Is Scotland really going to split from the rest of the United Kingdom? It’s definitely could happen. On Thursday, the people of Scotland will vote on the independence referendum to decide whether or not to remain part of the UK. If you aren’t up to speed about what’s happening, here’s a brief overview.
The Scots are ready to rock the vote
Ninety-seven percent of the adult population in Scotland (more than 4.2 million people) have registered to vote on the referendum. All of us lazy Americans who don’t bother going to the polls and then bitch for the next four years about who’s in office should take note.
Scotland wasn’t always part of the UK
Scotland was an independent country up until 1707. And though many people doubt that anything will change, a late surge in favor of independence has made it a serious possibility. A poll published on Monday has the tally at 51 percent “No” and 49 percent “Yes.” That’s a pretty narrow margin.
Who will rule Scotland?
So if the Scots vote for independence, who would rule Scotland? The new queen could actually be the 87-year-old Duchess of Alba. Though the Scottish National Party and others say Queen Elizabeth II would still be in charge, some are saying that the Scots would get their own queen. The Duchess of Alba’s official name is Doña María del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y Silva, 18th Duchess of Alba de Tormes, Grandee of Spain. And apparently, she’s one of the top contenders from the Stuart dynasty and is the most titled nobleman/woman in the world.
Source: Sean Thorton/WENN.com
What are the arguments for/against independence?
The Scottish National Party wants the Scots to be able to control their own affairs and get away from the unpopular Conservative British government. Scotland has offshore oil fields and other means to possibly sustain their own economy, but is it enough? The SNP thinks they could lower taxes to encourage investment in the country, but the “No” advocates think Scotland would end up raising taxes to create their own services and other government institutions. Obviously if Scotland remained part of the UK, the United Kingdom would be viewed as a stronger force globally than if they were to split up.
Why should Americans should care?
The United Kingdom is one of the United States’ biggest allies, and who knows how that would change if Scotland broke off. Plus, Scotland is home to 58 U.S. Trident II D-5 missiles that are leased by the Brits from U.S. But here’s the catch — the Scots want to ban nuclear weapons if they gain independence. So what would happen to the missiles? They could be moved to somewhere else in the UK, or they could be sent back to the U.S. Either way, it’s messy and costly.
Even if Scotland doesn’t vote for independence from Britain, things will change. The Scots will likely get more power to run their own affairs, which could have some effects on the UK and the rest of the world.
For now, we have to wait and see if those 97% actually hit the polls on Thursday to cast their votes.