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A Historic Referendum Essay

868 words - 4 pages

What is a referendum? According to the Oxford Dictionary, a referendum is “a direct vote by the electorate of a country on a single political issue.”(Soanes, 2001) This is now the word used by the Government in Great Britain that describes the question, ‘Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No.’(The Scottish Government, 2013) This referendum was agreed to on the 15th of October in 2012 by SNP’s (Scottish National Party) leader, Alex Salmond, and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Cameron. This ensured that the referendum had a clear legal base, be legislated for by the Scottish Parliament, it determined the date of the referendum, and more. The SNP was formed in 1934 and never was a mainstream political party until the late 1990’s, and in 2009 it became the main opposition for the Labour Party. Finally in 2007, under Alex Salmond, the party formed a minority administration and in 2011 they obtained the first majority government in Scottish Parliament. With being the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond was able to push for the referendum and an independent Scotland. This decision will shape Scotland’s future as a country, so a lot of effort has been put forward by both sides of this debate to aid the people of Scotland in making their decision. Yes Scotland and Better Together both utilise current studies and statistics to prove their points, but the year chosen for the referendum has historical importance as well. It has been decided that the vote will take place on September 18th 2014; 2014 is the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. This is one of the battles in the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 1300’s. In the battle the Scots were outnumbered nearly three to one and were lead by Robert the Bruce, King of Scots. This was the first battle that the King of Scots and the King of England, Edward II, were face to face. This battle was won by the Scots and this lead to the Declaration of Arbroath, and the Treaty of Edinburgh. This date may have been chosen to encourage voters to lean towards the independence of Scotland because of the great battle that the Scots obliterated the English in the name of independence. Furthermore, the Edinburgh agreement made in 2012, shares a similar name with the Treaty of Edinburg. The treaty in 1328 stated England acknowledged Robert the Bruce as the rightful king of Scotland and viewed Scotland as an independent country. The Edinburg agreement looks for a similar outcome. These historical ties provide an interesting idea; that the rich history of Scotland provides evidence that Scotland is more than capable, and has a right to be its own independent country.

Scotland shows throughout history that it...

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