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The Scottish Independence Referendum 2014

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1 The Scottish Independence Referendum 2014
Dr Nicola McEwen University of Edinburgh ESRC Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change

2 “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
“If more people vote ‘Yes’ than vote ‘No’ in the referendum, Scotland would become an independent country. This would not happen straight away. There would need to be negotiations between people representing Scotland and people representing the UK.”  Joint Statement Scottish Government & UK Government June 2014

3 The ACT OF VOTING You must be registered by 2 September 2014
You will receive polling card around 5 weeks before referendum (details where you should vote). Go to polling station (7am-10pm) on 18 September. Postal/proxy votes can be arranged IN ADVANCE – by 5pm on 3 September Mark one X on ballot paper (Don’t write or draw anything else on it!) Fold it and place it in ballot box. You do not need to tell anyone how you voted.

4 What the ballot paper will look like

5 What difference would it make?
Simple question - “Should Scotland be an independent country?” BUT What does “independent” mean? Separation v a new relationship And what are the alternatives if we vote No?

6 Current context Reserved Powers
The Constitution Foreign policy, including relations with the EU Defence and national security Immigration and the protection of borders Social Security Fiscal, economic and monetary policy Employment legislation Energy Transport safety and regulation Broadcasting Aspects of health and medicine, including abortion and human genetics, fertilisation and embryology Elections and Political Parties registration and funding The Civil Service Outer space!

7 Scottish Parliament’s powers = all areas not reserved

8 Key devolved powers Health
Education (pre-5 to Higher Education, exc. research) Training Environment Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry Economic Development Transport Law and Home Affairs Social Work Housing and Building standards Promotion of Renewable energy/energy efficiency Sport and the Arts Research and Statistics Local Government and Local taxation Limited tax-varying power

9 If Yes wins… A vote for Independence would mean negotiating the transfer of all powers currently reserved to Westminster Agreeing a division of assets and liabilities Negotiating nature of new relationship with rUK Negotiating membership of EU/NATO

10 The Case for Independence (i): Democracy
Independence as completion of devolution process Government in and for Scotland, accountable to the people Always get the government that Scots vote for “With independence, Scotland will always get the governments we vote for. For 34 of the 68 years since 1945, Scotland has been ruled by Westminster governments with no majority in Scotland”

11 The Case for Independence (ii): Economic Prosperity
Key economic powers affecting Scotland’s future remain at Westminster. Exploitation of natural resources, inc. ownership of/revenues from North Sea oil & gas Independence as the best condition for sustainable economic growth

12 The Case for Independence (iii): Fairness/Social Justice
Objection to levels of inequality within UK and an appeal to social solidarity Opposition to UK government’s welfare reforms Promise of a fairer welfare state “With independence we can create a social nation: a country that acts and feels like a community, a vibrant society where we know the benefits of looking out for each other”

13 Is it really independence? A New Partnership
Independence & interdependence Shared institutional arrangements, e.g.: currency union Common Travel Area & labour market Strategic energy partnership Defence and Security co-operation Co-operation in public service delivery Common research area Cross-border functional bodies ‘National’ Lottery BBC/SBC Joint Venture Salmond’s ‘six unions’ “Scotland will continue to have a close and special relationship with the other nations of these isles. This will be a new, updated partnership of equals between the people of Scotland and the rest of the UK”

14 The Case for Union (i) Love & solidarity
Appeals to stay within ‘the UK family’ Celebrations of Britishness and British institutions; “Team GB” Pooling resources – shared solidarity – a “union of social justice” “I believe that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are stronger together than they would ever be apart… It is time to speak out, whatever the consequences, because something very special is in danger - the ties which bind us in the country we call home.” David Cameron 16 Feb 2012

15 The Case for Union (iii) Strength
“And in the world of uncertainty, we are quite simply stronger as a bigger entity… Together we’re stronger at getting out there and selling our products to the world… together we’re stronger to lead in the industries of the future… we’re stronger together (in) our place in the world. Together we get a seat at the UN Security Council, real clout in NATO and Europe, the prestige to host event like the G8” PM David Cameron UK government ‘Scotland Analysis’ series Union presented as the best of all possible worlds “Stronger together, weaker apart” - the benefits of the UK’s broad shoulders, size and influence in the world

16 The Case for Union (ii): Fear
“…the value of the pound lies in the entire monetary system underpinning it. A system that includes the Bank of England and the tens of millions of UK taxpayers who stand behind that financial system. It is a system that is supported by political union, banking union and automatic transfers of public spending across the United Kingdom. A vote to leave the UK is also a vote to leave these unions and those transfers and those monetary arrangements… If Scotland walks away from the UK, it walks away from the UK pound. ” George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer Strategy of heightening uncertainty, e.g. on Scotland’s EU membership, currency, etc Rejection of SNP version of independence-lite Difficulty for Scotland to meet social needs, security needs, etc, from own resource

17 When No Means More

18 Any questions? More information at:

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