SCOTLAND REFERENDUM RATTLES ENGLAND
Scotland’s secession from England looms large over the United Kingdom – Facts to know
Some facts …
1. The United Kingdom consists of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Edinburgh is the provincial capital of Scotland. Mr. Alex Salmond is the Scottish First Minister. He is equivalent to the chief minister of an Indian state. Mr. David Cameron is the British Prime Minister. The capital of the United Kingdom is London.
2. The present row has erupted because of the Scottish desire to break away from England, thus effectively making the name ‘United Kingdom’ redundant.
3. The desire to secede from England has been simmering for long in Scotland. The Scottish National Party has been clamouring for this since 1934. The SNP won an absolute majority in the Scottish Parliament in the last election. Since then, their demand for independence has become more strident.
4. As the first step towards achieving their goal, Scotland under Mr. Salmond’s SNP, is holding a referendum across Scotland. A resounding ‘yes’ vote will considerably strengthen his hand in forcing the union government in London to take the next step—devolution of power and division of assets.
5. The ‘Yes’ campaign is led by Mr. Salmond, and the ‘No’ campaign by Mr. Alistair Darling. Mr. Darling is the leading British Labour Party leader, who is a Scot himself. He has won his parliament seat from Edinburgh South West for many years.
6. The fact remains that Scotland is too small an area to be viable as a country. It draws its sustenance from England and the rest of the country for its existence. These are the strong points for the ‘No secession’ campaigners. Anxious not to ruffle the sentiments of the ordinary undecided voters, Mr. Alistair Campbell has avoided harping on these sensitive points. Instead, he has given a positive touch to his arguments by adopting the slogan ‘Better Together’. He says that loving Scotland does not mean hating England / the U.K.’
7. Scotland became a part of England nearly 307 years ago as per the terms of the Act of Union, 1707.
8. Much earlier to that, the Battle of Bannockburn was fought in 1314. In this war, the Scottish army had defeated the English army. The referendum will be held 700 years after this historic event. The SNP wants to capitalize on the sentimental value attached to this event.
9. The people in England are quite nervous thinking of the possible ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum. A division of the country will further weaken Britain economically and politically in the world stage. This has made most Britons wary of the referendum. None of the UK’s mainstream political parties – the Conservative, Liberals and Labour support the SNP in its breaking-away demand.
10. Even if the SNP wins the referendum, going for the actual secession and division of power and assets may prove to be too contentious for an early resolution.