In 1706, the English Parliament passed the Union with the Scotland Act and the Scottish Parliament passed the Union with the England Act in 1707. The Acts joined the two countries into a United Kingdom and the merger was called Great Britain.
The Scottish currency system was replaced by the English pound. Although the Scottish legal system was not changed, taxation and trade laws were imposed from London. At the time of the Union, England had about 36 times wealth than Scotland.
Even by the 1750s, Scotland was a poor rural, agricultural society with a population of 1.3 million. Following the union with England, life in Scotland was transformed into an industrial nation based on tobacco plantation, sugar production and textile mills. Two major cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh grew rapidly as industrial and administrative centres. The union has been very successful and attracted massive investment projects. In the 1970s, the discovery of a giant oil and gas field in the Northern Scottish sea changed the fate of Scotland. It moved towards a more service based economy and traditional industries were closed one by one, making way to become a major oil producing nation.
The world famous Scotch Whisky distilleries also brought in a massive income. The most popular label Johnnie Walker sells more than 130 million bottles worldwide annually.
For 300 years, the English and Scottish marriage thrived economically and socially. But since the discovery of the Northern Sea oil, things have begun to change. The Scots realised that there is a mass wealth under the sea waiting for them. They now want a divorce. From the 1970s the Scottish national movement expanded and demanded an Independent Scotland. As a result, the Westminster Parliament agreed to restore the Scottish Parliament which surrendered to England in 1707. Following a referendum in 1997, the Scottish Parliament was established with some devolved powers under the rule of West inter government. The first meeting took place on May 12, 1999.
Now Scotland is looking for total independence by going into a referendum on September 18. The Scottish National Party is backing 'Yes' for an Independent state and the British Labour Party goes for a 'No'. According to opinion polls to date the 'Yes' are leading by only a slim margin. We never know what will happen on September 18.
If the result is Yes, Scotland will become Independent on March 24, 2016. There will be hundreds of complications between the two countries sharing their wealth and liabilities. However, Scotland's relationship with the EU, NATO and the United Nations will be in question as they will have to apply to join them as a brand new country. Scotland will retain its current time zone and system of weights and measures.
The UK government has stated: "If a majority of those who vote want Scotland to be independent then Scotland would become an independent country after a process of negotiations." There will be new constitutions, legal Acts, rules and regulations to come. A Scottish Supreme Court will also be established.
It is doubtful that Scotland will be able to continue with the British Pound as their currency. It will no longer have the protection of British defence systems, social security, national health service and other benefits. There will be a new foreign policy and international development for both countries. Both have to share UK's £1,267 billion net assets, crown buildings and overseas missions of the Foreign Office, liability of state pensions now and in the future. Schools, hospitals and roads are already being devolved since 1999.
It is hoped that the Queen will remain the head of state. It is heard that she is worried about the separation. A Scottish passport will be introduced and we never know whether the immigration rules and regulations will be different to the current British policies. They will abandon the Royal Mail and a Scottish postal system will be established. New radio and TV channels will be commenced and Scottish rugby, cricket and other sports will no longer have the backing of the British when they play against other nations. The British tennis champion Andy Murray is Scottish born and currently number one in the UK.
This week the British Prime Minister and top politicians are visiting Scotland to convince Scottish for a "NO' vote.
It is understandable why Scotland wants to become independent. They have been an independent nation for longer than their life together with England. The Union is only 300 years. It is also evident that there is no other country that wants to see UK become separated or provide support or arms to either party. There is no war, no campaign or killings in the name of separation. They seek support of the majority of own people before declaring independence. Isn't it civilised?
Courtesy of Daily News | See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk