current affairs

The debate over an independent Scotland continues

The UK and Scottish governments have concluded consultations on the matter of Scotland’s independence referendum.

The UK and Scottish governments have concluded consultations on the matter of Scotland’s independence referendum.

The consultation by the UK government received approximately 3,000 responses, according to a report from the BBC, and the Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has asked that talks with Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond resume.

The BBC report also notes that in the consultation, the Scotland Office noted that replies had strongly advocated for a legal, fair and decisive referendum to be held by the Scottish Parliament. In addition, a single, clear question on independence, not having the referendum delayed, and the question being evaluated by the Electoral Commission.

In the response to the consultation, made public May 17, Moore said that steps would be taken to finalize the referendum. ‘We will now seek to arrange further discussions with the Scottish government to agree the terms of an order to be approved by both parliaments to deliver a legal, fair and decisive referendum in line with the results of our consultation,’ Moore said. ‘It is vital that the terms of the referendum are agreed quickly so that we can all get on with the main debate about Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom.’

Earlier in the week, Prime Minister David Cameron had said at a Scotland Office reception in London that he was ‘not fussed’ over the date of the referendum, a matter which Moore reiterated, saying the autumn 2014 preference of the Scottish Government would not be a barrier. ‘But we do need agreement on delivering a single question on the core issue of independence, which both governments support,’ Moore said.

Speaking to Kettle, a spokesman for the Scottish Government confirmed that the consultation they conducted received over 21,000 responses. ‘We are now proceeding with our referendum consultation being independently analysed, and will publish by the end of the summer,’ the spokesman said.

The spokesman also confirmed that the referendum is going forward as planned at the reported date of autumn 2014. ‘We welcome the fact that Michael Moore, the Secretary of State for Scotland, has restated the Prime Minster’s position that the timing of any referendum should not be a barrier to agreeing a way forward,’ the spokesman said. ‘The terms and the timing of the referendum are matters to be decided in Scotland, not imposed by Westminster.’

Now that the consultations are done, the debate and planning begins on Scotland’s future in the UK. Although the referendum is more than two years away, the views will be exchanged and the conversations will continue, not just in Westminster and Holyrood, but across Britain, examining the positives and negatives of this referendum and what happens if Scotland does indeed become independent.

One of the biggest issues this year is about to get interesting. Get ready, because what happens next in the debate of an independent Scotland is going to be something worth observation.