whims of vocal minorities. To ensure a stable world, we need to disregard the unjustified nationalists and continue to progress as nations and people. Secession is a regressive solution to often non-existent problems. Secession far too often is the call of oligarchs, not the people. We have seen it the aristocratic Confederacy, the genocidal Serbian “Republic” during the Yugoslav Wars, and we see it today in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. Responsible citizens should not fan that flames of archaic solutions to perceived injustices.

-Rushi Patel