The Big Event
This coming Friday Scotland gets to vote on whether it wants to be free from the UK. Right now those favoring independence for the rugged patch of land seem to be slightly ahead……But a lot can change in the days leading up to the vote, even among those picturesque hills that cover the northern tip of Great Britain. No matter how you look at it, this vote is big and the results could create political-cultural ripple effects that would travel around the globe.
If Scotland Votes Yes
As a U.S. citizen, I can’t vote in Scotland, but still that does not stop me from voicing my opinion that Scotland would be better off as an independent nation. Nonetheless, there is no way to predict exactly how a yes vote will play out. This scenario could play out badly for all parties involved, especially Wales, which may want to follow in Scotland’s footsteps, if they succeed.
What A No Vote Means
A “No” vote means the status quo remains in place. Still, there will be changes in Scottish-English relations, for there is a very good chance that London will give the Scottish a little more autonomy within the UK union. A “No” vote also means it will be a long time before Scotland is faced with another opportunity to establish itself as an independent nation. And it also will make things more difficult in Wales, for those who wish to secede. By the way the majority of political leaders from the western nations have gone on record as being opposed to Scottish independence, including our own president, Barrack Obama, who made a very briefly statement that he thought it would be best if the UK remain united.
Quotes About Scotland
1. “My point is there’s a hidden Scotland in anyone who speaks the Northern Ireland speech. It’s a terrific complicating factor, not just in Northern Ireland, but in Ireland generally.” Seamus Heaney
2. “Forgive your enemy, but remember the bastard’s name.” Scottish proverb
3. “In Scotland we have mixed feelings about global warming because we will get to sit on the mountains and watch the English drown.” Frankie Boyle
4. “Of all the small nations of this earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind.” Sir Winston Churchill
5. “Oats. A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.” Samuel Johnson
6. “The Scottish sun, shocked by having its usual cloudy underpinnings stripped away, shone feverishly, embarrassed by its nakedness.” Stuart Haddon
7. “It is one of the most hauntingly beautiful places in the world, the history is fascinating, the men are handsome and the whisky is delicious. But don’t eat the macaroni pies.” JK Rowling
8. “Learning to pipe isn’t easy. At first it always sounds worse than a chicken yard full of squawking adolescent roosters.” Amy Jarecki, from Beauty and the Barbarian
9. “Scotland is the Canada of England!” Rainn Wilson
10. “Edinburgh is a great big black bastard of a city where there are ghosts of all kinds.” Sara Sheridan, Ma Polinski’s Pockets 11. “The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to England!” Samuel Johnson, A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides
12. “If you make a film about a pig farmer in Wales and you are a huge hit as the pig farmer’s wife, the next thing is you’ll be asked to do a film about a sheep farmer in Scotland.” Kristin Scott Thomas
Quotes About the Independence Vote
1. “I have no time for those who say there is no way Scotland could go it alone. I know first-hand the contribution Scotland and Scots make to Britain’s success – so for me there’s no question about whether Scotland could be an independent nation.” David Cameron
2. “I think that the people who would like to see the break-up of the United Kingdom are not the friends of justice, the friends of freedom, and the countries that would cheer at the prospect… are not the countries whose company one would like to keep.” Tony Abbott Prime Minister of Australia
3. “Scottish independence throws up the possibility of a more progressive England. We won’t be British any more, we’ll be English.” Billy Bragg
4. “The simple truth is that Scotland is subject to the same 21st century pressures as the rest of the world. The more I listen to the Yes campaign, the more I worry about its minimisation and even denial of risks.” JK Rowling
5. “I would hate to have you lose Scotland,……..I hope that it doesn’t happen but I don’t have a vote in Scotland……..I would think it would be a loss for both sides.” Hillary Clinton to Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
6. (Scottish Independence) “is too good an opportunity to miss” Sean Connery
7. “Thank you very, very much and Scotland – stay with us.” David Bowie
8. “Staying in the United Kingdom presents greater certainty and stability.” Barrack Obama
9. “I’m deeply suspicious of patriotism. People following the band, you know? I don’t want to be part of it. It’s paved with fools.” J.K. Rowling
10. “All division worries me. The secession of a nation without a history of forced unity has to be handled with tweezers and analysed case by case.” Pope Francis
A More Conservative England
Despite Billy Bragg’s rosy optimism, an independent Scotland could result in a more conservative England. This may be come as a major surprise to anyone residing in the USA or Canada, but the elected Scottish representatives serving in London are a very left-leaning bunch. Take away these politicians and not only will GB be more conservative, but the Labor party, which has a lot of support in Scotland will be significantly weakened. “There’s something fundamentally wrong with a system where there’s been 17 years of a Tory Government and the people of Scotland have voted Socialist for 17 years. That hardly seems democratic.” Sean Connery
A Glimmer of Hope
Most observers seem to agree that a “yes” vote for independence would spur other cultural minorities to seek independence from their respective Motherland. Even before the vote takes place, independence movements have been spurred on in places like the Catalans in Spain and the Flemish in Belgium. Even though it is possible that these movements might succeed in the near future, there is one place, where a new independent nation might be particularly beneficial.
And that my friends is the Middle East, where a internationally recognized Kurdish nation is long overdue and greatly needed. If Scottish independence translates into a Kurdish nation, down the road, then I’m all for it.