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Often when Scottish Independence and the movements behind it are discussed, the presupposition of many people is one of a conflict of identity, of some centuries-old grudge held by the Scottish against the English. In large part, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a grudge, yes, but it is not centuries-old, nor is it held against the English. The grudge in Scotland is only forty-or-so years old and is held against Westminster and the rubes which dwell within it who claim to represent the people.
It is a grudge first cemented by the actions of the Conservatives in the 80s and 90s when Thatcher and her cronies set about destroying what was left of Britain’s ailing industries, crippling the Trade Unions, the gutting of Britain’s public sector, and turning away government attention from anywhere which was not the South East of England. Scotland, much like the North of England, was hit incredibly hard by the actions of the Thatcher and Major governments, with Glasgow especially being deprived of what little it had left of its once-great shipbuilding industry. Scotland’s use as a guinea pig for Thatcher’s ill-formed poll tax did little to endear the Scottish people to her, either.
It was little wonder that after this, that in 1997 Scotland voted in a landslide majority for its devolved parliament, though Scotland’s (and Britain’s) woes were far from over, with the mismanagement of public services under the regimes of Blair and Brown, and the crushing austerity implemented by the Conservatives in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, sacrificing Britain’s public sector at the altar of international capitalism.
There is also, of course, the matter of the European Union, an institution (rightly or wrongly) supported by a majority of people in Scotland, who are effectively seeing themselves being forced out of the EU by a Conservative government they didn’t elect. A Conservative government not elected, in fact, by the majority of people in Britain, only 43% of people voting for them, most of whom did so begrudgingly.
Westminster’s poor response to the currently ongoing COVID-19 in comparison to Holyrood’s relatively well-executed response has placed further scrutiny on Scotland’s position in the union, and when presented with the omnishambles of the British parliamentary system, why wouldn’t they choose the easy out?
Support for Independence in Scotland is relatively evenly split amongst the majority of people, though in under 35s, support is staggering. Nearly 75% of Scots under the age of 35 support independence, with the support of Independence among the 16-24 range being over 80%. With the passing of time, it would seem almost inevitable that Scotland will end up voting for its independence.
It would seem it is impossible for Britain, in its current state, to survive for any longer. Scotland’s independence movement is based almost entirely on the justifiable dissatisfaction all people in Britain have with our political systems and the politicians who have driven this country into the ground. The only solution for the Union to stay intact is for there to be sweeping, fundamental changes to the way that the country is run. Taking power from Westminster and returning it to the hands of local authorities and Britain’s devolved governments would be the only way forward for a Britain that wishes to stay whole. Although, under Britain’s current government- and the mainstream alternatives to it- sweeping changes such as these seem to be unlikely.