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As "Scotland Decides" Will Websites With UK In the Name Need To Drop The UK Element?

Website publishers with UK as part of the website name (domain name) will no doubt be considering whether they need to start planning a rebranding of their name dropping the UK should Scotland vote to leave the UK as Wales may be next to leave.

Not only that if Scotland leaves the UK next Thursday why on earth would a Scottish company or website want at the end of their name or even .uk as they are no longer part of the UK?

The new .scot domain name that is coming soon would be far more appropriate for Scottish websites and search engines like Google may have to start filtering Scotish websites riding on names to UK searchers?

Personally I can't see .scot (or a number of the other new TLDs, domain name endings) becoming big on the worldwide web anytime soon for a number of reasons after 10 years publishing various websites. Many I think will fade away like .biz did. If that is the case it will make it more difficult for Scottish websites to succeed outside of Scotland on the web generally unless people are specifically searching for something scottish. The new .scot domains will be up against longer established, bigger websites built often over 10 years after substantial investment making it even more difficult for .scot websites to compete. Or Scottish websites will have to opt for .com if they can get the domain name they want or need that is.

The world of the web as far a Scotland is concerned is likely to see massive changes if Scotland votes yes.

With the Scottish Referendum vote looming on Thursday, 18 September 2014 and with opinion polls currently indicating that voting is potentially split approximately 50:50 with the number of "yes" voters increasing it is looking increasingly as if Scotland is about to leave the UK.

UK Traffic News falls into the category of websites aimed at the UK with UK in it's name so we are certainly considering what to do with regards to Scotland on our website.

A tremendous amount of work goes into building, publishing and promoting your website. Outside influences such as the break-up of the UK will no doubt have a significant impact on not just websites but many many businesses whose aims are to be inclusionary of many geographical locations.

No doubt many large companies with significant customers outside of Scotland may choose to relocate their head offices outside of Scotland in the event of a “yes” vote.

UK traffic news and other “UK” website publishers have some thinking to do now whether Scotland votes yes or no, as maybe either way now the UK as we know it today is to become a thing of the past.

We know of a number of very popular websites with UK in their domain name that will all potentially have to consider rebranding to something non “UK” which is a massive task for larger websites.

Even if Scotland votes “no” this time would I locate my business in Scotland now or start building a UK brand? There is too much uncertainty for the next 10 years of the future of the UK as a brand.

Scotland is a small country with around 5 million people living there compared to the UK as a whole of nearer 63 million people so Scotland’s population is only around 8% of the UK’s current population. In population terms Scotland may become less significant on it’s own and more isolated.

If Scotland leaves the UK, and too be honest it already feels like it has as the vote is so close in the opinion polls, the remaining parts of the UK will be over 12 times (approx.) the size of Scotland in population terms.

With an ageing population it could turn out to be a heavy financial cost to Scottish businesses and younger people supporting the older generation with the tax they pay to provide pensions, health care etc.

The Scottish Government website states that current projections suggest that the population of Scotland will rise over the next 20 years or so but the % of over 65s living in Scotland will increase at a faster rate by around half a million to around 1.47 million.

90% of private sector workers, who comprise 81% of the workforce according to the Office of National Statics, don't have a decent or any pension plan or retirement savings. 90% of public sector workers which comprise 19% of the workforce have a pension plan provided by their employer which is effectively funded the private sector who fund the public sector through taxes.

That is an increasing burden of pensions and healthcare funding on the young, businesses and the private sector in Scotland. Plus many Scottish people seem to favour public sector growth in the future which will drive funding required even higher by the priovate sector especially as public sector unions are pressing for wage rises which in turn will drive up inflation they are trying to beat.

It is hard to see how this can be achieved without tax rises in Scotland, especially when either oil dries up or cars become less reliant on petrol and diesel and demand for oil starts to drop off which is frankly ineveitable probably sooner rather than later as car manafacturers won't want to leave reliance on oil to the last minute.

Tax rises in Scotland would encourage businesses to locate elsewhere which could in turn leave a disproportionate amount of public vs private sector workers in Scotland with lots of public sector wages and pensions to fund in Scotland. Young people might then also be less likely to remain in Scotland is business locate elseshere too.

5 Million people is a much smaller advertising and business market for Scotland on its own than as being part of the UK. Smaller reach for website publishers, smaller numbers of web visitors etc. That potentially means less significance which means less investment in Scottish related business models from outside of Scotland, potentially. That is a shame but if it what the Scottish people want it is of course their choice.

We started to plan ahead for a more broken up UK potentially over a year ago with the launch of Traffic News Scotland putting Scotland on a seperate website although there are still Scottish sections of UK Traffic News but realistically as it is a it won't be truly Scottish with a yes vote.

Traffic News Scotland gets no where near the number of website visitors that UK traffic News does. That could be partly because there is less traffic as well as less people in Scotland. That we believe is true on the whole. But just maybe that is a sign less people are driving around of Scottish roads looking for scottish traffic information.

Arguably though road traffic levels are an indication of ecomonic success?

A Brief History of the United Kingdom (UK)

As “Scotland Decides” if it want to remain part of the United Kingdom I got to wondering “When did the term the United Kingdom first become official?”

In 1603 the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland were united in a personal union when James VI, King of Scots, inherited the crowns of England and Ireland. King James VI then moved his court from Edinburgh to London.

