Why Scotland wants independence

September 15, 2014
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On Sept. 18, Scotland will head to the polls to vote on the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill.

To understand this vote for sovereignty and secession from the United Kingdom, it’s helpful to take a look back at the history of the relationship between England and Scotland.

In 1602, England’s Queen Elizabeth I died without leaving any heirs to the throne except a first cousin twice removed, Scotland’s James I. King James became the ruler of both nations, though the countries maintained their political independence.

However, in 1707, Scottish leaders agreed to completely merge with the English and form the United Kingdom.

Some Scots were outraged, and riots spread across the country. Others thought that “bigger is better,” and felt the two countries were stronger together.

Through the years, the Scots have tried and failed to break away from the U.K., but it wasn’t until 1999 that Scotland re-established its own parliament. England let Scotland make its own decisions on some local issues like health, education and housing, but the money to run that government was still doled out by London.

Not all of Scotland was happy with this deal, and when a new pro-independence party took control of the Scottish parliament, the new leaders demanded a vote.

There are two sides to the issue. The group Better Together believes the separation could lead to higher taxes, pension cuts and a weaker military. Yes Scotland wants a clean break and says Scotland has enough oil money to go it alone.

As we approach the big vote, a recent poll showed a tight race: 49 percent of Scots want to remain part of the U.K., and 51 percent think it’s time for a split.

Whatever side you’re on, or whether you’re completely indifferent, at least you can say … “Now I get it.”

  • Politics & Government
  • Scotland

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