Scotland Should be an Independent State
I've been interested in this topic for awhile, and have finally decided to start a debate on the topic. Please be familiar with UK politics and the 2014 Independence referendum if you intend to accept, though you need not be from the UK. This debate is specifically about that referendum . Voters must have 2,000 ELO or more in order to vote, and you must have completed 1 debate or more in order to accept.
In 2014, Scotland should have voted "Yes" for Independence from the United Kingdom.
1. No forfeits
2. Any citations or foot/endnotes must be individually provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final round
4. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (i.e. arguments that challenge an assumption in the resolution)
7. No semantics; debaters will adhere to the common/average understanding of the topic
8. The BOP is Shared; Pro must argue for independence and Con must argue against
9. Pro must present their case in round one
10. Violation of any of these rules or of any of the R1 set-up merits a loss
R1. Pro's Case
R2. Con's Case, Pro rebuts Con's Case
R3. Con rebuts Pro's Case, Pro defends Pro's Case and Crystallizes
R4. Con defends Con's Case and Crystallizes, Pro waives
...again to whomever accepts; it should be an interesting and fun debate!
I accept this debate and I look forward to an interesting debate. The following argument is sourced from here: http://www.independentscotland.org...
1. Taking Responsibility by moving all Governing Powers to Scotland
You would like to get the opportunity to move more responsibilities to a more local Scottish Democracy instead of accept the fate of Westminster's plans? With all the powers moved to Scotland, we can make a fairer Scotland.
2. Get the Government we choose
The Tories are in power in the UK, although the majority of Scots have chosen the opposition. The Scots are outnumbered ten to one, so whatever government the Scots will vote for in a UK General Election, it's highly unlikely that a Scottish Political Party will ever be part of a UK Government representing Scotland's needs. With the rising votes for UKIP in England, our goals towards a fair and harmonious society will diminish even further.
3. No more building Nuclear Weapons
We should stop building Nuclear Weapons in Scotland, it is unethical and morally wrong. Under "The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons" the UK expects all other countries to sign this agreement to disarm Nuclear Weapons, but has excluded itself. Under the treaty it continues to build more Nuclear Weapons in Scotland. If you believe in peace instead of war, let's stop building weapons of mass destruction and start caring for the people and the planet.
4. Securing Oil Funds in North Sea
Scotland's Oil reserves are vast. Most of the revenue and tax made from Oil goes directly to Westminster. There are claims that Scotland will be one of the wealthiest nations in Europe if we become independent.
5. Scotland has the resources and finances
Scotland has the resources and finances to become independent. One of the early myths created by the No Campaign has been debunked and even the Unionists agree that Scotland has what it takes to become independent and the Scottish people will be better off financially.
6. Believing in the creation of more jobs
With an ever rising energy and electricity demand in Europe, Scotland could be one of the global leading suppliers. Scotland has many natural resources that allow sustainable energy for which more jobs are created. Furthermore when Scotland becomes Independent, many centralized services and offices, like Tax Offices, DVLA etc have to be set up in Scotland. This will create many jobs and jobs provide an income, which is good for the economy and beneficial for us all.
7. Believing in the benefits for Scotland and yourself as individual
Not only will there be more jobs, the future Government already has plans for creating better Healthcare and improve the situation for Pensioners and people with children. We'll keep the minimum wages, scrap the bedroom tax, etc.
8. Believing in a more equal wages
The difference in wage in London compared to Scotland for example is huge. This gap is growing and with the current UK Government the richest only seem to get richer and the poor becoming poorer. With a smaller gap between the highest and lowest incomes, there will be less jealousy, greed and more happiness.
9. Believing that Scotland and England have opposite Political and Social views
We love Scotland and we love England. Why should both countries suffer from having to compromise political decisions to please both sides? Let's respect each other and go our own way. In doing so, we'll become better friends and neighbours then we are ever going to be in a forced political marriage.
10. Understanding that NO may lead to changes for worse
Change is going to happen, whether you vote Yes or No. By voting NO for independence, you will have less control over the changes that are going to change, because the government who makes these decisions is still in Westminster. A No vote will be seen as an act of 'no confidence' in the current Scottish Government. A No vote may also be used by the UK government to withdraw powers from the Scottish Government.
