By Lyndsey Hall
Thursday September 18th 2014 will see Scottish nationals vote on whether the country stays as part of the United Kingdom, or leaves a Union that has lasted for over three hundred years.
Recent polls have revealed that, while voting is still neck and neck, the pro-independence Yes campaign is currently tipping the balance in many regions of Scotland.
But, what would actually happen if Scotland votes to secede from the UK?
The secession would be scheduled for March 2016, giving us 18 months to prepare for full separation from our kilt-wearing cousins. March 24th has been chosen as the day that would become known as Scottish Independence Day.
Negotiations would begin immediately regarding how Scotland will detach from the UK; Nicola Sturgeon, Alex Salmond’s deputy, will lead the discussions on behalf of Scottish nationalists. Salmond is Scotland’s First Minister and has spearheaded the Yes campaign, being very vocal on social media and encouraging the Scottish people to vote for independence, using #Yes.
There have been questions about the titles ‘United Kingdom’ and ‘Great Britain’, and whether the names will have to be changed once Scotland secedes. The name ‘Great Britain’ refers to the geographical union of England, Wales and Scotland; however ‘United Kingdom’ refers to the political relationship, which takes its name from the 1707 Act of Union. It is possible that both names may change if the Scottish vote to break away, however they will probably both remain. A few suggestions that have been bandied about are “the rest of the UK” (abbreviated to rUK), “continuing UK”, and “Future UK”.
Pro-independence campaigners have promised that Scotland will be a member of the European Union by the time it becomes fully independent, but it might not be as simple as first thought. EU treaties don’t currently cover secession from member states, and Brussels has suggested that Scotland will have to apply to join. Coupled with the fact that EU member states have to join the euro, and the debates that this will incur amongst the Scottish, it could be a long road to the European Union. Salmond has insisted that Scotland would keep the pound sterling, however, the three main parties have ruled out a currency union. Their other options are to continue to use the pound, but outside of any formal union, which could negatively affect financial security, or to create an entirely new currency.
National Debt would likely be divided up on a per capita basis, according to population size.
David Cameron has publicly stated that he would not stand down in the event of a Yes vote; however it has been suggested that Cameron may face a vote of no confidence from his own party (the Conservative and Unionist Party, as it is still called), as well as the opposition, simply for allowing the referendum to take place. There have also been calls to postpone the May 2015 General Election to prevent Scottish voters from choosing the government of a union it is leaving less than 12 months later. However, it is unlikely that the election will be postponed, as parliamentary terms in the UK are fixed at a maximum of five years. Scottish voters will still be able to vote in next year’s election, but Scottish MPs (if any are voted in) will only be able to serve a 10 month term, as they will have to leave Westminster the following March.
On the other hand, the Yes campaign has stated that they would keep the Queen as the Scottish monarch, as the independence referendum refers to the 1707 Union of the Nations, not the 1603 Union of the Crowns. However, once Scotland has seceded from the UK, there could be another referendum to follow with regards to the monarchy.
Are you supporting the Yes campaign, or the Better Together campaign? What are your predictions for Thursday’s independence referendum? Share your thoughts in the Comments.
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