Scotland - independence or union

Scotland - independence or union

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The referendum on Scottish independence will take place in a few days, when Scotland will vote whether or not to end the 307-year-old union with the rest of the United Kingdom.

Designer Vivienne Westwood (pictured above), who is pro-independence, is one of many British residents to share their views on the Scottish referendum.

. LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

British leaders accept that even if Scotland votes to keep the union, the United Kingdom's structure will have to change as the rush to grant so many powers to Scotland will provoke calls for a less centralised state from voters in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Thirty-six-year-old Samantha Bartholomew, a corporate affairs manager, thinks that Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom.

“I’m incredibly proud to be Scottish,” she said. “I think Scotland is an amazing country with a very strong national identity … Scotland does have the potential to be a successful independent country.”

However, she feels that by being part of the union Scotland gets the best of both worlds.

“Therefore I think Scotland should vote “No”,” she said.

. LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Stylist, writer and London Fashion Week attendee Josie Smith thinks a lot of people are scared of change, which is likely to stop them voting “Yes.”

However, she feels it would be foolish to assume that independence will resolve all of the Scotland’s problems.

She added that many move south of the border where there is a wider range of jobs, but independence could give Scotland the opportunity to attract more businesses.

. LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

If Scots vote for independence, Britain and Scotland would face 18 months of negotiations over everything from North Sea oil and the pound to European Union membership and Britain's main nuclear submarine base.

Writer Julie Threapleton, who was born in Canada but has lived in the UK for 15 years, does not think that oil should be the deciding factor.

“Resources deplete. People don’t,” she said.

Julie compared Scotland’s situation to Quebec’s 1995 referendum, which she described as “neck and neck”.

She said concerns over the future of Quebec’s economy eventually led to a “No” vote, although the provincial government gained more power. She hopes that Scotland will follow the same path.

. Stornoway, BRITAIN. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

University graduate Lewis MacAskill, 23, is in the opposite camp.

"I want to a see a fairer and more prosperous Scotland. A country that can take care of its own people, can take care of its sick and fallen on hard times,” he said.

“I don't want to be lumbered with Tory governments we never voted for."

. LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

The prospect of breaking up the United Kingdom, the world's sixth largest economy and a veto-wielding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has prompted citizens and allies alike to ponder what would be left.

Retired department store employee Alvan Melbourne, 83, came to London from Jamaica in 1961. He has never been to Scotland but thinks that it should remain part of the United Kingdom.

“It’s sad, why don’t they want to be with us anymore?” he said.

. Stornoway, BRITAIN. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

On the Isle of Lewis, an western Scottish island in the Atlantic, there was support for Scotland running its own affairs.

Margaret Ann MacLeod, 46, a dental hygienist in the island’s main town Stornoway, is pro-independence.

"Very simply, I want the people of Scotland to make decisions for Scotland" she said.

. LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Unionists say independence would needlessly breakup the United Kingdom and usher in years of financial, economic and political uncertainty. They have warned that Scotland would not keep the pound as part of a formal currency union.

Alexander Technique student Ruth, 39, of London made a chart to express why she thinks Scotland should vote “No” to Independence.

“We are better together,” she said. “We have been united so many years and they [the "Yes" campaign] haven’t made their case.”

Polls show the decision on the fate of the United Kingdom is too close to call, with both unionists and secessionists neck-and-neck.