Fear. Honor. Interest. According to Thucydides, these are the three motives that cause people and states to act the way they do. So what is the driving force that has led Scotland to their fight for independence?
In terms of interest, it seems that Scotland doesn’t have much to gain from seceding from the United Kingdom. In fact, it appears that they would actually be losing. Rationally, when looking at the Scots’ economic and political interests, it doesn’t make sense for Scotland to become its own country. Sure, independence is viable and the country would be able to survive, but there are many uncertainties. For example, what currency will they use? Will businesses leave Scotland? Will unemployment rise? These questions remain unanswered and it is this unknown that should have many pro-independence Scots take a step back and reevaluate.
There is fear on both sides of the argument; fear of what could happen if they do secede and fear of what could happen if they don’t. Their economy may be at risk if they do vote ‘yes’ and decide to become an independent nation, yet if they decide to remain part of the United Kingdom, they risk losing their power, their freedom, their honor. If they do not take advantage of this opportunity now, it may never be presented to them again, and what would happen in the mean time? Many Scots believe that a change for the worse is right around the corner if they remain a part of the United Kingdom. A “No” vote for their independence may lead to loss of power of the current Scottish government. (independentScotland)
However, honor seems to be the key argument made by those that desire an independent state. They are willing to risk all of the economic and political uncertainties for one thing: freedom. There is an air of romantic nationalism floating around the country. They want to have more control over how they are governed and by whom they are governed. Their own independent nation would create a greater, more powerful, ‘Scottish’ identity. The international recognition of their own sovereign nation seems to be of greater interest to them than the economic and material losses that they may suffer.
Of course, there are many more factors that go into this complex and historic debate, but I have come to believe that honor and the desire to be free are the driving forces that have led the movement for Scottish independence.
Only time will tell how this event plays out, but what we do know is that September 18th will be a monumental day for the Scottish population and the United Kingdom as a whole.