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I'm surprised there wasn't a thread about this. This is a huge Historic event.


Next week's referendum will deliver a verdict on Scottish independence. Here are the pros and cons of going it alone
Postal voting is already underway in the referendum on Scottish independence, and by the end of next week the electorate could have set Scotland on the way to severing links with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
As voters north of the border prepare to decide whether to strike off on their own or remain within the United Kingdom, we answer the key social, political and economic questions about what Scottish independence would entail – and the issues it would raise for the UK, Scotland, the EU and the wider world.
When did Scotland become part of the UK?
The acts of union between Scotland and England were passed in 1706, taking effect on 1 May, 1707. On that day, the Parliament of Great Britain was formed and set up shop in the Palace of Westminster.
Why did each side agree to the Union?
The English were keen to make sure Scotland didn't choose a different monarch from the one sitting on the English throne. Meanwhile, the Scots were seriously "cash-strapped" after an "economically disastrous scheme to attempt to colonise the Isthmus of Panama in the late 1690s", says the Daily Telegraph.
What question will voters be asked at the referendum?
This bit is simple. There will be one question with a yes or no answer: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
Who won the TV debates on Scottish independence?
Most commentators chalked up the two televised debates as a score draw. Alistair Darling, leader of the pro-Union Better Together campaign, was widely regarded as the victor in the first debate, during which his focus on detail of which currency an independent Scotland would use and whether it would remain within the EU (see below) appeared to have SNP leader Alex Salmond struggling for convincing answers. But after the second contest, Salmond emerged the clear winner in post-debate polling. Darling was criticised for getting bogged down in detail while attempting to re-run the earlier debate, while Salmond's more combative approach paid dividends. It is not clear whether the debates changed any minds, but the Yes campaign's vote has risen sharply in opinion polls carried out in the weeks since the second debate.
Who will win the referendum?
It may be a much closer race than many had expected. Until recently, and especially after the first televised debate, the No campaign was sitting on a clear lead. But in the past few weeks the gap has narrowed substantially. Last week a poll put the gap between the two sides at just six percentage points, and this weekend the Yes campaign took the lead for the first time. A YouGov poll that excluded those who expressed no opinion gave the pro-independence campaign a 51 per cent to 49 per cent advantage. Many analysts predict that people are more likely to swing towards the status quo as polling day approaches, but the Yes campaign say that the momentum is with them.
Why is it being held on 18 September?
The all-important date was chosen – after much deliberation – by Salmond. The BBC says the chosen day took into account factors such as Scottish winter weather, the UK party conference season and public holidays. It notes that 2014 is the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Salmond may be hoping Scottish republicanism will be stirred by commemorations of Robert the Bruce's famous victory over the English army.
When will we know the result?
The polls close at 10pm on 18 September and the count will begin immediately, but Elections Scotland is decidedly cagey about when the result will be announced. "Factors such as geography, weather or road conditions are outwith the control of the COs [counting officers] and CCO [the chief counting officer]," it says. "It should be clear from this analysis that there can be no firm prediction of a time when the result will be known." Some of the highland and island constituencies in particular may take some time to collect all their ballot boxes and confirm their results, especially if the contest is close. The national outcome will not be announced until all 32 local counts have confirmed their results, which may mean that no declaration is made until the following morning.
Who is eligible to vote?
Everyone over the age of 16 who lives in Scotland. That means the 800,000 Scots who live in other parts of the UK won't be able to vote, and the 400,000 people from elsewhere in Britain who live in Scotland will. All the main players agree this is "the fairest way" to do things, the BBC says.
Who are the politicians backing?
It won't surprise you to learn that the SNP wants independence. The Scottish Greens also want to break free from the UK. Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats all want to maintain the Union (although the Scottish-born Labour MP for Leeds East, George Mudie, has said he would vote Yes if he were eligible to take part).
What about foreign politicians?
Barack Obama is the most high-profile foreign leader to have entered the fray, saying that the United States wanted to see the UK remaining "strong, robust and united". While Obama went out of his way to say that the decision was up to Scottish voters, he left no doubt about his position. "I would say that the United Kingdom has been an extraordinary partner to us," he said. "From the outside at least, it looks like things have worked pretty well, and we obviously have a deep interest in making sure that one of the closest allies that we will ever have remains a strong, robust, united and effective partner."
Many European leaders, particularly those facing separatist movements within their own countries, are openly hostile towards Scottish independence. With one eye on Catalan nationalists, the Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has insisted that an independent Scotland could not expect automatic membership of the EU. "It's very clear to me, as it is for everybody else in the world, that a country that would obtain independence from the EU would remain out of the EU," he said. "That is good for Scottish citizens to know and for all EU citizens to know."
And what about celebrities?
Prominent Scots have turned out on both sides of the debate. Sean Connery, perhaps the most celebrated supporter of independence, said: "As a Scot and as someone with a lifelong love for both Scotland and the arts, I believe the opportunity of independence is too good to miss." On the unionist side, JK Rowling has donated £1m to Better Together. "This separation will not be quick and clean," she said. "It will take microsurgery to disentangle three centuries of close interdependence, after which we will have to deal with three bitter neighbours."
Would an independent Scotland keep the Queen?
At least in the short term, the Queen would remain Scotland's head of state. "The Scottish Government’s proposal is that the Queen remains head of state in Scotland, in the same way as she is currently head of state in independent nations such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, says Yes Scotland. "This would be the position for as long as the people of Scotland wished our country to remain a monarchy." However, many Scottish nationalists are also republican, and the Daily Telegraph reports comments by a minister that have been interpreted as a suggestion that a Yes vote would soon be followed by referendum on the monarchy. 'Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Justice Minister, said 'it will be for the people of Scotland to decide' on the Queen's role if they vote to leave the United Kingdom in September this year," the paper reports. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail suggests that, in the event of Scottish independence, the Queen may be forced to appoint a Governor-General to represent her north of the new international border.
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Scotland is a welfare-state piglet suckling off of the teat of a greater welfare-state sow that is the United Kingdom. But at least the United Kingdom has a part called England, more specifically the City of London, that can play the game of financial engineering at a Premier League-esque international level that keeps the entire nation afloat...sort of.

Other than exports of Scotch whisky and what remains of the North Sea oil fields, if Scotland secedes, Scotland will fail economically and collapse, because that is what welfare states do best.

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I like how the "New" Scotland would need to cut spending to far below the coalition austerity levels to get its share of the UKs debt manageable. All at a time where it needs large short term spending outlays in start up costs of the new national Gov. agencies and public services.

Britain will have to guarantee their debt in the short term to keep interest rates in check. IF Scotland defaults the negative effect on the country would be crippling. They are already facing higher interest rates if everything goes as well as possible.

If everything doesnt go well the ++++ will hit the fan quickly. Fun times.

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I have to be honest, I'm a little surprised at the pro-Union sentiment here. From what I can gather from my friends in Scotland the YES vote will be very strong.

But if their voters are anything like ours in Canada, only half of them will hit the polls and who knows what will happen....

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Quebec, pay attention.

I was thinking something along those lines. Specifically, this part here:

What question will voters be asked at the referendum?
This bit is simple. There will be one question with a yes or no answer: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
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its in their best interest not to split.

just like Quebec.

The situations aren't comparable at all. I see lots of Canadians stating this who clearly haven't done much research into Scotland and this referendum and obviously just believe that because we're trying to separate we must be exactly the same.

Scotland has the resources to do it and the money we've contributed to the Westminster government has been poorly invested and essentially pissed away on London and the South East. People always talk about the oil running out, but there's still time to build a fund similar to that of Norway's instead of wasting it like the British government have over the last few decades. There are still estimates of huge oil fields off of the West Coast as well, but at the moment the UK government won't allow for any exploration there as they base their Trident nuclear weapons base there (pissing away billions. Literally billions on weapons that aren't needed and will never be used). When the oil runs out (still a few decades away yet) Scotland has massive renewable potential and will be a net exporter of energy even after the oil and gas is gone.

Right now we don't get the government we vote for (the Conservatives are in power despite only winning one seat in Scotland ONE), we don't get back what we put in, we're fed up of being dragged into expensive, immoral and unnecessary wars, and we are constantly told that we won't be able to do it alone without being given any concrete reasons as to why (apart from the cliched "best of both worlds" BS). This new offer of extra powers is simply the No Campaign hitting the panic button because they can feel Scotland slipping out of their grasp.

Last Wednesday, every single Norwegian became a millionaire – without having to lift a lillefinger. They owe the windfall to their coastline, and a huge dollop of good sense. Since 1990, Norway has been squirreling away its cash from North Sea oil and gas into a rainy-day fund. It's now big enough to see Noah through all 40 of those drizzly days and nights. Last week, the balance hit a million krone for everyone in Norway. Norwegians can't take a hammer to the piggy bank, amassed strictly to provide for future generations. And converted into pounds, the 5.11 trillion krone becomes a mere £100,000 for every man, woman and child. Still, the oljefondet (the government pension fund of Norway) owns over 1% of the world's stocks, a big chunk of Regent Street and some of the most prime property in Paris: a pretty decent whipround for just five million people.

Wish it could have been you with a hundred-grand bonus? Here's the really nauseating part: it should have been. Britain had its share of North Sea oil, described by one PM as "God's gift" to the economy. We pumped hundreds of billions out of the water off the coast of Scotland. Only unlike the Norwegians, we've got almost nothing to show for it. Our oil cash was magicked into tax cuts for the well-off, then micturated against the walls of a thousand pricey car dealerships and estate agents.

All this was kick-started by Margaret Thatcher, the woman who David Cameron claims saved the country. The party she led still touts itself as the bunch you can trust with the nation's money. But that isn't the evidence from the North Sea. That debacle shows the Conservatives as being as profligate as sailors on shore leave.

Britain got nothing from the North Sea until the mid-70s – then the pounds started gushing. At their mid-80s peak, oil and gas revenues were worth more than 3% of national income. According to the chief economist at PricewaterhouseCoopers, John Hawksworth, had all this money been set aside and invested in ultra-safe assets it would have been worth £450bn by 2008. He admits that is a very conservative estimate: Sukhdev Johal, professor of accounting at Queen Mary University of London, thinks the total might well have been £850bn by now. That doesn't take you up to Norwegian levels of prosperity – they've more oil and far fewer people to divvy it up among – but it's still around £13,000 for everyone in Britain.

Hawksworth titled his 2008 paper on the subject: "Dude, where's my oil money?" We don't have any new hospitals or roads to show for it: public sector net investment plunged from 2.5% of GDP at the start of the Thatcher era to just 0.4% of GDP by 2000. It is sometimes said that the money was ploughed into benefits for the miners and all the other workers Thatcherism chucked on the scrapheap, but that's not what the figures show. Public sector current spending hovered around 40% of GDP from Thatcher through to the start of the banking crisis.

So where did our billions go? Hawksworth writes: "The logical answer is that the oil money enabled non-oil taxes to be kept lower." In other words: tax cuts. When the North Sea was providing maximum income, Thatcher's chancellor, Nigel Lawson slashed income and other direct taxes, especially for the rich. The top rate of tax came down from 60p in the pound to just 40p by 1988. He also reduced the basic rate of income tax; but the poor wouldn't have seen much of those pounds in their pockets, as, thanks to the Tories, they were paying more VAT.

What did Thatcher's grateful children do with their tax cuts? "They used the higher disposable income to bid up house prices," suggests Hawskworth. For a few years, the UK enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime windfall; and it was pocketed by the rich. The revolution begun by Thatcher and Reagan is often seen as being about competition and extending markets. But that's to focus on the process and overlook the motivation or the result. As the historian of neoliberalism Philip Mirowski argues, what the past 30 years have been about is using the powers of the state to divert more resources to the wealthy. You see that with privatisation: the handing over of our assets at knock-down prices to corporations and supposed "investors", who then skim off the profits. The transformation of the North Sea billions into tax cuts for the wealthy is the same process but at its most squalid.

Compare and contrast with the Norwegian experience. In 1974, Oslo laid down the principle that oil wealth should be used to develop a "qualitatively better society", defined by historian Helge Ryggvik as "greater equality". Ten oil commandments were set down to ensure the industry was put under democratic control – which it remains to this day, with the public owning nearly 70% of the oil company and the fields. It's a glimpse of what Britain could have had, had it been governed by something more imaginative and less rapacious than Thatcherism.

If Scotland had held on to the revenues from North Sea oil, the question today would not be how it would manage solo, but how London would fare without its bankrollers over Hadrian's Wall. Oljeeventyr is how Norwegians refer to their recent history: the oil fairy tale. It conveys the magic of how in just a few decades, they have been transformed from being the poor Nordic neighbour to being the richest. We have no equivalent term for our North Sea experience, but let me suggest one: a scandal.


It isn't too late to do something with it. We might not ever become like Norway but we can set aside our earnings and invest them responsibly. Under the current government we can't do that.

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i dont think the yes vote will win

I think there's a chance it might win. Could be close like the Quebec referendum.

On the NoScotland.net they have a poll that asks the same question as the referendum, and the yes vote is winning..

Have your say ahead of the referendum

No  7.86%  (13,054 votes)
Yes  92.14%  (152,923 votes)
Total Votes: 165,977

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