The first Scottish referendum

In one week from today, the Scottish people will take to the polls to vote on whether to become an independent nation. This comes exactly 17 years and one week after their previous major referendum, after which the Scottish Parliament was born.

On 11 September 1997 a vote was held to decide whether Scotland should have its own parliament. 74 per cent voted for a Scottish parliament in the first vote and in the second, 63 per cent backed the prospective parliament to control the rate of income tax.

In 1998, the Scotland Act was passed, allowing Scotland to form its own government. Powers for the new government included health and social work, justice and policing and economic development, as well as education and training, among others.

The UK Parliament still retained the rights to control issues such as foreign affairs, finances, employment, immigration and energy regulation.

A Yes vote on 18 September would give Scotland official independence, and therefore complete rights over all matters, having gone partway there 17 years ago today.