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 become independent from the UK
Scotland should vote to no longer be a part of the United Kingdom and venture out on to the global stage as an independent nation.
Scotland has different values and goals
The national ethos of Scotland has long been separated from the leadership in Westminster. In the midst of Brexit and the ascendancy of the Scottish National Party (SNP), the trajectories of the two nations do not align.
COVID-19 has demonstrated the divide between the UK and Scotland
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's competent handling of the pandemic thus far has bolstered her case for independence. Not only has she driven Scotland into a safer context upon ending the lockdown, but she has also provided a stark contrast to Boris Johnson's handling of the disease.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) has risen to the top of Scottish politics. Once a fringe party, they now control the Scottish government and hold the most Scottish seats in Westminster. They have made their mandate clear, and their strength signals support for independence.
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.
Scotland would not be able to enter the EU right away
A fundamental aspect of the present independence debate is Scotland returning to the EU as an independent nation. There is already a list of countries waiting to become members of the EU, and there is no guarantee that Scotland would skip the queue.
If Scotland were to become independent, they would either need to retain the pound sterling or create a new form of currency. Both options risk financial turbulence for the country and are too high a cost for independence.
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.
Scotland should explore alternatives to independence
Scotland has slowly been granted more autonomy from Westminster over the past several decades. Instead of full independence from the UK, Scotland should seek more autonomy while remaining in the Union.
The 2014 referendum was once in a generation
While Scotland may deserve more freedom in how they govern the country, the 2014 referendum represented a 'once in a generation' vote. Westminster has not minced its words in their denial of IndyRef2 in the near future, so the SNP should begin exploring the more immediate options available to them.
Further devolution and reform is more practical than independence
Split on the topic of independence, Scotland has not made up its mind. With a slim majority voting to remain in 2014, more than half of the country is against leaving the Union. Even if the vote flips, millions of Scotland's residents will still be in favor of staying. Increasing the devolution of powers would reflect a more pragmatic approach to the question of independence.