Scotland has played a huge role within the UK for all of my lifetime and I’m delighted Scotland voted NO. Their independence would have sparked such a complex policy restructuring that I could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from the admin bods in Parliament.
The build up to last month’s independence referendum also saw senior politicians including David Cameron giving passionate speeches to try to keep Scotland. Just why were UK politicians so keen to keep Scotland part of the UK?
Huge reserves of North Sea oil and gas
It’s estimated that up to 24 billion barrels of oil remain. If Scotland would have gone independent there would’ve been a heavily disputed boundary. This boundary would have led to Scotland receiving around 84% of North Sea tax returns, worth an estimated £5.6billion.
Scotland leads the way in renewable energy
Scotland is far better at producing energy from renewable energy sources like wind or solar. In 2012, 69% of Scotland’s electricity came from renewables or nuclear power. They have a target to increase this to 100% by 2020. The UK’s EU target as a whole is just 20%.
Scotland also supplies nearly 5% of electricity demand in the UK. This would be hard to replace and could see Britain trying to forge links with European countries like Denmark. This would be both complex and time-consuming.
This would also de-stabilise the energy systems. A Government report stated, “This would make it difficult to agree a common approach to energy policy which would be required to maintain a fully integrated energy system.”
The sterling currency could be weakened
Albert Edwards, strategist at French bank Societe Generale said, “the obvious market conclusion is for a weaker sterling – but a proper old fashioned crisis is plausible.” The White House even weighed in in favour of the NO campaign due to potential instability.
So, whilst no one in England seems fully aware of the implications of Scotland voting YES, most are glad we won’t find out.
What does Scotland gets from staying?
- Shared currency.
- Armed forces built up over centuries.
- Pension funds- these would have decreased with independence.
- Scottish tax-payers don’t have to foot the bill of an insular Scottish Energy Network. This could have cost up to an extra £189 per household.
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Written by Martin Stocks | @Stocks1986