Scotland will remain in the union. Score 1 for sanity and good judgment.
This post will be updated as more information becomes available…because I’m interested in how this is all going to go down.
On the eve of the Scottish Referendum, I thought I’d do some research as to what would happen if the Scots actually voted yes and won their right to separate from the United Kingdom. I’m not endorsing this scenario in any way as I’m not from England or Scotland so no matter which way it goes tomorrow it doesn’t really affect me…but it’s still interesting and will obviously affect many other people in the world, mostly English people and Scots obvously. Here’s what I have found so far.
Source: Daily Mirror
Scotland faces an uncertain future as it goes to the polls today.
A ‘Yes’ vote, almost unthinkable a few months ago, is now a real possibility and would throw the UK into chaos.
A ‘No’ vote would give Britain stability, but still see a huge change in the political landscape in the future.
If Scotland votes YES…
10pm tonight – Polls close after a final day of fevered campaigning across Scotland.
2am, Friday – First result declared in the distant Western Isles. A big win for Yes is a sign of things to come.
3am, Friday – Pro-union stronghold of Dumfries & Galloway declares. A ‘Yes’ vote here means Alex Salmond is on the road to victory.
5am, Friday – Crunch moment as Glasgow and Edinburgh declare. If Scotland’s largest cities both choose independence then the union is lost.
5.30am, Friday – David Cameron calls Alex Salmond to concede defeat.
6.15am, Friday – An ashen-faced David Cameron addresses the nation from 10 Downing Street after the final result is declared. Parliament is certain to be recalled – possibly as soon as Saturday.
6.30am, Friday – A jubilant Alex Salmond flies into Edinburgh from his Aberdeenshire constituency. Expect wild scenes on the streets of the capital and a call for unity among Scots from their new leader.
7am, Friday – Emergency meeting of Treasury officials in Whitehall to consider ramifications of splitting apart the nation.
8am, Friday – Stock markets open. Prices likely to tumble and shares in the pound plunge as shockwaves reverberate through the markets. Scottish ATMs have been stocked for a possible run on the banks by nervous Scots.
9am, Friday – MPs will begin to call for the Prime Minister to resign. Labour Party must decide whether to cancel or curtail their annual conference, due to get underway in Manchester in 48 hours’ time.
Polls close for the Scottish Independence Referendum in 10 hours, 36 minutes, and 44 seconds
Saturday / Monday – Parliament will be recalled and the blame-game begins in earnest. Furious MPs of all parties will point the finger at Mr Cameron and his inept handling of Scotland.
Tuesday 23rd – Ed Miliband due to make his leader’s speech at Labour Party conference. He is likely to call for Cameron to resign and trigger an early general resignation.
Wednesday 24th – By now, angry Tory backbenchers will be collecting signatures from party colleagues for a letter which demands Cameron resign.
They need 46 to trigger a leadership contest.
Friday 25th – UKIP autumn conference begins in Doncaster. Nigel Farage certain to use his leader’s speech to call for Cameron to resign.
Sunday 28th – Tory party conference due to get underway in Birmingham. It will become a beauty parade for the next leader. Boris Johnson, George Osborne and Theresa May will jostle for position. Cameron, fighting for his career, will tell the conference a steady hand is needed through this time of crisis.
The Treasury puts the cost of an independent Scotland at
Cost of Scottish independence, according to official Treasury estimate
October 2014 – Britain enters period of uncertainty not seen since the Second World War. Negotiations begin in earnest between the Westminster and Holyrood Government over the carve-up of Great Britain. A fatally wounded Cameron would try to limp on as PM. But the pressure to quit may become too great to resist. Labour would demand an early election.
November 2014 – A Tory leadership election would take around a month.
Outgoing Uxbridge MP John Randall could resign early and allow Boris Johnson to become an MP within weeks – putting him in pole position to be the next Tory leader… and potentially Prime Minister.
January 2015 – Crunch moment as quarterly economic data shows how the Yes vote has affected the economy. With the markets spooked, Britain could easily be plunged back into recession. House prices are likely to plummet north of the border as thousands of people and businesses prepare to leave.
May 2015 – If the Coalition resists calls for an early election, it will take place as planned on Thursday, May 7. If Cameron is still in charge he surely will be punished by the voters. If he has been ditched, the Tories may be praying for a ‘Boris bounce’. Either way, current polls suggest Ed Miliband will be Prime Minister come Friday morning.
