Scottish Pride

Scotland, land of the free, home of the brave. Land of haggis and the Loch Ness monster. It always seems to have green rolling hills because of rain almost everyday. A small population of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Whales) was about to change forever. Although in the United States these might not be so common, political stickers were seen in Scotland.What is the Scottish referendum exactly? For the last 40 years and and probably longer, Scotland has thought of the possible outcome if they were to separate from the UK. About a year ago the Scottish parliament announced that there were enough people willing to vote on the fate of the country to hold this vote.

During the month of October 2014 the polls collected by door to door reporters so far was 52% No, 32% Yes, and 15% undecided. Later the polls were revised, on September 5th 2014 reporters took another poll, this one being much closer to the actual voting day which was september 18th, and the numbers were at 45% No, 47% Yes, and 8% undecided. So it appeared that the majority of people were voting for the Yes campaign.imgres

Alex Salmond is a member of the Scottish parliament and he’s the head of the Yes campaign. The head of the No campaign, Blair Mcdougall is also a labor party politician. Everyone should know, who are the voters? Alex Salmond requested that the age of voting would be reduced to 16 years old. People in the US must be thinking. Why can’t I vote at 16? I have to wait until I’m 18! For the kids in Scotland over the age of 16, this will only come once every 50 years and they all want to be allowed to determine the fate of their country.

Some would say that the only reason Alex Salmond wanted to lower the age was to increase Scottish National pride. Those who are 16 don’t think as much about the politics but more about the romantics of the matter. There was another one of these votes in 1979 and that was a land slide vote to stay together, now Scotland felt to give it another try and Yes campaigners wanted as many Yes voters as possible.

Since this vote has already happened there’s not much suspense. In the end Blair McDougall and the other No campaigners came out on top. The final results were close, and were released to the public on September 19th; 51% No and 49% Yes. The turnout was 84.6% which is much higher than the US presidential turnout averages. In 2012 the average turnout for eligible voters was 57.5%.

Karri Tough, a 19 year old girl living in the Aberdeenshire, Scotland, who voted for Scotland had lots to say.

Q: How did the vote effect your life in Scotland?

A: I feel like I don’t get very much representation for issues I feel are important. I would get more representation in the wider scale if the vote had come out as a yes.

Q: Could you list as many reasons as you can on why Scotland should have separated from the UK?

A: There would be more representation for Scottish people. Nuclear weapons for the British military are stationed in Scotland, we would be able to move them to England if we separated. We would be in charge of our own affairs. We wouldn’t go into foreign wars with Britain. Scotland would have more control over resources and money. We would have a say in the European Union which we don’t have any of right now. And lastly, we would make more of a difference in the general elections.

Q: What was the experience like, voting on September 18th?

A: For me it was one of the most exciting experiences of my life as it was such a huge decision and i was very privileged to be a part of it. I was also optimistic that it would end up with a yes vote so i was very happy on the 18th.

Q: How do you feel about the age of voting for Scottish independence being lowered to 16?

A: Good because it is the younger generation who the vote will have effected more, I also think it re-engaged the younger generation with politics.

Helen Garrioch, an 81 year old woman who was on the No side lives on the borders of Scotland and England. This is what she had to say;

Q: Was voting yes the first thing that came to mind when thinking about voting in the referendum or did you change your mind?

A: It was the first choice.

Like Tough, Garrioch had a very clear idea of what she wanted to vote from the beginning.

Q: Could you list as many reasons as you can on why Scotland should stay united with the UK?

A: It would be a United country. We have always worked well with the other members of the United Kingdom and we shouldn’t stop something good when we have it. We have been doing everything very well with the other members of the country. I, personally have worked for most of my life in England and lived in Scotland so I have seen how well these two places can work together.

Q: What was the experience like, voting on September 18th?

A: It was very exciting because the vote was so close and I was apart of determining the outcome of this political situation.

Q: How do you feel about the age of voting for Scottish independence being lowered to 16?

A: I was not totally pleased at first because I thought it was a little bit young and that the people under 18 wouldn’t know very much about what they were doing but then I saw them coming to the meetings and noticing how involved they all were and I was very impressed with all of them.

 Two pretty different opinions, from two different parties. It was very close in the end, with strong feelings on both sides, but in the end it was simply what people thought was best for their country. The vote swayed a lot after two major banks noticing some increase in Yes votes  threatened that unless Scotland stayed with the UK, they would take their business elsewhere. Because banking is a strong point in the Scottish economy, many people changed their votes. After the vote ended and things stayed the same as they were before besides some hurt feelings. Alex Salmond ended up resigning from office.

The excitement is all over, but now Scotland has threatened the UK to leave. Will things ever be the same between the UK and Scotland is debatable. Now that half the population have said they want to leave, there could still be some division and hurt feelings. There are rumors of another election in the next 5 years, maybe next time there will be more Scottish pride, or maybe the United Kingdom won’t want them to be in their country any more at all.

Who knows, but for right now, the great land of Scotland will be covered in green, and it still rains almost everyday.


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Featured image: author’s own

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