3 years Since the Scottish Independence Referendum: Time to Decide Whether or Not Voting to Remain in the UK Was a Mistake!


For those of you not familiar with this topic, back in 2014 the people of Scotland were given the vote as to whether or not they wanted Scotland to leave the UK and become a completely independent country. In the end, with a 55.5% majority, it was decided that Scotland would remain in the UK. I still view this as a horrific decision. Do I blame the people of Scotland? Sure, to an extent, but more than anything though, I blame the UK Parliament. In this article I’m going to cover some of the reasons why Scottish independence would have left Scotland in a much stronger position than it is currently in. I’ll also look at just why I’m so disgusted by the actions of parliament.

My Personal Opinion

3 years Since the Scottish Independence Referendum: Time to Decide Whether or Not Voting to Remain in the UK Was a Mistake!

Obviously all of this post is going to consist of my own views and opinions. This is not supposed to be a non-bias representation of the information. However, I aim to provide sources for as many of my claims as I can. So what did I vote during the Indy Ref? Well, as you’ve probably gathered already, I voted ‘Yes’. It’s the only time I’ve voted and it could very well be the only time I ever vote. But I wasn’t always a supporter of the yes campaign. During my first or second year at university when the referendum was first picking up steam, I was a strong no voter. I chose to write several essays on the topic as part of my course in an effort to express how strongly against leaving the UK I was.

Within those couple of years though, my opinion on politics grew, as did my hatred for the UK political system. The more I discovered, the less I trusted this society we live. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pretty great place to live but the politics are a joke. I mean you can take a look at the petition system which is nothing more than a mock system designed to make “the people” feel like they can create change with a simple signature.

By the time 2015 came around, I couldn’t have had a stronger opinion than my view that leaving the UK was the best move for everyone. Arguments I’d made in the past about why Scotland should stay soon seemed miniscule in comparison to those for leaving. I watched as friends and family fell for the deceptions of the UK parliament and I could only watch in horror as the final votes were counted showing the slight majority for the “better together” campaign. Speaking of which…

The Campaign

3 years Since the Scottish Independence Referendum: Time to Decide Whether or Not Voting to Remain in the UK Was a Mistake!

One thing that annoyed me the most about this campaign was the involvement of England. To be more specific: London (to be even more specific, the UK parliament). One of my biggest problems with being connected to the UK parliament is that everything goes through it one way or another. We have a bunch of private school toffs (to use their own language against them) who have zero experience in the real world, all lack a mind of their own and are most of all: hypocrites. It’s not a shocking revelation that people currently in power in the UK parliament are trying to benefit their own classes more than any other. MPs over the last decade have avoided tax, claimed for multiple houses, claimed expenses for holidays and pushed for their own pay rises during times of crisis and austerity.

If only that was all they had done…Reports have found that cocaine use in parliament is a real issue. Yet MPs won’t even turn up for a debate regarding the legalisation of cannabis. So you can imagine my annoyance when the independence referendum outcome was flipped by two major factors: TV bias and false promises.

We’ll take a look at the first of these two now. During the referendum, there was undoubtedly a bias within media coverage. BBC, a network that claims to be impartial was found to be giving the no campaign an unfair advantage. In fact, a study (1) of both ITV (STV) and the BBC found that during the independence referendum, both of these outlets favoured the no campaign by allowing more coverage of that side. I remember reading a report at the time which I believe claimed that the divide was something like 33.3% to the yes campaign and 66.6% to the no campaign (I’ve been unable to find that statistic so don’t take my word for it).

Interestingly, this distrust in the UK media hasn’t changed in Scotland. Research finds that Scottish people still don’t feel like their side of the news is reported impartially, particularly in relation to Scotland vs UK news (2).

The Vow

You’re perhaps wondering what “The Vow” is. Well, during the referendum when the polls were showing a tie for the votes of Scottish people, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg all signed “The Vow”(3). This was an agreement or pledge that if the people of Scotland voted to remain in the UK, parliament would respond in kind by granting the Scottish Parliament more powers and a fairer share of resources. Not only is the entire thing patronising but it also directs a spotlight towards the lack of power that Scotland already had at this point. Why should a parliament of a country have to threaten to leave in order to get power over its own country and a fair share of resources? At the time most people were sceptical because if governments are known for one thing: it’s going back on promises.

It’s been three years since the referendum and the government hasn’t made any steps towards keeping this promise. It doesn’t help that David Cameron quit after the EU referendum (another issue we will look at) but a deal is a deal. Interestingly, a poll has found that only 9% of Scots believe that this deal has been kept with 22% believing that none of the promises have been delivered (4).

The general distrust towards this vow may lead you to believe that it wouldn’t sway many people. Yet the polls suggest that it did and certainly the outcome of the vote itself is evidence. Only 3.3% of Scottish people needed to believe that this vow would lead to a desirable outcome. Considering how many people were on the fence on the run up to the vote, it’s hardly surprising that this would get the no campaign the votes it needed.

