Should Scotland have second thoughts?

YES

Should Scotland be able to hold another referendum? The answer undoubtedly is yes. Why? Circumstances in the UK have changed dramatically; we are no longer in the European Union.

One of the main concerns in the first referendum in 2014 was Scottish membership in the EU; it would have been difficult for Scotland to rejoin the EU if they had left Britain in 2014. However, now they have a better chance of regaining membership alone than with the UK, as a result of Brexit. As this was such a significant concern in 2014, it is no surprise that this is of similar importance just two years later. I thoroughly believe that if the first Scottish referendum had taken place after Britain had left the EU, the result would have been different.

“If you are a remain supporter, and your area had the chance to remain in the EU, what would you do?’’

The racist and Islamophobic attitudes that have been intensified in the wake of Brexit are reason alone for Scotland to want to leave the UK. It is unsurprising that Scottish citizens want to distance themselves from this kind of atmosphere. Nicola Sturgeon has spoken out about the threat that being tied with Britain brings to the Scottish economy; some Tory rhetoric about foreign workers sends “damaging, and utterly shameful” messages to the rest of Europe, which ultimately reflects badly on Scotland, as they are tied to Great Britain.  The mere association with Britain, therefore, could harm Scotland’s future on the international stage.

Although it could be argued that Scotland should stand by the decisions they made in 2014, it would be unfair to force Scotland to endure the result of Brexit with the rest of Britain as the situation has changed so drastically. If you are a remain supporter, and your area had the chance to remain in the EU, what would you do?

Democracy involves voting for what the majority thinks is correct, and then implementing the result of the majority’s vote through the government. Surely the only democratic thing to do would be to allow the Scottish people to exercise their rights, and vote again on whether Scotland should remain a part of the United Kingdom. Admittedly, the initial referendum took place only two years ago, however, a substantial amount has changed in the UK that justifies Scotland the right to another vote. Although the majority of Scots still favour remaining in the UK, one of the major aspects that enticed Scotland to stay in the UK no longer applies. Therefore if necessary, another referendum should be allowed.

Chloe Barker

NO

This is the last thing we need right now. I’m not afraid to fight again to save the union that I love, just as I fought to remain in the EU. In a poll published on 4 October, the Unionists had an increased lead of 8%, so I would be confident of winning this battle. But, as we know, referendums are divisive and uncertain. I’ve had my fill of that this year.

The SNP opportunism is deplorable. They know that the Scottish people will never vote enthusiastically for separatism, but that they could vote to give Westminster a kicking. The SNP are trying to use the EU referendum result as a provocation to do just that.

Real political leadership would encourage a period of calm, particularly to stabilise the economy. Most of all, we need all parties to stop being so adversarial and to work together to heal the gaping divisions in our country. People take a lead from their politicians.

When our politicians spread myths, slander each other’s policies and spit poison at each other in very personal terms, it’s no wonder that the political debate has become so toxic. It’s no wonder, too, that those on different sides of the divide are so vitriolic toward each other.

I imagine everyone, including the Scottish people, understand this – in spite of the legitimate grievances they have. Hence, seven separate opinion polls since 23 June saying no to separatism.

My partisan argument, as I said to Eurosceptics, is that independence and sovereignty do not exist in 2016 as they did in 1816. Today there is only interdependence, and the most patriotic thing you can do is be as internationalist as possible.

“All political bodies, including the SNP, should be focused on healing those divisions’’

As Stephen Bush wrote in The New Statesman, the worst-case scenario for an independent Scotland is that it would be poorer and more right-wing than it is now – just as Brexit Britain likely will be.

There’s also the small matter of oil – valued at approximately $114 per barrel in 2014, but now has slumped closer to $14. The economic case for separatism, already shaky, has collapsed post-Brexit.

Right now, a second referendum would only cause more recrimination. We are divided enough already. All political bodies, including the SNP, should be focused on healing those divisions – not wrenching us further apart.

Benjamin Eckford

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