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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  September 12, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT

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well. equally if not more beautiful than under the ocean. >> it's one of the most amazing things about these guys. you and i would be scratching at the walls. that's why we don't get to go and thee guys get to go to such amazing places. >> "inside story" next on al jazeera america. . >> after more than 300 years in an united kingdom come want to divorce scotland and wales. they want a separate culture and economy. that's the inside story. >> hello, i'm ray suarez.
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a long, long time ago there were many different nationalities, separate countries on the island of britain. the people spoke different languages. over time practiced different varieties of the christian religion, made different alliances around the world. in time the most powerful in britain, england, united wales, scotland under one monarch. after three centuries of union the people of scotland have agitated for more and more autonomy running more of their apairs in scotland, now they're saying they want a complete break, a separate, self-governs country, making the river a real international border. polling is in two weeks and scottish public opinion is closely divided. >> will scotland be an
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independent country? we'll know in seven days when more than 4 million voters go to the polls to choose yes or no. >> few societies have secured this opportunity to vote themselves, to vote peacefully at the ballot box in a process agreed and consented. it's an opportunity that may not come our way again. >> others are arguing for keeping the status quo. >> we do not need to divide these islands to assert our scottish identity. we can have both. >> reporter: according to the bbc throughout 2013 better together led strongly in the polls by an estimated 50% to
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33%. now the gap has dramatically narrowed. 52% of the voters say they want to stay with the union. 48% want independence according to a survey published today. >> i'll be voting yes. i think we can do it. >> we're part of the united kingdom. i think we should stay that way. >> reporter: british prime minister david cameron traveled north. >> i would be heartbroken if this family of nations that we've put together and we've done such amazing things together, if this family of nations was torn apart. >> reporter: but the referendum is not just about national identity. it's about money and politics. scotland's north sea oil and gas reserves are worth an estimated
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$2.5 trillion. the yes campaign said that is enough to help fund a new nation. but better together said oil money is not reliable and will eventually run out. >> in the no campaign, the only people in the world who argue the asset. >> currency is a major issue. >> he believes the best option for scotland is to have the pound sterling. we get our wages in the pound. i'm seeking the best option for scotland so our prosperous economy will continue. >> but they won't allow an
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independent scotland to continue using their sterling. >> the u.k. would consider a further divilusion of powers, but if they come out victorious it's likely they'll host a huge party. >> 307 years after the acts of union is scotland merely a region of one country or still such a distinc distinct separate particular place. on a practical level would scotland be a kingdom or republic. have an established church. membership in the european union. and what would be used for money? joining us to consider the
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future of scotland, lord geremi pe ervis of the house of lords, and adam ramsey, a campaigning from the pro independence group yes scotland. welcome to the program. adam ramsey, let's start with you. why an independent scotland, and why now? >> i think people all across the u.k. are fed up with the broken political system. you know, the fact that we have geremi on the tele with us, setting our laws for life appointed by the prime minister of this country. one of the most undemocratic systems in the wir entire world. and a chance to escape that system is thrilling. and particularly on scotland, particularly the right wing
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brand of economics we want to get away from. huge numbers have voted to create an equal and better society and in a system that is so u undemocratic, it will never give it to us. >> i knodon't political pendulums swing back and forth. leaving a country because you don't like the current government in westminster? >> i think it's not just the conservative party. if that was the case, i think more and more people in scotland and across the u.k. are beginning to realize the thing that is broken is the system. what we have is a collection of northern european country stuck in this parliament built for a
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previous era, stuck in a government system that was built for the age of empires. but we don't live in an age of empires any more. we live in the modern world. having our own place on the international stage is much best for us rather than hiding behind the big bully on the world stage. >> how about it, the ability to decide it's own future, maybe deciding to get out, what is your counter argument? >> actually, i think it's something that all of us who believe in the united kingdom take a great deal of pride in. it's facilitating a democratic process, a thrilling democratic process for one nation that makes up the united kingdom and decides whether or not it wishes to stay part of that union. now i was a member, directly elected members of the scottish parliament for two terms.
