The United Kingdom Doesn’t Come Untied


Rally of “No” campaign, Glasgow, Scotland, September 18, 2014

On September 18, the people of Scotland voted on whether or not to leave the United Kingdom (UK) and become an independent nation. Voters turned out in record numbers for the Scottish independence referendum. The final tally showed that the No votes had won, 55 percent to 45 percent. The UK remains united.

Since 1707 Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (or just Britain—hence the adjective British), which also includes England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Recent dissatisfaction among the Scottish people over British government policies led to the desire for a stronger voice in self-government. In 1999 the UK granted Scotland its own parliament, though decisions other than those affecting just Scotland are still made by the British Parliament.

In conducting the referendum, Scotland lowered its voting age from 18 to 16 years of age, thus allowing more young people to have a say in deciding the country’s future. About 80 percent of people in this age group registered to vote.

Uncertainty surrounded the vote, as many people throughout the UK worried what would happen if Scotland decided to leave. British prime minister David Cameron, who supported the No side, preferred to see the nation stay together. He promised during the campaign to give the Scottish parliament additional powers. The referendum may have settled the question of Scottish independence for years to come, but some Yes voters vow to keep the independence movement alive.

Advocates for “national” independence elsewhere paid close attention to the Scottish vote. Pro-independence movements are surging in Spain’s Catalonia region as well as in Belgium’s Flanders. These groups will likely point to the UK example and demand a vote. Moreover, there are potential separatist movements within large nations such as Russia and China, not to mention the Kashmiris in India, the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. We can only hope that Scotland’s peaceful referendum will serve as an example.

Image credit: © Gary Calton/eyevine/Redux

Related Links


  1. Marla Chatowalkatoslana says:

    I would like to know how this article relates to government.

  2. Anonymous says:

    i would like to know why this concerns me o.O

  3. parta yougo says:

    i would like why does even concern me? o.O

  4. thecoolness4 says:

    this was a very interesting article