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Will Scotland’s independence referendum end the United Kingdom?

Will Scotland’s independence referendum end the United Kingdom?

Things fall apart.

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.

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Henry Hawkins | March 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm

My relatives in Wishaw and Glasgow say nae.

stevewhitemd | March 17, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Let them leave if they want.

As the world becomes smaller and more tightly integrated with trade, culture and language, it’s easier for small, well developed parts of it to break off and form units of self rule. Those units can (and should) still participate in the larger affairs of the world.

Scotland would still be of the West, of the EU (assuming the EU doesn’t do something really stupid) and of NATO. The Scotlanders might in fact be more willing to participate in larger affairs knowing that they’re taking care of their own back yard.

Ditto for Catalonia. Ditto for northern Italy. The Czechs and Slovaks got a divorce and managed to get along nicely thereafter.

Smaller governing units with sovereignty might be just the thing to ease tensions in parts of the world.

    snopercod in reply to stevewhitemd. | March 17, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    “Smaller governing units with nukes might be just the thing to ease tensions in parts of the world.”

    Fixed it for ‘ya…

Why is this ok for Scotland but not ok for Crimea and Eastern Ukraine?

I mean, I don’t like Russia, but please … someone … ‘splain me why it’s so different.

    I think the crimeria issue is the threats to rest of ukraine.
    I don’t have issue with them voting to be russian, but am concerned about the force display against ukraine. IMO it needs to be monitored.

    Ragspierre in reply to [email protected]. | March 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    ‘splain me why it’s so different.

    Russian tanks and troops.

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to [email protected]. | March 17, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    I do see a small difference, in that the Crimean vote was under Russian military occupation and against the will of the national government. Scotland’s vote is not under military threat, nor is the Veneto in Italy, nor Catalonia, nor was the Czech-Slovak split. Not saying that you cannot have a split against the will of a national government. It is just that such tends to lead to a civil war.

    And there is the problem that there is a high probability that the Crimean vote is a prelude to at least the Eastern Ukraine, if not the whole Ukraine also involuntarily hosting the Russian military before a similar vote to become part of Russia.

    Subotai Bahadur

    Why is this not OK for Texas from the US or upstate NY from the southern liberal portion that doesn’t represent our interests?

      PersonFromPorlock in reply to gospace. | March 17, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      As my then seven-year old niece once explained to me: “Oh, that’s different!”

      RuthC in reply to gospace. | March 17, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      I’m guessing the difference is that this would represent a major disruption (at best) to a significant US ally. There is already a form of independence and self-government for Scotland basically at the cost of duplicating bureaucracy. This undercuts the arguments for in favor of creating a separate country. The entities animating this drive are principally a megalomaniacal, petty politician, Alex Salmond. Mr Salmond is exploiting a cultural resentment of the English and is making all types of utopian false promises to satisfy his ambitions of being a real “Prime Minister”, a position he has zero chances of becoming in a Scotland that remains as part of the UK. The sad part is the amount of time and effort wasted in this increasingly acrimonius debate.

        BannedbytheGuardian in reply to RuthC. | March 17, 2014 at 6:35 pm

        So you don’t think in 800 years the Scots have not had a thought to be Scottish & not British or worse English?

        There have been a few battles ya know.

A smarter US foreign policy should had anticipated breakdown of Ukraine and possibly negotiated federalization of the country versus outright annexation.

I hope California is paying attention.

In other news, Secretary of Defense Chuck Haggis has ordered kilts for our special ops forces..

An independent Scotland would be strongly socialist and have a foreign policy that is anti-US interests. It is not clear if the rest of the UK would be able to rebuild nuclear bases and may have to forgo being a nuclear power. If NATO ever hopes to be effective again, it would be preferable for one of the more reliable US allies to operate with maximum capability.
Also a concern is if Scottish independence would lead to the UK still being one of the permanent UN security council members. It is hard to predict the consequences but it does seem apparent that Scottish independence would not be overall a constructive move for the UK and there could be very unpleasant surprises just in managing the process of separation.

Years ago when I lived in California and California was a different place politically, it made sense to me that the state might undergo mitosis into a north and south. At that time southern California was moderately conservative and it appeared that such a split would have a net zero effect politically on the nation. But now? Six Californias would skew the nation’s politics far to the left what with 10 new senators, even if the total number of representatives remained the same.

    healthguyfsu in reply to nomadic100. | March 17, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    There’s a tradeoff for everything.

