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Should Scotland seek independence? Show more Show less
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Although they were once thought to share a common destiny, the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom has recently been under debate. Since the failed independence referendum in 2014, the country's politics have revolved around Scottish nationalism and the nation's future with the rest of the Union. Should they seek to end their more than 300-year long union with England and the rest of the UK?

Scotland should remain in the UK Show more Show less

The union between Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland is greater than the sum of its parts. Their shared history and fate is a strength and not a weakness.
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British identity would come under threat

While Scotland offers its own unique identity, it is still deeply tied with a broader British national identity. There are far more similarities than differences between Scotland and the rest of the Union.

The Argument

Scotland may like to claim that its unique identity is a reason for independence, but that is what is so special about the Union. England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland offer a diversity of unique—and shared—cultures and histories that demonstrate what is so distinctive about Britain. According to polling, 23 percent of Scots consider themselves only 'Scottish.' The rest also identify with varying degrees of British identity, with nearly half considering themselves at least equally British and Scottish.[1] In the era of Brexit, the value of identity cannot be understated. Considering that other parts of the UK feel higher levels of 'Britishness,' the loss of Scotland would be devastating. More importantly, a significant proportion of Scotland also sees itself as British. While this may not be a primary identity for some, the interconnectedness of Scotland and its neighbors in the UK is evident. The language, families, food, and entertainment share a long and intricate history. There is no doubt that Scotland has a unique history, culture, and ethos, but that does not necessitate its independence. In an increasingly diverse world, the UK represents an early effort towards that goal. Europe is riding itself on loosening the borders that have caused divisions in the past, so why would Scotland choose to create one with its closest neighbors?[2]

Counter arguments

Early on in the Union, British identity was created as a means to unite the UK under a common nationality. Its utility has since faded, with the English now considering themselves the most 'British' in the UK. While many in Scotland nominally identify with a British Identity, only 11 percent identify it as their dominant identity. Scotland has had a clear trajectory moving away from the Union, with devolution signaling a significant shift towards a more autonomous Scotland.[3] With a close independence referendum result 2014, and another vote likely to occur in the next few years, the country has been unequivocal in distinguishing itself from the rest of the UK.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Scotland is a part of a broader 'British' identity. [P2] A larger number of Scots consider themselves at least partly British. [P3] Scotland and the rest of the UK have more commonalities than differences. [C] Scotland is vital to the idea of British identity, and its independence would be not only a loss for its fellow Union members but the country itself.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] British identity was a creation of necessity and not purely because the broader electorate of Scotland sought it. It was created to rationalize Scotland's union with England.[4] [Rejecting P2] Scotland rejects the idea of 'Britishness' more than any other member of the UK. [Rejecting P3] The United States shares commonalities with the UK, but that does not lessen their novelty and necessity as an independent country.

References

  1. https://www.bsa.natcen.ac.uk/media/38458/bsa30_devolution_final.pdf
  2. https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/scottish-or-british-the-identity-debate-the-snp-does-not-want-to-have
  3. https://www.deliveringforscotland.gov.uk/scotland-in-the-uk/devolution/
  4. https://www.historytoday.com/archive/british-national-identity

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This page was last edited on Sunday, 26 Jul 2020 at 23:23 UTC

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