March 2016 – After 18 months of tortuous negotiations, Scotland becomes an independent country. Huge decisions will have been required over the carve-up of the pound, national debt, Britain’s £330billion-worth of assets and even possible border controls. Labour will lose dozens of MPs – raising questions about their future election chances.
May 2016 – Scotland holds its first ever elections as an independent country. Salmond will be hot favourite to become Scottish Prime Minister.
But could he face a challenge from Scottish Labour… led by a revived Gordon Brown?
If Scotland votes NO…
Scotland votes No 10pm, Thursday – Polls close after a final day of fevered campaigning across Scotland.
2am, Friday – First result declared in the distant Western Isles… a big win for No will set the course for a great night for Britain.
3am, Friday – The pro-independence stronghold of Dundee declares. A ‘No’ vote here means Mr Salmond’s chance has almost certainly gone.
5am, Friday – Wild scenes on the streets of Glasgow and Edinburgh if Scotland’s two largest cities declare support for staying part of Britain.
The three biggest councils’ expected result time
6am, Friday – A broken Alex Salmond will address the nation from his Aberdeenshire constituency. He is likely to step down as SNP leader and may even retire from political life.
6.30am, Friday – A relieved David Cameron thanks Scottish voters for saving the union and promises Holyrood a raft of new powers in a speech from Downing Street.
8am, Friday – Stock markets open. Prices are likely to soar as confidence in the British economy is revived.
9am, Friday – All eyes on the Yes campaigners amid fears of angry scenes on the streets of Scotland. The SNP could announce Nicola Sturgeon as new leader and First Minister of Scotland. She will say the close-run vote shows the appetite for change in Scotland – and demands a raft of new powers from Westminster. Work begins immediately on a new devolution settlement.
October 13, 2014 – Parliament returns after the conference season. Cameron tells MPs he will keep his promise of further devolution to the Scottish Parliament. He will be met with fury from his own backbenchers who say Scotland has blackmailed the rest of Britain.
October 16, 2014 – Gordon Brown leads House of Commons debate setting out plans for further devolution. He promises a ‘command paper’ will be published by the end of the month.
November 2014 – Questions of devolution dominate proceedings at Westminster. Angry English and Welsh MPs demand powers for their own regions. A Scotland White Paper is published setting out in more details plans to give Holyrood new powers over tax and welfare.
January 2015 – Draft laws published offering a new settlement for Scotland.
They are likely to be denounced by the SNP as insufficient. Expect new leader Nicola Sturgeon to demand another vote by 2020.
May 2015 – UK general election. Current polls suggest Ed Miliband is on course for Downing Street. He is likely to promise a huge new devolution package for English cities to sit alongside the new Scottish laws.
May 2016 – Scottish Parliament elections. Nicola Sturgeon will seek re-election as First Minister, claiming Scotland has been “betrayed” by Westminster. But could she face a challenge from Scottish Labour… led by a revived Gordon Brown?
What Happens If Scotland Leaves The Union?
If the majority of voters check the Yes box on September 18, what would Scotland gain or lose from exiting the United Kingdom?
Supporters of both sides of the Scotland referendum debate are mounting a final push for votes before the ballot on September 18. Sky News looks at what will happen if Scotland votes Yes to exit the UK:
:: 1. When would Scotland become independent?
The Scottish Government has set a date 18 months from now, March 24, 2016, for Scotland’s independence day.
:: 2. What would happen immediately after a Yes vote?
The first step on the morning after the result comes in would involve the forming of teams from both the Yes and No camps to take part in behind-the-scenes negotiations. SNP leader Alex Salmond has already indicated his deputy Nicola Sturgeon would lead the talks for the Scottish nationalists. It is not yet known who would spearhead the Westminster team.
:: 3. What amendments would there be to the constitution?
The negotiating teams would devise a new constitution for Scotland and dissolve the 1707 Act Of Union.
:: 4. What would happen to the Queen?
The Yes campaign has said Her Majesty would stay as monarch so it would not be surprising if Mr Salmond seeks an audience with the Queen in the days and weeks after the vote.
:: 5. Would Scotland take part in the May 2015 General Election?
Scottish voters would still be able to take part, but their representatives would only potentially serve a 10-month term in office.
6. What currency would Scotland use?
That is still being thrashed out and yet to be decided. The three main Westminster parties – the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats – have ruled out a currency union, although Mr Salmond insists an independent Scotland would keep the pound.
