Timeline to Independence

The campaign for Scotland’s independence is being muddied and distorted by a chaotic media narrative. The Scottish people deserve a debate that is clear, clean and comprehensive. We think one of the best ways we can contribute to this is through the design and promotion of infographics. These have been used with enormous success by Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and we’ve been creating them since the very start of our own campaign for independence.

Making the often complex details of Scotland’s referendum clear and accessible through imaginative design is an essential part of winning the argument, and it’s particularly necessary when facing an opposition determined to confuse and scare the voter into preserving the status quo. So please read, enjoy and share – faced with facts, who wouldn’t choose the full powers to shape our future?

Nobody’s perfect. Spotted a mistake? Let us know here.

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Spread The Message, Raise The Debate. 

Design by Ross Colquhoun.

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  • http://twitter.com/DouglasDaniel Doug Daniel

    I disagree with one point – that 2015 would be the last ever UK election. We’re currently in the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, and it’s important to remember that. I know some of us like to say this would be the dissolution of the 1707 Acts of Union, but the reality is they created the United Kingdom of Great Britain, which was modified in 1800 to the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland, which in turn was modified last century to the current status.

    Scotland leaving will not end the UK any more than the majority of Ireland leaving did. It’ll just mean there are two “Kingdoms” united, rather than three (Wales being a principality rather than a kingdom…)

    Nice graphic though!

    • Dave_Coull

      Recently I took my big sister out for the day. She is ninety years old, a widow, and disabled, and just about the only time she gets out of the house is when I take her somewhere. We went to the seaside, then to a cafe in Montrose, one with easy access and a good disabled toilet. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland dates from 1922. As a matter of fact, they didn’t get around to adopting that name until 5 or 6 years after the Partition of Ireland; they still kept calling it “the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” for a few more years. So, my sister is either a few months older than the UK, or 5 or 6 years older than the UK. Having been around before the UK was born, she may yet be around when it is no more.

      But, it will be objected that’s just the present incarnation of the UK, before that there was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Well, yes, there was. That UK lasted one hundred and twenty one years.

      And before that there was the first UK, which just consisted of Scotland and England. That lasted 94 years.

      Before that there was a period of 104 years when Scotland and England were separate but had the same monarch. Except that period of 104 years wasn’t an unbroken period, it was in two different periods separated by the Commonwealth of England, a sort-of-republic, but with Cromwell as “Lord
      Protector” in the later stages of that republic.

      And before that, of course, you had two completely separate kingdoms.

      When Scotland becomes independent (again) the United Kingdom of Great Britain will be no more. What you will have is two “successor states”.

      If one of these two successor states, the one with its capital in London, chooses to call itself “the UK”, nobody can stop it from doing so; but it won’t
      be a “continuing” UK, it won’t be the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

      A sovereign, independent country, can call itself anything it damn well likes. A country can call itself “The United Empire of The Entire World”, and the only thing other countries can do, short of declaring war, is point the finger of scorn and laugh.

      Great Britain is the name of a physical land mass and independence isn’t going to change physical geography. GB was given that name by the French. In 1066 England was conquered by the French-speaking Normans, and, for centuries after that, the ruling class of England continued to have land in France, and continued to speak French. Richard the Lionheart, or Richard Coeur De Lion as they actually called him back then, spent more of his time, as King of England, in his native Aquitaine and his other French possessions, than he ever spent in England, in fact out of his entire life he only ever spent a few months in England. Anyway, the French word for “Brittany” (a province of France) and the French word for “Britain” are spelled exactly the same and pronounced exactly the same. So when the French rulers of England wanted a word to describe the entire island of which England was only the southern part, they came up with Grande Bretagne – Big Britain, to distinguish ot from Brittany, which was Little Britain. A few centuries later, when the ruling class of England finally got around to speaking English, they translated “Grande Bretagne” as “Great Britain”. In those days, “great” didn’t have the meaning it acquired in later centuries. It simply meant “the bigger one”. There are dozens of examples of this use of “great”, for example Great Coates in Lincolnshire, which is just a wee village, but a bigger wee village than the other wee village nearby just called Coates.

