Tag Archives: Scotland

Scotland: In or Out?

Exactly a year from today, Scotland will hold a referendum to decide its independence from the United Kingdom.

The big question

The question to be asked at the referendum will be “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

Image © Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body – 2012. Licensed under the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v1.0

An agreement was signed on 15 October 2012 by David Cameron, the British Prime Minister and Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland. This agreement provides the legal framework for the referendum.

The referendum bill setting out the arrangements was put forward on 21 March 2013.

Who gets to vote?

Everyone above the age of 16 who lives in Scotland is eligible to vote. This means that the 800,000 Scots living in other parts of the UK will not be eligible to vote.

Eligibility to vote will also include members of the armed forces serving overseas who are registered to vote in Scotland.

What happens after Scotland gets a “Yes” vote?

If Scotland gets a “Yes” vote, the Scottish “Independence Day” will be in March 2016 just before the start of the May 2016 Scottish election campaign. Scotland will get its own written constitution.

Scotland will retain cultural ties with the UK and will join the Commonwealth of Nations, the European Union and the NATO. The British monarch will be the ceremonial Head of State in Scotland as is the case with Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Scotland will continue to retain the pound sterling currency.

The Scottish National Party objects to having nuclear weapons on Scottish territory. However, Scotland will inherit the naval base of Faslane in the Firth of Clyde and the Trident Nuclear Missile System at Coulport.

The Scottish economy

Opinion polls have indicated that Scotland would perform better economically as an independent state. The public spending in Scotland is higher than England but Scotland also produces higher tax revenue compared to the UK average mainly due to production of oil from the North Sea.

The research paper Scotland Analysis: Macroeconomic and fiscal performance states that Scotland’s economic performance is stronger because it forms a part of the UK.

If Scotland becomes independent, a proportion of the UK national debt will be inherited, thereby starting a new nation with existing debt.

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Who will benefit from the snow?

UK has been reeling under snow since the last few days. The metrological department has issued weather warning of a mix of sleet, snow and rain

As temperatures hit sub-zero, some people gain from adverse weather conditions while others suffer losses. Here is a look at the winners and the losers due to the snow.

The Winners

School children are the happiest as schools as closed. They are likely to enjoy a longer vacation.

A well-heated mall is always a blessing to those stranded outside in the cold. Departmental stores may have expected a drop in footfalls due to heavy snowfalls. However, the sale of winter wear, sweaters, jackets and thermal clothing are surely booming. Sales of sledges and shovels have also increased.

Tyre companies are making hay while the sun shines. There has been a sudden increase in demand for winter tyres.

With people getting ready to begin Christmas shopping, the snow may ruin shopping plans. Online stores will be flooded with orders as long as they can deliver the product despite transport problems. Amazon UK has posted a warning stating “Deliveries in some areas of the country may be affected by adverse weather conditions.”

If the snowfall continues, people may resort to panic buying by stocking up on canned food and soup.

The losers

City councils are shelling out amounts as high as £1.2 bn. Not only do they have to invest in salt but also in manpower to clear the snow.

Scotland is worst hit. All six Scottish Premier League football matches have been postponed.

Businesses are running losses as employees are unable to each their workplace. Employees are unable to stick to their travel plans as trains and flights are cancelled.

NHS will have to treat more people for winter-related illnesses. The number of people visiting the A & E with injuries from slips, falls and other ice and snow accidents has increased.

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