The Ultimate Cheat Sheet To The Vote On Scottish Independence From The UK


In 10 days, the people of Scotland will vote on whether or not to separate from the United Kingdom.

If they vote yes, it would mean the end to a union that began over 300 years ago. Many feel that such an event would have reverberating repercussions across the United Kingdom, Europe and the world. This is an extremely historic occasion.

If you haven't been paying attention to these developments, a recent YouGov poll shows that 51 percent of voters in Scotland back independence while 49 percent are against it.

This is the first time that supporters of Scottish independence have taken a lead in the polls, which has sparked a global conversation surrounding the implications of a "Yes" vote.

Here's what you need to know:

The United Kingdom contains England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and other small islands like the Falklands. England, Wales and Scotland make up the island known as Great Britain.

In 1707, Scotland and England entered into a voluntary union.

When many people hear "Scottish independence," they likely think of "Braveheart." While the current Scottish independence movement does have historic roots, it's not a violent or anti-English movement. It's peaceful, civic and democratic.

Scotland has had a devolved parliament since 1999, meaning they have control over things like healthcare, education and the judicial system. They do not have control over taxation or foreign policy, however.

Fundamentally, Scottish independence is about democracy. Many Scots are fed up with the status quo and don't feel represented in British politics.

Many people in Scotland feel that they do not have proper representation in the UK Parliament.

Not having control over foreign policy has angered many Scots. Most were against the 2003 Iraq War, for example.

The United Kingdom also stores nuclear weapons off the coast of Scotland, which does not sit well with many Scottish people.

If Scotland becomes independent, many question whether it would be able to keep the British Pound as its currency.

There are also concerns as to whether Scotland will be allowed to join the European Union and NATO.

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Simply put, there are a number of economic and security concerns and a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the prospect of Scottish independence.

At first, most people thought Scottish independence was extremely unlikely to happen.

However, there are some very serious problems in places like Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, and many people feel that independence is the best way to address these issues. Glasgow has some of the highest rates of poverty, violence and drug and alcohol abuse in western Europe.

There are two campaigns surrounding Scottish independence: the Yes Scotland campaign, led by the Scottish National Party, and the Better Together (No) campaign, led by the three pro-union parties in Scotland.

Slowly but surely, the Yes campaign has gained support, which culminated in it gaining a lead in the most recent polls.

With a little over a week until the vote, the UK government is scrambling to convince Scotland to stay.

Apparently, Queen Elizabeth II is very concerned about Scotland separating and is watching the situation extremely closely.

The vote occurs on September 18. Regardless of the outcome, the debate surrounding Scottish independence is unlikely to disappear.

H/T: Huffington Post, Top Photo Credit: Shutterstock