“They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!” – William Wallace, Braveheart
When you think about the issue of Scottish independence, you probably think of iconic Scottish men like Robert the Bruce or William Wallace from the movie Braveheart. But as we approach the Scottish poll for independence, a surprising voice speaking out on the issue is a 49 year-old Scottish woman called Joanne; better known to the world as JK Rowling.
Before Rowling became the phenomenal success that she is today, she was a single mother living off welfare benefits in Edinburgh, Scotland, whilst trying to complete a children’s novel called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. That book went on to launch a global brand worth US$15 billion, and grant Rowling a huge platform of influence … a platform that she’s using to declare her stance on the controversial debate surrounding the issue of Scottish independence.
And controversial it is indeed.
Because despite the three hundred plus years since the 1707 Scottish and English Union of Parliaments – three centuries of Scotland being part of the United Kingdom – residents of Scotland are being asked to decide whether or not to sever links with England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Leading the charge for Scottish independence is Scottish National Party leader, Alex Salmond. In talking about the referendum, he said:
“We are Scotland’s independence generation and our time is now.”
And when outlining the benefits of Scottish independence, Salmond and others in the SNP promised business benefits such as:
• A £60 million package to create 3,000 jobs for young people in Scotland
• A guarantee that minimum wage would increase at least in line with inflation
• Scrapping the “bedroom tax”
• Bring the Royal Mail back into public hands
However despite the strong stance from Alex Salmond, the SNP, and others, JK Rowling stands in opposition to her beloved Scotland becoming independent of the UK.
After donating £1 million to a campaign to keep Scotland as part of the UK, Rowling said that she didn’t donate the money “out of self-interest, but because I care very deeply about the people who still [are] where I once was. They are being asked to play a game before they’re told the rules. And if it goes badly wrong, they will pay.”
Harking back to the financial turmoil and huge debt that lead Scotland to join the UK back in 1707, Rowling offered the reminder that Scotland had originally joined the UK because it made economic sense. She then added:
“The more I listen to the Yes campaign, the more I worry about its minimisation and even denial of risks. Whenever the big issues are raised – our heavy reliance on oil revenue if we become independent, what currency we’ll use, whether we’ll get back into the EU – reasonable questions are drowned out by accusations of ‘scaremongering’.”
And all around the world, leaders such as US President Barack Obama, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, President Li Kequang and others echoed JK Rowling in expressing concern and support for the unity and stability of the United Kingdom.
So with the referendum set to be held on 18th September 2014, polls are showing that this could be a much closer race than many had expected. And despite being surrounded by ambiguity, it’s clear that a “Yes” vote for Scotland will mean anything except business as usual. The question though, is whether or not this is something that the residents of Scotland want.
Are you a Scottish business? What’s your take on Scottish independence? Tweet us with your thoughts.