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deciding on issues of health, transportation, policing, rural, fisheries, all to play with 100% of how the bucke budget of that parliament was spent, and the people who supported the snp or independence argued for that while i was a member of the scottish parliament, and as i'm a member of house of lords now. the real question is should scotland carry on his part of the united kingdom and see it flourish? if that is the case, then we have to focus on the real issues for scotland for the divaled areas, and reforming westminster. i'm a performer. i believe in a directly elected chamber to vote myself out of a job. but i would prefer for scots still to be in the united kingdom parliament to play a role on the global stage but also on all of these issues that
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effect all parts of the united kingdom rather than to leave the u.n. and then seen to negotiate our way back in. to negotiate back into a currency agreement. back into an european union, and back into nato, and nuclear alliance. i think the best opportunities for scotland going forward, not to rely on our past, is for scotland to play a leading role in the united kingdom. >> adam ramsey, isn't scotland in a pretty sweet position that is not shared by england. he have representatives in the scottish parliament making decisions, and representatives who go down to westminster to vote on international matters. >> well, certainly i feel very sorry--i have lived most of the last five years of my life in england, and i feel very sorry for people who don't have the
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opportunity to break from the u.k. that's not a reason to remain governed by that system. the scottish parliament has it's entire budget set by westminster, and at the moment they're cutting that budget rapidly. it's not as though it can protect itself from the decisions made by westminster. it has a budget set by another parliament. there are very few democratic parties like that in the world. jeremy is right, they don't reae
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constitutional change. and i don't think the further of scotland should be determined by party positioning at any political time. the question is whether or not
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whether or not you can actually have a stronger base therefore you can see--you can widely redistribution or you can see u.k.-wide benefits. one example, scottish university, to proud of thes received the same amount of money from research grants as it does th the scottish parliament, and saw intertwined the united kingdom and scotland playing a leading role in it provides the best base for us to grow our economy and provide best education, and i think it's not the best platform to say that we are moving away from these nations that are currently our partners, seamless partners in many respects into what will
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effectively be a different country with barriers and certain areas of trade, and degree of competition. and if it's so clear that we should be so distinct from the other parts of the union i'm puzzled why they're so keen to say that we will have an observer status in the bank of england, which is a bank of a foreign country running our currency and would effect scotland at inflation rates we wouldn't determine. that's less autonomy and less influence. it's a curious argument and a curious definition of independence. >> we'll talk about the practicalities of this divorce later on in the program. we'll be back with more inside story after a short break. stay with us.
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>> now almost half the voters of scotland tell pollsters they're ready to leave the united kingdom and establish or re-establish an independent scotland.
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adam ramsey, let's talk about the practicalities of this. there is a national debt held by the united kingdom and a portion of that would be accepted by scotland. there are expenditures for old age pensions as lord pervis mentioned before the break, university funding and all kinds of intertwined, revenues and expenditures and it would seem pretty tough to pull those apart and make them into two separate and distinct entities. can you do it? >> well of course. the first thing to say is that the scottish parliament already decides such things. we've already done that for lots of public services. and lots and lots of countries, many of the richest countries in the world, small european countries, scotland would be averaged sized in population in the world. of course we could do that, and of course we don't have to do it
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in everything. what the referendum is about, whether we have the sovereignty of a national country. not that we can't share powers. the u.k. pulls much of its research money from ireland. the u.k. already shares research with ireland. and we have a pool. obviously in some areas it will make sense to continue to work together across the zones and of course we should do that where it does. but should they decide big things, and i think it should. these things are better when they hold politicians to account better. one of the big problems in the modern world is that interpretation corporations ar corporations are--international corporations are very good at taking ittaking it.
