Could Scotland Survive Independence?

St. Andrew's Flag, Scotland
St. Andrew's Flag, Scotland

The question of whether or not Scotland could survive independence is one that has come to the political fore once again, in light of the recent landslide victory for the Scottish National Party in the General Election of 2011.

Scotland is a vibrant and innovative nation, with many and varied industries – fishing, farming, tourism, whisky distilleries, silicon valley blue chip enterprises, oil industry and many others, though it no longer has the heavy industries of the past century – coal mining, steel-making, shipbuilding, car manufacturing.

This is thanks in a large part to political influences. Successive English governments closed the heavy industries in Scotland, though to be fair part of the decision making involved the extra cost of transporting Scottish goods south of the border and then on to its European or worldwide markets.

An independent Scotland would remain as part of the European Union. As an independent member state it would receive its own fishing quota as well as every other quota the EC permits.

Several years ago, Scotland’s independence would have saved the estimated 70,000+ jobs that went with the closure of the giant Ravenscraig Steel works, as the EC quota would have ensured it stayed open. Instead the work went South.

Buachaille Etive Mor, Glencoe, Scotland
Buachaille Etive Mor, Glencoe, Scotland
Scotch whisky
Scotch whisky

Scotch Whisky Industry

The Scotch whisky industry is huge. It is among the top 5 industries in the UK and generates over £2.8 billion annually for the government in taxes, VAT and excise duty.

In fact, the taxation on whisky is so high that whisky manufacturers have started moving packaging and bottling out of the country altogether to save on costs.

90% of Scotch whisky is sold abroad and there is even talk now of taxing the beautiful soft Scottish water used to make the whisky to claw even more money out of the companies, who one day may very well say, “might as well close”.

I would hope an independent Scottish parliament would cut the whisky industry some slack to encourage sales and production to continue. 40,000 jobs in Scotland currently depend on the whisky industry.

Flower of Scotland - The Corries

Oil rig in a stormy North sea
Oil rig in a stormy North sea

North Sea Oil

We’ve been getting told since around 1985 that the North Sea oil is about to run out, but there is little sign of it yet.

Much of the North Sea oil is located off Scottish waters, but quite a few fields are located off English waters too.

The UK Government raise money in the North Sea by the granting of licences to oil exploration companies and by taxing the oil removed.

Current taxation levels stand at a minimum of 62%, with some of the newer oil fields paying out as much as 81%.

North Sea oil tax recently rose to offset a 1p reduction in fuel costs at the pumps, but the raise has caused unrest in the markets and at least one North Sea asset sale has been stopped because of the increased taxation.

The big companies working in the North Sea will be unaffected because their global operations are so massive the increase will be swallowed and those include BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobile and Royal Dutch Shell.

But it is the smaller companies who have been spending fortunes opening up new fields and installing new equipment who will be hardest hit, and those include EnCore Oil, EnQuest , Ithaca Energy , Premier Oil and Valiant Petroleum.

It is estimated that the annual revenues the government receives from the North Sea Oil industry to be around £5.2 billion per annum, and although this figure rose as high as £13 billion ($20 billion) in 2010, oil is finally running out, as it is across the world.

sleek modern windmill
sleek modern windmill

Alternative Power

The SNP want to invest in wind and water power so that eventually all of Scotland will be run on this low-cost, environmentally friendly, and sustainable form of energy. In recent years, windfarms have sprouted up across the land and the scenic views frequently consist of huge windmills, positioned high on mountains to catch the ever-present westerly winds.

It is true where they said that Scotland has got to be the only country in the world to have discovered oil and found itself poorer as a result.

In the 70s, 80s and 90s, under Margaret Thatcher, Scotland saw all her heavy industries die, and unemployment rose to their highest ever levels.

But now looking at just two of Scotland’s industries, we are seeing a massive £8 billion ($12.8 billion) in revenue going elsewhere.

Scotland’s biggest problem is her position. As part of the British Isles, to transport by road to the Continent means travelling through England. As part of the EC, there should be no issue with extra tax payable or anything like that, same as on continental Europe. Many times travelling by vehicle in Europe, you can pass from one country to another without noticing.

Norway's fjords
Norway's fjords

Norway is comparable to Scotland

I like to compare Scotland to Norway.

Norway also has oil fields but less than Scotland. The difference with them is that they have from day 1 taken a slice of their profits and invested the money safely for the day when the oil runs out.

Norway, like Scotland, is a small country. They gained their independence from Sweden in 1905. Norway is almost 149,000 square miles in size (most of it uninhabitable with fjords and mountains with steep sides and rocky outcrops) has a population of 5 million, and is the second wealthiest nation in the world.

