Scottish Referendum


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Extract from “The week” :
When did Scotland become part of the UK?
  • The acts of union between Scotland and England were passed in 1706, taking effect on 1 May, 1707. On that day, the Parliament of Great Britain was formed and set up shop in the Palace of Westminster.
Why did each side agree to the Union?
  • The English were keen to make sure Scotland didn’t choose a different monarch to the one sitting on the English throne. Meanwhile, the Scots were seriously “cash-strapped” after an “economically disastrous scheme to attempt to colonise the Isthmus of Panama in the late 1690s”, says the Daily Telegraph.
What question will voters be asked at the referendum?
  • This bit is simple. There will be one question with a ‘yes or no’ answer: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

We were asked by our lecturer today to blog about the upcoming Scottish Referendum so that we could create a podcast next week featuring our views and opinions on the event. If you’re like me and can’t even keep up with the ever changing facts, figures and promises made by the SNP (who came up with the idea and are now fighting for their vote), and the opinions of the other parties present. And in all fairness some of the terms you are confronted with in the papers like “constitutional something or other” sounds more like something you would want to go and see a doctor about!

I think a huge factor played in the referendum, is fear. I think people are scared of the unknown, and becoming independent would be a huge step for a lot of people, because they are unable to come to terms with the changes that would take place in society or in their private homes. Politicians are able to come up with worthwhile theories of what would happen and how, but ultimately they cannot guarantee for anything and I think instead of basing our vote on what politicians say they will or will not promise to do, but rather on our gut feeling and what we truly do believe in. Also I reckon we should think about it individually,even if just for a moment and base our decisions on various factors that we as individuals consider most important.

In all fairness I do not really know a lot about the referendum, as in pros and cons and I also in some ways I don’t think I have the right to vote as I am not really part of this country( I am Austrian) and I would feel bad if I voted yes or no and then actual Scottish people were unhappy as to the decision made. However, on the other hand I reckon that anyone who considers different factors and situations, should feel he/she has the right to vote as we are one societal body and we can only properly function if everyone pulls their weight, which means that whether or not we vote yes or no, the economy can falter disregarding the fact of whether we are united with the rest of the UK or not. According to “The week” who asked: Who is eligible to vote?, said: The simple answer is everyone over the age of 16 who lives in Scotland. That means the 800,000 Scots who live in other parts of the UK won’t be able to vote, and the 400,000 people from elsewhere in Britain who live in Scotland will. All the main players agree this is “the fairest way” to do things, the BBC says.

I asked a scottish friend and mine and he said: “I think the underlying issue with independence is the economy and the fact that politicians need to start giving definite answers to the questions the public asks before we can make a well thought out decision”. And that makes sense, how can we make a decision with half hearted facts and no idea as to the extent our decision will have on the situation. What I also think is that if there is nothing more wrong with the economy and situation in scotland than in any other country, so why are we trying to fix something thats not broken?

I then asked my friend again as to what would make his decision on the independence referendum easier, and he said: “I would want more positive info on the outcomes but mainly the currency we would be using and if we would be part of the EU”. I think the question about the euro as such is a difficult but not unsolvable one. The desire for the “independent” Scotland to join the EU, however opting out of the Euro currency just complicates matters even further. Salmond says:” There’s “no prospect” of Scotland joining the Euro, but experts believe it may be forced to use the European currency”. Professor Jo Murkens, an expert on Scottish independence and European constitutional law, told the Scottish Express: “Every new applicant state has to commit themselves in law to adopting the euro. There have been no opt-outs. It is a condition of membership.”

I think another important factor to consider is the fact that the legal age at which teenagers are now allowed to vote has been reduced to 16. When I found out I was really shocked as to why they would change it to such a young age as many kids nowadays are either really patriotic and would simply vote “yes” because of their love of the wish to see Scotland being independent, however some vote “no” simply out of hatred for England, which in all fairness is not a good decision platform. At the age of 16, literally 2 years after adolescents hit puberty, the decisions made may not always be the best and frankly I think it was a stupid thing to do.