The British Isles in 2017

The separation of Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom began in 2012, when the Scottish Parliament authorised a referendum on Scottish independence. The result of this referendum stood at 45% for independence and 50% against (the remainder 5% either spoiled their ballot or are considered to have been “undecided”). Despite the result, the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) requested a second referendum on the grounds that the English media had led a campaign of disinformation aimed at Scottish readers. Additionally, there had been reports of sectarian violence from both Loyalists and Republicans as well as attempts to influence the vote.

The result of this second referendum (which itself was strongly opposed by Westminster) came in as 42% against independence and 52% for. The SNP then began negotiations with Westminster about succeeding although allegations of antagonistic and childish behavior during meetings were leveled at both the Conservatives and SNP.

The Edinburgh Accords were signed in October 2013. The Accords placed North Sea oilfields under joint Scottish and English/Welsh control and all parties were required to provide funds for investment. The UK’s nuclear submarines would remain in their current bases in Scotland but as the subs were being returned to Westminster, the bases would be rented. There had been a number of Scottish politicians who had campaigned for the UK’s four Vanguard-class Trident submarines to be either bought outright or split between the two countries to act as a deterrent against Scotland’s militarily stronger neighbour. Several Labour MPs had actually supported Scotland in retaining Trident in the hope of achieving nuclear disarmament by the back door. However, the leader of the SNP decided that as removing nuclear weapons from Scottish soil had been an election promise and that considering how insistent Westminster was in having them, selling them made much sense.

Additionally, the Accords forced Scotland to take 33% of the national debt and sign a vast number of trade agreements and non-aggression pacts. By wishing to leave the United Kingdom, Scotland instantly dropped out of the European Union and was forced to reapply.

Over the next three years, Edinburgh and Westminster negotiated back and forth until a final referendum in March 2016 gave a final Yes vote (65%) to independence. At first, Westminster refused point-blank to accept Scottish Independence but when a number of car bombs were found in Manchester and London, Cameron finally signed the Scottish Independence Act into law in February 2016.

A contest was held to select a design for the new Union flag as the blue of the flag had to be removed as it represented Scotland. The winning design was chosen based on how similar it was to the original Union flag except the blue had been substituted with green to represent Wales, which hadn’t been represented before.

A period of 12 months was established to allow those Scots who wished to move to England could do so as well as the relevant tax codes and legal documents to be changed.

Scotland’s first day as an independent nation for nearly 400 years was the 2nd April 2017. The first act of the new government was to declare this day a national holiday.

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