A huge moment in Scottish history
The polls have closed in Scotland, and the nation awaits a decision. Will Scots choose to remain in the United Kingdom, or will they go their own way and become an independent country? Suspense is high, as the polls have been close to evenly split. But no matter how it turns out, Thursday’s referendum on Scottish independence will be the end to a political battle that has been going on for years.
There is more than just the future of Scotland at stake. The political future of the United Kingdom itself hangs in the balance, which is why both the conservative prime minister of the U.K., David Cameron, and leading members of his center-left opposition have both urged Scottish voters to reject independence. The implications of secession could ripple out even beyond Great Britain if separatist groups in other parts of the world draw on the Scottish model for inspiration.
Still, it is undoubtedly Scotland that is first and foremost in Scottish voters’ minds. The exact question on the ballot for Thursday’s referendum was: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” It was, in short, a question about Scotland should and can be.
As far as what an independent Scotland would look like, nobody can know for sure until it happens. There are still a lot of unanswered questions about this hypothetical country’s borders, its economy, and even its medium of exchange. If Scotland decides to go independent, then Thursday will go down in history as the start of a very long journey. See that history being made in the slideshow above.