Scotland Votes to Stay in the United Kingdom
The Scottish population have said "NO" to becoming an independent country and leaving the United Kingdom. In a referendum held on September 18, 2014 55% of the Scots declared that they would like to stay a part of the U.K. Over 80% of the population took part in the vote. A YES vote would have made Scotland independent after 300 years of being together with England.
After the vote the leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party and Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond announced he was disappointed by the outcome and would resign as Scotland’s leader. Members of the British government, including Prime Minister David Cameron were relieved by the outcome and respected the Scottish vote.
Famous people, including the first James Bond, Sean Connery, supported the campaign for Scottish independence. Those against splitting up said that the effects would be a disaster for both Scotland and the rest of the UK. While British leaders claim that the issue of separation is over for at least a generation, Scottish nationalists say that they will not stop fighting for independence.
Leaders around Europe were also nervous about the outcome of the Scottish referendum. They feared that independence could lead to more power for nationalist movements in other countries, including Spain and Belgium.
There were many issues at stake in the referendum. It was unclear what would happen to Scotland’s membership in the European Union and what currency an independent Scotland would have. North Sea oil and British citizenship were other problems that had not been solved.
The result of the referendum started a nationwide debate about how much power each part of the UK should have. Scotland was promised more autonomy by Westminster if they voted to stay in the Union. Scotland can already pass its own laws on education, welfare and other issues but it cannot collect its own taxes. On the other side, giving Scotland more rights would also mean more power for the other regional governments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
After the NO vote the British pound became stronger against the US dollar and the euro. Share prices on the world’s stock markets rose as well.
Yes and No campaign posters in Scotland
- announce = to say officially
- at stake = at risk; the possibility of losing something
- autonomy = the ability to make your own decisions without being controlled by anyone else
- campaign = movement
- citizenship = nationality; having rights in a country
- currency = the money that a country officially uses
- debate = discussion
- declare = to say officially
- disappointed = sad
- disaster = tragedy, catastrophe
- effect = result
- government = the people who rule a country
- including = also
- independent = free
- issue = topic
- law = rule
- membership = being a part of
- nationalist = person who wants their country to be free and independent
- nationwide = all around the country
- outcome = result
- population = all the people in a country
- referendum = when people vote in order to decide about something important
- relieved = feeling happy, no longer worried about something
- resign = step down, quit
- respect = accept
- separation = the act of splitting up and going your own ways
- share = document that gives you a part of a large company
- solve = answer
- split up = separate
- stock market = place where people buy and sell shares of a company
- support = help
- tax = money that the government collects from everyone
- vote = here: referendum
- welfare = help that you give people who have personal or social problems