In British constitutional history, 2014 will undoubtedly be remembered for one thing and one thing only — the Scottish independence referendum. ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ was the deceptively simple question that veiled a far more complex reality. This complexity was revealed in the pre-election build-up as the three main parties offered concession upon […]
With Scotland voting on independence on 18 September 2014, the UK coalition government sought advice on the relevant law from two leading international lawyers, James Crawford and Alan Boyle. Their subsequent report has a central argument. An independent Scotland would be separatist, breaking away from the remainder of the UK. Therefore, the latter (known as restUK or rUK) would be the continuator state – enjoying all the rights and duties of the existing UK.
This is the centenary year of the enactment of the third Home Rule Bill, as well (of course) as the year of the Scottish referendum on independence. Yet the centenary conversation in Ireland and the somewhat more vigorous debate upon Scots independence, have been conducted — for the most part — quite separately.
In a week’s time, the residents of Scotland (not the Scottish people: Scots resident south of the border are ineligible to vote) will decide whether or not to destroy the UK as currently constituted. The polls are on a knife edge; and Alex Salmond, the leader of the separatists, has a track record as a strong finisher. If he gets his way, the UK will lose 8% of its citizens and a third of its land mass; and Scotland, cut off, at least initially, from every international body (the UN Security Council, NATO, the EU) and every UK institution (the Bank of England, the pound sterling, the BBC, the security services), will face a bleak and uncertain future.
Scotland has remained in the media spotlight throughout 2014 for one reason: the referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. This was the most significant event to have taken place in Scotland since the creation of the Union in 1707.
THE DATE: 18 September 2014, Fateful Day of Scotland’s Independence Referendum
THE PLACE: A Sceptred Isle
DRAMATIS PERSONAE: Alexander the Great, First Minister of Scotland; Daveheart, Prime Minister of the Britons […]
Post-referendum events, particularly, the SNP’s near clean sweep of Scottish seats in the 2015 general election, suggested that the question of Scotland’s future in or outside the union had not been resolved. The even narrower margin of victory for ‘Brexit’ in the EU referendum has brought the Scottish question back to centre stage.
Following the announcement of the so-called “Brexit” referendum on 20 February 2016 journalists and bloggers have discussed the “ins” and “outs” of EU membership, focusing on the arguments for and against, on interpreting the polls, and on reflecting on the success of the Leave and Remain camps during the first weeks of the pre-campaign period.
With the announcement of Scotland as Place of the Year 2014, we asked a few of our staff members who hail from Scotland to share their thoughts about home. They responded with heartfelt opinions, patriotism, nostalgia, and a little homesickness. Here’s their reasons why Scotland is their Place of the Year.
On September 18, Scots will go to the polls to vote on the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” A “yes” vote would end the political union between England and Scotland that was enacted in 1707. The main economic reasons for independence, according to the “Yes Scotland” campaign, is that an independent Scotland would have more affordable daycare, free university tuition, more generous retirement and health benefits, less burdensome regulation, and a more sensible tax system.
As we enter the potentially crucial phase of the Scottish independence referendum campaign, it is worth remembering more broadly that political campaigns always matter, but they often matter most at referendums.
By Robert Crawford
For the first time since 1707 (more than half a century before Burns was born), the population of Scotland is being given the chance to vote in a referendum that asks the question, ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ The referendum won’t be held until 18 September, but already people are arguing about which side Robert Burns would have been on.
By Michael Keating
The Scottish Election of 2011 represents a watershed in Scottish politics. For the first time the Scottish National Party has come convincingly in first place, securing the absolute majority that was supposed to be impossible under proportional representation. Labour, having dominated Scottish politics for over fifty years, suffered a crushing defeat, losing seats even in its industrial heartland of Clydeside. Both of the parties of the ruling coalition of Westminster are reduced to minor players at Holyrood, without even the leverage that small parties enjoyed in the last parliament.
In the wake of the Scottish referendum on independence the UK is undergoing a rapid period of constitutional reflection and reform. The Smith Commission has set out a raft of new powers for the Scottish Parliament, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has signed a new devolution agreement with Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Deputy Prime Minister has signed an agreement with Sheffield City Council, and the Cabinet Committee on Devolved Powers has reported on options for change in Westminster.
Hadrian’s Wall has been in the news again recently for all the wrong reasons. Occasional wits have pondered on its significance in the Scottish Referendum, neglecting the fact that it has never marked the Anglo-Scottish border, and was certainly not constructed to keep the Scots out. Others have mistakenly insinuated that it is closed for business, following the widely reported demise of the Hadrian’s Wall Trust.
This week, Christine Grahame, convenor of the Scottish National Party’s Justice committee, has urged the linkage of the forthcoming Scottish referendum on independence to a referendum on the continuation of monarchy. Her proposal curiously mirrors discussions in the ruling circles of a once-revolutionary England.