In 2014, Scotland will vote on independence from the UK. No-one knows how the Scots will vote, but both the Yes campaign and the Better Together campaign have plenty of views on what the consequences will be. Sure there, may be uncertainty on various matters, but a host of great things await if Scotland does vote yes at the referendum.
The government Scottish people vote for
Whatever your views on Alex Salmond, nationalism or independence, the Scottish people have long been voting for a UK government they did not receive. From various Tory governments to an increasingly right-wing Labour party, Scotland's vote and the UK government have been out of synch for over a generation. An independent Scotland would get the government Scottish people vote for.
No more Trident
The Trident nuclear missiles at Faslane Naval Base will be removed from the country if SNP plans for an independent Scotland go ahead. Protesters have been involved at Faslane for many years and the Yes campaign have made this issue a key point in their plans. However, UK officials have been exploring the possibility of keeping the territory following independence, so this one hasn't played out yet.
In the independence white paper, the SNP outlined various key points for administering an independent Scotland, including reforms to childcare entitlement. The paper includes a commitment to providing over 1000 hours a year of childcare for three and four year olds, plus the same provision for vulnerable two year olds.
No Bedroom Tax
The coalition government's housing and benefits reforms have been widely interpreted as having a deeply unfair impact on the poorer members of society. The SNP have included a commitment in their independence campaign to reverse the so called "bedroom tax" if a "yes" vote is returned. The Universal Credit system would also be overturned.
Tax Allowance and Credit rises
In an independent Scotland, the SNP have committed to certain changes in tax allowance and tax credits. In a move to acknowledge how difficult the benefits reforms have made life for many, basic rates of tax allowance and credit would be guaranteed to rise with inflation, potentially lifting a considerable burden off families who are dependent on them.
Minimum Wage rises
Like tax allowance and tax credits, the SNP plans for Scotland following independence guarantee a minimum wage that would rise in line with inflation, with additional moves to encourage employers to pay a living wage. With the widely held view that the minimum wage is not enough to live on, keeping working people in poverty, a minimum wage rising with inflation could ease the strain on many people.
Pensions to meet the cost of living
In line with other proposed benefits reforms, the SNP has committed to ensuring pension reforms address the increasing difficulties faced by many pensioners. The plan is to increase pensions to keep up with the cost of living through a "triple lock" system, via which pensions would increase by inflation, earnings or 2.5 percent, whichever is greater.
More international clout on Scottish Issues
Providing the Scottish government manages to negotiate membership of such international bodies as the EU, an independent Scotland may be able to put Scottish interests to the fore during international negotiations. Although Scotland would lose a certain amount of influence by not being part of the UK, representatives within international bodies would be more focused on presenting Scottish issues such as agriculture.
Increased prospects for change
Many British people are disillusioned with mainstream politics, none more so than the Scots. In an independent Scotland, the country having a smaller administration, it could potentially become easier to affect positive changes. Comparisons with similar countries in size and culture such as Norway and Denmark suggest Scotland could have a dynamic, successful future.
The coalition has virtually privatised the NHS by the back door through destructive reforms, but Scotland has been protected from some of these measures including the notorious Health and Social Care Act. In an independent Scotland, the commitment to affordability could be maintained. Some services could be shared between Scotland and the rest of the UK.
No more obsession with immigration
The whole of the mainstream UK political system seems to have an obsession with scaremongering about immigration, but people in Scotland have long found this out of touch with their view of reality. The SNP has indicated a more relaxed approach to immigration, which would, in reality, be vital for Scotland's economy.
A significant political shift to the left
Scotland has voted to the left of England for a long time. This has made Scottish people feel disconnected to the continued shift to the right that has occurred over the years. In an independent Scotland, local and national politics would therefore shift back to the left over time, hopefully resulting in a fairer society.
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Few things could be greater than the prospect of getting rid of the Tories forever. Since Scottish Conservatives are a rare breed with a virtually imperceptible presence in elected posts, independence would effectively mean the end of the Tories in Scotland. Even people with serious qualms about independence will surely be tempted by this factor on election day.