The governing Scottish National Party plans to publish the so-called Referendum Bill around Burns Night on 25 January, aiming for a poll on independence for Scotland in Nov 2010. In the draft referendum bill, Scots would be asked to state whether or not they agreed that the Scottish Government should negotiate a settlement with the government of the United Kingdom so that Scotland becomes an independent state. The other parties say, "Not so fast!," and accuse the SNP of cheating.
Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, has been accused of trying to rig his planned independence referendum after announcing that 16 and 17-year-olds should be allowed to participate. Salmond argued the 125,000 extra teenagers should be allowed a vote because they have the largest vested interest in Scotland's constitutional future. Opinion polls have shown younger voters are more sympathetic to separation, prompting Scotland's other main parties -- Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives -- to claim that the First Minister is again trying to manipulate the voting system to achieve separation. The three have vowed to unite to vote down the bill in parliament, but, according to Britain's Telegraph newspaper, the structure and wording of the proposed legislation could see it through. Should Scotland vote for secession, the "United Kingdom" could describe just England: Separatist sentiment is also alive and well in Wales. Sep/09
Date written/update: 2010-01-25