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The Scottish Referendum - Anarchy in the UK?

Settembre 2014
18 settembre: la Scozia torna a votare per stabilire se separarsi dal governo di Londra. Sarà un altro no? Oppure la maggioranza deciderà finalmente di creare uno stato indipendente? E se dovesse vincere il sì, cosa succederà nel Regno Unito?

di Mark Worden

File audio:

Linda Fabiani
Linda Fabiani

Speaker: Justin Ratcliffe (Standard British accent)

On September 18th the people of Scotland will vote in a referendum on independence. If they vote Yes, the consequences could be dramatic for Scotland, Britain and Europe.


Explaining “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” (i.e. England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) to foreigners is never easy. Technically, Scotland is a nation, and it always has been. It became part of the United Kingdom in the Act of Union of 1707. The Act of Union did not mean that England absorbed Scotland. It meant that the two kingdoms, or nations, became one. In theory they were equal partners, but the fact that the government was in London meant that the English tended to dominate.


Scotland still has its own legal and educational systems. Today it has its own parliament but its powers are limited. It also has its own national teams in sports like football and rugby, although in the Olympics Scottish athletes like tennis star Andy Murray represent Great Britain and not Scotland.


Wales, which signed an act of union with England in 1536, has less autonomy than Scotland. The fourth member of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, is even more complicated. This was formed in 1922, when Protestants in six counties of the northeastern province of Ulster refused to follow the rest of Ireland (which was predominantly Catholic) when it became independent from Britain. The three Catholic counties of Ulster joined the new Irish Free State, which is now called the Republic of Ireland. The “Troubles” began in Northern Ireland in 1969 when the Catholic minority, inspired by the Civil Rights movement in the United States, began to protest against its mistreatment by the Protestant majority.


On September 18th all Scottish residents over the age of 16 can vote to decide whether they want complete independence from the rest of Britain. What will happen if they do? Who will be head of the new state? Will it still be the Queen? Will Scotland stay in the European Union? Will it join the Euro, or will it keep the Pound? And what will happen to the armed forces? There are many famous Scottish regiments but they are part of the British army. And what will happen to the British military and nuclear bases in Scotland? And if the Scots choose independence, will the Welsh and the Catalans want to follow their example? At the moment nobody really knows the answers to these questions.




Speaker: Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

When Speak Up decided to prepare a feature on the referendum in Scotland we approached both sides. The Yes campaign is led by the SNP or Scottish National Party, while the No campaign is called “Better Together,” and is supported by the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. The Yes campaign enthusiastically accepted our interview request, and invited us to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. There we met Linda Fabiani, who was born into Glasgow’s large Italian community. Today she is the Member of the Scottish Parliament for East Kilbride:

Linda Fabiani (Scottish accent)

For me, it's... it’s just the way it should be, of course we should be an independent nation, like any other normal nation, like any normal country in the world, we should be making our own decisions. Why is it that with all this talent, with all that we’ve exported around the world, and with all that we’ve achieved, why is it that our nation seems to be somehow uniquely incapable of running itself? And you could go into a great deal of discussion about that, in terms of history, in terms of the psychology of what happens to nations who have much larger neighbours that they become dependent on to a degree, but you just need to look across the water at all the different small nation states in Europe, look to the Baltic states even, you know, look to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, which is already doing better than the UK, to realize that we can do it too.


Unfortunately, the “Better Together” campaign was less responsive, telling us that they weren’t talking to the foreign press. For this reason we took to the streets of Edinburgh to ask Scottish people for their views. Here again it was hard to find someone who could present the No campaign’s case. The first person we spoke to was Darren Stuart, a tour guide:

Darren Stuart (Scottish accent)

I’ll be voting Yes in the referendum. Me personally, I’ve always considered myself Scottish rather than British, not that I have anything against people from the rest of the United Kingdom! I just see Scotland as a country, and I feel that we should self-govern like pretty much every other country in the world anyway, and I believe that’s our best way forward for the future, most certainly. I think we’re more than capable of running our own affairs, Scotland is a wealthy country, there’s no getting away from that.

Ceri Morrice is a graphic artist :

Ceri Morrice (Scottish accent)

I’m thinking Yes but only because my plan, my plan, my grand plan would be to get a Yes vote and then immediately vote in the Green Party. I think that’s an ideal situation.

Alan Young is an artist:

Alan Young (Scottish accent)

I’ll be voting Yes, I think, partly because of my upbringing and nationalistic reasons, but mainly because Europe makes our rules mostly, and so I think the Union is actually now illegal and defunct. I think Scotland needs to bring its own problems home to it, and deal with them because they’re not going to be dealt with by London, and I really never ever want to see a Tory government in Scotland, ruling Scotland, ever again, ever, and this is a chance to do that.

And David Ross is a teacher:

David Ross (Scottish accent)

I’m going to vote Yes in the referendum. The reasons for that, to me it’s so plain: we are a nation, we are recognized across the world as a nation, but within the British Isles we are recognized as a nation as well. Scotland has only been part of the UK for little over 300 years, and actually, Gibraltar was part of the UK before Scotland. So that really puts things in perspective. Prior to that, for thousands of years, we were a very distinct group of people with a shared history who originally migrated to these islands from Scythia, the part of Europe now known as Northern Ukraine, so we are acutely aware of our shared history, our shared heritage, and it’s something that we want to assert and restore in an age where democracy has became (sic) very futile, and I think that most of the Scots that are going to vote Yes, including myself, are doing so hoping for a more democratic and fair system.

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Vote in the Green Party far vincere i Verdi.  Questo phrasal verb è un’abbreviazione di to vote into power. Per esprimere il concetto di votare in inglese si dice to vote for.

Defunct. Questa parola non ha lo stesso significato di defunto in italiano, bensì di “non più valido”.

Tory. I conservatori. Tradizionalmente gli scozzesi votano per il partito Laburista che, senza la Scozia, sarebbe in grande difficoltà in Inghilterra. Gli scozzesi si lamentano che il Regno Unito ha un governo conservatore mentre quasi nessuno in Scozia l’ha votato.

Where democracy has became.
Dove la democrazia è diventata. Qui David Ross fa un errore, dovrebbe dire has become.