Timeout for Scotland

1000px-Flag_of_Scotland.svgSo what will it be? Will the Scottish go it on their own or stay in the fold? I’ve heard some compelling evidence for both ways. My gut says they will not leave the fold as much as they would like to be a people unto themselves. My gut also says that no matter what happens today, the Scottish people will retain their independent spirit making this fight far from over.

And it doesn’t take much to say this when considering their history. They have managed to keep their identity as a people despite the English subduing them with great force, and if I were really honest, I would say underhanded force at times. It’s hard to conclude much else when I think of such events as the Massacre at Glencoe, etc. But I digress.

Whatever happens today, I adore Scotland and the Scottish people and hope only the very best for them.

Note: sorry for my spelling of independence in tags. It was before my morning caffeine fix. ;p


  1. Hmm, typical emotional Braveheart comment. Mel Gibson has a lot to answer for. We massacred each other for hundreds of years – just visit the English side of the border and hear their horrific stories – but Scots massacred Scots at Glencoe. It’s very, very tangled and complex, you see, so please don’t try to oversimplify things. In the 1600s, the English accepted a Scottish king ruling over us both, seeing the union of the crown as the way forward; but in the 1700s, Scotland became bankrupt and asked the English to bail them out. Thus the political Union was formed. The Scots are not a conquered people trying to break free from under the jackboot. We have worked together successfully for 300 years and, whatever happens, strident down-with-the-English-and-aren’t-the Scots-wonderful opinions as expressed here are not helpful, either to the Yes or the No camp because this is about a totally split vote in Scotland. The English, Northern Irish and the Welsh have been sadly disenfranchised as far as this decision about the break-up of OUR country is concerned. It’s a divided Scotland that will have to live with each other tomorrow morning, whatever the outcome.

  2. I’ve been waiting on tenterhooks to see what happens. Can’t wait to see the results!!

  3. Jaydee,

    LOL! I have never seen Bravehart, and frankly, would never take my account of history from a movie.

    As for Glencoe, if you think it was just about the Scottish, I’m wondering how you determined that.

    BTW, I am not down with the English (my ancestry is almost entirely English) although I concede my remarks appear that way. I do think a critical mass of English have a haughty attitude in general about the Scottish, and that did leave a bad taste in my mouth.

  4. I understand Jaydee09. Any war is a desastre and any civil war is even worst. But the problem is there is always power and money under all that, because anyone can force another to loose Its identity. So as I see, identity is what they say to move people and power and money (but not for all) the real reason

  5. What I find utterly fascinating is that a country’s people never like it when they are on the wane. It is always a bitter pill, and the fact that Scotland is even holding a vote is a sign of weakness for the UK — a country that is in the top 20 countries for the highest debt ratio. Over 90% in debt compared to GDP last time I checked. Yes, we Americans are in the same boat although our debt ratio is lower, and we are on the wane as well. Sadly, we are adopting some of the same policies that got the UK in trouble, but that’s all I’m going to say on the subject.

  6. You’re right, Antonia. It’s not so simple that it’s merely about an identity; however, it seems Scotland is less than enamored with their UK identity and you can bet your backside it definitely has something to do with money. See my last comment for a part of it.

  7. The Scots have the strongest identity of any of the four countries in the Union. The English have enjoyed that, not tried to repress it. Going back hundreds of years and remembering ancient history which may or may not be true is unhelpful tribalism. All this ‘haughty attitude’ stuff is picked up from films and TV, I’m afraid. Only a handful speak like those on Downton Abbey. The rest of us are as ordinary as any Scot.

    Whilst the rest of the world looks on and sees it all as a measure of entertainment, we in the UK look on in horror as we see our amazing Union possibly going down the tubes. We live in each other’s countries; we are married to each other; DNA tests show that there is almost as much Celtic blood in England as in Scotland. It’s much more than them and us. And, suddenly, there may be the necessity for passports and border posts!! I can’t tell you how much it upsets me…….Or perhaps you can tell.

  8. Just a reminder, it is not only Scottish people who can vote but EVERYONE who lives in Scotland, be they English, Irish, Scots, Welsh, Indian or Sky Blue Pink. Prime Minister Cameron sleepwalked into this one, allowed the First Minister to set the agenda, the date, 16yr olds to vote etc because frankly he wasn’t interested at the time. He thought a no vote was a given. He would not allow devo max to appear on the ballot paper which most of the country would have accepted. 10 days to go and he said “oops” the polls are bad, better do something about it. So the three parties in England cobbled together a devo max on the back of a cigarette packet and presented it to the country.

    It is a sorry situation and came about because of disinterest and incompetence. Oh and a wily First Minister!

