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Understanding Scotland’s Independence Referendum

Scottish Independence Referendum

Society members who attended the International Gathering last month likely spotted more than a few signs and placards simply stating “YES” or “NO.”  As it turns out, political campaigns aren’t much different from one side of “the pond” to the other.  On Thursday, September 18, Scottish citizens will have the opportunity to vote on whether to become an independent nation for the first time in 307 years or remain with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom.  So important is this decision that voting has been opened to 16 & 17 year old citizens, allowing the next generation of Scottish leaders to have a say in their future.  Those opposed to independence have developed the slogans “Better Together” “No Thanks” and will vote “NO.”  Those in favor of an independent Scotland use the slogan “Yes Scotland” and will vote “YES.”

The background of this vote runs deep into history, with a variety of opinions being voiced in favor of one side or the other.  There are a variety of issues, hopes, and concerns at stake – including economics, local and national politics, social health and welfare, and much more.  Here are links to a few articles and podcasts (audio clips) to help you understand and prepare for the decision our Scottish kin are about to make.

A bit of history:
Scotland’s First War for Independence, 1296-1328
The Battle of Bannockburn, 1314

An overview of the Scottish Independence Referendum (Wikipedia)

What the Polls say:
BBC’s “Scotland Decides” poll tracker: An up-to-date glance at the polls.  Visitors to the site can view the results of polls taken by any of six polling agencies over the course of 30 days, 6 months, or 1 year.  Very helpful for a quick overview.
What Scotland Thinks: Self-proclaimed “non-partisan information on attitudes to how Scotland should be governed.”   Includes polls dating back to February 2013 and questions asked.
Opinion polling for the Scottish independence referendum, 2014 (Wikipedia): An in-depth view of the polls dating back to late 2011.  There are links throughout the page for numerous bits of information.

Commentary & Opinions on the Referendum:
NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook – “Debating Scottish Independence” (9/8/2014): Ever-engaging radio talk show host Tom Ashbrook recently interviewed several Scots who provided background on the referendum and insight on the pros and cons to each side of the vote.  Links are provided for Ashbrook’s reading list on the matter prior to the comments.
YES SCOTLAND – Anthony Barnett writes “Thank You, Scotland – and Hold Your Nerve”: Barnett argues in favor of an independent Scotland, saying, “If the world could only follow Scotland’s example, peace would break out and democracy would spread. The powerful are terrified.”
NO THANKS – Ian Taylor writes “Why I’m Supporting Better Together”: Taylor is CEO of one of the world’s largest oil and gas trading companies.  Oil reserves off the northern coast of Scotland are at the heart of both sides of the debate and Taylor’s article explains why he believes those in favor of independence are wrong on oil.
YES SCOTLAND – Jean Muir writes “Scotland – It’s About Democracy, Stupid”: Muir wrote this article to help her American relatives understand the reasons for the referendum.
NO SCOTLAND – Ewen Stewart writes “Market reaction shows No campaign was not bluffing”: Stewart examines potential economic fall-out if Scotland votes in favor of independence.

*Clan MacDougall Society of North America holds no official opinion on Scotland’s vote for independence.  This selection of resources is meant to introduce the topic and provide a small amount of information.  We encourage our members and visitors to become more informed by taking advantage of the wide range of articles, opinions, and other resources available online.

 

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