The topic of Scottish independence has been coming up recently, and as the months go by, it is becoming more and more apparent that such sentiment exists. Therefore, it is only right that it gets its own thread (whether this thread lasts until the actual referendum is a different matter.
Firstly, Scottish independence feeling has been around for centuries. Historically speaking, Scotland was an independent sovereign state until the Act of Union 1701 came into force, which united both the Kingdom of England (plus Wales), and the Kingdom of Scotland.
Therefore, the concept of “Scotland” and “England” ceased to exist – at least as independent states.
This is different from Quebec or Catalonia (in Spain), as they were never independent to begin with.
Therefore, any comparisons between Scottish nationalism and Quebecois or Catalonian nationalism are moot.
Currently, Scotland exists as an administrative region within Britain as per the Scotland Act 1998. i.e. Scotland is autonomous within the state of Britain. If one could say so, Scotland is equivalent to Quebec in that it is an administrative region in a sovereign state. However, the powers of the Scottish Parliament can be ‘suspended’ by the national Parliament with a simple majority of MP’s in favour, however, this is politically suicidal, and has not happened since inception of the Scotparl.
This is the current situation. The First Minister of the Scottish Executive (i.e. the head of the Scottish government), Alex Salmond, is from the Scottish Nationalists Party, who have campaigned since the 1960s for the Scottish withdrawal from the UK (but only reached electoral prominence until the 1980s), has planned for a (non-binding) referendum on Scottish independence scheduled for 2014.
Here is where the real contention occurs.
The unionist parties (i.e. Labour, Conservatives, and Liberal Democrats) want to see “Yes” and “No” on the ballot paper.
The Nationalists want to see “Yes”, “No”, and “Devolution Maximum” on the ballot paper. Currently, the powers of the Scotparl are incredibly numerous; from Education to Healthcare. This is not dissimilar to that of various subnational units in other states.
Devo-Max will extend the powers of the Scotparl to that of ALL THE THINGS, excluding defence of the realm, and general foreign policy. (The current system gives the Scottish Executive limited powers to pursue foreign relationships independent of Westminster).
It will also give the Scotparl the power to collect all taxes that are levied within the region.
Currently, any tax levied for goods inside Scotland (e.g. income tax, corporation tax) are paid back into the national government. The national government pays Scotland a Bloc Grant to cover the costs of implementing policy.
Currently, 40-50% support D-MAX, with 30-40% supporting independence, and the rest supporting the status quo.
Of course, Scotland (as part of Britain) is part of a whole host of international organisations. For starters, the European Union
Scotland could become the theoretical 30th State. This is one of the major reasons Salmond wants to leave the UK; Labour and Conservatives are not as pro-EU as the SNP. Scotland is possibly one of the more pro-EU regions in Britain.
The EU has said that they will not push Scotland to the back of the ascension queue (which is painful; it takes decades to become a state), however, this will result in the re-writing of Britain’s membership agreement – which is a boon to that of Cameron, whose party currently support a renegotiation idea).
Salmond (controversially to his party, but not to the public) also wishes an independent Scotland to join Nato - even though nuclear disarmament is a (second to independence) key policy of the Nationalists. However, the majority of British nuclear arms are in Scottish waters (to defend the Atlantic Ocean as part of the Nato charter). Therefore, how the two possible states divvy up the arsenal is fractious (it costs a hell of a lot to move the Trident subs down to English and Welsh waters - which are shared with Ireland on the Atlantic side).
Therefore, this thread is a discussion generally of the future impacts of a referendum of independence, and, I guess, on D-MAX.
edited 22nd Jul '12 11:34:18 AM by Inhopelessguy