Thursday, 1 November 2012

Scotland's Road to Independence

Scotland’s Road to Independence 

On 15 October 2012, First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister David Cameron came together in Edinburgh, Scotland, to agree there would be a referendum on Scotland’s independence. A referendum is a general vote by the electorate on a single political question that has been referred to them for a direct decision.
Earlier in October, the two governments came to an agreement to let 16 and 17 year olds in Scotland take part in the vote. This is the first time that voters of this age will be able to participate in a national poll in the UK. There have been mixed views on allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote. Some agree that it is a great idea since they are the future of Scotland and are already allowed to work full-time, pay taxes, join the Army, and get married. However, there are people who disagree with this decision claiming that they are children who will vote without proper consideration. The Scottish National Party, Scottish Youth Parliament, and the Liberal Democrats support the decision to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the referendum.
            There are some significant reasons that the Scots might vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence. At the moment the recession creates a fear of economic risk and the Euro is struggling. If Scotland becomes independent it will either keep the Pound Sterling or join the Euro. If it joins the Euro that will mean Scotland will have to become part of the European Union, which might not accept another small state. If Scotland keeps the Pound, it will make it dependant on using British money and financial institutions. This would hardly be independence. These reasons could sway Scottish voters to vote ‘No’ in the referendum in 2014.

First minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister David Cameron

What Independence Might Mean

  • Will Scotland keep the Pound or adopt the Euro? If Scotland keeps the Pound it will still be tied into a form of ‘monetary union’ with the remainder of the UK. However, the weakness of the Euro does not make membership an attractive Scotland defences would also change. The Trident nuclear submarines would return to England while alternative.
  • Scotland focuses on having a Navy of 20-25 ships. Scotland would also try to have a standing army of 15,000.
  • Scotland might also try to forge an alliance with the Scandinavian countries.
  • Travellers between England and Scotland would just have to carry a photo ID, which would be checked at the border and at the train stations. Drivers would have to learn new speeding and drink-drive limits once they entered Scotland. The Scottish government may consider lowering the drink-drive alcohol limit.
  • Scotland might replace the BBC with a National Broadcaster.
  • Will the Queen remain as the Scotland’s Head of State? Alex Salmon has stated he would hold another referendum to determine if they should keep the monarchy in its present form.

Scotland Independence to Wales
  • If Scotland becomes independent, Wales would like the Barnett formula to be revised. The Barnett formula is a mechanism used by the Treasury in the United Kingdom to determine the amounts of public expenditure allocated to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales if the Barnett formula is revised it is possible that Wales will receive more money.

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