Free Scotland?

This morning at a gas station, I saw a bumper sticker that said, “Independence for Scotland”. Huh? I didn’t know they were being oppressed. Why do they want to be independent? I figured they were reasonably happy under Britain’s wing.

Remember, I’m pulling for you; we’re all in this together.
—Red Green

Hell no! They’re about as unhappy about it as a few hundred “Colonists” were 220+ years ago, and they’re in a similar situation. As I recall from my trip to Scotland, they are under English rule, but they don’t have any Parliamentary representation, and the laws that are passes regarding Scotland aren’t very fair to the Scottish people. Now, most of them that I talked with weren’t totally for immediate Scottish independence- they’d like to see some representation first. They’re smart enough to know that they’d probably be a little clueless about leadership at first- after all, there are still clans that are active, and some that are VERY active (most tartan that people wear is Royal Campbell, an existing clan) and these clans vied for Scottish Kingship for generations. As I recall, the MacLeod’s were the figureheads of the Scottish people.


Engineer: as of this year, Scotland does have its own Parliament. They do, however, remain under the monarchy of the United Kingdom.

Could you elaborate on what you mean by “active clan?” My clan, the Gregor, makes no bones about “claim to kingship;” after all, the Clan Motto (translated into English) is “My Race is Royal!”

Well, active was sort of used as a relative term. By active, I meant as active as possible as a clan… perhaps in my first post “existing” would have been a better term. Your MacGregor example is sort of what I meant by active; if kingship became available today, there would be several clans that could and would make strong cases for their instatement. So, “VERY active” would be a clan that had a stronger case than most… I’ll try to elucidate regarding ambiguous terms more often in the future. (not that I did a great job here, just suffice to say that I’ll try to choose more carefully in the future)


um, engineerboy, to the best of my knowledge Scotland is represented in the UK Parliament; in fact, it tends to be one of the strongholds for Labour, currently in power in London. It may be that based on their population they don’t have nearly as many seats as England, but that’s a different issue.

Besides everyone wants to get off “Scott Free”

Magnificent to behold - Greatly to be praised.

There’s an interesting article on the situation in this months Atlantic Monthly. Basically, the Scots are in pretty much the same position as Texans – they are represented in the national government and have the opportunity to take part in the lawmaking process. They seem to be doing quite well at it, too – much more government money is going back to Scotland than is being paid in taxes. Like Texas, the Scots were once independent, but also like Texas, the fact had little relevance other than nostalgia.

Of course, has an ancient tradition of fighting the English. Too ancient – the rivalries and fights died out centuries ago. The reason why Scotland doesn’t have a legislature is because the Scottish legislature itself decided to disband itself as unnessary. Scotland is a part of Great Britain because they took over England (though the ascent of James I), not the other way around.

The issue is part of the bigger issue of tribalization. People around the world are more and more identifying themselves with one small ethnic group and reviving “traditions.”

Take the number one symbol of Scotland: the kilt. It was invented by an Englishman in 1727. No one in Scotland would be caught dead wearing them (except the most destitute) until England decided to ban them in 1745. Suddenly they became the thing to wear. The tartan was invented at the same time, for the same reason. If England hadn’t banned the kilt, no one would be wearing them today. So most of the “revered traditions” of Scotland are not what most people think.

There is a strong trend of people to identify themselves into smaller and smaller tribes instead of uniting for the common good (“common good” seems to be a forgotten concept these days). This didn’t work particularly well in the Balkans, but the fact doesn’t stop the trend toward fragmenting societies.

My roommate’s a Scottish Nationalist, and he could explain this a lot better, but he’s out of town so I’ll try.

