Scottish Independence: Why I’ll be voting no

Written by angusduncan

In the run up to the referendum on Scottish independence on 18 September 2014, Kettle will be speaking to a range of voices from all sides of the debate.

In the run up to the referendum on Scottish independence on 18 September 2014, Kettle will be speaking to a range of voices from all sides of the debate. Today, we have blogs from a student canvassing for their respective campaigns.

Better Together were offered the opportunity for one of their youth representatives to state their case for Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom.

However, they did not provide one.

UPDATE: 1321 – This morning we received a submission from Better Together, some 12 hours after our deadline. In the interests of balance, and fully informing our readers, this sumbmission can be found below.

About the author: Katie Armour studies at the University of St Andrews, and campaigns for Better Together – the campaign to keep Scotland in the UK.

In a couple of weeks I enter my third year at university. As a student one of my many concerns surrounding potential independence is fees. An independent Scotland wouldn’t be able to sustain free higher education for Scottish students. That’s a benefit of Devolution, not independence, that we couldn’t afford to maintain if it had to be offered to all students from England, Wales and Ulster. As part of the union Scotland’s universities are flourishing but in going it alone the research investment and grants they currently win would be significantly reduced. The UK Research Council devotes 13% of its funding to Scottish universities even though we only account for 8% of the population, without this they would lose our leading edge – I want them to stay world beaters. 

I have lots of friends south of the border and I can’t see any benefit in introducing a divisive border which would complicate our lives. Nationalism seems an outdated ideal that would narrow my job opportunities when I finish university. Thousands of jobs would be jeopardised by a vote to divide Britain as introducing boundaries with our primary trading partner will do nothing to make Scottish businesses more competitive. That’s why most of our leading businesses are against leaving the UK.  

Independence would put Scotland in a precarious position on the global stage. Scotland would have to reapply to be a member of the EU. To get in we might have to give up special terms (such as not using the euro). It would also be time consuming and expensive. We would have to reapply to join NATO – important today in a world of tension – and other international bodies. Each will want concessions. Today we’re leading players in these bodies – tomorrow we could be less influential on tougher terms. And thinking of all the arrangements for the UK we have to split, duplicate and change – it’s going to cost a fortune. 

The benefits of removing ourselves from the UK remain unclear whilst the risks are obvious in every aspect of life. We’re being asked to make an irreversible decision based on hope and faith. If we are to put at risk the stability and prosperity we currently possess we at least need clarity on what will happen in basic areas such as currency, terms of accession, and how we will pay our way. I don’t buy the idea that everyone will concede everything we demand. 

What kind of independence are we being offered anyway? In a currency union would we still be subject to the economic restrictions of a ‘foreign’ nation? Yet we have already been assured the rejection of a currency union by England and Wales. Going alone with no safety net at a time of falling oil prices and with a huge dependence on the success of our financial industry – doesn’t look sensible. Ireland and Iceland show how it can go wrong. 

I feel the changes most Scots would like to see would be most effectively addressed within the framework of a larger UK which pools the resources of 60 million. Remaining in the UK we can have the best of both worlds – a strong Scottish Parliament, decisions made here in Scotland and more powers guaranteed in the event of a No vote, but also the strength, stability and security of being part of something bigger.