Number 9, Volume 2
Pride vs Pragmatism
AD 79 — Julius Agricola begins the Roman conquest of North Britain.
AD 360 — Picts and Scots invade Hadrian’s Wall reaching as far as London.
AD 407- Roman legions withdraw from Britain.
1045 — Battle of Dunkeld between pro- and anti-Macbeth armies.
1529 — Sir David Lyndsay’s ‘Complayant to the King’ published.
1548 — Mary Queen of Scots is sent to France for her protection.
1561 — Mary Queen of Scots returns to Scotland.
1587 — Mary Queen of Scots executed in England.
1603 — James VI of Scotland also becomes James I of England.
1759 — Birth of Robert Burns.
1818 — Walter Scott publishes Rob Roy.
1821 — Census shows population of Scotland: 2,092,000. (2014: 5,254,001 – the “1” is because I returned my mother to her native Scotland.)
1939 — Second World War begins. Conscription introduced.
1940 — Evacuation of Dunkirk.
1952 — Death of King George VI. Accession of Elizabeth I (II of England, with controversy over her title in Scotland.)
1966 — Major gas discoveries in North Sea.
1988 — A Pan Am jumbo jet is destroyed by a terrorist bomb in Lockerbie.
2004 — Edinburgh becomes UNESCO’s first ‘City of Literature.’
2014 — Scots vote to separate from the United Kingdom.
Voting ‘yes’ for Scottish independence is not about being anti-English; rather on September 18th, 2014, voters will decide whether or not their pride is stronger than their pragmatism.
The Scots have always been fiercely autonomous, and whereas I have never been an Anglophile, I do not believe it is in their best interest to separate from the United Kingdom. I have always considered the royals to be glorified celebrities, and don’t fancy bobbing up and down to a queen or a king, just because they have more money than I. Having grown up in South and North America, I have never been a royalist, so in this regard I tend to vote ‘yes’ - break away and make your own decisions without having to be subservient to the EU and NATO.
An independent Scotland might mean Scotland will no longer be a part of the UK or EU. If it becomes a separate country, I have no idea what will happen to their economy. Presently, they are generously receiving taxpayer money from England and they enjoy free university tuition and medical prescriptions. But Scots want to be more like Denmark, Norway and Sweden; proof that small countries can exist on their own without political interference from bigger nations.
In 1997, the then-Labour government offered Scotland a vote of a devolved Scottish Parliament, giving them their own control over education, social services and home affairs, hoping that would be enough to sate their appetite for independence.
It was the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Braveheart generation, who wanted this referendum. This party tends to be a little left-leaning, more so than the English. The English had to endure deep financial cuts in their economy, but the Scots not so much. Their thinking is more autonomy, more free stuff. In other words, their taxes stay with them in Scotland and not disbursed to Britain and therefore into the pockets of “foreigners.”
During WW2, Polish soldiers were sent to the Scottish coastal regions to defend the country. Scots don’t like England with its nuclear weapons and politics. But who will defend them if another war surfaces? What will happen to their economy if the North Sea oil dries up or is blockaded or confiscated? Would their army suffice to defend them? Discovery of oil in the North Sea in 1966, led to the SNP’s slogan: ‘it’s our oil.’ But is it really?
By being united, there is a strong alliance worldwide. The world is in a mess at the moment and there is strength in unity. What would Scotland do if the Chinese decided to invade them? There are about 30% of undecided voters. I, however, must let reason overcome passion, and would have to vote: NO. Separation is not realistic in these dangerous times. “Divide et impera,” (divide and rule) an old axiom which works quite well and is currently being implemented by President Obama as his current political philosophy.
I am patriotically Scottish, but I am of the opinion that we are all too interconnected to be passionate about independence in a globalised world with ongoing wars in Israel, Ukraine, and the Middle East. Scots should continue with their tremendous love of their culture and enjoy what they created: lovely tartans, kilts, whisky, shortbread, a strong cup of tea, and the enjoyment of a good natter with a neighbour; but leave things just as they are.
After all, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle if things don’t work out. I am not saying that the Scots are not sophisticated enough to govern their own country. They are very well educated, and might even be able to increase the welfare state, and lower their taxes, and rid themselves of a costly monarchy that is useless in this day and age, but realistically speaking, you are only a country of 5,500,000 people, and if the Arabs decided to invade your shores, this time you won’t have the friendly Poles to defend you. You would have no choice but to plead with Donald Trump to protect St. Andrews, and that my friends, might cost you more. So for the 30% of undecided voters: Think twice! A NO vote will keep you as you are.
Now, that I have said my piece, I will wrap my silk Lindsay scarf around my neck, grab a wee drab of Glenlivet, read some Robbie Burns, a nibble of shortbread, and call my mother in Dundee.
“Hi Mom – how are you going to vote?”
“Who’se this? I can’t hear you? Granny Lindsay, a right Scottish Christian, widna want nae change.”
“How’s the weather over there?”
“Cald. Are ye in yer pool yet?”
“Have been all month. It’s monsoon season now in Arizona.”
“I canna understand a word yer sayin’.”
UPDATE: Scotland rejected independence from the UK in a 54 to 45 vote.