    Thank you for the kind words for us Jocks though! xx

  9. I am going to make myself very unpopular.

    This sort of separation movement is about about ego, not economics. Overconfidence and not oppression. It does not matter whether it’s in the U.K. or Canada, separatism doesn’t seem to be motivated by anything but the overconfidence and lack of thought about the economic future, and the political ambitions of little wannabe kings.

    (I mention Canada because this vote is sending a message to the separatists that they should try again. In the meantime, the separatists there have no viable plan for economic survival and will be leaving a country where they have managed to gain a huge advantage for French-speaking Canadians in any form of federal funding or civil service job).

  10. Jaydee,

    To be clear, I do not have an inclination about what the vote should be. I assume the Scottish will determine what is best for them.

    I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I do not look on this vote as something entertaining. I watch as someone who is interested in current affairs. And I totally understand your being horrified. I would be too if this were happening in my country.

    The thing about the haughtiness is that it’s more from the government than from the constituents. Additionally, I want to laugh at your reference to Downton Abbey. Not at you but truly at the reference. As someone who has spent quite a bit of time in the UK on several occasions, has relatives there, has studied British history extensively, and as someone who has only seen two episodes of Downton Abbey, it seems funny that I would ever take my impressions from the things you describe.

    And with respect to “celtic blood,” countries which place the definition of nationality on what’s in the blood very seldom survive. But I get your point that you are all one people. Again, the problem is not with the people so much as it is with government. Same thing in my country. I am from what is known as a “border state,” and as a result, I have always been around Hispanic people. I grew up with many Hispanic people, and many of my very close friends are Hispanic. That makes me kindly disposed to Hispanic people. I don’t know how not to be! Given that, I just don’t blame those who are Mexican nationals for coming across our border. It is hard to make it in their country. They come to better their family situation. I would do it too if I were in their shoes! So the problem is not with them doing this. It’s with the Mexican and U.S. governments taking advantage of them. Anyway, I’ll stop there as I could go on for weeks about that issue alone.

  11. I also want to say that I think you may not be horrified much longer as it seems the vote is going to be no. I could be wrong about that, but I’ve been around politics almost my whole life. My father was a political fund raiser. A very successful one. I’ve been to more political functions in my life than to any other kind.That’s one reason I’m not nearly as political as I used to be. But my point in saying this is that I’ve seen just a little bit of maneuvering up close and personal with political campaigns, and the fact that there is this last minute “shock” that Scotland may vote yes is nothing in the world but a push to get the lazy voters to the polls to vote no. That’s all it is in my mind. Pure political manipulation to ensure the vote is indeed no and not a true pulse of the Scottish people. That’s my read anyway. Again, I could be wrong.

    And btw, if Scotland does vote yes, border checks and passports will be the least of the issues.

  12. I agree with Cill: she has her finger on what it’s all about. But, I am too anxious and upset to discuss a very, very complex subject so superficially any further. I shall just go to bed early tonight and hope that, whatever the outcome, it’s all for the best – for all of us – when I wake up in the morning, because this isn’t just about Scotland.

  13. No, it’s not just about Scotland, and it’s not just about the UK. If I think of this from a purely American viewpoint, I don’t want to see the UK weakened further. It is in America’s best interest for you to be strong!

  14. Spain is watching too

  15. Talking to Scots around the world and particularly in Scotland, one can’t be glib about this. No matter the outcome, it is obvious that this will split allegiances and friendships in Scotland. My hope is that the Scots as a nation can rise above the divisiveness of this issue for their own sake, no one else’s.

    And personally, I do think this is about Scotland and not about America or Canada or Australia or New Zealand or anywhere else in the world and really, none of our viewpoints matter because it will be the Scots, those north of the border, who will be directly affected whichever way the vote falls.

    Frenz, I must ask, what do you mean that ‘It is in America’s best interests for you to remain strong’? I am intrigued.

  16. There are some people who might disagree with me from an economic standpoint. But with respect to allies, it’s in our best interest that our allies remain strong and to divide the UK would weaken it.

  17. With respect to economics, I’m still pondering. There is the oil, but there will be a period of economic adjustment for Scotland (lasting at least a couple of decades) should they break away no matter its existence. Plus, Scotland will be somewhat of an unknown entity on the financial scene because the oil is actually still a question mark, and I understand they will still run a deficit even with the oil revenues. All of this will affect their bond rating which in turn means their ability to take on more debt is in jeopardy and therefore services are in jeopardy. Interesting, interesting topic. Fyi: I used to work in the bond market when I first graduated from college. That was before I got bitten by the tech bug.