The Crumbling of the UK (and Scotland along with it)

Regardless of your views towards the Scottish Independence referendum or the EU vote, it’s not exactly shocking to learn that the UK is in a downward spiral. The value of the GBP has been dropping fairly consistently since 2007/8 (5). Obviously this varies a little depending on your choice of comparison. For example, when comparing the pound to the Euro, you find a similar drop with the only difference being a peak in 2015 before dropping again (6). The NHS is in crisis while companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook actually pay less than half the tax of more traditional companies (7). It’s estimated that multinational companies avoid paying as much as £5.8bn to the UK in tax (8).

Crime in the UK is on the rise so it may shock you that the UK police budget is expected to lose £700m by 2020 (9). London, the centre of the UK (not geographically…obviously) and the home of Parliament now has a higher homicide rate than New York City (10). This is due in part to the reduced police presence as a result of budget cuts. So crime is on the rise, the hospitals and healthcare systems are failing, the police force is being shrunk and the UK currency is fragile and drastically lower in value than a decade ago. At least we have the EU, right? Wrong.

The EU Vote = A Slap in the Face for Scotland

3 years Since the Scottish Independence Referendum: Time to Decide Whether or Not Voting to Remain in the UK Was a Mistake!

One major, major reason people voted to remain in the UK during the Indy Ref was the EU. Threats from the no campaign included tweets such as “What is the process for removing our EU citizenship? Voting yes.” David Cameron himself made the claim that the only way Scotland could protect its EU membership was to reject independence. Some of the biggest and most influential arguments against Scottish independence offered by the no campaign included: Scotland would have to leave the EU and reapply; Scotland wouldn’t be able to use the pound; Scotland would lose access to services offered as part of the UK (including the NHS). All things that seem more like a positive now, in comparison. The idea of an EU referendum hadn’t been mentioned prior to the Scottish independence vote.

So you can imagine the shock to the Scots when A) the possibility of leaving the EU is announced as an option and B) after 62% of Scotland voting to remain (11), being told that because we’re part of the UK, the actions of the country include Scotland. It’s worth noting that Northern Ireland also voted to remain in the EU. With less than one year left until the UK officially leaves the EU, I find it troubling how little has been resolved so far. Even more so considering I don’t live in the UK anymore and could very well be forced to return when free roaming is no longer an option for UK citizens.

So you can probably see why I’ve described this move as a slap in the face for Scotland. We aren’t even finished yet and so far we’ve covered the bias news coverage, the broken promises of Westminster and the dissolving of all major arguments for remaining in the UK. This is taken a step further when we look at the Brexit negotiations where 90% of business owners don’t trust the government to secure the best deal for Scotland (12).

Renewable Energy

3 years Since the Scottish Independence Referendum: Time to Decide Whether or Not Voting to Remain in the UK Was a Mistake!

If you know nothing else about Scotland, you should at least be familiar with the weather: it’s windy and wet as fuck! Out of all the countries in the UK, Scotland is number 1 for producing green energy. In 2015 Scotland produced 97% of its household electricity needs through wind energy (13). Just a few days ago it was revealed that Scotland produces two-thirds of its energy (68.1%) through green schemes (14). Officials even stated that this is 45 points higher than the rest of the UK. One of the threats made during the referendum was that independence would put a halt on the UKs production of green energy.

Yet back in 2015 it came to light that windfarm subsidies to Scotland would end, putting not only the green energy production of the country at risk, but also further damaging the country’s economy (15). It seems that this hasn’t been the case or at the very least hasn’t had a lasting impact. However, the impending threat of cuts as a result of the UK (more like London) parliament will continue and their general disregard for the people of Scotland will become more apparent.

The Traitors of Scotland

One thing that stood out during the referendum in 2014 were major companies threatening to leave if the people voted for Scottish Independence. Shipping companies (particularly ship building companies in Glasgow) and banks (such as the Royal Bank of Scotland (16)) were among those readying themselves for a move. Many viewed this as an empty threat but with RBS making the same threat during the EU referendum and now considering a move to the Netherlands. The company which is continuously being investigated for shady dealings as part of the HSBC network should do us all a favour and fuck off already.

Why do these companies annoy me? Well, you can’t claim to be fighting for the people of Scotland but then threaten to cut thousands of jobs if things don’t go your way. From a company perspective, I understand that but you can’t fight on both sides. The no campaign stated “by working together as part of the UK we can ensure the future of Scotland’s shipbuilding industry” and yet just a year later the project was reduced and then ultimately delayed indefinitely. It’s even been stated that the future of Scotland’s shipbuilding is unclear. This brings to question people like Ruth Davidson who push every single one of the arguments at the time of the referendum.