:: 7. How much of the UK national debt would be transferred to Scotland?
This is not yet known, but it is likely to be worked out on a per capita share – based on population.
:: 8. What would happen to Scotland’s standing in global affairs?
Scotland would have to negotiate its own entry into the European Union and Nato, and the population would have to decide whether they want to have the euro.
9. What effect would independence have on Scotland’s defence force?
The issue of defence is probably one of the most emotive – and uncertain. Scotland is likely to have its own independent defence force, in time, depending on practicalities and finances, for it has its North Sea oil and fishing industries to protect. Scottish nationalists are opposed to having the Trident nuclear deterrent and would want to see it removed from Faslane, on the west coast of Scotland, as soon as possible. However, Nato is fundamentally a nuclear alliance, and if Scotland struggles to become a member of Nato, it is likely to struggle to join the EU too, which would have a big impact on the Scottish economy. There is also the matter of service personnel – some of which will be currently serving in historic English regiments. Any division of troops north and south of the border would take years.
:: 10. What would independence mean in terms of travelling across the Scotland-England border?
An independent Scotland would control its own borders. The SNP would like to see an open border, but Home Secretary Theresa May has already warned she will not allow Scotland to be used as a back door for immigrants getting into England if Scotland adopts a looser immigration policy. So, we could see passport controls on the border between the two countries.
11. Would Scottish citizens need new passports?
A lot depends on whether Scotland joins the EU. Scottish citizens would be entitled to a Scottish passport, but a UK passport would still be valid until it expires. British citizens who were habitual residents in Scotland would be automatically considered Scottish citizens.
:: 12. What would happen to benefits and taxes?
Benefits and taxes will become the responsibility of the new Scottish government. In its white paper on Scotland’s independence it says the Scottish Parliament will ensure that the personal tax allowance and tax credits increase in line with inflation.
The Scottish government, led by First Minister Alex Salmond, says the 300-year-old Union is no longer fit for purpose and that an independent Scotland, aided by its oil wealth, would be one of the world’s richest countries.
He says it’s time for Scotland to take charge of its own destiny, free from what he describes as the “shackles” of a London-based UK parliament.
On the opposite side of the debate, the UK government, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, says Britain is one of the world’s most successful social and political unions.
Scotland has been England’s junior partner in the United Kingdom since 1707. But three centuries is no time at all in the view of many Scots, who regularly re-enact 14th century sword battles they had with the English and have insisted on self-determination, on and off, ever since. That prospect is now nearer than ever. Scottish voters will decide on Thursday whether to become independent once again.
Here’s a look at the referendum and the issues.
What will voters consider exactly?
The question on the ballot is simple: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
How did a seemingly fruitful union reach the breaking point?
It was Prime Minister David Cameron who insisted on a vote in a deal in 2012, excluding a third option of giving the Scots more autonomy (which he is now offering anyway).
The pro-independence campaign is led by Alex Salmond, whose Scottish National Party won an unexpected majority in the Scottish Parliament in 2011. He is promising Scots that they can keep everything they like about the union — the queen, the pound, the BBC and free health care — and get rid of everything they do not like, like austerity and the Conservative Party of Mr. Cameron. Scots have long leaned more to the left politically than their English neighbors.
The anti-independence camp, which calls itself Better Together, is a coalition of British political parties. It politely advocates a vote of “no thanks,” appealing to a shared sense of history and Britishness. It is spending much of its time telling Scots that if they vote for independence they can never share the pound — or go back.
What is at stake?
One might expect the referendum to be a question of national identity, of men in skirts and whiskey and “Braveheart” nostalgia, but hard economics have dominated the debate: What currency will Scotland use? How will revenue from North Sea oil reserves be divided (or will it)? Who will shoulder the burden of public debt?
If Scotland votes to separate, it will take 18 months of negotiations before independence is declared. And judging from the tone of the campaign, it will be a messy and acrimonious divorce.
Scotland already administers many of its own affairs. After a referendum in 1997, it set up its own parliament and controls health, education, housing, justice and a portion of taxation. But some economists say an independent Scotland would be too poor to keep up its welfare state, let alone expand it.
And as if to give a taste of the economic uncertainty that would come after a yes vote, the pound has slumped in recent weeks and several banks and businesses have threatened to flee south of the border should voters choose independence.
Britain also has a lot on the line: If Scotland and its more pro-European voters leave, Britain might leave the European Union.
