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Scottish Independence: A Nottingham Perspective

Yes or No? It’s been the question on every Englishman and Scotsman’s lips these past few weeks. I am talking about the minority campaign that has become a mainstream debate. It has inspired impassioned arguments, mobilised a united scurry of Westminster politicians, even managed to piss off the Spanish and has pushed the Queen to controversially declare that maybe, just maybe, people should think very carefully about their decision (sorry Ma’am). It is of course that referendum: Should Scotland be independent from the United Kingdom?

“I think independence is about Scotland, not Salmond”.

The yes vote has been championed by Alex Salmond, described by analysts as a political chameleon. Although many have declared that this is not a political campaign, but a heart-over-head matter allowing the Scottish people to assert their individuality at long last. Dougie MacInnes, a Scottish ex-pat in Nottingham, told Impact “I think independence is about Scotland, not Salmond”. Although he later conceded that “I think Salmond may have overegged the figures a bit.” The figures are key to this debate as arguments for independence centre around Scotland’s desire for financial independence from Westminster, in order to strengthen the existing welfare system, improve fiscal stability and remove Trident.

Dougie described how “I was a bit miffed that I don’t get to vote,” but that he now feels reassured in the knowledge that “only two of my friends will be voting no”. The no campaign has implored to the Scottish people that we are “better together”. It argues that separation will lead to instability: financially and socially. Alistair Patterson, a Scottish student studying at Nottingham University, will be voting ‘no’ this Thursday, “Everyone I know is voting because it is such an important issue; be that in the polls or the postal vote”. He raised concerns of the viability of an independent Scotland, telling Impact “I’m from Aberdeen and many people from here work in the oil industry because it is so lucrative, but there is a feeling that that revenue from oil may not continue for much longer and that could lead to real uncertainty”.

There has been discussion that the referendum will encourage further devolution of power from Westminster in England itself.

There has been discussion that the referendum will encourage further devolution of power from Westminster in England itself. The Nottingham Post reported “Is the time right to set Nottingham free?” Many Nottingham-ites do very much agree that the city possesses its own strong cultural identity: regaling us with tales of Robin Hood, lacemaking and Raleigh bicycle manufacturing. And so perhaps Nottingham is deserving of more autonomy to prioritise its interests? Nottingham North MP Graham Allen spoke to The Nottingham Post arguing that “Devolving fiscal powers keeps decision-making closer to the ground, makes political leaders more accountable and allows more integrated investment decisions.”

In the meantime we shall have to wait and see what the Scottish people decide. Alistair tells Impact “I certainly hope that I won’t have to start bringing my passport to travel to university” but it is clear, come Friday morning, this will not be the only consequence if this colossal constitutional change is passed.

Louisa Chenciner

Image courtesy of Laurence OP via Flickr

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