Thanks to Kylar for the debate. Given the lateness of the hour here, and that I am running out of time to post, my arguments will be brief. I also apologize for any errors due to C/Ping and I hope that the pound symbol comes through...
"The Yeses want to leave Britain, but keep the pound. This, as Paul Krugman points out, is a miserable idea. If the euro crisis has taught us anything, it's that sharing a currency without sharing a budget can turn recessions into depressions. That's because it forces countries to pick up all the costs of a slump, while preventing them from actually doing so--or from using monetary policy to help. See, unless the government has a lender-of-last-resort--i.e., its own central bank--a self-fulfilling prophecy of financial doom can force it into austerity at the worst possible moment. That's what happened to the euro crisis countries, and it's what could happen to independent Scotland if it stayed on the pound." 
"But a sterling zone would face big problems. Its members’ business cycles are reasonably well aligned, but not perfectly in step...hat means that as it is, monetary policy is often too tight on one side of the border and too loose on the other. This divergence is likely to increase, since the budgetary transfers and shared fiscal policy that help to synchronise the two economies would cease. The SNP is planning to increase spending by 3% a year in Scotland, whereas the Conservative-led government in Britain wants to balance its books by 2019. Yet Scotland already has a bigger deficit than rUK, and its fiscal position is forecast to worsen as its population ages. Lacking a common fiscal policy, the sterling zone could easily become a mini euro area, with Scotland in the part of Greece." 
"Independent Scotland would--crucially--be a less diversified economy than it is as part of Britain today. That, as Adam Posen points out, would make it more vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the global economy. Not only that, but the big banks that make up a big part of Scotland's economy would likely migrate south to the safety of the Bank of England, starving its economy of credit." 
In a monoculture economy, the economy is based largely on a single good. In this case, that good would be oil. That means that if oil does well, Scotland does well. But, it also means that if oil prices fall (as they eventually would), then they will drag the Scottish economy down with them. Pinning an economy on one core product means that if anything happens to that product, the whole system is disproportionately impacted. Remaining a part of the UK keeps the overall economy diversified, so if one sector falls, the UK's other sectors can prop up the economy as a whole, as well as regions like Scotland which may be adversely impacted.
In fact, falling oil prices have already hurt Scotland: "New IFS analysis of the latest Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) data shows that a sharp fall in oil revenues in 2012-13 left a gap between North Sea income and Scotland's public spending of £468 a person." 
"Scotland would be saddled with £143 billion of debt after independence and forced to make deeper spending cuts than seen under the Coalition's austerity drive, academics have warned. Extra North Sea oil revenues would only cover a third of that shortfall and leave Holyrood paying billions of pounds in 'IOUs' to Westminster for debt interest payments, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)." 
"Since 2007-08, Scotland has run an average net fiscal deficit of £8.3 billion (5.9% of GDP)."  So, Scotland already doesn't have enough money to pay its bills, and it would then be asked to pay an additional 143 billion pounds on top of that? It doesn't seem feasible.
"A July 2013 report by the Scotland Institute thinktank concluded that independence 'will lead to difficulties in recruitment and retention'. It argued that Scotland’s diminished role on the world stage would make its armed forces an 'unattractive' prospect for potential recruits." [5, 6]
SCB. Defense Employment
"Defence is a big employer in Scotland. According to the quarterly location statistics for April 2014, published by the Ministry of Defence, there were 14,510 MoD personnel based in Scotland, 7.5% of the UK’s total, of whom 10,600 were military (4,210 navy; 3,690 army; 2,700 air force) and 3,910 civilian. The MoD says that by 2020 the number of personnel in Scotland is due to increase to 12,500 (8.8% of the UK total), though overall numbers across the UK are decreasing." 
If Scotland leaves the UK, the UK will no longer be keeping such large numbers of troops there. This will remove an important source of employment from Scotland's economy. Even if the soldiers themselves are British, Welsh, or North Irish, the money they spend while stationed in Scotland feeds the local economy, producing and sustaining jobs. Leaving the UK directly imperils the wellbeing of Scotland's economy as a result.
