Scottish Independence: Referendum to Decide Nation's Fate Next Year

Image: Scottish Independence: Referendum to Decide Nation's Fate Next Year First Minister Alex Salmond, left , Deputy First Minister Nicolas Sturgeon.

Tuesday, 26 Nov 2013 12:59 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Scotland's independence will be determined by a national referendum next September in which the nation's 5 million residents will have a chance to separate themselves from Britain with a single vote, ending more than 300 years of being part of Great Britain.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, a leading voice in the nation's nationalist movement, released his party's 670-page "White Paper" document on Tuesday that details reasons for advocating for independence, The Telegraph reported.

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According to Salmond, Scotland's independence would mean a greater investment in the nation's youth and improved social services as well as an expulsion of British nuclear submarines from Scottish waters, The Los Angeles Times reported.

"Ultimately, at the heart of this debate, there’s only one question and one choice: Do we the people who live and work in Scotland believe that we are the best people to take the big decisions about our future?" Salmond told a news conference in Glasgow. "It’ll be decided by the people. Scotland’s future is now in Scotland’s hands."

Salmond also contended that by declaring independence today, Scotland would be able to reclaim their fair share of revenue from North Sea oil.

"An independent Scotland would start from a position of strength," Salmond said. "In fact, we’d become independent in more promising circumstances than virtually any other nation in history."

Not everyone agrees with Salmond's assessment of the break, however. Opponents of the independence movement claim a break from Great Britain would drastically cut spending and hike taxes, thereby worsening the country's deficit, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The BBC reported that public sentiment, at least as of late September, appeared to support the anti-independence movement with three polls showing that 50 percent of Scottish voters are opposed to separating from Great Britain, 33 percent are supportive of Scottish independence, and 17 percent are unsure.

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The break, if it were to occur, would be the most significant one since the Republic of Ireland declared its independence in 1919, despite the fact that inhabitants in six counties in Northern Ireland remain subjects of the British Crown.

The national referendum for Scottish independence will be held Sept. 18, 2014.

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