    The left would lose a substantial number of electoral votes.

    Of course, I guess they can always import more from Mexico and recoup that way.

      healthguyfsu in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 17, 2014 at 11:33 pm

      Also, I think they would net only 2 senators.

      6 senators would likely be liberal. 4 senators would likely be conservative.

BannedbytheGuardian | March 17, 2014 at 7:03 pm

King James ( The House of Stuart) combined the emblems of Scotland & England to form The Union Jack. .

There has been a major scare campaign by the English including defense , nukes , currency threats .
Historically the English have been the smarter more ruthlessly efficient but The Scots are not far behindin that respect.. No. one who read The Clan Wars will think they are pussies. They have been held back by an even worse climate & subsequent inherent health problems eg the long term heart genetic defects ironically as a result of surviving plague scarlettfever epidemics.

Thereis also the historical sting of being losers & that they have been mercenaries for England ‘s army for too lng . Really why have they thrown their young men out to die for England .Why did Prince William crawl off to St Andrews University ( reluctanlty) ? The answer is tokeep the imperial hold .( Kate did his homework) .

The Scots have a lot to think about . If Denmark , Norway & Sweden can make a go of it & many Scots have Viking blood , why not Scotland?

I have a Proclaimers LP that I recently tracked down on ebay . These guys are Scots Patriots & there is a song decrying the Scots laziness & political servitude to England .

You have one chance Scotland – so take it or stop the complaing forever more . IMO it looks the only way out of the EU that Cameron refuses to let Britain have a referendum on .

“No. one who read The Clan Wars will think they are pussies.”

I’ve thought a few things about the Scots, but it has never entered my mind that they are pussies.

Go for it, Scotland! Reclaim the Stone of Scone as you own!

Next step: 26 + 6 = 1!

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to NavyMustang. | March 17, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Actually Scotland is only an idea from the late 1200s onwards & always a construct rather than a unified people.. Until then large sections were Norse & even the Macdonalds fought under a Norse King. The true heir of Scotland on Alexander111’s death was his daughter Margaret ( the Maid of Norway ) married to a Norse king.

    Deja Vu . 1300 here we come .

      BannedbytheGuardian in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | March 17, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      mistake – The true heir was Alexander’s very young grand daughter .When she was old enough she was sent to Scotland but died in Orkney . The next 100 years of no king/ queen co incided with a string of powerful English monarchs .

      The next great hope was Mary but she was no match for a wily QElizabeth.

      Again they have a wily Q Elizabeth who is usually pro independence , but like Russia & Crimea , this is Personal.

      Ummm…Banned…so was England.

        BannedbytheGuardian in reply to Ragspierre. | March 17, 2014 at 10:54 pm

        I take it you mean England as an idea. The day after King Harald dislodged the Danes finally out of their settled parts of England in 1066 , he was defeated by William of Normandy . The Normans further uniified what is now the same territory as England but once the Danes had gone there was no other claimants to England.

        In the last week DNA results were released showing a chromosone from the Viking males is evident in as much as 29% of the isles & west coast of Scotland .males . England had the top %. in York at about 2.9% . York was a very big Danish presence & a large number of everyday English words are derived from this inhabitation . it demonstrates how much West Scotland was Norse to be 29% still.

        I always look around for other clues & I found this …….The heavily conservative & anglophile New Zealand PM is promising a referendum on removing the Union Jack fromthe NZ flag if he is re elected. That is massive & given ( white ) NZ has close genetic links to Scotland , they must know something.

        Australia which also has the Union Jack in the corner is more lackadacial because there are less Scots heritage % wise . Many came via the Australian colonies but found them too wild & licentious & went off to nicer New Zealand . ( Check out the names of cities especially the South Island ) .

        William & Kate plus baby George have been sent to quieten the natives but already the Maori King has refused tomeet them ! That is huge.

        Chers & hopefullyyou find this of interest.

NC Mountain Girl | March 18, 2014 at 1:04 pm

I am reminded of the old saying about the four kinds of people in the United Kingdom.

First are the Scots, Who keep the Sabbath and everything else they can get their hands on. Next are the Welsh, Who pray on their knees and on their neighbors. Then there are the Irish, Who don’t know what they want, but they’ll fight everyone for the right to have it. Last there are the English, Who consider themselves self made men, which releves the Almighty of any responsibility.