Scotland does have representation in Parliament (as well as having its own Parliament, which so far hasn’t really done much). It isn’t oppressed in the same way as, say, East Timor. But there are numerous reasons why many (if not yet most) Scots would prefer independence:

[ul][li]Scotland’s support for the Labour Party (noted above). When the Tories are in power Scots are ruled by a party relatively few of them voted for.[/li][li]Their resources (specifically the North Sea oil) - under the Union, Scots don’t get a lot of the money from them.[/li][li]The “British” government has often acted in a way that shows at best lack of concern and at worst outright disdain for the Scots, for example introducing the Poll Tax in Scotland and putting unsafe nuclear facilities there.[/li][li]The Scottish cattle industry has been hurt by the mad cow scare despite the fact its cows have never suffered the disease (Scottish cows don’t eat offal) - just because it’s “British beef” they can’t give the stuff away.[/li][li]Many of the English people forget that there are two other countries within Britain. The BBC reporters for years referred to “us” when speaking of the English national (football) team and to this day still shows a much greater interest in English football than in Scottish. Given how seriously they take their football over there this is a really, really big source of resentment for the Scots. Many English merchants will not accept Scottish-issued banknotes, which are legal tender in England. Any Scottish person (including those that don’t want independence) can give you numerous other examples of little indignities like this.[/ul][/li]
There are other things too but those are probably the main reasons. For more info see (the link about the real reason Westminster fears independence is definitely worth a look :))

Whoa there. James was king of both countries simultaneously but the two were still administered separately, and James actually ruled from London. The Act of Union (from 1707, almost a century after James’s death) was agreed to by a small handful of powerful nobles (who were basically threatened and bribed) and was not supported by either the Scottish parliament or the Scottish people. No it wasn’t an armed takeover but that doesn’t make it a voluntary union either.

RealityChuck: Scotland does have a national parliament as of 1999.

Try to keep up with the Times.

Didn’t I just read recently that Sean Connery got turned down for a Knighthood because of his support for Scottish independence?

(Connery…the only Bond. Accept no substitutes)

Lex Non Favet Delictorum Votis

JBENZ: I don’t think that was officially admitted as the reason but everyone seems to assume it to be the case. (Or maybe I just missed the official announcement.) But him being a Scottish Nationalist I don’t know why he’d want one anyway…

According to the article in The Atlantic, Scotland is overrepresented in the Westminster parliament. There are currently 72 Scottish MPs, to have the same population/MP ratio as England, the number should be 58. Also, Scotland gets a lot of money from being in Britain. Scotland sends L99 to Westminster and receives L120 per person, England sends L114 and receives L76 per person. (L is the pound sign, I don’t have it on my keyboard.) Since Scotland elected its own parliament, there is another problem. Scottish MPs sit in Westminster and decide on purely English matters (especially since the current Labor government has centralized decision making), but English MPs in Westminster have no similar powers over Scotland. (For the really detail oriented, this is known as the “West Lothian problem.”)

Also, according to an article in The Economist a bit ago (and if anyone cares I can get a citation and some details), the SNP is seriously overstating the amount of revenue they should get from North Sea oil. IIRC, this has something to do with what set of international rules are followed when they draw the border between England and Scotland in the offshore waters.

Two of those issues (the deficit Scotland allegedly runs and the percentage of oil that is Scotland’s) are addressed on the website I posted the link to. The first one is a bit too complicated for me to sum up. The second apparently is that the figures Westminster gives are based on the assumption that the border of the North Sea would continue to run at the same angle as the land border between England and Scotland, when in fact in other matters Westminster recognizes all the water north of the 55th parallel to be Scottish, and presumably therefore so should the oil be.

Really? Then I wonder where N.C. Wyeth got his information. He illustrated The Scottish Chiefs, which was set in the very end of the 13th century, Well, basically, it covers the same ground as Braveheart, but is a hundred times more historically accurate. In Wyeth’s illustrations, Wallace et al are all wearing kilts. Didn’t Conor MacLeaod also start out wearing kilts? What century is he from?

Remember, I’m pulling for you; we’re all in this together.
—Red Green

I don’t have the tartan/kilt info at my fingertips (although my memory supports RealityChuck’s post). I do remember, however, that during the hoopla surrounding Braveheart, several historians were grousing over the fact that the few contemporary illustrations of Wallace pictured him as a “typical” knight–wearing the same sort of clothing as the Norman knights he was fighting.