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September 18, 2014.
The day a union, 307 years in the making, was shattered by the forces of democracy.
After years of negotiations, Scotland had devolved within the United Kingdom to the point where it was allowed to conduct a referendum for independence. This groundbreaking agreement, the Edinburgh Agreement, led to the eventual referendum on that fateful Thursday.
When the votes - 3.7 million of them - were cast, one word could be heard from the lips of First Minister Alex Salmond: "Alba!"
There are a number of Points of Divergence, including:
- The wording of the referendum remains "Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?";
- Andy Murray campaigns for "Yes Scotland" from early on;
- Alex Salmond is more convincing on the issue of which currency Scotland will use, resulting in him winning the first debate by a large margin; and
- Voter turnout tops 92%, with Dundee and Glasgow both experiencing voter turnout in the 90th percentile.
All news reported is taken from the Associated Press (AP) headlines published on the date shown.
September 18, 2014: Scotland Experiences Record Turnout in Election - GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, UNITED KINGDOM: As voting opened today, at 7:00 BST, thousands of eager voters entered polling places across Scotland with enthusiasm for the monumental decision that hung in the balance of the nations' 4.2 eligible voters, aged 16 and up. From preliminary estimates, it is expected that voter turnout will surpass the estimates of 90% voter turnout, a fact which many expect will aid the "Yes" campaign. Both Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling cast their respective votes to relatively high coverage from local news outlets. Here in Glasgow, voter turnout has been quite high, additionally being a good sign for the "Yes" front, who are trailing by 2-4% in the most recent polls.
September 19, 2014: Scotland Votes "YES" on Independence - GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, UNITED KINGDOM: In a statistically improbably turn of events, Scotland has decided to declare independence from the United Kingdom by the narrowest or margins in the hotly contested referendum held yesterday. As results emerged throughout the night, it became apparent that higher voting turnout in such separatist centers as Glasgow and Dundee coupled with lower turnout in Edinburgh than expected would tip the balance in the favor of the "Yes" campaign. The approximate percent of people who voted "Yes" was 52%, or 2,010,456 of the 3.9 million voters. Now comes the difficult task of uniting a nation to pursue a common course towards unity in Scotland. The proposed date of independence lurks over a year away, in March of 2016.
September 20, 2014: Cameron and Salmond React to Independence - EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, UNITED KINGDOM: As the campaigns for independence and union come to a close, both Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond were in Edinburgh, the financial center of Scotland, to have a brief meeting before Cameron goes to New York City to address the United Nations General Assembly. The two men met for over three hours today, discussing the results and how Scotland will begin its transition towards independence. In a press conference following the meeting, Salmond confirmed that "plans for the transition, as laid out by the SNP, are to mostly be followed by the government at Westminster."
September 22, 2014: Cameron Meets with Tory MPs over English Devolution - LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM: On his last day in the UK prior to his trip to New York City for the United Nations General Assembly session, Prime Minister David Cameron met with English Conservative MPs to discuss devolution to England, the largest of the four current constituent states of the United Kingdom. While most Tories favor devolution for England as a whole, Labour leaders such as Ed Milliband and Ed Balls have expressed interest in devolving powers to regions and cities. Among the men in attendance at the Tory meeting was powerful backbencher Graham Brady, of Manchester (one of the most devolved British cities). Many comment that Cameron is being forced further to the right by the possible threat of the UK Independence Party splitting the conservative voter base in half.
September 24, 2014: Cameron Delivers Conciliatory Speech In NYC - NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: Following the devastating defeat of the efforts of all main British political parties to the Scottish National Party last Friday at the polls in the Scottish independence referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron spoke today at the United Nations General Assembly. Following such speakers as United States President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Cameron adopted a decidedly conciliatory tone, saying, "the results [of the Scottish Independence Referendum] will be recognized and the Scottish people shall be ensured a amiable departure, with a bright future ahead of it." This tone starkly contrasts that of speeches made during the campaign. Notably, Spanish King Felipe VI was silent on the increasingly important issue of Catalan independence, with an announcement by Catalonia's president expected later this week.
September 26, 2014: EU Referendum "Still on the Table," Says Cameron - - LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM: In a press conference outside of 10 Downing Street, in London, British Prime Minister David Cameron reflected upon the situation that will emerge in the remaining member states of the United Kingdom following the departure of Scotland in early 2016. In the lead-up to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Cameron indicated that a referendum to decide the status of the United Kingdom within the European Union was "still on the table." Cameron has floated 2017 as the year for the referendum, assuming that his party wins a majority in the 2015 Parliamentary elections. Ed Milliband's Labour Party will lose 41 current seats in Parliament with the exit of Scotland and Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats will lose 11 seats, as compared to the loss of only one Tory seat.
