By: Steven Goodman – Asst. Opinions Editor
This Thursday, a vote took place that I never imagined could actually happen in this world: Scotland voted to leave the United Kingdom and become an independent country.
I don’t mean I never thought Scotland would vote for this, but the fact that any country can vote for its independence is strange, but also exciting.
Despite the fact that Scotland decided on unity, although it was close at 55 percent vs. 45 percent, it’s still incredible to me that something like this was able to happen at all.
To be honest, I think Scotland would have done well as an independent country.
One of the biggest criticisms out there for Scotland leaving the U.K. is that it would not be able to sustain itself as a single entity.
I find this hard to believe, especially since Scotland stood on its own for centuries before it was united with England and Ireland. Even Winston Churchill said, “Of all the small nations on earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind.”
From the information I’ve seen about what Scotland contributes to the U.K., it seems to me that England and Northern Ireland would suffer more from Scotland leaving than the Scots themselves.
For example, according to the Associated Press, the U.K. produces 75 percent of the European Union’s offshore oil, 90 percent of which is extracted from Scottish waters.
According to data from 2012, “The Scottish government says this Scottish oil contributes around [$39.5 billion] to the U.K. economy.”
By the way, Scotland already has its own parliament.
It does not have control over all issues that directly affect Scotland and the UK, but it can issue legislation on education, health spending, housing, tourism and transport.
These are by no means small issues, meaning Scottish independence will require establishing a system of government from scratch.
However, major issues such as immigration, defense, foreign policy, employment and trade are dictated by the British parliament, so it may take time to fully decide on these issues.
Even though Scotland will remain a part of the U.K., at least for the foreseeable future, it will be gaining more autonomy.
David Cameron said he will keep his promise of giving the Scots new powers on taxes, spending and welfare.
Honestly, I’m a little disappointed Scotland chose to stay; I think it would have been an interesting process to watch unfold: an independent country forming as a result of a peaceful vote rather than war.
To me, the idea that the world can truly change by means of a vote is incredible.
Never mind the fact that it came about from the British parliament giving the OK for this referendum assuming it would never come to a vote and the Scots called its bluff.
Still, to me, the epitome of a democracy is when a country or territory is able to vote for its own independence.
Last week, Scotland was able to do just that.