Scotland

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Scotland had a choice to make earlier this month. It could continue to stay with the United Kingdom or split from the queen.

On Sept. 18, Scotland cast votes in its own independence referendum, deciding whether the country would leave the United Kingdom or not.

Since 1707, Scotland has been hitched to the U.K. A recurring analogy I kept hearing when listening in class and to interviews of both the YES! and No Thanks campaigns sounded like a bad marriage that was ending.

A metaphor that has been thrown around made a reference to an abusive relationship, the UK being the abusive partner that Scotland wanted to “divorce.”

Fabiana Melendez, a junior Hilltopper, went on the study abroad program with Scott Christopherson and Dr. Innes Mitchell to Edinburgh to document the campaigns on the referendum.

“I had never really bothered to learn about Scottish history since its one of those things you don’t learn in school… [but] I was really interested in the Scottish referendum because of my heritage. Latin America has always had issues with independence and revolution. I wanted to try and understand how a modern secession in a European country compared to those in Latin America,” Melendez said regarding her interest in Scotland.

As the results turned in at approximately 10 p.m. on Sept. 18, headlines read that Scotland had rejected independence from the UK.

“Rejected” being a harsh term, considering Scotland had an 84.59% voter turnout and exercised the practice of democracy gracefully. To put things into perspective, Texas has an average of a 36 percent turnout, according to UT’s Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. Ouch.

We asked one of our own, Dr. Innes Mitchell, communications professor and Scotland native, on his thoughts of the referendum. “Independence is a process, not an event. The political landscape has been forever changed by the ‘the greatest campaign Scotland has ever seen.’”

The YES! campaign seems to have made an incredible impact with 45% adamantly voting towards independence and it was taken note of. Post-referendum, the Prime Minister sounds elated and in good spirits, promising greater autonomy for all nations in the UK.

However this isn’t the last you’ve seen of a pro-independent Scotland.

“The next misstep by the British State-referendum on EU membership, austerity in the face of the next global economic crisis, overreaching military intervention, you name it-and another Scottish Independence referendum is on the cards,” as said by Dr. Mitchell.

The results of the referendum are only a stepping stone closer to independence, and with as much involvement as there has been for this historical milestone, it may be upon the horizon.

If this movement has does anything, it has dared Scotland to dream big and take risks; that’s an accomplishment within itself.