The Scottish Independence Referendum 2014

Publication Date01 December 2014
Date01 December 2014
AuthorTom Mullen
ISSN: 0263-323X, pp. 627±40
The Scottish Independence Referendum 2014
Tom Mullen*
On 18 September, in a historic referendum, the people of Scotland
voted by 55.3 per cent to 44.7 per cent to remain in the United
Kingdom. This article provides an immediate response. It is inevitably
provisional and broadbrush in character and cannot cover all of the
varied and conflicting perspectives on the referendum and its con-
sequences; it is just one man's view. Given the varied international
readership of this journal, I shall assume little prior knowledge of
politics and government in the United Kingdom or of its history.
Citations have been kept to a minimum.
The history of government of the peoples of the `British' Isles is complex.
Today, those peoples are thought to comprise four historic nations (England,
Scotland, Wales, and Ireland) and four peoples. Space does not permit an
adequate summary, so I shall concentrate on the Anglo-Scottish union.
Scotland established itself as an independent kingdom and, apart from a period
during the reign of Edward 1 as King of England, maintained its independence
throughout the medieval period and into early modern times. The first
concrete step towards union with the other kingdoms of the `British Isles' as
they used to be known came in 1603 when, after Queen Elizabeth had died
childless, the crowns of all three kingdoms were inherited by one man, known
to history as James VI of Scotland and James I of England, the first of the
Stuart Monarchs. However, this was merely a personal union; there remained
three separate kingdoms (England and Wales, Ireland, and Scotland).
*School of Law, University of Glasgow, Stair Building, 5±9 The Square,
Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland
This article was completed on 29 September 2014, eleven days after the referendum. I am
grateful to Colin Kidd, Aileen McHarg, James Mitchell, and the editor for their helpful
comments on a draft of this article and the speed with which they provided them. Any
errors are, however, my responsibility alone.
ß2014 The Author. Journal of Law and Society ß2014 Cardiff University Law School

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