Reading: Today is the Scottish referendum
Intermediate level (B1-B2)
The vote could be quite close and it’s possible that after 307 years of political union, Scotland will, once again, be a separate country.
Just before Scotland and England joined together, Scotland had experienced major financial problems due to poor harvests and a disastrous colonial adventure in central America called the Darien Scheme. Also England had been blocking Scottish trade. In addition there was concern in England that a separate Scottish parliament might support a Catholic monarch.
This meant that a unification of the two countries appealed to the government in England and the most powerful people Scotland (who were promised money from London and is seen by some people as as a bribe). However many ordinary Scottish people, who did not have a vote, did not support the union of the parliaments.
Even though a new Scottish parliament came into existence in 1999, it only had limited powers (Scotland has independent education and legal systems). Today the main arguments seem to centre on the question of economic benefit and the freedom to make independent decisions. I have a feeling that this vote is being watched by many countries in the world. By Friday morning, we’ll know the result!
referendum: direct vote on a particular issue
harvest: the season’s food
disastrous: highly unsuccessful
block: to stop or prevent
monarch: the king or queen
bribe: money given to someone so they do or say something