September 27, 2014: Catalonia's Artur Mas Calls Referendum - BARCELONA, CATALONIA, SPAIN: Emboldened by the recent Scottish Independence Referendum, the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Artur Mas, has signed a declaration that will have a similar independence referendum in early November. This has been challenged by Mariano Rajoy, the Prime Minister of Spain, who intends to take the case before the Supreme Court of Spain in order to determine whether the referendum would violate the Spanish constitution. Says Mas, "If the Spanish government thinks it can contain the spirit of the Catalonian people, who have the same right to decide as the rest of the world, then it is in for a surprise on November 9." Already, questions about potential arrests or the closure of the semi-devolved Catalonian government are being asked, but for now it appears that Spain will attempt to redress its issues through legal means.
October 1, 2014: Tory Party Conference Ends With High Hopes - BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM: As British Prime Minister David Cameron closed the annual Conservative Party Conference this year, a tone of optimism permeated the meeting in Birmingham. With 58 non-Conservative MPs currently in Scotland, the outlooks for the part in the rest of the United Kingdom seem extremely high and have given Cameron, and the whole of the Party, great amounts of confidence going into next year's scheduled general elections. Elections could still be held sooner, but the current coalition seems likely to hold until next year, at which time the elections will have to take place according to the 2011 Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. This gleeful tone carried through in the emotional appeals Cameron used to promise to continue "the fight for the poor, the oppressed, the worst-off in our great democracy - a fight which this Party has never, and shall never, back off from fighting!" There was a warm multitude of applause at the conclusion of the party meeting as Birmingham, and devoted Tories nationwide, celebrated their positive outlook for their political future.
October 3, 2014: Crimean President Calls Out "Western Hypocrisy" - SIMFEROPOL, CRIMEA, RUSSIA: Over half a year since the Crimean Independence Referendum in March 2014, the issues brought about by the unconstitutional referendum and following annexation by the Russian Federation, Crimea is stirring heads again. President Sergey Aksyonov, a staunch supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, announces in a press briefing this morning that the recognition of last month's Scottish plebiscite but the refusal to recognize Crimea's secession from Ukraine is "just the kind of Western hypocrisy that can be expected by those leaders." Said Aksyonov, "When over 95% of Crimeans chose to realign to a more natural relationship with Russia, the international community ignores us. When only 52% of Scots vote for their freedom, they are recognized universally." This comes at a time when a shaky peace has been agreed to in Eastern Ukraine where similar calls against "Western hypocrisy" act to inflame pro-Russian sentiments.
October 7, 2014: French Separatists Call For Autonomy - PARIS, FRANCE: As polls increased during the final weeks of the Scottish referendum, the voices of many separatist groups backed the Scottish National Party and the various other pro-independence dissidents within the United Kingdom. Besides Barcelona, no other city experienced as great a demonstration as Paris, which seemed almost plagued with Breton, Corsican and Basque flags. This morning, however, a regional conference of separatist politicians drew a large clamor of international press coverage. The convention, aimed at establishing a single movement to represent the Breton, Corsican, and Basque nationalism movements, elected Jean-Guy Talamoni, a leading Corsican separatist, to lead the new "Avant Nationaliste Uni," or United Nationalist Front. Said Talamoni upon leaving the convention, "the hope of self-determination for all peoples, promised in 1919 and reaffirmed by public in Scotland recently, still burns passionately in the hearts of nationalists the world-over."
October 11, 2014: Flemish Referendum Vote Debated in Brussels - BRUSSELS, BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Massive support has been growing in the Flemish outskirts of Brussels for many days after the September 19, 2014 Scottish referendum on independence. These protestors, who associate themselves with a Flemish national identity, have been pressuring the brand-new coalition of Belgium (which has just been formed today, and is comprised almost entirely of parties that receive most of their backing from Flanders) to begin discussion of a possible referendum on Flemish independence. This movement, which has its roots to Belgian independence in 1830, has recently gained massive support as the largest political party, N-VA, advocates for Flemish separatism. Today, as a government was officially formed, Bart de Wever, the leader of the N-VA and mayor of Antwerp, announced that he would push N-VA Members of Parliament to make the referendum the major issue as the Chamber of Representatives convenes on Monday.
October 26, 2014: United Kingdom Gets Involved in Hong Kong - HONG KONG, PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA: At the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong, the largest of its kind in the world, the Consul-General Caroline Wilson... MORE TO COME
Ideas for the Future
- Oct 13 14 - UK Parliament is Back
- Nov 9 14 - Catalonia Referendum
- May 15 - UK Parliament Elections
- Mar 24 16 - Scotland Independence Day
- May 5 16 - Scottish Elections
- " 16 - Referendum on the EU
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