By: Hilary Flack
Two months after the historic vote for Scottish independence, the UK seems to have completely forgotten that the vote ever took place. Currently, the two major papers’ websites, the Telegraph and the Guardian, do not even turn up recent results dealing with Scottish reform when it is specifically searched for. While 56% of Scottish voters chose to remain part of the United Kingdom, the 46% of “Yes” voters cannot, and should not be ignored by the rest of the United Kingdom. The fact remains that the Scottish Nationalist Party, whose rise to power precipitated this vote, still holds a solid majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament, a majority which they fully expect to retain in the upcoming election. Though the Scots have indicated they are not ready to leave the United Kingdom, they do want substantial changes. Compared with the rest of the United Kingdom, Scotland’s people lie far to the left. Scotland is well aware of this divide, and has pushed for further devolution to the Parliament in Scotland not only to bring their politicians closer to home, but also to further the causes of the Scottish electorate. The powers of the Scottish Parliament are severely limited, preventing any major changes being accomplished without support from Westminster. This led 46% of Scots to think that it was time to leave the United Kingdom, breaking a bond that has linked Scotland to England, Ireland and Wales for over 300 years. Though nationalists do not yet have a majority in favor of leaving the UK, those seeking more powers for Scotland do hold a majority in Scottish Parliament. This, at the very least, indicated that the majority of Scottish people want more control over Scotland to go to the Scottish parliament, and for Westminster to wield less power over Scotland’s future.
Hilary Flack is a 3L at The Pennsylvania State University–The Dickinson School of Law, and a Senior Editor on the Journal of Law and International Affairs.