Even as Crimea votes to break from Ukraine and join Russia, Scotland is preparing to vote “yes” or “no” on independence later this year.

On September 18, 2014, essentially everyone over the age of 16 living in Scotland will have the ability to vote whether or not Scotland should be an independent country according to BBC News.

There is no turnout requirement for the referendum, and independence will be granted just so long as the majority vote “yes” for Scotland’s independent status.

If Scotland votes to become independent, it will hold elections for an independent parliament in May of 2015.

BBC News describes how:

Before that happens though, a constitutional settlement would need to be agreed with the UK government, involving weighty issues which may take a long time to resolve.

Defence is one – especially since the SNP want rid of Britain’s nuclear weapons, based at the Faslane naval base on the Clyde. (Although Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently said Trident would remain temporarily at Faslane while an independent Scotland’s Naval HQ was being established there.)

On the financial front, agreement in areas like Scotland’s share of the national debt and its continued use of the pound – at least initially – would also be needed.

Even after independence is achieved there are other hurdles to clear – European Union and Nato membership to name but two.

According to The Telegraph, Scotland’s new-found independence could potentially have profound consequences for Britain:

The 2015 general election will be thrown into turmoil if Scotland votes for independence in September’s referendum, according to government legal advice.

The leading lawyer who wrote the Westminster government’s legal advice on Scottish independence is now warning that a “Yes” vote in the referendum would have major ramifications for the election, and could destabilise the next British government.

Cabinet ministers fear that if Alex Salmond’s independence campaign succeeds, the general election would be in grave doubt, plunging Britain into an unprecedented “constitutional crisis”.

Alex Salmond is the current First Minister of Scotland, and a large proponent of Scottish independence. In an op-ed for the New Statesman, Salmond opined:

What is important is that people in Scotland – often the most vulnerable – are suffering from the impact of a government they didn’t elect and which cares little or nothing for their lives.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is coming out against Scottish independence.  He plans to speak across the UK about his vision for “a new Scotland in a new Britain” to prevent a break-up according to the Telegraph.

At this time, polling data makes it appear unlikely that the majority of voters will vote for independence. Recent data has only about 35% voting for independence.

According to polling expert John Curtice, support for independence over the years has varied between about a quarter and a third.

Additional Resources: