For the past few weeks the media has been inundated with news regarding today’s Scottish Referendum. But if your response has been something along the lines of ‘referend-erm, what?’ then check out our quick guide to the situation…
After being part of a union for the past 300 years, Scottish voters will answer the question: ‘should Scotland be an independent country?’ The referendum comes after the Scottish National Party won the Parliament Election back in 2011. This allowed them to run the referendum in the hopes of fulfilling their main goal – to create an independent country.
The ‘yes’ campaign is led by Alex Salmond, the First Minister, who believes that with independence Scotland could potentially become one of the world’s richest countries due to its large oil reserves. Salmond wants Scotland to be able to make its own decisions based on the needs of its people rather than the rest of the UK. According to Professor Mike Danson from Edinburgh University, Scotland can also rely on its tourism in order to strengthen its economy.
Vivienne Westwood aired her strong opinions at her London Fashion Week show, saying that Scotland’s independence will ‘be the turning point towards a better world.’ Using her catwalk as a platform to make a political statement, she pinned ‘yes’ badges on her models to be displayed as they strutted down the runway.
Alistair Darling is the leader of the Better Together campaign which urges Scotland to vote ‘no’ to independence. He is supported by the UK government who, led by David Cameron, says that the UK is a demonstration of one the world’s most prosperous unions and therefore should remain as it is.
Former president of the World Bank, Robert Zoelick, has warned that a separation would ‘not work out well for the Scots,’ calling possible independence ‘a tragedy for the west.’ He believes it will weaken the UK and therefore its relations with the US since it needs to rely on strong countries as allies. Another advocate of Better Together is JK Rowling who, despite not usually being an avid user of Twitter, posted a number of tweets urging her followers to vote ‘no.’
What’s the likely outcome?
The last opinion poll figures showed that 45% of voters were in favour of independence, 50% were against and 5% were still undecided. It seems like the final verdict will be made by the smaller group of voters who had not yet made up their minds.
If independence is gained then no doubt the National Party’s first priority will no doubt be to hold huge celebrations. After that, plenty of decisions will have to be made such as what will happen to Scotland’s percentage of the national debt. Changes will also be made even if there’s a ‘no’ vote; the UK government may begin to give the Scottish Government more power to make its own decisions.
How does it affect us?
Well, it’s likely that England, Wales and Northern Ireland will still continue to be called the United Kingdom. Our flag may lose its blue though; according to a survey carried out by the Flag Institute, 72% of people are happy to change the flag if Scotland becomes independent. Also, by March 2016 Salmond will no longer want Scottish MPs to sit in Westminster.
To find out the result of the referendum, check the Her Campus website on Friday morning; no matter what the outcome changes will be made within the United Kingdom.