● Stephen McGuckin Muir, Prof. Department of English Language and Literature
There are some countries or regions that want independence from their current country, like Scotland, Catalonia and Okinawa. Recently, Catalonia announced its desire for independence. To understand this situation better, I had an interview with a KMU professor from Scotland.
Q1. Please introduce yourself.
I’m Stephen McGuckin from Scotland, the U.K. I’ve been teaching in the Department of English Language and Literature for 11 years.
Q2. Scots also had a big movement for becoming independent recently. What do you think about Catalonia’s movement as a Scot?
I really support the Catalonian people and their desire to become independent. In Scotland, we also claimed it over three years ago, but over half want to remain, unfortunately. I know the Catalonian people feel a very strong sense of national pride, so I support their desire to be independent.
Q3. Why do they want independence?
I don’t know the situations in great detail in Catalonia. But, people feel they have different cultures and beliefs than the rest of Spain, and Catalonia is a very wealthy part of Spain. They feel that the rest of Spain is benefiting from their riches. They also have a socially democratic spirit in Catalonia. That’s why they want to be separate.
In Scotland, we have some differences from the rest of the U.K. like parts of legal and education systems. There are other cultural differences like Scottish traditional foods, dress, music, instruments and weddings. In both cases, people think they have a unique identity and it’s the reason they want independence.
Q4. What are people from rest of the U.K.’s thoughts about Scottish independence?
I’m not totally sure. I know a lot of people from Northern Ireland support our goal to be independent, but Wales, which is pro-Brexit, does not.
Q5. What about the thoughts of other countries in the EU?
Some regions like Catalonia really supported us. Maybe some Scandinavian nations like Norway, Finland and Denmark supported us because if we became independent, we would become closer with them. However, some bigger nations like Germany, France and Italy don’t really want Scottish independence because they think if the U.K. breaks up, the European Union will break up, too.
Q6. There are some problems while considering independence. Could you explain what is the biggest?
Most Scots think about economic problems. They are very conservative about money. If we became independent, we might not be able to use the pound(￡) anymore. Many people don’t want to lose pounds. They may lose their currency and jobs. That is the biggest barrier to independence for many people.
Q7. What makes Brexit more difficult for an independent Scotland?
After Brexit, the British pound’s value really dropped, quite badly. If we become independent from the U.K., we are not a part of Europe anymore. We’re very isolated. If we want to join the EU again, we need to wait for some years. Now, people really want to wait and see what happens with Brexit. I expect we will try an independence referendum again soon. I don’t think so now because people are very nervous about Brexit, the U.K. situation and everything, which is very uncertain. And Scottish independence is even more uncertain. I don’t think people are ready for another independence referendum, yet. There are still too many questions.
By Seo Yu-jeong
KMG Junior Reporter