Scottish citizens voted Thursday to remain part of the United Kingdom. Fiona Hill and Jeremy Shapiro’s article for Foreign Affairs expertly delves into the roots of the pro-independence movement, especially the political and economic divide between the conservative South and the liberal North. They write, “Scottish nationalism and the political framework of devolution have given Scotland a vocabulary and platform for doing something that people elsewhere in the United Kingdom cannot: seek independence from London.”
Still, independence posed significant economic challenges. While the pro-independence movement claimed that Scotland’s oil reserves would be enough to fund them as an independent nation, the “Better Together” campaign, said they would be insufficient. The threat of losing the British pound also generated serious concern.
While Scotland will remain in the UK, Parliament will increase Edinburgh’s autonomy, a promise made when the threat of independence was still looming. Prime Minister David Cameron announced a shift towards federalism and localized power, where regional administrations will gain more control over taxes, spending, and welfare.
This vote will be an important example for regions such as Catalan and Kurdistan that are still seeking independence. Catalan has planned a referendum for November 9th, but Spain has declared its intention to block any vote on independence.