I don’t know anything about politics, which is why you’ll never see me screaming at some man in a wig inside Parliament. Ever. If there’s a subject matter I’m shaky on, it’s government (I would make a great 21st century monarch, if any country asks).
I do know that one upcoming vote on September 18th determines whether Scotland gains independence or not, and I know the mood in the United Kingdom right now is very tense as a result. So, I called on royal commentator and blogger Martin Pickett to list some important things to know about this historical decision.
- 1 The Scottish referendum will take place on Thursday 18th September for Scottish voters to decide whether Scotland should become an independent country separate from the United Kingdom (which would mean a ‘Yes’ vote), or whether to remain part of the United Kingdom (a ‘No’ vote).
- 2 Interestingly, it’s not necessarily just Scots who get to vote in the referendum. Anyone aged 16 or over who is from anywhere in the UK or any of the European Union countries (and some Commonwealth citizens too) and is resident in Scotland on 18th September will be able to vote.
- 3 If there is a Yes vote on 18th September, that will give the Scottish government a mandate to go and negotiate independence with the rest of the UK. Essentially this is akin to a divorce where both sides work out who keeps what and who owes what. Scotland will not become independent until 2016.
- 4 There are several fundamental reasons some Scots are pushing for independence. The main one is politics: Scotland tends to vote differently to the rest of the UK, typically electing more left-wing Members of Parliament and few Conservatives so some people argue that ‘Scotland doesn’t get the Government it votes for’ when the Conservatives are elected as the Government to rule over the whole of the UK because of strong support in England, yet little support in Scotland.
- 5 The nature of the referendum means whichever way Scotland votes next Thursday, there are big changes for the rest of the UK. If there is a yes vote, the union of England and Scotland which makes up ‘Great Britain’ will cease to exist after over 300 years. If there is a no vote, the main political parties in the UK have already promised new powers for Scotland’s parliament including the ability to raise taxes, which is something of a compromise because that would happen with a yes vote anyway.
- 6 The Yes Scotland campaign spearheaded by the Scottish National Party and their leader Alex Salmond has said it will keep The Queen and the Monarchy as its head of state in the event of independence, though many Yes supporters support Scotland’s own head of state. If there is a Yes vote, however, Scotland will keep the Monarchy.