On September 18, Scotland will vote in a landmark referendum on whether to secede from the United Kingdom. The vote on independence will determine the shape of the country’s political environment for years to come.
Earlier this year, Wikistrat ran a three-week long crowdsourced simulation to map the opportunities available to an independent Scotland, risks it might face and the likely trajectories it could take as a new state.
The pro-independence Scottish National Party envisions an independent Scotland as one of Europe’s wealthiest countries, with an economy based on a highly educated population, large North Sea oil reserves and the development of a renewable energy export industry. It would also put a robust social welfare system at the heart of Scotland’s political system.
Critics contend that Scotland would face financial, economic and security risks that could strangle the new state. Scotland would also face challenges when it comes to redefining its political and economic relationships with the rest of the United Kingdom, the European Union and NATO. Fundamental issues such as currency, trade relations, economic unions and collective security would have to be worked out during the two years between the referendum and formal independence — which is no small task.
Considering these risks and opportunities, Wikistrat evaluated four master scenarios for charting Scotland’s emergence as an independent country by the year 2020, assuming it secedes from the United Kingdom within the next five years. These “Master Narratives,” outlined in the simulation’s report by Wikistrat Senior Analyst Jeffrey Itell, show that independence offers only modest rewards and many risks, including the chance that Scotland’s situation becomes so dire that it is forced to seek reunification with the United Kingdom.
Click here or on the cover image to download the full PDF report.
For more information about Wikistrat and for access to the full simulation archive, contact [email protected]