Monday, Jan. 10, 2011


Correction appended: Jan. 13, 2011

Scotland has been formally joined with England since 1707, when the two nations dissolved their parliaments and united to form Great Britain. Yet despite centuries of being under London's yoke, Scotland still considers itself a separate country and periodically pushes for independence.

The Scottish National Party (SNP), which supports full independence from Britain, formed in 1934 and won its first British parliamentary seat in 1945. In 1999, Scotland elected its first Parliament in nearly 300 years (though Queen Elizabeth II formally began the opening session — maybe to remind them who was boss?). The Scottish Parliament controls domestic policy in Scotland, while Westminster still handles everything else. Because of this, Scotland could ban smoking when the rest of Britain still allowed cigarettes in public places. The SNP won the nation's 2007 parliamentary elections and has periodically urged Scotland to take up a referendum on independence ever since. Even if passed, the referendum would not be binding unless approved by the British Parliament.

Correction appended: The original version of the slide incorrectly stated that the Scottish National Party won its first Parliamentary seat in 1967.