News, Politics

Scotland Votes On Independence Today

Scotland lies to the north of the UK and is shown here in dark blue. Image: Peeperman
Scotland lies to the north of the UK and is shown here in dark blue (Ireland is in white). Image: Peeperman

Should they stay or should they go?

That’s the question on the minds of the people in Scotland.

They’re voting to decide their fate today (Thurs., Sept. 18). They will either vote to stay within the UK (United Kingdom) or to become independent.

The Scottish Independence Referendum Bill will ask voters to say yes or no to the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

People who say Scotland should stay within the UK say it would be better because:

  • Scotland is better off financially within the UK because it has the resources of the UK to rely on;
  • The Scots helped to build the UK and have a stake in it now and historically; and
  • The English want Scotland to stay – if it leaves it may make things difficult for them.

People who say Scotland should become independent say it would be best because:

  • The Prime Minister of England is quite conservative and does not well represent the more liberal Scots;
  • Scotland has changed dramatically in the last half-century and needs its independence to move forward;
  • Scotland is in the midst of a surge of new culture—music, writing, art, film—and it wants to develop its own culture independent of the UK;
  • An independent Scotland will better be able to protect its higher education, national health services and its resources.

These are not the only reasons on either side of the issue. There are many more, some of them complicated (about the economy, for instance) and some of them simply emotional (about the culture, for instance).

The side has wants independence has a campaign called “Yes Scotland.” The side that wants Scotland to stay within the UK has a campaign called “Better Together.”

In 1995, Canada faced a similar fork in its historical road when Quebec took a vote to decide whether it would become independent from Canada. Quebec’s people voted No, choosing to remain in Canada.

More than four million people in Scotland will vote to decide their nation’s fate today. Stay tuned.

Related links
The Yes Scotland website.

The Better Together website.

A previous TKN article about the Scottish independence vote.

Just for fun, here’s what The Simpsons’s “Groundskeeper Willie” has to say about the vote.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Take a look at the two websites–for, and against Scottish independence. Which one do you think is more persuasive? Why?

In the end, which way would you vote?

Reading Prompt: Text Features
Today’s article contains bullet points in order to communicate both sides of the debate. How does using bullet points improve the reader’s understanding of these ideas?

Primary & Junior
Identify a variety of text features and explain how they help readers understand texts (OME, Reading: 2.3).

Identify a variety of text features and explain how they help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.3).

Language Feature: Sentence length
I always like to think that an author sits down to write with a toolbox of strategies and techniques at their disposal. The author then uses these tools to communicate clearly and persuasively. One such tool is sentence length. Long sentences can go on for a very long time and draw the reader on a journey for quite some time before actually making their idea known. Others are short. Today’s story ends with a very short sentence, “stay tuned.”

What is the impact of ending the article in this way?