I've sat at this computer many times over the last several months wanting to talk about Scotland's Independence Referendum. While I do have an opinion, I ultimately decided to keep quiet on this important issue for many reasons. I am not eligible to vote. Luis can vote (and he did!) but I wasn't eligible to cast a vote. I am not Scottish and I see things from the perspective of an outsider. I didn't want what I posted here to possibly influence voters (look at me talking like I make a difference! Ha!) who could actually vote and have a more personal bond with Scotland and their feelings on the matter.
Yesterday Scotland voted whether they wanted to become an Independent country or stay with The United Kingdom. This was probably the most important vote the Scottish people would make in their lifetime. For the past 2 yrs each side has been building their case. YES or NO?
What's been going on in Scotland?
"The Scottish government, led by First Minister Alex Salmond, says the 300-year-old Union is no longer fit for purpose and that an independent Scotland, aided by its oil wealth, would be one of the world's richest countries.He says it's time for Scotland to take charge of its own destiny, free from what he describes as the "shackles" of a London-based UK parliament.
On the opposite side of the debate, the UK government, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, says Britain is one of the world's most successful social and political unions." -source
What are the main issues?
"North Sea oil and gas reserves (or more precisely the tax take from Scotland's share) are vital to the Scottish government's case for independence.
Mr Salmond says earmarking a tenth of revenues - about £1bn a year - could form an oil fund similar to the one operated in Norway, creating a £30bn sovereign wealth pot over a generation.
Mr Cameron says the North Sea has been a British success story - and now the oil and gas is getting harder to recover, it's more important than ever to back the industry with the "broad shoulders" of the UK.
The SNP's opponents also argue they're pinning future hopes on something that's eventually going to run out." -source
"Currency has been the other big area of disagreement. Under independence, the Scottish government wants to keep the pound as part of a formal currency union with the rest of the UK. It argues this is in everyone's best interests, but the three main UK parties - the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats - won't go for it, and say that whoever's in power after the next UK election will not agree to such a move." -source
DO THE PEOPLE WANT INDEPENDENCE?
The country has been divided this whole time. It's been to close to call to actually know who would win. Half the country YES. The other half NO.
WHO GETS TO VOTE?
"People aged 16 and over who live in Scotland get a direct say on the nation's future - as long as they're registered to vote.
Eligible voters must be British, EU or Commonwealth citizens with permission to enter or stay in the UK. That means the 800,000 Scots who live in other parts of the UK don't get a vote, while the 400,000 people from elsewhere in Britain who live in Scotland do." -source
A HISTORY LESSON
"Thanks to the 1995 Hollywood blockbuster Braveheart, many people are familiar with the Scottish Wars of independence, fought between the late 13th and early 14th centuries.A series of events saw England's King Edward overpower the Scottish kingdom in 1296, before Robert the Bruce inflicted some serious payback in the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 - an event which has just reached its 700th anniversary.
Other key moments through the ages included Bonnie Prince Charlie's ill-fated invasion of England in 1745, culminating in defeat at Culloden the following year.Despite various challenges, Scotland is generally regarded to have asserted its independence from about 843, until the official unification with England took place in 1707.
At the time, the view was that Scotland was desperate for cash, but opponents of the move were outraged by claims that the Scots who put their names to the Act of Union and were bribed.
The episode moved Scotland's Bard, Robert Burns, to write: "We are bought and sold for English gold. Such a parcel of rogues in a nation." -source
SO, WHO WON?
With a vote 45% to 55%, The Scottish people ultimately voted to stay with The United Kingdom. While that's what I would have voted, if I could, it is more complicated than that. While speaking with many NO voters I learned that they aren't necessarily opposed to independence, they just didn't like the idea of not having a plan of action to how we would make it happen. There was too much uncertainty. It was like building a home (a life) and then shutting the door and throwing away the key-- walking into the unknown with no thought to how we would live as an independent country. We needed answers and the YES camp couldn't deliver.
I am personally happy for the result that we are staying with The United Kingdom. I feel that overall this is the best decision to help our country stay strong. But I can't help feeling a little sad for those YES voters. They only wanted a chance to make decisions for themselves. One thing is for sure, Parliament has to listen to Scotland now.