United Kingdom

Scottish independence referendum deal signed


The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister David Cameron and Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond have signed an agreement to hold a referendum on Scottish Independence in 2014.

Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom were united in 1603 but in recent years an independence movement has grown in Scotland; that movement was given impetus when, in 1999, Scotland was given its own parliament with a number of important legislative powers.

The Scottish Independence movement led by Alex Salmond and the Scottish National Party (SNP) now believe they have sufficient support to win a referendum. Although economically weak, Scotland gets most of its revenue from UK parliament grants, they believe that the latest finds of oil in the North Sea will secure Scotland’s future.

Curiously, around 40% of Scots are believed to want independence from England in particular whilst a survey of the English earlier this year by the market research company YouGov for Prospect revealed that around 52% of the English would welcome Scottish independence.

Should Scotland decide to vote for independence then unravelling some thorny issues will be necessary. Currently the UK government funds Scotland by around £48 billion; that would stop, but how quickly? Would Stirling remain the Scottish currency and would the Bank of England continue to remain the lender of last resort for Scottish banks? What would happen to the nuclear submarine base in Faslane?

What will be the impact on the UK parliament when Scotland’s representation is removed? Currently most Scottish MPs are from the Labour Party and the reduction of their seats would ensure a Conservative victory in future UK parliamentary elections. Would the UK be able to hold on to its seat on the United Nations Security Council?

Prime Minister David Cameron has made it clear that he will be supporting the campaign to prevent independence along with Labour leader Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

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