September 19, 2014

Still United!

As I'm sure anyone who has not spent the last few weeks and months in a hole will know, yesterday was an extremely important day in British history. Yesterday, the people of Scotland came together to decide whether or not they should go it alone and leave the United Kingdom. This morning I was pleased to wake up to the news that, in the end, they had decided against it.

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In all honesty, it felt a bit anti-climatic. Even though I wanted the Union to remain intact it still felt a little strange to have had these long campaigns and constant talk about 300 years of history coming to an end and then, it didn't. And surprisingly, the margin was bigger than I expected. Most of the polls up to the vote had as little as 1% between the Yes and No voters but in the end the No vote won by a margin of 10%. Still not huge, but more substantial that I'd predicted.

Of course, even though the Scots have decided to remain with us, at least for the foreseeable future, it does not mean things aren't going to change. English politicians made many promises during the run-up to the vote in a bid to sway the votes and if they don't keep those promises you can basically guarantee that the Scots will vote for independence next time. And I'm almost certain there will be a next time. Yes, 60% said no, but that means 40% of the country want to go their own way. There will always be the threat of Scotland wanting independence and the same can be said for Wales and Northern Ireland as well. Whether that happens in 10 years time or 100 years time though, will depend heavily on how the government responds over the coming weeks and years.

I don't pretend to know everything about politics, in fact, I know very little but this has been an interesting road and has been made even more interesting by the fact that I'm currently studying about the original Union between our two countries over three centuries ago. It's also been very strange being in Canada while all of this has been going on. Being English, I feel very involved with the debate yet my current location has placed me outside of it although I'm sure it's even stranger for some of the Scottish students that are over here as well.

Either way, the vote has been cast, and Scotland are sticking with us so there's no worrying about border control or changing flags or more importantly whether Scotland would still have access to the Bake Off. It would be naive however to say that things will return to normal and everyone can go back to what they were doing. The United Kingdom is going to change and I for one am intrigued to see what happens next.


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