With the Scotland independence referendum less than a week away, many want to know what will happen if it is a Yes vote. Very little is certain yet, except that it will be a big task to split the country from the rest of the United Kingdom. However, these are the planned steps for after a Yes vote.
The first thing that will need to happen is negotiations for how independence will work. First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, and British Prime Minister David Cameron will need to discuss various problems that will arise from the split. Will the country get to keep the pound and enter into a currency union with the U.K.? Will Britain still keep Trident at the Scottish Faslane barracks?
Changes will not just happen for the Scottish people. The U.K. government will be affected politically. Cameron is expected to have to step down. While he says he will not, it is unlikely that the government can continue in the way it is doing, and Cameron will forever be known as the man who lost the union. However, the whole of the Con-Dem government and the Labour party will be affected negatively. There will be a huge shakeup, and Ed Milliband may even be expected to step down. An early General Election may even be called.
The issue over the election would be whether the Scots would get a vote. Before full independence, which is set for March 24, 2016, the Scottish MPs would still have seats in Westminster. Some question whether the General Election will be postponed by a year so it happens after the independence.
So, what else will happen if there is a Yes majority in next week’s Scotland independence vote? How will independence happen?
The official date for celebrating independence will be March 2016. That should give Salmond enough time to negotiation entry with the EU and NATO. Salmond certainly will not want to go completely alone, but expects the current negotiated treaties to stand. These treaties were negotiated when Britain was part of the EU as a whole, and the EU has already made it clear that Scotland will need to enter as a new country; previous agreements will not stand. It will likely mean that the country will need to take up the Euro as a currency and will need to allow freedom of movement for other EU nationals.
There will also be talks about who will become the Head of State. Salmond currently states that it will be The Queen. She does have a rightful claim as she is a descendent of James VI of Scotland (James I of England). However, only around 50 percent of Scots seem to want this. Another option is the Jacobite claim, through Charles I’s line.
It will take time for the country to settle after the vote. There are still many questions and a lot of negotiations to take place. It could mean months of not really knowing what will really happen if the people of Scotland vote Yes in the upcoming independence referendum.
By Alexandria Ingham
Photo credit: CC-3.0 Pschemp