IR : Why-did-a-majority-of-voters-in-Scotland-reject-independence-from-the-UK
Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:
- It was a huge mismatch in power. Almost all the major parties [and all of the national parties] were against independence. All major media was against independence. All major financial institutions and Corporations were against independence. The organizational strength & control over communication that the "No" side could bring simply overwhelmed the "Yes" side. Given all this, it was a miracle that the independence movement came this close.
Media bias was glaring
- Too many unresolved things. The YES group didn't convince their people enough about many things and left their populace bit confused and uncertain. With too many loose ends, they voted for safety and the status quo. If they had more organization power, they might have done a better job at planning & explaining this.
- Nationalism is not as strong as economic needs. Despite the recent revival of nationalism and right wing, Europe has in general moved significantly away from the nationalism of early 20th century. Europeans are more concerned about jobs, pensions and continuation of benefits than issues of sovereignty and national pride.
- Scotland vs. EU. Scottish leaders were committed to joining the EU and that means there was not enough incentive for nationalists. If you are going to surrender part of your sovereignty to the EU and a part to the rUK (by sharing the Pound) what is the big deal about independence? Thus, the voter turnout in the regions for independence (such as Dundee and Glasgow) was much lower than in the regions for the Union.
At the end of the day, very few people outside of a few industrial towns in Scotland wanted this independence to happen. For people outside Scotland, it was the fear of rekindling their own domestic secession movements. For people inside Scotland, it was the fear of losing economic opportunities of Southern England & probably even a nostalgia for the 3 century old identity that took them to the top of the world. Since it made sense for most people inside and outside to keep the union, the union stays.
In the real world, Davids don't win.
- UK emerges stronger as a whole. They have boldly gone with the referendum and proved the legitimacy of the union. They now know the real issues of the Scottish and would hopefully use the threat to build an inclusive policy.
- We cannot keep dividing entities randomly. Hopefully, this is the last of the referendums.
- The real lesson for India and other countries battling secession is not to put too much growth around a single city (or a handful of ones). In this case, London got all the candies leading to the Scottish secession movement. India has had internal fights over Madras, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Bombay in various state division movements. Solution: Build cities, build more cities, build strong economies.