North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Scottish Independence?

Even the referendum vote on the simple question, “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” is not to be on a ballot until the fall of 2014, but the newsworthiness is.

The United Kingdom (UK) is comprised of Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales. Scotland's population is around 5.2 million, less than 10 percent to that of the rest of the UK population of 57 million .

From a Bloomberg Business article, we find out that Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond put forward a consultation document for the vote in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on January 25. “The next 2-1/2 years promise to be the most exciting in Scotland’s modern history,” Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party, said on the day Scots commemorate the birth of national poet Robert Burns. “The people who live, work and bring up families in Scotland should make the decision on its future. Our success should be in our own hands.”

Edinborough, the Scottish capitol city

The First Minister fired the starting gun on the debate over might be the break-up of the U.K. The Scottish National Part, which won an unprecedented majority in the semi-autonomous Edinburgh legislature last year, seeks to maximize revenue from North Sea oil and minimize how much debt Scotland must assume. The opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament, including U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives, oppose independence.

North Sea oil has brought immense wealth to the UK and Norway, but the actual production is beginning to decline

In truth, we are a long way from witnessing Scottish Independence. While opinion polls show increasing support in Scotland for independence, only a minority in the country has declared an intention to vote for it. Others say that the referendum on independence is more likely a way to further actual governing power in Scotland. Supporters of more devolution (power transferred to local structures rather than centralized), including former Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish, say it involves giving Scotland full fiscal autonomy, leaving the U.K. government responsible for foreign affairs and defense.

A modern building housing the Scottish Parliament

The Scottish parliament, re-established in 1999 after three centuries, has power over issues such as health, education and the legal system. The budget in Edinburgh is currently based on a grant from the U.K. government in London, totaling about 28 billion pounds ($43.6 billion) this year. Based on current figures, Scotland would have the sixth-highest gross domestic product per capita in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Salmond said today. The Scottish government is also looking at extending the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds, he said, as another way to increase the Scottish sense of self governance.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond conversing with his Queen.

Fascinating ...

One of many breathtaking Scottish castle ruins

Lots of Scottish redheads ...

No comments: