The Sunday Edition

Scottish Dream of Regaining Independence

The clock is ticking on the Scottish dream of regaining independence.Three hundred years ago, the parliaments of England and Scotland formally agreed to join forces as one country ... Great Britain. And for some time, Great Britain was the most powerful nation on Earth. But many Scots bridled at feeling like junior partners in the arrangement with the far more...
Edinburgh Castle is pictured on the Castle Rock in Edinburgh on May 11, 2017. (Odd Anderson/AFP/Getty Images)
The clock is ticking on the Scottish dream of regaining independence.

Three hundred years ago, the parliaments of England and Scotland formally agreed to join forces as one country ... Great Britain. And for some time, Great Britain was the most powerful nation on Earth. But many Scots bridled at feeling like junior partners in the arrangement with the far more populous England.

Now, Scotland's sovereigny movement will try to wrestle its nationhood back from Great Britain. On September 18th, 4 million people, including 16 and 17-year-olds, will go to the polls to say "Yes" or "No" to this very simple question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

The clarity and directness of the referendum question is striking, particularly in light of the two Quebec referendums which skirted the question of outright independence and asked long convoluted questions

There are other aspects of the Scottish independence movement that might resonate with Quebec's own attempts. Why break up something that seems to work just fine? Why think small -- Scotland has little more than five million people -- when big economic alliances are all the rage? And why all the sabre-rattling when Scots are hardly an oppressed minority?

At the same time, there is much to distinguish Scotland from Quebec. Scotland does not have a distinct language -- barely 1% still speak Gaelic -- and so is much more integrated with its English neighbours. And since oil was discovered in the North Sea 40 years ago, Scotland is much richer than an independent Quebec would have been. 

In fact, many in Scotland - and the rest of Britain - would like to distinguish themselves from how Quebec and the rest of Canada have dealt with the question of independence.

To discuss the wee intricacies of the upcoming referendum, guest host Francine Pelletier spoke to Dr. Annis May Timpson.  She is the Director of the Centre of Canadian Studies at the University of Edinburgh, and she was living in Canada during the 1980 and 1995 referendums on Quebec sovereignty. 

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