“To be, or not to be: that is the question” ~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Edinburgh Skyline from Edinburgh Castle

The Scottish people are facing an important decision this coming September, and I am in the unique position to be able to see first hand the events that are leading up to the vote. I am able to partake in the discussion, learn directly from Scottish people, and visit the Scotland while it is still part of the United Kingdom. If you are unaware, Scotland has put up a referendum to be voted upon in September on wither or not to stay with the United Kingdom. If they vote yes Scotland will become a nation apart from England and Northern Ireland, and will be in control of their own government. The Scottish parliament will take over full control of all things Scottish, such as the welfare and monetary systems, which are currently controlled by the Westminster Parliament in London. They will continue to be under the monarchy in what is called a Union of Crowns, and Queen Elizabeth will be the Queen of England and Scotland. The Scottish people have a monumental decision to make, and I am able to be witness to the happenings leading up to the September vote!

View from Calton Hill

Last week I was able to take an excursion with AHA London Centre to Edinburgh, Scotland to see for myself the similarities and difference between Scotland and England. We visited the Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh Castle, and Scottish Parliament Building, walked up and down the Royal Mile, and got a good taste of Scottish life. Below are pictures of the places mentioned, and some photos of the amazing landscape of Edinburgh. I love the combination and intertwining of natural landmarks and manmade landmarks. The city is mixed between the two so beautifully, and makes for some amazing views in and above the city.

Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Abbey

Edinburgh Castle

Atop Calton Hill

My highlight of the excursion was going to the Scottish Parliament Building and listening to a Parliament question and answer session take place. Scottish Parliament is split between three major parties—The Scottish Nationalist Party (YES for independence), The Labour Party (NO for independence), and a combination of the Conservative and Independent parties. All were present during the discussion along with the First Minister, Alex Salmond. One of the major questions asked that has just recently affected the vote was related to the British Pound and wither or not Scotland will be able to use. Westminster Parliament is currently in control of the treasury sector, and they announced that if Scotland were to vote YES on independence then they would be unable to use the British Pound for their currency. This subject provoked a lively debate during the Scottish Parliament discussion. The Scottish National Party is pushing for an independent Scotland, so that Scots can govern Scots and they can decide what is best for their nation. The Labour party is pushing for a NO vote because it would be too difficult to cut ties with the United Kingdom and they are able to be prosperous in their current situation. The Labour and Scottish Nationalist Party are sticking to their NO and YES votes, but it will ultimately come down to the Scottish people. Come September Scotland could be an independent nation, and Scottish Parliament would gain full control.

Edinburgh Skyline

After visiting Edinburgh I was surprised by the major differences between Scotland and England. Their histories are often intertwined and they have been in a state of union since 1707, but walking through the streets of Edinburgh I can tell that the sprit of these two nations are not the same. It’s hard to explain the differences, but I can see why this unique nation is pushing for their independence from England. I have been given the opportunity to be living in the midst of a peaceful fight of independence. Reading about the brutal fight for independence happening in Ukraine I am in awe at the respect that has been shown here in the United Kingdom. Scotland peacefully come into Union with England in 1707 and has shown the same grace while pushing for their disunion. They understand their shared history, love and respect their Queen, and want to continue into the future as Scots. Though the public pools are leaning towards a NO vote on the referendum I believe that this will not be the end of the discussion. I foresee a new nation being introduced into the world—a nation of kilts, haggis, and bagpipes either this year or in the next twenty years.

Monuments Atop Calton Hill

Scottish Independence: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-26273556
Alex Salmond: http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/representatives/profiles/25366.stm
YES Campaign: http://www.yesscotland.net
Better Together Campaign: http://bettertogether.net
Ukraine Fight for Independence: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-26248275


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s