      Of course the rUK couldn’t go on indefinitely, with “Great Britain” in its name, it would just become an international laughing stock, with lots of jokes about “Little Britain”.

      It would obviously be silly for the rumpUK to go on claiming,indefinitely, to include “Great Britain”, when, in fact, the northern part of the land mass of Great Britain would be a separate country. But they probably won’t call it the United Kingdom of England and Northern Ireland. When they get around to changing the name, the most likely candidate is the United Kingdom of England, Northern Ireland, and Wales. That lists the three territories in alphabetical order, and it would give some long-overdue recognition to the existence of Wales.

      So, yes, 2015 could, indeed, be the last ever UK election.

      • Dave_Coull

        Or, to put it another way, 2015 could indeed be the last ever BRITISH election.

      • http://twitter.com/DouglasDaniel Doug Daniel

        Dave, I think you ruin your own argument about half-way through when you say :

        “When Scotland becomes independent (again) the United Kingdom of Great Britain will be no more. What you will have is two “successor states”.”

        The “United Kingdom of Great Britain” was no more after 1800, which is precisely my point. You talk as if Scotland and England alone make up the UK, and if that were true, one kingdom leaving a two-kingdom union would indeed see its dissolution. But that’s not the case – we’re not “the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland”.

        Put simply, the terms “UK” and “Great Britain” are not interchangeable, and the reason for that is because the UK means Great Britain AND Northern Ireland. Once we become independent, it’s the “Great Britain” part that will become inaccurate, not the “United Kingdom” part. I suspect it will change to “the United Kingdom of England, Wales & Northern Ireland”, and thus will remain “the UK”.

        Having said that, retaining the “UK of GB & NI” moniker would arguably be analogous to several other examples throughout the world:

        Republic of Ireland – only includes the south part of the island of Ireland

        Sudan – only includes the northern part of Sudan

        Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – only includes the northern part of Korea

        Who knows – we may see people referring to rUK as South Britain in the same way we refer to DPRK as North Korea!

        • Dave_Coull

          When the Chinese Civil War ended in a Communist victory, and their Chinese Nationalist opponents under General Chang Kai Shek were driven out of all parts of the mainland, and only had Taiwan left, the anti-communist government in Taiwan still claimed to be the Republic of China. Neither Taiwan nor Peking accepted that Taiwan was a separate country. They both stated that they wanted re-unification, on their own terms. Similarly, the division between North and South in Korea arose out of a civil war, which then became a wider conflict, but neither North nor South ever accepted the division of that country. They both said it was a temporary condition, and they wanted re-unification on their own terms. Neither side recognises a “border” to this day; there is merely a temporary cease-fire line. Of course, the division between South Vietnam and North Vietnam DID end in re-unification, as did the division between East and West Germany. All of these are examples where neither side ever accepted the division as permanent. As for the Republic of Ireland, that name was specifically intended to state a territorial claim to ALL of the island of Ireland.

          The original United Kingdom will indeed cease to exist when Scotland is independent. Any claim to the contrary would be a hostile claim, just as in the case of China, Korea, Vietnam, Germany, and, indeed, Ireland.

          Now, of course there could be a new “United Kingdom of England, Northern Ireland,and Wales”. But it would not be the “continuing” United Kingdom. It would be one of two “successor states” of that original UK.

          • http://twitter.com/DouglasDaniel Doug Daniel

            Fair points with Korea and Ireland, although I made no mention of China, Vietnam or Germany, and the Sudan point still stands. And who knows, we may yet see people trying to claim the referendum is bogus and therefore Scotland still belongs to GB, or that “UK of GB & NI” just means the parts of GB that are united, or something equally convoluted. My point was simply that it’s not unthinkable that the UK government will decide not to bother changing the name, or at the very least drag its heels about doing so.

