I realize "Scotland" isn't trying to become independent; a group of politicians are trying to make Scotland independent, and a lot of people in Scotland (roughly half, depending on the poll and the day) support them. However, in all the news I read, I can't figure out why. Aside from Scottish pride / nationalism, what sparked all this?

I realize there would be upsides and downsides you could endlessly argue, and ways to make either side (yes or no) more or less palatable or effective. But the UK has been united for 300 years - why is Scotland trying to split off now?


2 Answers 2


First of all, your offhanded "Aside from Scottish pride / nationalism" seems a little misguided. national pride/nationalism is pretty much one of the MAIN reasons most nations are independent instead of unified.

Second, the main reasons given are economics, most specifically, hydrocarbon and renewable natural resources.

A more full list of reasons can be found on Wikipedia:

  • Democracy and national self-determination: Scotland's population will possess full decision-making power in regard to the political affairs of its nation. First Minister Salmond stated in a May 2012 launch that "the people who live in Scotland are best placed to make the decisions that affect Scotland."
  • Nuclear disarmament: with control over defence and foreign policy, an independent Scotland could address the removal of Trident nuclear weapons, an issue long-associated with the campaign for an independent Scotland...
  • "It's Scotland's oil": since being used as a highly effective slogan by the SNP in the 1970s, this phrase has encapsulated the argument that only an independent Scotland be able to fully utilise and exploit the financial benefits of its national resources, including North Sea oil and gas, for the benefit of the population. According to the Scottish Government, 64% of the EU's oil reserves exist in Scottish waters, while the David Hume Institute stated: "Scotland is sitting on oil and gas reserves worth up to £4 trillion".
  • Renewable energy: if independence is attained, supporters of the new political structure seek to fully harness Scotland's natural renewable energy resources: 25 per cent of Europe’s wind energy potential; 25 per cent of Europe’s tidal energy potential; and 10 per cent of Europe’s wave energy potential.
  • "Stop the world, Scotland wants to get on" (a statement by Winnie Ewing, upon her victory for the SNP in the 1967 Hamilton by-election): an independent Scotland would be a full and equal member of the United Nations, NATO and the European Union and many other international organisations. With an autonomous voice in international politics, Scotland independence campaigners believe the nation's global influence would increase in regard to the defence of its national interests and the promotion of its values. It has been claimed that the number of MEPs elected by Scotland would also rise, from six to at least 12. Furthermore, Scottish embassies would be established globally to promote Scotland internationally, and to lobby other governments on the nation's behalf.

One thing to note is also that Scotland as a whole is far more liberal and left-wing (both socio-economically and in terms of global issues) than England is, especially under the leadership of David Cameron. For some Scots, independence gives them the opportunity to express their political beliefs that membership in the united kingdom never would.


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