SCC. Defense Spending
"Would an independent Scotland – with a much smaller budget – be able to support, for example, the three squadrons of Tornado jets currently housed at RAF Lossiemouth, and the three squadrons of Typhoon jets it is due to receive? The £2.5bn proposed budget would cover just 7% of the overall UK budgets for defence, intelligence and cyber-security. Westminster has pledged investments of £100m for army basing in Scotland, £85m for development of RAF Lossiemouth and hundreds of millions of pounds for the naval base at Clyde, which would be scuppered by a yes vote."  The question is: can Scotland afford to keep up its own defense forces without the rest of the UK, and wouldn't Scotland be benefited by the extra defense money it recieves from the other constituent nations of the UK?
C5. Bargaining Power
If Scotland remains in the UK, then it can use the fact that the referendum is close to coerce the Westminister government into giving concessions to Scotland as a means of placating them to stave off another such referendum. "No" campaigners also made many sweeping promises, and only staying in the UK will allow Scotland to cash in on those promises, including further devolution of power.
1 - http://www.washingtonpost.com...
2 - http://www.economist.com...
3 - http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
4 - http://www.gov.scot...
5 - http://www.theguardian.com...
6 - http://www.scotlandinstitute.com...
7 - http://www.theguardian.com...
Thank you! The resolution is negated. Over to Pro...
Thanks for the debate thus far.
Currency yes is a big problem for a potentially independent nation of Scotland. However, there is no reason to assume they could not adop their own currency. It would take time to be sure, but they could do it.
The economy yes is weak, and needs reformed. However, if Scotland's people showed determination they could pull out of debt and build a nation.
Debt could be paid off in slow increments by other nations helping Scotland, and Scotlad would be able to help too.
Defenses would be strengthened by the will of the people to create a millitary. They would have a large role in the world because of their wealth.
Yes, they could bargain for more power. But they will not get complete self rule.
Thanks for the debate so far, over to you my friend :)
Thanks again to Kylar for the debate. I will now respond to Pro's case. Again, I apologize for any errors due to C/Ping.
Basically, the argument given here is that by becoming independent, the Scots will have greater control of their own affairs. Sure, that is the definition of "independence." The question that is more pertinent, however, is whether Scots having greater control of their own affairs is actually worth the inherent costs that come with it. So, in away, Pro is begging the question in this contention. She is essentially saying: independence is good because independence is good. There is no justification for why the benefits outweigh the costs of independence, or why self-rule is such a compelling goal that Scotland should pursue it regardless of the costs. There is just absolutely no analysis here, just a bunch of rhetorical and unanswered questions.
Furthermore, there are ways to gain greater home rule without independence. For instance, Scots can elect more SNP members to Westminster who can then advocate for their interests. So, this is going to mitigate Pro's argument.
C2. Government of Choice
C1 and C2 are basically the same claim: returning power to the home government over that in Westminster. And, regarding the Tory argument, yes, Scotland is left but is under a right-leaning party government in London. However, I don't think this makes a great case for secession.
To use an inapt example, should Texas secede every time a democratic Congress/President is elected? The answer is no. Part of being a member of a union like the United States or the United Kingdom is that the constituent members are freely able to engage in the process, knowing that they may not always get who they want in office. The benefits of union are worth occasionally having to accept governments of parties that you're not enthused about.
The basic point here is that this contention yet again does nothing to show that the benefits to Scotland actually outweigh the harms of independence. This contention can also be mitigated by the fact that (a) Tories are not always in power, and (b) Scots can vote for the SNP in order to balance out the equation ins London.
There is actually a good case to be made that Scotland leaving the UK would cause it to also lose its nuclear deterrent. Part of the reason that countries don't use nuclear weapons is that they know that if they use those weapons against a country that also happens, there will be Mutually Assured Destruction. This deters all countries from actually using the weapons, and makes everyone safer.
The article asks whether we believe in peace and not war. If we do, then MAD and nukes seem like a good way to help ensure peace.
(a) There is less likely less oil than the Scots say there is. The Scots claim there are about "24bn barrels of oil equivalents (boe) of reserves"  in Scotland worth around £1.5 trillion. However, "The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has predicted recoverable reserves of 10bn boe and North Sea tax revenues of £61.6bn between now and 2040. The Office for National Statistics put the worth of untapped reserves to the UK Treasury at closer to £120bn while Sir Ian Wood, a leading offshore oil industrialist in Aberdeen, put the figure at 15bn-16.5bn barrels."  Even if you don't buy these other figures, they still cast serious doubt on wether the SNP's figures were correct.
