I’m breaking my no-politics rule to weigh in on Scottish independence. Of course the implications in favor are far greater than against. But … either way this threat of divorce will have impact Britain and the rest of us for years.
There’s a debate about whether people who will decide will vote with their heads or with their hearts. Here’s my internal debate:
Heart says “independent Scotland.” It’s a very different place from staid old England. I remember sitting on a train waiting to go into the Highlands for a bike trip. At that time, one could take real china cups full of good coffee to one’s seat and then return the empties to the takeout window at the station’s before the train pulled out.
As I was caffeinating, a man of indeterminate age walked up to the bike riders open train windows with a gorgeous golden retriever. He staggered a bit. It was 8 a.m., but he seemed to have already visited the pub for a “wee dram.” He smiled at the Americans and announced, “Let me introduce you to my dog, the bitch Maggie Thatcher!” We gasped, but the Scots on the platform broke out the equivalent of high-fives. It was the first time I realized that not everyone in Britain was enamored of the Iron Lady.
In connection with the above, head says Scotland should remain in the union because it provides a counterbalance to the excesses of English conservatism, which caused unemployment to explode, which then led to xenophobia because “they” were taking away jobs.
Head also says go independent because Scotland can build and renew its ties with older traditional allies. Before there was a European Union, there was a French-Scottish tie. The common enemy of course was England. The result when I visited was excellent French wine that cost less than it did a few miles south and of course far less than I paid in the U.S.
It’s one indication of confusion that when I looked for an image of a flag to accompany this post, I didn’t get a single answer. Check out U.S. flag, you get the same picture unless you add the word “historical.” For Scotland I found the Saltire, the Rampant Lion, and the Satire with the Rampant Lion in the center
Scottish at Heart defines Saltire as “a cross with diagonal bars of equal length.” Scotland.com dates it from 832 ACE. The Rampant Lion aka the Royal Flag, dates from 1165 and features a lion with a heraldic description. The flag entry concludes:
With the unification of England, Ireland and Scotland under one government, the Union Jack became the national flag of the United Kingdom. It is said to be made up of the flags of Scotland, England and Ireland and its use is strictly sanctioned and limited only to governmental and military use. The dragon of Wales was not incorporated. Should any member of these countries desire to fly a flag, they are only permitted to make use of their country’s native flags.
Huh? OK, so head and heart say there will be agony either way.
Conclusion: In the long run, Scotland will be better off on its own.