In 1715, one year after George, the Elector of Hanover was crowned ( a search had been conducted to find a Protestant, and they settled on this 55years old unknown, who could not speak English and so the position of "primus inter pares" or premier/ first minister, was created and Sir Robert Walpole became the first holder of the office that would grow into that of Prime Minister), and a rebellion broke out, which was quickly put down. In 1745, another rebellion, this time led by Bonnie Prince Charles, threatened the rule of George 11, but the rebels were routed at the bloody battle of Culloden and thousands were "put to tthe sword". Charles fled to France, died and with him the claims to the throne. The clans were disbanded and forbidden to wear their "colours".
In the intervening years, many Scots held very high positions in the government, the military and other areas of life. Tony Blair,( he of Scottish heritage, and who after leaving the office of Prime Minister admitted to being a Catholic), started the process of devolution, to give Scotland more powers over its domestic affairs. Last year Prime Minister Cameron ( very famous Scottish clan name), whose Conservative party is so hated in Scotland that they won only 1 of the 59 seat for the House of Commons in the last election, agreed to a referendum on Scottish independence. Smug and over-confident and unaware of the extent to which the Scots detested the Conservatives, Cameron left the "No" campaign in the hands of Alaistair Darling ( former finance minister in the previous Labour govt.). He was inarticulate and a poor debater and Alex Salmond , the Scots nationalist leader, slowly build his case for independence, allaying the fears of the voters, by telling them that Scotland will still use the pound; will be a member of EU; will be rid of the right- wing agenda of the Conservatives and will prosper with the revenues from the North Sea oil and gas. The voters gradually got over their fears of " doom and gloom" painted by the "NO" , and the latest poll show the "YES" slightly ahead.
Westminister was shaken and immediately set out to win back support against independence. Cameron went Edinburgh and spoke to workers of Lloyds Banking Group, and begged the voters not to break his heart...." I would be heartbroken, if our family of nations was torn apart.....these islands are our home". Opposition leader Ed Milliband , his party is very popular in Scotland , went to Cumberland, near Glasgow, spoke to labor activists and pleaded " please stay with us....we are stronger together.....stay with us and we can change Britain together....we are favorite to win the next election in May.....the right way is to vote "no" in the referendum and then vote for a Labour government". Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrat, and Deputy Prime Minister, also went to Edinburgh
In this final week, the issues of the currency, EU membership, economic viability, social programs, business investments will be front and center for the voters. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England has stated that an independent Scotland will not be able to keep the pound because it was "incompatible with sovereignty". There will be no currency union. The large banks, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, RBC Capital, Credit Suisse and Societe General have all made dire predictions about the country's finances and the increased risk of investing in Britain if the vote is "yes". The three major parties have agreed that should the "no" side win, more powers in the areas of taxing, public spending and social policy will be ceded to the Scottish Parliament ( Salmond dismissed this as a "bribe").
On the 18th, residents of Scotland, including those from Commonwealth countries, the EU and the UK, age 16 and over will have their say. Polls have indicated a close race, but with 18% of the voters undecided. My prediction is that it will be a narrow "no" vote.
One further note. There is no comparing Quebec with Scotland. Prior to the Union, Scotland was sovereign with clear borders. Quebec on the other hand was created by Confederation and its territory is as a result of various acts of parliament. Also there are 11 First Nations living within Quebec with claims to territory and resources, like the Crees, the Mohawks, the Montagnais, the Inuit etc.
The "Nay"got 55% of the vote. George Brown, the former Labour PM, did yeoman service at the end. Cameron was a wuss. Now the promises made have to be kept and that will not be easy, as Wales, Northern Ireland and especially England will want the same and also that laws affecting each, not be voted on by the others. Next election, in 2015 will be real interesting. I fully expect the voters to reject the Conservatives and Cameron.