Scotland; narrow minority in favor of independence

After centuries of independence and just as many years of struggle for that independence, England and Scotland were united into one kingdom in 1707. This put an end to Scotland’s independence. Now more than 300 years later, this could have changed. On January 10, 2012, it was decided that Scotland could hold a referendum at the end of 2014 on the question of whether Scotland should become independent again. A question that has continued to haunt the Scots for all these hundreds of years. The result: Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom.

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History of Scotland

If at first you don’t succeed; try, try, try again Robert the Bruce

The Scottish flag (Saltire or St. Andrew’s Cross) is often seen as the oldest national flag in the world. In 1606 it was merged and together with the flags of England and Wales it forms the Union Jack of the United Kingdom. Scotland’s independence finally came to an end in 1707 . In the years before, Scotland was an independent kingdom, as early as the Middle Ages. People spoke Gaelic at that time and the people were called Scoti. As long as they were independent, they fought for this for as long. From the 13th century onwards a period began in which English kings made no attempt to incorporate Scotland into their empire. This period is also referred to by the Scots as the War of Independence . Many wonderful stories are told about this. So is the legend of the spider.

Robert the Bruce for independence

It is said that Robert the Bruce won the battle against the English in 1307 thanks to a spider. After being defeated six times and hiding in a cave with all his men, Robert the Bruce could no longer cope. Until he saw a spider weaving his web. The spider wove and wove, even when it failed, attempt after attempt the spider continued until on the seventh attempt the thread reached from one side of the cave to the other. This gave Robert the Bruce hope. With a new strategy, he and his army left the cave, fought the English and won. Scotland was independent again and Robert the Bruce became king.
After this turbulent time, in 1603 when Elizabeth I died, James VI became king of Scotland and James I king of England. Although Scotland and England remained separate, they became family-related. In 1707 they were fully united in the United Kingdom. This ended Scotland’s independence.

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Current degree of independence

Although united with England and Wales for over 300 years, the desire for independence is deeply rooted in the Scot and its history. Ultimately, it took until 1999 to take important steps in this regard. The Scotland Act of 1988 enabled the Scots to set up their own parliament with limited powers to regulate their own affairs and also to levy taxes to a limited extent. Scotland, with more than 5.4 million inhabitants in 2018, has its own flag, its own legal system, its own banknotes and a domestic government. This parliament can decide for itself on education, the environment and justice. The Scottish National Party (SNP) wants to expand this further with its own corporate and income tax and government loans.

Referendum and the future

Supporters of an independent Scotland indicate that independence is necessary to safeguard Scotland’s interests; opponents indicate that it is in Scotland’s interest to remain part of the United Kingdom. With the SNP’s victory, both were now allowed to speak out about this. On May 5, 2011, the SNP won a large majority in the Scottish parliamentary elections. With 69 of the 129 seats, SNP leader Alex Salmond was able to hold a referendum. This referendum presented the Scot with a number of choices.

Increased powers and responsibilities for Scotland

The first proposal is entitled Increased powers and responsibilities for Scotland . It means that the Scottish Parliament will be responsible for all law, taxation and governance in Scotland. This excludes defense and foreign affairs, financial management and monetary policy. This remains the responsibility of the UK government. Version two of this proposal, entitled Increased financial powers and responsibilities for Scotland , describes the possibility of having income tax regulated by Scotland itself, introducing new taxes with the approval of the British Parliament, as well as, to a limited extent, the possibility of taking out government loans .

Additional power to enable Scotland to become an independent country

The second option is entitled Additional power to enable Scotland to become an independent country . This proposal introduces the possibility of complete independence. Scotland as an independent country with all the rights and responsibilities that entails. Scotland will thus become an independent member of the European Union. Queen Elizabeth remains head of state of Scotland. The United Kingdom thus becomes a monarchical and social union. The currency will remain the British pound unless the Euro is chosen in a separate referendum.

On January 10, 2012, the Scottish Parliament decided that this referendum would be held in the autumn of 2014. On the same day, the British government announced it would temporarily transfer power to allow the Scottish government to allow the referendum to take place without legal problems. This was necessary because the rights of the Scottish Government are not sufficient to hold such a referendum. In addition, the Scottish government was not entitled to declare itself independent of Great Britain. The road to independence was not yet paved. This is regardless of the question of whether a majority of Scots would actually opt for full independence. British Prime Minister David Cameron, although in favor of the referendum, has indicated that he will be committed to retaining Scotland within the United Kingdom.

Not independent

On September 19, 2014, it became clear what the Scottish people, the Scoti, wanted. She remains with the United Kingdom. More than 55% were against independence; compared to 45% who voted for an independent Scotland.

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