The Scottish referendum
The voting result of the Scottish Referendum, due September 18, will have a direct bearing on Scotland, the United Kingdom, and the 28-member European Union as a whole.
It will also affect investors in the area who have parked their funds with exchange-traded funds like the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK), the iShares MSCI EMU Index Fund (EZU), the SPDR DJ EURO STOXX 50 ETF (FEZ), the iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA), and the iShares MSCI Germany Index Fund (EWG).
The Yes Scotland campaign of the Scottish Referendum
Those who are part of the Yes Scotland camp of the Scottish Referendum believe that Scotland doesn’t meet its full economic potential because it’s subject to the same economic policy as the rest of the UK.
In 2013, the Jimmy Reid Foundation published a report stating that UK economic policy had become “overwhelmingly geared to helping London, meaning Scotland and other UK regions suffer from being denied the specific, local policies they need.”
Key arguments of the Yes Scotland campaign
The key arguments made by supporters of Scottish independence are:
- Independence from the UK would allow the people of Scotland to decide how they wish they spend their wealth. The Yes campaign argues that the country’s growing economy, not based on oil alone, will be capable of sustaining welfare spending, including its pension debt and childcare plans. It would also allow Scotland to scrap the spending on nuclear weapons that it’s committed to as part of the UK.
- Independence would free Scotland of its democratic deficit. That is, it would free the country of the cuts and privatization agenda imposed upon it by a distant government. By governing itself, Scotland could focus on addressing its most pressing problems of child poverty and poor adult healthcare.
Who wants Scotland free?
The lead campaigners for independence are the Scottish National Party and its leader, Alex Salmond, along with his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon. The Scottish Green Party, a smaller group, also backs Yes, along with actor Sean Connery (“Bond! James Bond!”) and rockers Sting and Mick Jagger.
From the press, so far, only the Glasgow-based Sunday Herald has publicly backed a Yes vote. Much of the press—in Scotland and in the wider UK—is anti-independence. These are the proponents of the “Better Together” campaign.