Who can vote?
Teenagers! In a compromise struck between Mr. Cameron and Mr. Salmond, the referendum will be open to voters as young as 16, even though the national voting age is 18. Only residents of Scotland can vote. But that has not deterred expatriate Scots or really anybody else from joining the fray. The actors Sean Connery, Brian Cox, Alan Cumming and separatists from Texas to Kurdistan are among those cheering for independence. Mick Jagger, Sting, David Bowie, David Beckham, Pope Francis and President Obama are among those urging Britain to stay together.
Which side is winning?
Until recently, the anti-independence campaign maintained a comfortable lead in opinion polls. But as the referendum approaches, the two sides are neck and neck.
Will the queen have to go?
Mr. Salmond, the Scottish National Party leader, thinks Queen of the Scots is a “fantastic title” and has promised fellow Scots that they get to keep Elizabeth II as their head of state, Canadian-style (although future Scottish voters could always change that).
This seems to work for Scottish voters, who remain in favor of the monarchy albeit by a much smaller margin than their English counterparts. The queen herself, meanwhile, who has reigned over the disintegration of the British Empire, seems less impressed. After news reports suggesting that she was horrified by the prospect of her kingdom being further dismembered, she urged voters, somewhat cryptically, to “think very carefully about the future.”
Scotland and England have been united under a single monarchy since the Scottish king, James VI, inherited the English throne from Queen Elizabeth in 1603. The queen, whose own mother was Scottish, spends a week every year at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, the official royal residence in Scotland, and her summers at Balmoral Castle.
What would Britain look like without Scotland?
When Billy Bragg, an Englishman who is a staunch supporter of Scottish independence, sang “Take Down the Union Jack” and it climbed up the British music charts in 2002, the year Queen Elizabeth II was celebrating 50 years on the throne, few would have thought that it could become a legitimate call.
But days before the independence referendum, Mr. Bragg’s lyrics sound less preposterous:
“Britain isn’t cool, you know, it’s really not that great. It’s not a proper country, it doesn’t even have a patron saint.”
Certainly, if Scots vote to secede on Thursday, Britain will be less great: it will lose 5.3 million residents, more than 8 percent of its population.
As for the Union Jack — which combines the colors of England, Scotland and Ireland — will it come down at last as demanded by Mr. Bragg?
Some proposed redesigns sent to the Flag Institute, a charity, suggested that a red Welsh dragon be superimposed. Welsh people think this is a great idea. But there are only three million of them and their 53 million English counterparts might object.
A more subtle approach would be to combine the black-and-yellow flag of the Welsh patron saint, David, with those of England’s St. George and Ireland’s St. Patrick. But if the white-on-blue saltire of Scotland’s St. Andrew is excluded, should the red-on-white saltire of St. Patrick remain nearly a century after Irish Independence — particularly given the resentment it inspires among Ulster unionists?
The most straightforward idea, replacing the flag’s current blue background with a black one, has a catch, too: “That used to be a fascist flag in the U.K.,” said Graham Bartram, of the Flag Institute. “It would be like all those sci-fi movies coming true. I can just see all the soldiers marching in their black uniforms saluting a black flag.”
Helpfully, the College of Arms, the official register for coats of arms, has said that the flag would not technically have to be changed if the queen remained the head of state of an independent Scotland.
What would the United Kingdom be called without Scotland as a member?
If the flag is a contentious issue, so is the question of what the kingdom without Scotland might be called. The British government has awkwardly named it the “continuing United Kingdom.” The Scottish government prefers to call it the “rest of the United Kingdom,” or rUK.
Whatever the official name — like the flag, most people bet that it will remain the same — there is a danger that in the world’s perception, at least, Great Britain would become Little Britain.
What about Scotland?
Who knows. The Scots have a reputation in the rest of Britain for being different. Scotland’s official animal is the unicorn, and its national flower is the thistle. The national dish is haggis, closely followed by deep-fried Mars candy bars.
Until now, I never knew Scotland had oil wealth. No wonder they want to go for it. But if this is successful, I wonder who would be next. Hypothetically, (not endorsing, because England would have a lot to lose.) If the outcome is positive for an independent Scotland, is it possible that Quebec may make another try for separation from Canada? That would be a really stupid thing to do if they remember 1995, and it would just be horrible to go through all that again.
Right now all we can do is wait and see how things go and what sort of ripple effects happen afterward.