Scotland is 30,400 square miles in size, with many islands off the west coast, similar to Norway, and is also home to 5 million people.

If Norway can thrive as an independent nation, so can Scotland.

Scottish banknotes
Scottish banknotes

Scottish taxation and coinage

We already have our own education and legal systems; the major difference will be in how we pay for them. Revenues raised in Scotland would stay in Scotland. Do we earn enough?

We’d have to introduce a new taxation system. Centre 1 in East Kilbride already do all the tax work in Scotland. The only difference is that they would need new headed notepaper and the revenues would be sent to Edinburgh instead of London. We have our own banks, even if they are owned my multi-national companies now. The Royal Bank of Scotland, The Clydesdale bank, and The Bank of Scotland if they are still on the go.

All three banks still prints notes. We just need a mint to print our own coins. They would still have the Queen’s head on them for those worried about Royalty. Since the Union of the Crowns in 1603, we share the same King or Queen.

Life should continue as it does now. There would be an even greater incentive for our young folk to find work, to work for the good of their own country. Bring back patriotism, it works every time.

An independent Scotland would be a proud nation once again, and all of its people would work together to keep it so.

If you had a vote, would you vote for Scottish Independence?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not interested either way
See results without voting

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Comments 31 comments

Jaydeus profile image

Jaydeus 5 years ago from Springfield, TN

The British Empire has long been overdue on its release of the last few murderously acquired states. It is time, this is a new century, a new world. Kings and Queens in Europe hold no water, they live off the people they once ruled, much like welfare. Scotland is a nation rich in history and culture, and its imprisonment to England is only a disgrace.


Nan Mynatt profile image

Nan Mynatt 5 years ago from Illinois

Thanks for the information, I didn't know that American Companies are drilling for oil in Scotland. This puts a different view on the export of oil. I pray for Scotland's independence!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

@Jaydeus, yes the time has come I hope. When the people vote, here's hoping for a YES vote!

@Nan, thankyou, your prayers will no doubt help :)


Jaydeus profile image

Jaydeus 5 years ago from Springfield, TN

American oil companies are drilling everyone's oil. We intentionally topple governments and remove leaders from power just so we can get the every day lowest price. I am sure if Scotland's independence would mean it would be harder for the US to access their oil, the votes wouldn't matter. I mean, look at our 2004 presidential election. Did voting here work to kick out an oil tyrant? LOL.

Either way, good luck, I will be keeping an eye out for news of victory!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

I think Scotland could survive on her own even without the oil, to be honest. Actual independence may be a few years away, but the SNP have promised a referendum of the Scottish people but that's expected to be for another couple of years. I can wait :)


Sophia Angelique 5 years ago

Izzy, you're asking the wrong question. The right question is: Could England survive without Scotland???


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Got that spot on!! Might be the title of my next hub! lol


Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 5 years ago from Cotswold Hills

Hi Izzy,

Boy Oh Boy ! Good Old Jedeus, don't sugar coat your comments sunshine tell it like it is...!

It’s just a pity you’re wrong !

“The British Empire has long been overdue on its release of the last few murderously acquired states.”

Not sure we Scots appreciate the thought of ourselves as a State within the Union murderously acquired or otherwise. Sure Scotland and England had a few bloody spats, what neighbours haven’t. However when poor old England ran out of Kings and Queens of their own to whom did they turn in 1603 ?

“Scotland is a nation rich in history and culture, and its imprisonment to England is only a disgrace.”

Imprisonment...What imprisonment ? Scotland is not a conquered nation under the heel of an occupying force, many of the great leaders of Great Britain have come from Scotland and the United Kingdom has a long and proud history with the emphasis on United.

How often has the Battle cry been heard “Divide and Conquer.” The powers of Europe have been trying to do that for centuries now we are doing it to ourselves. If we must pretend we’re European and be part of the EU so be it but be there as a Nation united. As a single Nation Great Britain has a voice in the Europe Union, not a very loud one and most of the time France and Germany ignore us, do we honestly belief that they are going to pay any heed to a fragment group on the northern fringe ?

An independent Scotland is a joke, there is a hell of a lot more to independence than mere finance, what shall we do divi up the Armed Forces, customs and Excise....Issue New Passports?

What next an independent Wales, how about Cornwall and Yorkshire if Yorkshire gets it then Lancashire will want to break free...

I am, a true born Scot with a long line of Scottish heritage to look back on, I am all in favour of a better deal for Scotland, and a broader say in how the country is taxed and Governed we have that. What makes anybody think full independence is going make anything better.

