The blog title phrase is used to cover many situations in daily life, including writerly ones and political ones. Many readers of this blog will know that, as a contributing author for around 2 years, I’ve written a number of posts that have something to do with my Scottish homeland. I’ve written things about Scotland which make me proud to stand up and say I’m Scottish. I’ve written a number of posts which have something to do with history, a subject I’m passionate about. In those respects, I am decidedly a YES person.
I don’t normally write about anything political but, today, my post is a wee bit political, and a lot constitutionally historical, since the situation my country is facing just now is not a usual one.
Thursday 18th September, 2014, is a day when the citizens of Scotland go to the polling booths to make a choice in a referendum. They will be voting either YES or NO to the question-
Should Scotland be an Independent Country?
Those who live in Scotland, over the age of 16 and who are registered to place a vote, will choose:
a) YES– Scotland becomes independent of the United Kingdom (UK). They would no longer need to accept whatever the Parliament in Westminster, London, decides for them and would become a separate country in all aspects of governance for the people of Scotland.
b) NO – Scotland remains as a constituent part of the UK and is ruled by the UK Parliament at Westminster in all major decisions.
The Union of the Crowns – 1603
Since 1603, Scotland and the other countries of the UK (England, Wales and *Ireland) have shared the monarch. Prior to 1603, Wales and *Ireland were already governed by England (Differing amounts of the island of Ireland have been governed, at different periods, by the Westminster Parliament). By 1603, the line of succession in England was gone because Queen Elizabeth I (1st) had no children to succeed her. The nearest in line to take over the throne was the Scottish King James VI (son of the ‘famous’ Mary Queen of Scots). He became King James I of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (consisting of Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland).
Between the years 1603 and 1707, although the ‘Crowns’ and monarch were shared, Scotland still had its own Parliament which conducted all decision making affecting daily life in Scotland.
The Union of the Parliaments – 1707
In 1707, the Union of the Parliaments took place and since then all major government decisions for the whole of the UK have been taken in the House of Commons and the House of Lords in Westminster, London.
Some may find it strange that although there was a parliamentary union between Scotland and the rest of the UK in 1707, for all the years afterwards Scotland still made its own local decisions on matters like Education; and Scotland has always had its own Judicial and Legal System. However, the money to fund them has come from block grants which have been allocated via the Westminster UK Parliament. This has meant the ‘purse strings’ have been in London since 1707 and the decisions Scotland can make within Education and Law have still had to be according to the funding allocated to them, and have come with limitations. There are many other aspects which are totally controlled from London like defence and taxation.
In 1999, Scotland regained a limited Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Edinburgh. This gave Scotland more control over decisions affecting only Scotland, but it has had limited powers depending on the finance awarded from Westminster. Independence would give Scotland FULL powers over all informed decision making; FULL powers to collect our own taxes (personal and corporate) and spend them in a way that will benefit the Scottish people. Many on the YES camp believe a better, fairer and prosperous Scotland will emerge after independence from the UK. This is why this referendum ballot is so crucial. On the NO side, many feel to separate from England and the rest of the UK is too risky a step to make.
I believe most writers tend to make informed decisions on what we will do with our precious manuscripts. We decide whether to take all of our own decisions and self- publish, or we go with a publishing contract and have the situation where the publisher creates your books and then takes a ‘cut’ from sales. I haven’t yet self-published. I really admire and love my Edinburgh publisher but I can also see the value of taking all decisions with regard to my novels. I don’t think any choices that authors are likely to make these days will be uninformed ones.
During the last weeks I’ve been reading up the information provided by both the YES and the NO camps. When I place my vote next Thursday it will be as a result of an informed decision…just as it will be when I take my next publishing step with my time-travel novel for early teens.
Would you take a leap in the dark when voting for something momentous? Do you try to spend the time to glean as much information as possible to inform you before major decions are made? Do you sift through the facts available and decide that new horizons are very enticing?
I’ll leave you to decide what my vote might be.
Have a nice weekend!
Nancy Jardine writes historical and contemporary novels.
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