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Scotland’s Choices

The Referendum and What Happens Afterwards

Iain McLean, Jim Gallagher, Guy Lodge

Edition: 2

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Everything you need to know about Scotland’s independence referendum: the options, the big issues and what happens next

New for this edition

  • Contains new details not available for the first edition: the date, the question, and many related issues
  • Analyses the recently published Scottish Government whitepaper, 'Scotland's Future : Your Guide to an Independent Scotland' – the SNP's vision of what will happen should the vote be Yes
  • Includes new sections evaluating the policy positions set out by the Scottish and UK Governments

Scotland faces its biggest choice since the 1707 union – should Scotland be an independent country? The Yes and No campaigns are well under way but with the vote looming closer the information available to the public is still limited. The Scottish people will have to make their own judgments, and so they need to have the issues explained as clearly as possible without spin or bias. What will happen after the referendum? How will Westminster and the rest of the UK respond? What happens if the vote is 'No'? Is it even clear what independence will mean? What about the oil? What will the currency be? What will happen to the Old Age Pension pot if the UK splits?

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List of Tables
List of Figures
1. What it means to have a referendum on independence
2. Independence for Scotland: what would it mean in practice?
3. The Calman Commission and the Scotland Act 2012
4. The possibilities for more devolution
5. A social union?
6. The principles of fiscal federalism
7. Oil
8. Devolution and separation in the United Kingdom since 1707
9. After the Vote

About the Author

Iain McLean is Official Fellow in Politics, Nuffield College, Oxford, and Professor of Politics, University of Oxford. He is the author of more than 100 papers and 15 books. Iain was born in Edinburgh and educated at the Royal High School and Oxford University. He has worked in Newcastle, (where he was also a county councillor), Warwick, and Oxford and held various visiting professorships overseas. He has been studying devolution and Scottish independence since his postgraduate dissertation on the SNP. He is a Fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Unlike the other little boys who watched the trains go under Blackford Road bridge, he became an engine-driver (on a narrow-gauge steam railway in Wales). He has co-authored two policy explainer books for Edinburgh University Press: Scotland's Choices: The Referendum and What Happens Afterwards and Legally Married: Love and Law in the UK and the US.

Jim Gallagher has worked as a civil servant for the UK Government and the Scottish Executive for over 30 years. He was senior advisor to two Prime Ministers on devolution strategy (2007–2010), Secretary of the Calman Commission on Scottish Devolution, and expert advisor to the Scottish Parliament committee considering the Scotland Bill. He is Gwilym Gibbon Fellow at Nuffield College, University Oxford, Visiting Professor in the Glasgow University Law School and Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Guy Lodge is Associate Director at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), one of the UK’s leading think tanks. He is responsible for IPPR’s work on political and constitutional reform and devolved politics has published widely in this area. He is Gwilym Gibbon Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, and co-author with Anthony Seldon of Brown at 10, a history of the Brown premiership.


One of the essential books on the referendum debate.
- Martin Kettle, The Guardian

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