After a 300 year union with England and Whales, Scotland may be leaving the UK this fall, becoming an independent nation. On September 19, Scots will be asked to vote on the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” After a bill that passed last year, now people as young as 16 living in Scotland are eligible to vote. This includes British and Welsh citizens who are currently living in Scotland. People living in Britain and Whales are not eligible though. For some time, there have been Scots who feel that they are underrepresented in London’s conservative government. A desire for independence also stems from cultural differences and economic problems in places like Glasgow.
This news of a possible European national “breakup” comes right after the current dilemma with Russia and the Ukraine. Russia is hoping to make Crimea, currently a part of the Ukraine, Russian territory. The peninsula has long been heavily influenced by Russian culture, with many citizens identifying with Russia more that the Ukraine. Russian officials have voiced several reasons for why Crimea should be a part of Russia, including the fact that a majority of the people living in Crimea are originally Russian. Today, the lower house of parliament in Moscow approved a treaty to annex the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine. This decision meets a grave level of confrontation, not just with Ukraine, but also with the rest of Europe and the U.S. Meanwhile, the situation with Scotland, while not welcomed by all, does not create anywhere near that kind of crisis.
While British Prime Minister David Cameron has established that he wishes Scotland to remain part of the UK, Scotland is legally able to hold this vote. The British government has warned Scotland though, that if they vote “yes” to being an independent country, they will lose membership to the European Union, the pound and the BBC. For many in Scotland this is certainly concerning. While recent opinion polls show that more people are voting against leaving the UK, there is still a significant group of people who will vote towards an independent Scotland. This September decision will essentially impact the 63.2 million people living in the United Kingdom. What do you think about these changes? Should Scotland separate from the UK? What does Russia’s invading of Crimea mean for the future? Are other nations in danger?
Check out a historic time lapse of Europe’s changing nations.