I can’t help but view this as yet another sign that Scottish independence wouldn’t have made any difference to the threats that were made back in 2014.

Scotland as a Society

I won’t go into too much detail in this section because I covered my views on the dangers of alcohol and the benefits of weed (both to the individual and the society as a whole) in a separate post (17). I will however cover how these views relate to Scottish independence. You see, as much as Scotland has its own parliament, it still has to go through Westminster for most decisions. The increased powers promised to Scotland by David Cameron and his merry men would have given Scotland more freedom. As this didn’t happen, neither has the freedom (not in a Braveheart sense of the word).

The SNP voted in favour of moving to decriminalise medicinal cannabis use back in 2016. In my eyes, this is a great step towards eventual legalisation. Yet the Home Office ruled against such action (18). The Home Office is another aspect of government that hinders progress in Scotland (whether you view such progress as positive or negative is up to you). This isn’t the first time that this has happened in recent years either with plans for safe drug consumption facilities being shut down (19). These plans would have helped contain the spreading of HIV in cities such as Glasgow which is a direct result of unsafe drug use.

Of course you get the lap dogs of Parliament jumping at the bit to criticise every move made by Scotland. Such as the Express which claims that marijuana use in Scotland is a real problem (20). Not the drinking, smoking or other drugs which actually kill people. They decide to focus on the minority consumption of dangerously strong weed strains. Can weed be harmful? Sure…yet notice how even the most harmful weed isn’t as dangerous as the legal drugs. But I’m getting off topic here.

Would Independence Really Be Any Better?

It’s all well and good to say X would have happened or Y would have been different but the truth of the matter is that I’m not a fortune teller. None of us are. You’ll find so many differing opinions in relation to the initial independence referendum, whether there should be another, Scotland’s place in the EU, Etc. I’m not here to claim that I know more than anyone else, I don’t. In fact when it comes to figures, I know very little. So let’s instead focus on the absolute truths:

1-The Vow made by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband has not been met;

2-Threats made by the “Better Together” campaign have come true despite the majority of Scotland voting to remain in the UK, including (but not limited to) losing EU membership, a failing currency, damage to the economy, etc.

3-The inability for Scotland’s government to make major decisions impacts not only the economy in Scotland but also the health of those living there. Without such powers, Scotland’s growth will be limited to whatever Westminster allows.

So no, independence may have failed miserably and when the divide between of a country is 50/50, there are always going to be disappointed people. However, in my opinion I firmly believe that the people of Scotland made a horrible decision in 2014 by voting to remain part of the UK. The continued faith in a failing government is something I can’t wrap my head around and as such, I’m glad that I don’t have to play a role in the continued downfall of an upper-class controlled country that allows backwards thinkers to make all the decisions.


(1) https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/john-robertson/bbc-bias-and-scots-referendum-new-report

(2) https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/aug/18/scottish-viewers-bbc-news-impartiality-independence-referendum

(3) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/scottish-independence/-independence-cameron-miliband-and-clegg-sign-devolution-vow-but-scots-sceptical-9736090.html

(4) https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/ixynu9ksjm/Times_ScotlandResults_150910_1.pdf

(5) https://www.statista.com/statistics/409435/banknotes-issuing-twenty-pounds-value-united-kingdom-uk/

(6) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/08/30/pound-has-changed-since-last-record-slump-one-chart/

(7) https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/sep/21/tech-firms-tax-eu-turnover-google-amazon-apple

(8) https://www.ft.com/content/00de4f00-b754-11e7-8c12-5661783e5589

(9) https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/nov/09/britains-police-budgets-to-lose-700m-by-2020-amid-rising

(10) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/london-murder-rate-new-york-overtakes-stabbing-a8283866.html

(11) http://www.BBC.com/news/politics/eu_referendum/results

(12) http://www.businessforscotland.com/survey-scottish-business-loses-trust-uk-governments-brexit-negotiations/

(13) http://www.BBC.com/news/uk-scotland-35277045

(14) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/renewable-energy-electricity-wind-wave-scotland-climate-change-oil-gas-a8283166.html

(15) http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13413371.Whitehall_plans_to_end_wind_farm_subsidy_would_hit_Scotland_s_economy_hard__says_renewables_industry/

(16) https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/04/rbs-plans-move-to-amsterdam-for-post-brexit-hub

(17) https://rantingravingblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/weed-vs-alcohol/

(18) https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/home-office-rules-out-snp-call-for-medicinal-cannabis-use-1-4264184

(19) http://www.sdf.org.uk/lord-advocate-blocks-plan-safer-drug-consumption-facility-helped-contain-glasgows-hiv-outbreak/

(20) https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/721630/Scots-hospitalised-cannabis-record-high-SNP-vote-legalise-medical

3 years Since the Scottish Independence Referendum: Time to Decide Whether or Not Voting to Remain in the UK Was a Mistake!
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