“The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!”
Robert Burns- To a Mouse.
Good Day World!
Today is the big day for more than 4.2 million registered voters (97% of the adult population) in Scotland. A lot of planning has gone on to reach this point.
Independence versus remaining part of the United Kingdom is on the table. Britain's government agreed to recognize the referendum, gambling that the Scots wouldn’t break up the union.
Oops! That might not have been a good idea.
With polls suggesting that a Scottish split from the rest of Britain is a real possibility, lawmakers including Prime Minister David Cameron are making urgent appeals to save Britain its biggest constitutional upheaval since the Wars of Independence that led to the creation of the United States.
Here’s some backround on the historic referendum:
Scotland was an independent country until 1707, when the Act of Union with England led to the creation of Great Britain and, ultimately, the United Kingdom -- which also includes Northern Ireland.
WHY DOES THE US WANT SCOTLAND TO STAY IN THE UK?
One really big reason: The US is nervous about the future of the joint U.S. and U.K. nuclear deterrent system.
Scotland is home to 58 U.S. Trident II D-5 missiles leased from Washington by the British government, but Scotland’s government wants to ban nuclear weapons on moral grounds within four years of gaining independence.
If Scotland becomes an independent country that could force London to relocate the weapons to alternative bases in England or return the weapons to the U.S., costing billions of dollars and leaving NATO without a European nuclear deterrent precisely at a time of heightened security concern.
WHAT’S THE ARGUMENT FOR INDEPENDENCE?
The ‘Yes’ campaign is led by First Minister Alex Salmond, whose Scottish National Party has governed since 2007.
It says Scots should have total control of their own affairs and that revenue from Scotland’s offshore oil fields would sustain the country’s economy.
Support for independence was boosted by the election in 2010 of a Conservative British government, angering voters in Scotland where the Conservative party remains deeply unpopular.
THE CASE FOR STAYING UNITED
The ‘No’ campaign says and independent Scotland would be weaker on the world stage and would have to raise taxes to pay for the replication of institutions and services currently shared with England, such as defense forces and state pensions. Many cross-border businesses have warned that they might withdraw from Scotland in the event of independence, threatening jobs.
WHAT WOULD AN INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND LOOK LIKE?
Scotland’s 5.3 million citizens represent about eight percent of the total U.K. population and would create a new country bigger than Ireland (4.5 million) but smaller than Denmark (5.5 million). (Snippets from NBC News)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“One may ride a free horse to death.” Old Scottish Proverb
Time for me to walk on down the road…