Can you imagine who would have bailed out the RBS and protected the innocent after the banking collapse, I didn’t hear the SNP up on their hind legs saying we don’t want your Help or your money !

Think on people, like the rest of the world your fishing industry is on its knees, the oil is running out and we are still in the grip of a major recession.

My suggestion would be; “Be careful what you Vote for... You might get It !”


Jaydeus profile image

Jaydeus 5 years ago from Springfield, TN

Mr. Fraser, I, being an American, can only speculate as to the truth behind your countries current status seeing as the only info I have gathered is through the many historical texts, pictures, and articles via books and the internet. I humbly bow to your knowledge and assertion as to what lies in the wake of such independence.

I am always for small government, and locally governed peoples. The Scots deserve to govern the Scots. Likewise, in my country, I often feel federal involvement on the state level has ruined our country. So my dissent for big government extends globally.

Whatever the outcome, one can only hope for the best.


Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 5 years ago from Cotswold Hills

Jaydeus,

I have no desire to take over Izzy's Hub, suffice to say I am on the side of Less Government not more.

We already have a European Parliament, a National Government with a Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly just who the hell do you think pays for all that bureaucracy ? Add to that Regional, District, City and Town councils every one a committee !

Let me ask you this Ever seen a statue erected to a committee... ?


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Merlin, you've been down south for too long!! Most Scots do not feel like we are one nation, it's them and us. I'd be proud to have a Scottish passport, and why not, I am Scottish and proud of it. I'm not saying Scotland would be better off without England, but it would feel like it. We are big enough and bad enough to stand on our own two feet, but we'll never know until we try, and I honestly think it would work. The Royal Bank of Scotland are a private multinational company. Their near collapse is a different issue. Pretty sure that if a Scottish government bailed them out, they'd have taken better care of the deal so as not to allow those greedy bankers to pick up those huge bonuses afterwards. That was the UK government permitted that!


Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 5 years ago from Cotswold Hills

Hi Izzy,

Don't get me wrong, I too would love a Scottish Passport, in fact I had one of the ones you could buy in gift shops.

My main argument is and always has been against far too many levels of bureaucracy, we already have too many and you can see it in our taxes.

As far as the RBS and bankers bonuses are concerned the UK Government didn't allow them, in truth legally they are powerless to prevent them.

It may stick in our craw and like you it pisses me off too, especially as they are disgustingly generous to themselves and often forget whose money it is that they are using to play with. However if Government legislation starts to penalise big business in our country soon we wouldn't have any business left here.

I may have been down south for a long time in amongst ‘The Auld Enemy’ but I see the EU as a far bigger threat to National sovereignty and unity, a fragmented United Kingdom will be sidelined and basically toothless in Europe and that plays into the hands of Brussels. When that happens there will be no need for any Governments in these islands, Scottish or otherwise, we will be minority states in the United States of Europe.

I am a proud Scot and I suppose if push came to shove I would fight for our independence but I have long held the belief that ANY and all Nationalist political parties never see the bigger International picture and this is always a problem. Too narrow a political agenda is always dangerous, look at Shinn Fein !


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

You can't seriously compare the SNP to Sinn Fein! I suppose their outbanded offshoot - Fin na Gail or however it's spelt, might be nearer the mark.I appreciate what you say about levels of government. Scotland has local councils, regional councils (or did they do away with them?) and now a higher regional government, the devolved parliament. Do away with the lot of them and just have the one, the independent Scottish parliament. I don't agree that separation would make us weaker in Europe. We'd have two voices (England and Scotland separately) instead of one. We might even be stronger, because you know as well as I that most Europeans don't much like the English as a race because historically England went out there to conquer the world - trying to be diplomatic here, I too have many English friends. I think Alex Salmond is wise to leave the question of asking the people what they want until later in his term of office, because the depression hasn't yet lifted. Oh yes and you mentioned government taxation chasing away big business. We are already seeing that in the whisky industry, and to a certain extent in the oil industry, two of Scotland's biggest. A Scottish government would lower corporate tax to ensure those industries stayed - the whisky industry that is - I don't think geographically the oil is going anywhere.


Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 5 years ago from Cotswold Hills

Didn't mean to compare SNP with Sinn Fein just point out that their agenda are far too narrow.

Twas Britain that sallied forth to conquor the world, not just England, nice body swerve by Scotland when England copped the blame, no one stood up and shouted "Oi ! We were there as well !" Many famous Scottish regiments have battle honours all over the world including, the lost colonies to the West, Canada and India.