(b) Companies will siphon off some of the benefits that Scotland hopes to retain. "Small countries dependent on oil find it difficult to negotiate with massive international oil companies. Salmond must know an independent Scotland would have to give more lucrative tax treatment to Big Oil if he is going to encourage them to extract the 3bn barrels highlighted by BP or the 24bn that the first minister hopes for." 
(c) Drilling rates were already falling. "The cost of operations has soared in recent years and drilling is currently at very low levels, with estimates that the North Sea could produce less than 800,000 barrels this year compared to the near 3m in 1999."  So, not only is Scotland projected to produce less, but high costs may chase away oil companies to other, cheaper areas. And, because only one oil company (which produces only a fraction of the total oil output) in Scotland is actually natively Scottish,  meaning that most companies in Scotland have no political or social reasons not to leave Scotland for somewhere cheaper.
The article discusses a debunked myth, but never really elucidates as to what that myth was an why it was wrong. Arguably, Scotland doesn't have the finances to be independent, as I've shown already in my case.
C6. Job Creation
Pro never gives any statistics showing that the jobs lost by independence would be offset or outweighed by the jobs gained through such a move. So, Pro cannot claim that independence would have actually yielded net benefits to job creation.
C7. Personal Benefits
"Indeed, the Yeses are counting on an oil windfall to pay for 1) free childcare for three and four year-olds, 2) indexing benefits and tax credits to inflation, 3) small pension and caretaker allowance increases, 4) shoring up health and education spending, and 5) creating a sovereign wealth fund. So if there isn't as much oil money--and there probably won't be--then there won't be as much of a welfare state as the Yeses hope for."  In other words, this contention collapses without Pro first showing that Scotland's economy can sustain these plans.
There are ways to solve this within the UK system, including working with groups like Plaid Cymru, the Greens, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats to implement reforms. Independence seems like an extreme solution (i.e. overreaction) to the problem.
Compromise is the hallmark of democracy. The argument presented here is that compromise is a bad thing, but it's not--it's just how democracy works. If compromise were a bad thing, then every single state should be independent in the United States, for instance. We could even take that further, since many county and city governments have to compromise to appease various groups within them. So, maybe every household should be independent? I mean, you can reduce this argument to the point where it would support every single individual person being an independent country. Pro really doesn't give any reason why English and Scottish relations would be particularly harmed by compromise any more than compromises in every effective democracy.
C10. Voting "No" is Bad
Sure, people may have less control over things if they vote no than if they vote yes. But, given the promises made by Westminster politicians during the campaign, even after a no vote Scotland will have more power than ever before. Powers won't be withdrawn from Scotland in light of the UK politicians' promises, and so there really isn't a compelling argument to be made by this contention.
Additionally, many of Scotland's main firms are not indigenously Scottish, which poses a significant problem for independence-seekers. "According to the study, the level of outside ownership means that Scotland’s actual income is as much as $5,000 (£2,990) less per head than Salmond suggests. The study uses a measure for national income that puts Scotland at 20th among the 34 countries in the OECD group of developed nations, behind Ireland, Denmark and Japan. Salmond’s argument that Scotland’s gross domestic product (GDP) places the country 14th in the OECD has been a crucial plank in the case for independence."  "More than 70% of Scotland’s total economic output – excluding banking and finance and the public sector – is controlled by non-Scottish-owned firms, according to Scottish government data. Of firms in Scotland employing 250 or more people, 83% are owned by non-Scottish companies."  Also, 80% of Scotland's whiskey and salmon industries (which a re major industries in Scotland), are foreign-owned.  This means that much of Scotland's wealth is NOT in Scottish hands. So, while Scotland's economy may appear rich on paper, the assets don't stay in the country. It also means that if doing business in Scotland becomes more expensive after independence, which is not an unreasonable assumption to make, then major employers may not remain in Scotland or may reduce their presence there in order to avoid those higher costs of doing business. The companies have no ties to Scotland which would keep them in the country.
Cross-apply this to Pro's C5 and her C6.
1 - http://www.theguardian.com...
2 - http://www.theguardian.com...
3 - R2, S1
Thanks to Pro! The resolution is negated. I hand the floor back over to her...
Thanks again my friend for this great debate on a mutual interest topic.