    Then there’s the rest of Great Britain which will have to grapple with the loss of revenue, which will definitely hurt their rating, and there will be more than the Scots divided. There will be some real hatred crop up if the rest of Great Britain takes a major hit which they will. Net: there’s a helluva lot more at stake here than some emotional attachments.

    But if the vote is no, there are still problems. The UK has horrible debt. That is not going away unless they start making some substantial changes to their policies.

  18. I understand what you are saying about the UK/Scots economics, but not why ‘it is in America’s interests’…

    In any case, the vote has been ‘no’. My hope is as I said, that Scotland can resolve the division and get on. It’s been interesting reading very personal views from Scotlandon Facebook. These are from fellow writers and readers. Some were ‘yes’ voters. Some were ‘no’ voters. Now, they all crave for Scotland to move on ‘in peace’. Well said, I think.

    None have mentioned the economics.

  19. Re; your reference to ‘horrible UK debt’ –

    According to a Forbes magazine article, ‘The World’s Largest Debtor Governments, 2013’, whilst the UK is in the top twenty countries for its debt, it’s actually below the USA, which is tenth.

    It says –

    ‘The United States ranks 10th on the list, with debt that is 87% of its GDP. But it has the most debt of any country in absolute terms, an estimated $14.6 trillion in general government net debt, double the debt of second-place Japan. U.S. debt has grown $10 trillion in the last decade.’


    The UK also has an AAA country credit rating (article dated June 2014) –

    ‘S&P raises UK credit rating outlook back to AAA: Stable.

    Britain’s credit rating has been restored to AAA: Stable by Standard & Poor’s tonight; meaning the UK once again holds a gleaming, top-notch credit rating with one of the Big Three rating agencies.

    S&P, which unlike Fitch and Moody’s did not downgrade the UK during the crisis, removed the “negative” rating tonight.

    It made the move after seeing that:

    “amid further progress in consolidating public finances, the UK’s economic recovery is broadening”.

    S&P said that it realised that next May’s general election could lead to a change in fiscal plan, but still believes the Britain could achieve a budget surplus within five years:

    Our base-case assumption is that the next government will not abandon the goal of arriving at a position where the U.K. could start to pay down the stock of debt in absolute terms during the fiscal year ending April 2019.

    S&P also predicted that the UK would expand by nearly 3% this year, and another 2.5% in 2015.’


    The UK is hardly a country in deep financial trouble.

  20. I agree that moving on in peace – and together – is the main thing, Prue. I am relieved, of course, that this morning the Union still exists (55% No – 45% Yes).

    We are a strong – not a weak – democratic country and offering a referendum was the only correct democratic thing to do when so many wanted it. There is anger and despondency on the side of the Yes vote but both sides are already moving together in the spirit of reconciliation and I would like to thank them for putting a bomb under the whole political system. Politics in the UK should be very lively and interesting over the next year or so and I hope that this leads to devolved powers in ALL the regions. Yorkshire is as big as Scotland, for instance, but loses out because of centralisation and subsidies to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    Now, on to the West Lothian Question/the English Question, where Scotland is allowed to vote on English Laws and English matters but the English haven’t got the right to do the reverse.

  21. I’ve got to scoot out the door this morning yet feel inclined to write a treatise. I’ll spare you that — especially pre-caffeine. But the short answer is that we’re in a global economy and all affected what goes on in another substantial country economy. In the case of the UK, we need them to be strong ’cause they’re an ally, and if they’re not strong, they can’t have our backs as much in a fight.

  22. Oops I hit send too soon.

    If Scotland had been successful in seceding, it would have made the UK economy unstable which would have affected investment. The British pound would probably have taken a major hit. This would have in turn affected the UK’s ability to buy and produce. Factor in the still fairly tender recovery in Europe, and this would have been a major impact on that region and beyond. Not good.

    So I’m all for Scotland exerting their identity in a way that may be helpful to them, but it would have negatively affected the U.S. And yeah, we have some defensive submarines in the region which the Scots don’t care for. That would have been an issue as well.

  23. Jules, I’m glad the outlook has been good. But ‘absolute terms’ is not as important as debt ratio, because the percentage speaks to the ability to pay. The US has more debt, but our ability to pay is greater.

    Unfortunately, our percentage is going up at alarming rates due to policies we’re making in the U.S. including the printing of money, euphemistically known as quantitative easing. We’ll see how that ends. It’s all a big experiment, but one thing I know, when there is more of something, it’s not worth as much. This is going to affect our (the U.S.’s) ability to pay. I just wonder how much.

