What would Scotland be like after getting independence?


UK and Scottish flags

David Cameron has said Scotland is "stronger, safer, richer and fairer" as part of the UK.

But despite the prime minister's words, the Scottish National Party is still planning an independence vote in 2014.

Polls however suggest a clear majority of Scots would rather stay in the UK, with most saying the country's economy wouldn't cope on its own.

About a third say they would support independence.

Jason Thornton, 22, and Declan McArdle, 18, are both from Dumbarton.

They say they could support independence if there were guarantees about Scotland's economy.

"I think we should be able to stand on our own two feet again," said Declan.

"Everybody could pull together and we could make it work," said Jason.

"It all goes back to Robert the Bruce," he added. "Everyone thinks about Braveheart."


Like most divorces, there would be plenty of work for lawyers, with both sides haggling hard for whatever they can get.

Jason Thornton and Declan McArdle
Image caption Jason Thornton and Declan McArdle both support the idea of independence

Scotland would argue for a large chunk of fishing rights, most of the oil from the North Sea and much of its gas too.

Under one possible plan based on size of population, Scotland could get nearly a 10th of the UK's total worth.

There would also be big arguments over who gets how much of the UK's debt.

RBS and HBOS, two of the banks that needed bailing out with billions of pounds of taxpayers' cash in the recession, are largely Scottish.

Some are likely to argue that would mean an independent Scotland should take a big share of their debts in a split.

Nuclear weapons

The biggest wrangle could be over the UK's nuclear weapon system Trident, which is based at Faslane on Scotland's west coast.

The SNP has long campaigned to have Trident removed from Scottish soil.

Allan Scott
Image caption Allan Scott thinks jobs could be at risk if Scotland gets independence

There's no clear alternative site for it in the UK though, and critics say it could cost the area around Faslane hundreds of jobs if it were moved elsewhere.

"It would destroy the whole Argyll and Bute area," said 24-year-old Allan Scott.

He works at the Anchor Inn pub in Gairlochhead, next door to the Trident base.

"You'd lose thousands of jobs - if not tens of thousands," he said.

"Me being anti-independence means I've got Scotland's best interests at heart.

"We thrive better as part of the United Kingdom, 100%."

There are also big questions about what a Scottish armed forces would look like.

Would Scots leave the UK military to serve in it, for example? What would Scottish troops even be for?

Much of this is still up for grabs and the situation remains unclear.

Have no doubts though, people on both sides of the argument will make their cases very strongly in coming months.

Nationalists want Scottish people to trust in their belief that things will get better if they make more of their own decisions and that Scotland's economy will thrive after independence.

Unionists, who still want Scotland in the UK, will say independence is far too big a risk, particularly economically, and that things are very likely to get worse.