            “Now, of course there could be a new “United Kingdom of England, Northern Ireland,and Wales”. But it would not be the “continuing” United Kingdom. It would be one of two “successor states” of that original UK.”

            But that doesn’t change the fact that the state containing England, Northern Ireland and Wales will almost certainly (if only for convenience’s sake) still call itself “the UK” once Scotland becomes independent – it’s just the definition of UK which will change.

            My overriding point is that it’s not for us to declare that 2015 will be the last ever UK election, as it sounds a bit like trying to dictate to the remainder of the UK what it calls itself. A bit like when someone leaves a band and then declares that the remaining band members must change their name, even though THEY were the one to leave. In such situations, it’s always the one making the demands that looks like the bad guy.

            Perhaps I’m just being a bit fussy about language, though…

          • Dave_Coull

            If this argument is just about what we call the 2015 election, okay, let’s call it the last BRITISH election. If it was the last election which was general to all parts of the land mass of Great Britain, then that would indeed be an accurate description. But I don’t think the argument is really just about how we describe the 2015 election.

            Sudan has a fanatical muslim fundamentalist government which subscribes to the idea of a single world-ruling Muslim Caliphate, and they fought a long and vicious forty years’ war to try to prevent the predominantly Christian and animist South Sudan breaking away. I really don’t think Sudan is a good example.

            As for your analogy of a rock band, Doug, in this case, the original band had only 2 members. If half of the original band leaves, it’s not the same band.

            Yes, they can continue to call themselves the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Like I pointed out, a sovereign, independent country can call itself the United Empire of The Entire
            World if it likes. The main thing preventing silly name claims is laughter, Continuing to keep the name “Great Britain” would be guaranteed to lead to lots of jokes about “Little Britain”, “Lesser Britain”, etc. The UK was 5 or so years late in changing its name when 26 counties of Ireland left, and could again drag its heels over a name change. But the name change did eventually happen in the case of Ireland, and it will probably happen again, if only because being a laughing stock becomes unbearable.

            But it’s not the NAME that we’re arguing about, not really. The dispute is about the international status of the two states. Before the UK was formed, you had 2 kingdoms, Scotland and England. The Kingdom of England already ruled over both Wales and Ireland before the UK was formed. I say the original UK would be no more, and what you would have would be two new-ish “successor states”; and that both states would be new-ish regardless of how they choose to describe themselves.

          • http://twitter.com/DouglasDaniel Doug Daniel

            Dave, your argument is flawed due to the fact you persist with the notion that the current UK is the same UK that was formed in 1707. It just isn’t.

            “As for your analogy of a rock band, Doug, in this case, the original band had only 2 members. If half of the original band leaves, it’s not the same band.”

            The band started off with two members (with a third who wasn’t allowed to call itself a member). It currently has four.

            And it is indeed the name I’m arguing about. Perhaps this is the problem here – I’m arguing one thing on one premise, and you’re arguing another thing on a different premise.

  • http://twitter.com/jemmasaid Jemma Beedie

    Doesn’t a fork in the road usually take you to two different destinations?

    • http://twitter.com/nationalopinion National Collective

      Only if you stop.

      • http://twitter.com/jemmasaid Jemma Beedie

        Eh? I’m confused. If the road takes you to only one destination, why would it fork? What’s stopping got to do with it?

        • http://twitter.com/nationalopinion National Collective

          The fork is between ‘Yes’ and ‘No'; two contrasting paths for Scotland’s future. This infographic focuses on the ‘Yes’ path, the ‘Timeline to Independence’.

          Please read this erudite article by Calum Wright for an explanation of why Independence is a process and not a destination:
          http://nationalcollective.com/2012/09/11/independence-is-a-process-not-a-destination/

          • http://twitter.com/jemmasaid Jemma Beedie

            I’m all for Independence. I’m right there on board with you. I’ll go and read the article right now. I just think it’s a failure of a metaphor.

          • http://twitter.com/nationalopinion National Collective

            It’s open to debate. Why do you think that?

