On 25th January 2012, First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond presented the Scottish parliament’s consultation document for a referendum on Scottish independence. The document, called Your Scotland Your Referendum, describes itself as “an important first step in the process which will lead to the referendum. It sets out proposals for the question to be asked and the rules governing the campaign and the vote”. It proposes that the referendum will take place in Autumn 2014, that it will be voted on by the residents of Scotland (meaning that “ex-pat” Scots living in England or elsewhere will not be allowed to vote) and that voters will be asked : do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country ?
It also seeks to find out if voters would be interested in having the option to vote for “devolution max” instead of full independence. This would see Scotland remain in the United Kingdom, but would give the Scottish government full fiscal autonomy, while leaving issues such as defence and foreign affairs as the responsibility of the UK government. Unionists are against this option being included, and are calling instead for a simple “yes or no” ballot.
The document also asks if 16 and 17-year-olds should be allowed to vote in the referendum. This is another point on which the SNP and Unionists disagree : the former say yes, believing that youngsters are more likely to back independence, the latter believe that voting should be restricted to 18-year-olds and over, as in a general election.
The paper can be read in full at : http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publicat...