The Scots may be able to elect SNP members to Westminster yes. However, they don't have total control over everything in their borders, which independence can bring.
Correct, very good points. I love these arguments, and I see no need to refute them.
Again correct, Scotland could lose its nuclear deterrent. But they could develop their own nuclear weapons program with realtive ease.
Yes oil price is falling, but Scotland could increase its wealth by drilling its own oil.
Jobs could be lost, but that happens often with independence. They can rebuild quickly.
Benefits could be much higher. The economy would boom much more.
Refutals VII and VIII and IX
Wages could be raised with independence and reaations could improve. Most of Scotland is very independenent minded now. 55% say they back a 2nd referendum.
I rest my case for round III and I am a he :), no big deal.
Thanks for the debate so far
Thanks to Kylar for the debate. I apologize for using the wrong pronoun for him in this debate--the only Kylar that I knew in real life was a female, so that's were the mistake was made. At this time, I will defend my own case and crystallize the round.
Pro says that there is no reason to believe that Scotland would not adopt its own currency. Remember that this debate is set in the context of the 2014 referendum, wherein the SNP specifically advocated for keeping the pound after independence.  So there is good reason to believe that Scotland would at least attempt to do so.
Moreover, having a different currency would be equally problematic: "Scotland would have to, as The Economist argues, create its own currency with its own central bank. But this would have its own difficulties. They'd probably want to peg their new currency to the pound, at least at the beginning, to ease the transition and preempt any capital flight. This means, though, that Scotland would need to run significant fiscal and trade surpluses to defuse any fear that they'd break the peg, and defend it if needed. Independence, in other words, could force Scotland into the same austerity it's trying to escape." 
Pro writes: "The economy yes is weak, and needs reformed. However, if Scotland's people showed determination they could pull out of debt and build a nation."
Pro basically CONCEDES my entire argument regarding monocultures, and agrees with me that the Scottish economy is weak. Pro then talks about determination, but mere determination is not sufficient to sustain a monoculture system; the system itself is rigged such that it is out of their control. Actions elsewhere in the world can cause the prices of oil to fall, harming the Scottish economy.
Even if reform is done, there is no guarantee that it will work, and it will take time that Scotland doesn't have. Scotland will need the oil money NOW if they are going to be able to provide public services, build a defense force, and so forth. If the oil prices plummet as they are already doing (as I showed last round), Scotland won't have the money to sustain these critical services and will lose legitimacy as a government as a result. It will also likely result in some form of economic collapse.
Scotland is already running a budget deficit, and so there is no reason to believe that they could even begin to pay off the debt it would owe (which would accrue interest as well) for years, possibly decades, to come. It would force Scotland to divert money from their economic and defense development to debt repayment, meaning that Scotland's public services, quality of life, and defense capabilities would noticeably shrink. And, because public services employ about 1/5th of all Scotts , cuts to this sector necessary to repay debts could result in large levels of job loss and further economic woes for an independent Scotland.
Pro talks about the will of the people to create a military, but this really doesn't address SCB or SCC, which talk about tangible economic and financial difficulties faced in the defense sector. These points are DROPPED. Remember, wanting to create a military is not enough if you simply can't afford it.
But, even so, the poor economic condition Scotland is in, as well as the fact it is much smaller than England, and so will likely have a smaller armed service, will reduce its role on the international stage, which will, as noted earlier, likely negatively impact recruitment.
C5. Bargaining Power
Pro AGREES Scotland can bargain for more power. This is going to mitigate a lot of Pro's points, because Scotland will at least have more freedom after the election, if not total self-rule.
Pro's arguments in this debate have been full of warrantless and underdeveloped assertions. My arguments are supported by evidence, and show that the economic and defense situation would be significantly worse for an independent Scotland than for a Scotland that is part of the UK. Given that Scotland can get more freedom within the UK due to the promises UK leaders have made and its ability to elect SNP MPs, the reason for self-rule seems less compelling. More freedom without severe economic and defense problems is better than total sovereignty with both of those problems, at least from a cost-benefit standpoint. Thus, I urge a Con vote. Thank you.
1 - http://www.theguardian.com...
2 - R2, S1
3 - http://www.gov.scot...
Just a reminder to Pro: you must waive in the next round. You cannot post arguments or summarize your position.
All I will say is thanks for the debate :)
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