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Independent Scotland

The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said 13 December 2018 she will be able to make a judgment on a second independence referendum by the end of this year. She told the BBC: "I still believe that whatever future Scotland chooses for itself, and you know what side of that I'm on, that is a future that shouldn't be imposed on us - it's one we should have the ability and choose for ourselves".

The year 2018 will be challenging for the Scottish National Party. In the June 2017 election pro-UK parties took 63.2% of the votes. The nationalist leader has a narrow window of opportunity to stage another referendum before the pro-independence majority at Holyrood is likely to disintegrate at the 2021 Scottish elections.

In its independence referendum in 2014 people voted against becoming an independent country by 55% to 45%. While in the Brexit vote, Scotland voted to remain in the EU by a majority of 62%.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said 16 October 2016 that it's "highly likely" that Scotland will secede from the United Kingdom in the near future. She said preparations for a second independence referendum were already underway. Sturgeon told members of her pro-independence Scottish National Party that: "I have never doubted that Scotland will one day become an independent country and I believe it today more strongly than I ever have before." She further pledged to "explore all options" to prevent Scotland being taken out of the European Union against its will following the UK's decision to exit the bloc.

Opening the Scottish National Party conference in Glasgow, Nicola Sturgeon said she would take the first step towards a second independence referendum for Scotland within days. "I can confirm that the Independence Referendum Bill will be published for consultation next week," Sturgeon told delegates. She argued that in the event of a "hard Brexit" - particularly the UK leaving the EU without retaining access to the single market - then Scotland "will have the right to decide, afresh, if it wants to take a different path."

Despite being careful not to set a desired date for the vote, at one point saying "whenever that might be," Sturgeon did say the decision should fall prior to the UK leaving the EU. That timeline remains very muddy, but as it stands, British Prime Minister Theresa May intends to trigger an exit process - slated to last two years - early in 2017.

Independence means Scotlands future will be in Scotlands hands. It means Scots can make more of Scotlands wealth, talent and resources for the benefit of the people who live in Scotland through a stronger economy, more jobs and people getting a fairer return for their hard work and efforts. It will allow Scottish governments to do specific things like improve childcare, make the tax system fairer, cut energy bills and scrap the bedroom tax.

Independence is about improving the quality of life for all people across Scotland. Scots will be able to take decisions on the economy designed for Scotlands particular needs and based on Scots own priorities. Similar countries to Scotland have seen higher levels of economic growth over the past generation. That is because they have the bonus of being independent and are able to make the right choices for their nation and economy. If Scotland had matched the levels of growth of these other independent nations between 1977 and 2007, by 2012 GDP per head in Scotland would have been 3.8 per cent higher, equivalent to an additional 900 per head.

While the UK overall narrowly favored Brexit, a large majority of Scots voted on 23 June 2016 to remain in the EU. The referendum reopened the question of Scottish independence. Addressing reporters at Bute House in Edinburgh on Saturday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a second referendum on Scotland's independence was "clearly an option" in the wake of the unprecedented decision by UK voters to leave the European Union despite Scots' support for the EU.

The SNP went into the May 2015 elections for Scotland's devolved parliament - in which the party won an unprecedented third consecutive term in government - on a manifesto pledge that a second referendum would be helpful only if there were a "significant and material change in circumstances" since the 2014 referendum, in which just over 55 percent of Scots choose to remain in the United Kingdom. , Sturgeon said that Brexit constituted such a material change. "It is, therefore, a statement of the obvious that a second referendum must be on the table," she said, "and it is on the table."

Scotland starts with an enviable reputation and a strong international identity. This international brand is one of the most important assets as a country. Even without independent status, Scotlands international brand value already ranks 15th out of 50 nations according to international comparisons published in 2012. Scotland has continually scored highly and is ranked similarly to and often ahead of other comparably-sized, high income, democracies such as Denmark, Finland, Ireland and New Zealand. This provides an excellent starting point and the move to independence will, in itself, deliver a boost to Scotlands international recognition.

The Scottish Government has proposed an 18-month period between the referendum and independence, was believed to be realistic for the terms of Scotlands independent membership of the EU to be agreed and all the necessary processes completed. It also provides sufficient time for the Scottish Government to undertake the necessary legal and institutional preparations for independent EU membership.

The SNP appears to envisage an independent Scotland which is outward looking, with a strong maritime focus given its geographic position. It would be keen to collaborate closely with northern European neighbours and expects to work with and through the UN, EU and NATO. The Scottish armed forces will comprise 15,000 regular and 5,000 reserve personnel, operating under Joint Forces Headquarters based at Faslane, which will be Scotland's main conventional naval facility. All current bases will be retained to accommodate units, which will be organised into one regular and one reserve Multi Role Brigade (MRB). The air force will operate from Lossiemouth and Leuchars.

Regular ground forces will include current Scottish raised and restored UK regiments, support units as well as Special Forces and Royal Marines, who will retain responsibility for offshore protection.

The Scottish armed forces will be focused on territorial defence, aid to the civil power and also support for the international community. The Multi Role Brigade structure and interoperable air and sea assets will provide deployable capabilities for United Nations sanctioned missions and support of humanitarian, peacekeeping and peace-making 'Petersberg Tasks'.

The Scottish defence and peacekeeping forces will initially be equipped with Scotland's share of current assets including ocean going vessels, fast jets for domestic air patrol duties, transport aircraft and helicopters as well as army vehicles, artillery and air defence systems. A Scottish defence industrial strategy and procurement plan will fill UK capability gaps in Scotland, addressing the lack of new frigates, conventional submarines and maritime patrol aircraft.

The terms Scottish, Scot, Scots, and Scotch are all variants of the same word. They have had different histories, however, and in modern English they have developed different uses and connotations. Scotch is an adjective meaning "of Scotland". The modern usage in Scotland is Scottish or Scots, and the word "Scotch" is only applied to specific products. Scots is used, like Scottish, as an adjective meaning "of or pertaining to Scotland." However, it tends to be used in a narrower sense to refer specifically to the form of English used in Scotland.

The ISO 3166-2 code "SCT" would be taken over into ISO 3166-1 for the three letter code. But Scotland does not have a two-letter country code - a digraph. If a top level domain name has any more than two letters, then it is not a Country Code Top-Level Domain, but a Special Interest Domain. Even the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey have their own internet country codes (.im,.gg and .je respectively) but for some reason for Scotland does not. SC would seem a likely candidate, except it's already taken by the Seychelles. (SO, ST, SL, SA, SN, and SD are also already all taken.) It's possible for Scotland to acquire an already-used code from a smaller country. Some other possibilities include: .ab, taken from Alba, the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland, or .ce, taken from Caledonia, the Latin name for Scotland.

While Scotland is a small nation it has big ambitions. Coverage of an independent Scotland contains "forward-looking statements" that is, statements related to future, not past, events. In this context, forward-looking statements often address expected future political and financial performance and financial condition, and often contain words such as "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "believe," "seek," "see," "will," "would," or "target." Forward-looking statements by their nature address matters that are, to different degrees, uncertain, such as statements about growth; changes in law, economic and financial conditions, including interest and exchange rate volatility, commodity and equity prices and the value of financial assets, including the impact of these conditions; the impact of conditions in the financial and credit markets; pending and future mortgage loan repurchase claims and other litigation claims and investigations in connection with WMC, which may affect our estimates of liability, including possible loss estimates; our ability to maintain current credit rating; reduced energy demand. These or other uncertainties may cause actual future results to be materially different than those expressed in forward-looking statements. Certain forward-looking projected information based on current estimates and forecasts. Actual results could differ materially.

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