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>> you're right that it happens, but it's rare that they would decide to be less powerful, less influential in the world. at 5.25 million people roughly the size of colorado, the scots would cut a smaller figure on the stage. isn't that fair? >> we would have our seat in the u.n. and own commissioner. thi think new zealand has the same population. being a country you have a bonus on the world stage. don'ultimate have your own vote at the u.n. and the imf, you suddenly have less power. it is something that we have not voted for and in the financial sector in london acts very
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little in our interest. not only would we have a loud voice of say rather than having no voice at all. >> lord pervis, in a multi polarred equally zoned world governed in many ways setting the rules of the game with international organizations rather than with brute force, isn't it easier to be a small country in the 21st century? >> well, if you're looking at it objectively the united kingdom is a very stron small country in the world. and with scots at the leading element of that, and in many respects the leading edge of it. the way scots have played their role, i think with our brand as far as self power as well as our
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influence around the world as the united kingdom with scots taking a leading pardo part, i think that's something that scotland benefits from massively. whether or not the foreign policy at the time is what is greed with o agreed to or not is at issue. it may not suit the political views of other people but nevertheless they have played their role in it. if scotland becomes a sovereign country, it would have to draw back, and i wonder if we'll have the proper breadth to participate. the second largest aid budget to
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the united states, £400 million alone has been the budget for syria. the scottish government of an independent scotland would not have that ability. i think that would be regrettable. >> the scots are hardly unique in wanting to run their own affairs. the catalans, basque of spain, and québec, does an independent caught lan scotland make sense in an international cultural way? stay with us.
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>> you're watching inside story on al jazeera america. i'm ray suarez. in the three centuries since the crowns of england and scotland
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merged, north of the border distinctive sign posts of scottish identity remain. but lots of regions have areas that differ, accents, religious differences. we're looking at the coming vote on scottish independence. with us jermey purvis and adam ramsey. >> people haven't seen really reckoned with, only 14 days short of the vote have people in the other side of the argument been minimizing how easily scotland will live without england and wales? >> i think so, and i should think south of the border it will be a really deep feeling of loss if scotland does make the decision. but it's for the people of scotland to decide. and it's a real wonderful thing.
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there is a democratic and peaceful process. in the outset of the program you mentioned the barrier, i was born right on the border just on the english side. i hope very much that a young person born in my town will want to play a role in the scottish stage or the british stage or international stage and not be divided by an international border, being able to cherish the identity, allow that to flourish, but give them the best opportunity. and tackle the very issues of equality, economic development, social justice, environmental justice that challenges both scotland and england on both sides of the river where i was born and brought up. >> adam, i got to tell you, as someone who has lived in the united kingdom, work there had,
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traveled widely in the country. looking from the outside, i've been surprised at how some blithely some scots say they can do without being british. it is no longer part of their identity. have you really wrestled with this what being inside a much smaller and much differently constituted country would actually be like? >> look, britain contained scotland, england and wales. i feel british after i vote yet in a fort night's time. but i always find this argument difficult. it was suggested that we introduce bail bonds. the british state is very much
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against borders is misleading. they're against borders within the u.k. they're saying they're british nationalists. and they support a border they want to protect and kit. i don't brief in borders anywhere in the world. i'm not interested in creating national barriers, but you can drive from dublin to belfast, and not have your past potte passport checked. there would not be passport checks between scotland and england. if thei'm not particularly concerned whether it's scotland or whether we extend the border and they decide to come with us. i'm interested in building a new and modern democratic country.
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the british state has been set up, and to say in 2014 we're living in the shadow of post imperial age, and it's time to put that powerful history to bed. it's time to build a better future. and the way to bring power closer to people. we want to join the network of nations. we don't need big lumbering bureaucracies any more. >> i got to go. that brings us to the end of this edition of "inside story." in washington, i'm ray suarez. >> to shape the coalition against the islamic state. the latest on secretary kerry's mission on the middle east. plus imagine getting a federal grant after a natural disaster, and then being told you need to
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give some of it back. that's what some victims of super storm sandy are facing. we'll talk with some of them. and what are members of nasa doing on the bottom of the ocean? that's coming up at 6:00. school. >> it's important enough to remind all of us that everybody has to be in the game. there are 57 million children around the world who don't get to go to school. and many of them are girls. >> ttys first major role for the australian prime minister since leaving politics. i spoke to her about being the first woman who has led australia as prime minister. i ca u


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