Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Scotland May Hold Independence Referendum

The Flag of Scotland
The Flag of Scotland. Image: Kbolino
For the first time in three centuries, the united part of the United Kingdom may be in trouble.
The Scottish National Party (SNP), the party that runs Scotland day-to-day, is urging the Scottish people to support independence from Britain. However it still wants to keep the Queen as official leader.
Last week, British Prime Minister Gordon Cameron went to Scotland to argue that Scotland should not separate from Great Britain.
Scotland and England have been together since 1707 when the Kingdom of Great Britain was formed under the rule of the British. Ireland and Wales were already under British rule at that time.
Map of the United Kingdom
Map of Scotland (in dark blue) within the United Kingdom. Image: Morwen
Only about one-third of Scots want to separate but the SNP believes this is the best way for Scotland to prosper. The party wants to hold a referendum (a vote by the people) in 2014 to ask the people if they want to separate. Opponents of the SNP, including British Prime Minister Cameron, want this referendum held a year earlier so the SNP won’t have time to gain more support for the idea.
Prime Minister Cameron has said there would be serious consequences if Scotland leaves Great Britain. Scotland has rich resources like oil, but their banks would not have enough money to cover their debts and loans. A split could also affect the armed forces (their military), the UK’s nuclear weapons in Scotland, and the United Kingdom’s status in the United Nations.
The last real try for separation was in 1745 when Bonnie Prince Charlie, a famous Scottish prince, tried to attack the British because he wanted to rule both Scotland and England. The British found out about the plan and increased their forces where the attack was to happen.


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