Today marks a potential, but unlikely, new chapter in Scotland's history. People 16 years of age and older living in Scotland will decide whether the north should go it alone or continue 300 years of somewhat happy unity. Given the demographics of The Wire's readership, there's approximately a 98 percent chance that you're not eligible to vote in today's big referendum.
Still! As a politically engaged global citizen you will likely talk about it with your co-workers and peers, weighing your own country's historical struggle to become independent from the United Kingdom with the economic realities of a Scotland-U.K. split. To help you with those conversations, we've compiled a list of key issues Scots (as well as the multitude of non-Scots living in Scotland and therefore eligible to vote) should consider, and you should mention to sound well-informed.
If you are convinced that Scotland will be able to afford the reforms (even when North Sea oil revenues decline) and/or don't think that the more conservative British government should decide how Scots run their social welfare program then you should support independence.
If you don't support the social welfare changes, or are skeptical of how much it will cost Scotland, then you should not support independence.
The Basics: Salmond wants to keep using the British pound, but all of the U.K.'s major political parties oppose a currency union. Kevin Dowd, a professor of finance and economics at Durham University, summarized the pros and cons of Scotland keeping the pound in an op-ed for City A.M., but the key point is that while Scotland can keep using the pound without England's permission, it would also have to accept the Bank of England's monetary policies throughout the British Isles. Also, Scotland's struggling banks would no longer be able to rely on the Bank of England if things get bad.
If you, like the Adam Smith Institute, think Scotland could "flourish by using the pound without permission," as The Guardian put it, then you should support independence.
If you don't then you should not support independence.
Scottish Power Post-Independence
The Basics: Scotland would be a much smaller country than the United Kingdom population-wise, but it could also join the European Union. That's kind of silly — as Neil Irwin at The New York Times wrote:
Paradoxically, pro-independence Scots have argued that they will recapture some of the advantages of size by joining the European Union. It seems slightly bonkers for Scots to get so frustrated about ceding power to bureaucrats in London and turn immediately to bureaucrats in Brussels, but there it is."
If you prefer bureaucrats in Brussels(or, if joining the EU doesn't work, just in Edinburgh) then you should support independence.
If you prefer bureaucrats in London then you should not support independence.
The Basics: This one is simple. Scotland has a long history of trying to maintain its independence, a tradition that has been represented on both the big and small screen (think Braveheart). That independent spirit is captured in this pro-independence ad:
If you think Scotland has an independent history and an independent culture that warrants an independent nation, then you should support independence.
If you think Scotland can still be culturally and historically independent without being a different country, then you should not support independence.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.