          • http://twitter.com/ScotlandThinks Rory Scothorne

            Hi Jemma, the “fork in the road” is intended to counter the belief that independence or remaining in the union are end-points in themselves; a belief that the No camp are attempting to promote. The point we’re trying to get across with it is that when one votes “No”, it’s not really a simple endorsement of the Union as it stands – it’s a commitment to carry on down the same road we’re currently travelling, with rising inequality, growing euroscepticism, privatisation of public services, tax cuts for the wealthy and the continuing erosion of universal benefits and support for those most in need. When one votes “Yes”, it’s not a simple endorsement of a set prospectus for independence – it’s a commitment to take a different road, one that breaks away from all the things that make the Union a dangerous place to be. Independence is the moment that we set out on the road to a better Scotland, not the moment that it will be realised.

  • Dave_Coull

    Regarding the “Last Ever UK election” in 2015. Some folk claim it wouldn’t be, but, given a vote for independence in the referendum, it would almost certainly be the last election for the original UK, the United Kingdom of Great Britain, formed by the Union of Scotland and England. It would be the last BRITISH election. So, that raises a question. Do we even take part in it? Given that the independence negotiations ought to be well advanced by that time, is there any point in the SNP, or the Green Party, or the Scottish Socialist Party, taking part? Would there even be any point in the Labour Party in Scotland taking part? Presumably they will have by that time accepted the decision for independence, and they will be focussed on working out Labour Party policies for the new independent Scotland. Why would they want to put up candidates who, if elected, would only serve for about a year? What would be the point?

    • http://twitter.com/DouglasDaniel Doug Daniel

      “it would almost certainly be the last election for the original UK, the United Kingdom of Great Britain, formed by the Union of Scotland and England.”

      That election took place in 1796!

      The main point is something I’ve wondered a few times myself, and there are arguments both ways. The idea of refusing to stand in the elections because we’ve decided that we’re going to become independent is appealing, but from a practical perspective, we’ll still be under Westminster rule for at least 18 months, which is plenty of time for back-bench Tory MPs to cause all sorts of mischief, and there would be no Scottish MPs there to try and stop that. I don’t even mean folk trying to make negotiations difficult here – just things like trying to stop any spending going to Scotland. “Why should we continue to fund army bases in Scotland?” they might ask, for instance.

      Perhaps Scottish MPs could, on the day we formally become independent, move to Holyrood as de facto MSPs, sort of in the same way the first few Dáils in Ireland were formed by MPs elected to Westminster, as a precursor to Holyrood increasing in size (which I expect it to do as I don’t think 129 MPs is enough for a country of 5 million people).

      There’s also the fact that it may take longer than 18 months to negotiate independence. It’s always enticing to look at how the Czechs and Slovaks only took two years to work things out, but to my knowledge they didn’t have a Czechoslovakian election 6 months into that. As Patrick Harvie was saying on Twitter yesterday, this could severely impact the process, as political parties will be focussed on other things beforehand, and the 2015 government may take time to bed in after. Although it may also be the case that negotiations are largely carried out by civil servants, and therefore it doesn’t matter about politicians. Also, we already have an element of autonomy – there’s no need to worry about how to divvy up justice, health and education systems, for instance.

      All in all, I reckon that as long as there are MPs purporting to be representing Scotland, it would be good for the best people to be in the job.

      • http://dougiesplace.blogspot.com/ douglas clark

        I have a few concerns about the 2015 GE. It would seem to me that the Labour Party could have a manifesto commitment to assume that a majority vote for them at Westminster from the Scottish electorate was sufficient to unravel the referendum decision. As they generally return the most MPs from Scotland anyway could they get away with that?

        • Calum Findlay

          They have said they would express the wishes of the people after the referendum, so no I don’t think a party policy can make change like that.

          If Scotland gets a Yes vote, I don’t imagine we would take part in the UK General Election in 2015. What would be the point of all the Scottish MP’s only going in for a limited time then leaving? I don’t see independence waiting until 2020.