Many people are still undecided about the way to vote in the upcoming Scotland independence referendum, and one thing they want to know is what happens if people choose to vote No. Would it mean that this option is never given again? Would everything go back the way it has been, or will the Scottish government get more powers through more devolution?
There are no current confirmations about the next steps should Scotland vote Yes or No. Right now, all the U.K. government is willing to say is that the country may get more devolved powers. Most recently, there has been a guarantee that some extra powers will be given, but no confirmation over what those powers will be.
First Minister Alex Salmond will remain as leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) and of the country. He is secure until May 2016, when the next Scottish Parliament vote takes place. The only things that will change this is if he chooses to resign over the vote or if someone else overthrows him. It does not seem likely at this time that either will happen.
The SNPs will remain as a party. Independence has never been the party’s only goal. It wants to make sure the best decisions are made for the Scottish people. That can continue even with a no vote.
What happens to the power the party has if people vote No in the Scotland independence referendum? It would depend on negotiations. Those will happen probably as soon as the results of the vote have been announced. Salmond and whoever will lead the negotiations for Westminster will get together to determine how any extra powers the Scottish government should get.
It is expected that Scotland will get more power on tax increases/decreases and on how the welfare budget is spent. More power is expected to be given when it comes to things like air guns, drink-driving and speed limits.
The devolved powers will depend on the government in charge. Not all members of Westminster agree that the country should the powers it currently has; let alone any extra powers.
It could also mean that things change in the U.K. government. Currently, only the Scottish, Welsh and Irish get to vote on their own respective issues. However, when it comes to things that only affect the English, everyone gets a vote. The English want the power to only be able to vote on things that affect them. This issue may be pushed forward now that people have become more vocal about it.
There will also be a little more certainty. Scotland will definitely keep the pound, will remain part of the EU as it is currently, and will also have free travel across the border. It could help boost the value of the pound, which has been dropping considerably over the last few weeks, as nobody currently knows what will happen. It does not mean that everything will go back to normal. With the current economical state of the country, it will just mean that there is more stability should Scotland vote No in the independence referendum.
By Alexandria Ingham
Photo credit: CC-2.0 Magnus Mankse