England, Scotland and Ireland each remained a separate political entity and retained its separate political, legal, and religious institutions as part of this union and this has largely remained the case over the last 400 years.

On 1 May 1707, the united kingdom of Great Britain came into being, the result of Acts of Union being passed by the parliaments of England and Scotland to ratify the 1706 Treaty of Union and so unite the two kingdoms.

The term 'United Kingdom' became official in 1801 when the parliaments of Britain and Ireland each passed an Act of Union, uniting the two kingdoms and creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Is The UK About to Break Up or Has The Referendum Already Broken Up The "Union" Even BEFORE the VOTE?

As with many of the world’s disputes and troubles, oil is a key factor due to the wealth it can create. North Sea oil although it won’t last forever is something it seems the Scot’s would like to keep to themselves, or as it stands around 50% of the population would as the Scottish Referendum vote looms on Thursday 18 September 2014.

For ordinary voters “oil” itself is probably not at the forefront of their minds but would Alex Salmond be recommending this to the Scottish people if North Sea oil had already run out? That seems far less likely and it would seem there is little plan B or when the oil does run out.

What % of people over 60 drink Scottish whisky compared to those under? Is the Scottish Whisky's consumer base a reducing market if those under 60 opt for other alternatives? I don't know the answer to that question as I could not find the answer. My Dad who is over 65 did like a drop of Scotch whisky but now prefers a drop of Three Barrels brandy instead which I think is French. Jack Daniels from the USA seems to have grown in popularlity more than Scotch whisky in my experience with the younger generation seeing Scotch whisky as for the oldies.

I don't know but I think Scotch whisky is heavily reliant on emerging markets like China and Asia.  

Personally, as an English person, my initial reaction is great sadness at the potential of losing of what feels like a long standing friend, Scotland. Especially as it is that friend’s snub and walking away with no say on my part and I would have rather stayed connected.

Does the actual vote make any difference now anyway though? Whether it is yes or no majority as 50% of Scottish people seem determined to break off the friendship and partnership my view of Scotland as a country is already starting to change from the loyal true friend or family member of the UK to a more a distant acquaintance and less of a priority.

I wish that was not true and it did not feel like that but it is hard not to feel like that given that 50% of Scottish people seem to want to break off the partnership.

So am I sad if Scotland leaves? I was and until the opinion polls today which suggest the yes vote has increased, I was.

As around half the Scottish population seem to want to break the partnership and union according to the latest opinion polls it is difficult to see, whatever the actual vote turns out to be, how the "union" or partnership can last so I am tending to think England is better off without Scotland if Scotland is the unwilling partner. I feel sorry for the half of Scotland that don't what to break off. Their long term future will also get decided by the the vote, even it if it is very close to call.  But It is Scotland's choice I would have preferred the UK remain "united".

I actually think that England will fair far better than Scotland in the long run on it's own especially was oil and other large exports for Scotland are lilkely to reduce with time. Why?

Coke is one of Scotlands biggest exports and much of Scotlands export industry will suffer greatly if tax rates are lower south of the border and it is looking like we are going to be in competition shortly rather than partnership. Manufacturing is likely to go to the more stable, lower tax locations and Scotland with a population of only 5 million might well find it very hard to compete wioth larger competitors in the remaining UK which is around 12 times the size of Scotland. It is called economies of scale.

Partnerships cannot work without all partners being committed to the overall good, considerate to other partners, and not becoming too selfish or self promoting.

Personally I thought nationality and patriotism were or were becoming a thing of the past, or at least I did and that gave me a hope that the world would become a more peaceful place in the future.

However with the rise of the SNP in Scotland, UKIP, the European Union is struggling and we could have an EU Referendum in the UK (or what is left of it) in around 2017 about leaving the EU. Russia seems determined to rekindle the old Soviet Union and forceably take over its neighbours. Australia talk frequently of leaving the Commonwealth and other parts of the world are becoming dogatically patriotic and seperatist the world is an ever changing place.

Looking back over history, even recent history that has always been the case I guess.

Looking at history though being either seperatist or trying to force people to join your cause seems to rarely have worked out well in the long run.

It is when we come together voluntarily and willingly and are taking the long term view as a partnership we seem to achieve our collective best.

It is sad, well I did think it sad until now, but I think Scotland has already left the UK whatever the referendum vote as such a large % of the Scottish population clearly want to leave the UK and go it alone anyway so the rest of the UK should just concentrate on getting on with it.

I think my feeling has been one of wanting Scotland to stay in the union, but as a very large proportion want to leave the UK now I think it is better they leave, and England and the rest of the UK in the long term is likely to be better off.

Scotland And The Pound

One contensious subject is the pound. I think that practically Scotland will have to create a Bank of Scotland as I cannot see how it is workable for Scotland to have a pound underwritten by the Bank of England. There has to be two pounds a Scottish pound and a UK pound backed by the Bank of England. Scotlands 5 million people need to look to the "Bank of Scotland" to manage their pound and it's value on the world market has to be acheived by what Scotland achieves not the rest of the UK. Or Scotland should try and link up with say the USA and have the Dollar or the EU and have the Euro. whatever the link up it will be at a price for Scotland, I think.

As for UK Traffic News it is increasingly looking as though we may well have to start removing Scottish sections for our UK website after 18th September 2014.