Why the Scots chose to stay united

Emily Steele explores the pros and cons of the Scottish referendum outcome.

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Apparently they can take Scottish freedom. William Wallace would be turning in his grave.

It has been a major political issue for some time now and over the weekend Scotland finally held a referendum to vote on their independence from the United Kingdom.

An impressive 97 percent of the enrolled electorate turned out to cast their vote in the historical referendum. Only 45 percent of Scots voted yes, agreeing with independence, meaning that for now, they will stay bound to the motherland.

So why, after more than three peaceful centuries together, did Scotland want to split from its neighbours?

The main reason was for Scotland to take control of its own political decisions. At the moment, major political decisions are made for Scotland in Westminster. The Scots would have also gained complete control over their resources, economy and wealth. Important decisions regarding the nation would be made by Scots, for Scots. This notion of an independent identity was the main campaign behind those pushing for the yes vote.

Those in favour of retaining the United Kingdom borders feel that all the nations are stronger together. There was widespread fear over the effects of granting independence on the long-term future of Scotland, as well as the disbelief they should stop working on nuclear weapons. Independence would also see Scottish wealth concentrated in Scotland, rather than spread across the UK (not sure who would be voting against more moolah).

The lists of pros and cons go on and on and it wasn’t clear what the future would hold for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom until the vote counting was completed.

The Prime Minister of England, David Cameron, was pro-union, saying “it would have broken my heart to see our United Kingdom come to an end”. He breathed a sigh of relief and wiped away the sweat when votes were finalised and his United Kingdom remained so. He described Queen Elizabeth as “purring” at hearing of the rejection of independence.

Independence supporters are still optimistic that the referendum will still result in positive changes. Scottish Parliament will be given more power in Westminster and there is the hope, as Alex Andreou of The Guardian puts it, “the result of the independence is the beginning of a conversation, not the closing statement of a soliloquy”.

While Scotland will remain united with its neighbours, it is clear from the sheer number of those who were involved in the political process over the weekend that Scots are keen on making their own decisions, something now more achievable due to the referendum results.

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