BY MATTHEW KUE, age 11, and IndyKids Staff
On September 18, 2014, Scotland voted whether they were going to become an independent from the United Kingdom. The results of the referendum were 45 percent yes and 55 percent no.
In 1707, Scotland and England became united, along with Wales. When Ireland joined in 1801, the countries became the United Kingdom. In 1934 a political party called the Scottish National Party (SNP) arose and wanted independence. In the 1970s Scotland found oil in the North Sea. Oil is very valuable, but Scotland would have to share the oil revenue with the rest of the UK. People who wanted control over the oil made the independence movement more popular.
In 1997 Scotland voted to have their own directly elected parliament. In 2007 the first SNP prime minister, Alex Salmond, was elected as First Minister. In October 2012, the UK and Scottish parliaments came to a decision to allow to vote on their independence in 2014.
People against independence were afraid of having to pay millions of dollars to have an army and a new currency, but pro-independence Scots would have new revenue from their control over the oil and 47 percent of the UK’s natural gas.
Even though Scotland voted to stay with the United Kingdom, David Cameron says he wants to have Scotland have more power over its own taxes and welfare. Boris Johnson, the mayor of Greater London, said that David Cameron is making a “reckless promise” to Scotland, according to The Telegraph.
“We lost the referendum vote,” said Salmond, according to the New York Times. “More importantly, Scotland can still emerge as the real winner.”
Scotland is a role model to other countries and regions that are part of larger unions, such as Quebec, a French-speaking province in Canada. Quebec has had an independence movement since 1976. Its last vote was in 1995, when the “yes” reached 49.4 percent. Similar to Scotland, Canada promised Quebec more independence after the vote, but it didn’t happen. Officials in Quebec think the Scotland vote might revive debate around their independence.
Another region interested in independence is Catalonia, an area in Spain with its own government and language. Now Catalonia has a referendum planned, though it was delayed. Carme Forcadell, head of pro-independence group l’Assemblea Nacional Catalana talked about Scotland’s referendum and vote and said to NPR, “Why them and not us?”
Referendum: a general vote held to make a decision on a single issue; in this case, independence.
Revenue: money received for performing certain services or selling goods, like oil.