But I know what you mean, I used to get better treatment on Air France when I told them I was Scottish not English !

Guess we'll just have to wait and see who is right on this one.... Care to bet a Boozy lunch on it ?


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Boozy lunch? You're on! I will make a point of being in Scotland for the referendum. I have a vote too, or I will make sure I have. Scottish soldiers have always been nothing more than cannon fodder for the English - that's why our troops were always front-line. I always point out to foreigners that I am Scottish not English. "Eres ingles?" "No, soy escocesa". Always. Can't write Spanish but still, you know what I mean. And yes I do get treated better! The SNP have a wide agenda, not just nationalism. They'd have to have or they would never have been voted into office twice. They are officially 'left of centre' with policies to match.


Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 5 years ago from Cotswold Hills

The bet is not whether Scotland becomes Independent, the bet is whether it will work !

Make enough promises and people will vote for anything.

I say a divided Kingdom is a weak Kingdom and the EU will walk all over us.

Having said that I'll happily meet up and treat you to lunch when you come to Vote. Can say fairer than that now can I ?

PS You got your books back yet ?


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Look forward the the lunch. No I haven't got my books back yet, but I have sold a few in the US market - Kindle editions!


lukecore profile image

lukecore 5 years ago from Manchester

As an English person (with some Scottish, Irish and Manx background) I have no problem with an independent Scotland. It is clear that England, Wales and Scotland have clearly defined national identities. As far as I can tell popular opinion in England supports the idea, certainly in the north.

The only negative as far as I am concerned is that the Tories would then rule England for a few parliaments without real opposition. My home town (a former mining town in the east midlands) suffered as much as parts of Scotland under Thatcher, and the idea of another long Tory government makes me feel ill.

Labour rely heavily on the Scottish vote, which is already crumbling with the rise of the SNP, although ironically it is the Tories that are most against Scottish independence.

However if the referendum actually happens (Salmond might just be calling Cameron's bluff) I think the result might be closer than current polls suggest.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

It's posts like yours that remind how much large parts of England also suffered under Maggie Thatcher, who was wholly FOR the south east and nowhere else. You are right, many working class areas of England suffered just as much. It's a pity we can't move the Scottish border down to Watford, because the people north of Watford have more in common with the Scots than Londoners and those further south east. We have a divided nation, but we know where the boundaries lie. New Labour is synonymous with the Tories. In fact, they may even have been further to the right. Bring back the socialists to look after the people!


lukecore profile image

lukecore 5 years ago from Manchester

I think many southern folk think the M25 is a border!


dswan9 profile image

dswan9 5 years ago from Amsterdam and London

Yes I think we can do it, as long as Scotland makes it self a model of fairness and social well being envied by other countries throughout the world

http://hubpages.com/hub/A-Poem-about-Scottish-Inde...


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Totally agree! Thanks for commenting :)


Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 5 years ago from Cotswold Hills

Saw this and thought of you, can't think why !

http://youtu.be/0tEdH0bjjR8


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Can't imagine either!

LOL just joking...that is a BRILLIANT video thanks! Fair stirs the old heart! Actually I didn't recognise the name of that tune, but I knew the tune well. Highland Cathedral.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

If anyone clicks on that link to listen to the youtube song, do it with earphones on to best appreciate the music. Like all the best music the world over, the song starts pretty quietly with just a single bagpiper with orchestral accompaniment, but as the song goes on it builds to a crescendo that could leave you in tears if you have Scottish blood in you, especially if you aren't in Scotland just now. Sniff!


Loveslove profile image

Loveslove 5 years ago from England

A magnificent piece of music


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Isn't it just? I listened to it over and over :)


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 5 years ago from Sydney

I remember this debate from my youth. Before Britain was in the European Union, independence for Scotland just wasn't economically viable.

Membership of the EU has changed all that. I mean, why bother being part of the UK which is part of the EU - why not cut out the middle man? The same thing is happening all over Europe, in several other countries.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Exactly, only this time as an independent entity within Europe, Scotland can expect a bigger slice of the cake than they receive now in terms of fishing rights or any other quota member states receive.


Nick Hanlon profile image

Nick Hanlon 4 years ago from Chiang Mai

Sure Scotland can work.Just depends who runs the show.Time to study another famous Scot;Adam Smith.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

I never agreed with his principals, but you might have a point. In modern day Scotland, he might well be the ideal man to have in charge of the economy. Can't help thinking he'd be turning in his grave if he knew we had an NHS or Social Security system. We need a happy balance.

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