  24. I think the Scottish vote is a good wake up call for the UK, but I hope its market is not too badly hit from this. The jury is still out on that. But the point is that something needs to change, and I don’t necessarily think secession is the answer, but it was a chip played by the powers that be who aren’t necessarily the Scottish. You can count on the fact that some of the business supporters were using it as that and nothing more. They knew it wasn’t going to be a yes but enough to get some action in other quarters. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  25. I’m on the road, so I’ll make this quick, but I hope it’s clear I think the U.S. has horrible debt too, and if we hit the ditch, it will be devastating to much more than my country.

  26. I didn’t see this post yesterday, what’s wrong with me??

    This discussion was fascinating to me, every single comment. I hope that Scotland can heal internally, both personally between the Yes & No voters, and politically between Edinburgh and London. The political part will probably be harder, I’m guessing (as typically more/bigger egos involved – did I say that?? :)

    I do agree that in the reality of the global economy and “small-world”, other nations had some stake in this outcome, though obviously with no right to look over Scotland’s shoulder in judgment. And in light also of both rogue terrorists and “semi-rogue” nations, we all need sane, strong allies as well.

    And boy…. I too am NO defender of the U.S. debtload, I best not start down that particular road. Returning to the global economy (and the genie is out of this bottle, no return to previous economic models of years gone by), it’s only one of the reasons I think our “leadership” in BOTH parties has been wildly irresponsible by not having the balls to read the “handwriting on the wall” to the American people. And then take some appropriate action to safeguard the future.

    God bless all the people of Scotland.

  27. I’m trying really hard not to get into politics of the American kind, but I’ve got to say this. I agree that both parties should have done something! And what bullshit that they played dumb about the housing crisis. In 2005 SO and I were discussing the fact we were headed for a major correction in the market if mortgage lenders didn’t let up. You can’t have the increase in income be almost flat and the increase in housing prices at more or less a 45 degree angle and keep lending at the rate that was done without creating a credit issue in the market. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Then in January 2007 some of the largest home builders in the U.S. made significant cuts to their orders. And still congress and others up on the Hill played dumb. Well, some of them up there are dumb, but I don’t believe that’s most of them. No, they’re just greedy and up there for themselves. I’ve said this ’til I was blue in the face — if there are three people up there really representing the people of this country, I would be surprised. I don’t care how good they sound, how noble they sound, what party they’re in, most of them are simply there for themselves. Public service my ass.

    Okay, I’m done with my diatribe. Thanks for letting me get that out of my system. LOL!

  28. From what I understand, Scotland oposed the privatisation of the NHS and university system and is generally to the left of the financial-oligarchy dominated England.
    One of my favorite reads today is written by a woman, Yves Smith: nakedcapitalism.com/2014/09/on-the-vote-against-scottish-independence.html

  29. I haven’t looked your link yet, but I read this article earlier in the week, and it made it clear to me that the vote for Scottish independence would probably be no:


    Just as Social Security/Medicare in my country are the third rail of politics, it seems NHS is the third rail in the UK. Once there was a threat to the NHS with services probably being cut, the election was already a foregone conclusion to me anyway. Those last minute “shock” headlines about Scotland’s vote being close were to get people who would otherwise have stayed home to go to the polls.

  30. east, phew! point three in that article needs to be repeated as often as possible.

    As long as scare tactics are effective, and they will be for the foreseeable future, I doubt there will be independence no matter how much noise is made about it. The fact we are all in this together economically and interdependent on each other makes the idea of independent nations almost a thing of the past. It’s a great romantic ideal but realistically, nationalism is almost dead. I wonder when Americans will wake up to this fact. And no, I’m not a socialist but rather a realist.

  31. I made that last comment at the risk of sounding confused. I would love it if nations could continue to hold onto their individuals identities. I love my country and think it’s had a very interesting and rewarding identity. Not perfect (whose is?) but something to be proud of all the same. That kind of national pride is waning almost everywhere because our finances are all mixed up together. As a capitalist (yeah, I’m very definitely a capitalist), I love this, but I also know it submerges country loyalties to a degree.

  32. Class rather than National Identity can best explain the outcome of the referendum – sociologist David Miller (UK)

  33. This just gets more interesting with the new political factions emerging. Thanks for the link, east!

  34. Hmmm… not sure that economic globalism needs to negate nationalism. And the Scottish drama highlights, to me, that in fact, it cannot do so. It’s just such an innately human passion, and the other shoe hasn’t completely dropped on this particular chapter either. If nationalism is ever dead, it will be because globalism turned imperialistic, which we should all dread if we’re not the power in charge!

    So if nations can continue to work together to at least acknowledge each other’s interests in decisions that affect all, trade off / compromise when possible, and be proactive enough to cultivate & play to their unique strengths as hedge against the unexpected, that would be the best of all worlds. How possible that really is, I can’t say.

  35. I think it is a natural result of the global economy that borders become less the issue than how money flows around. But borders will never go away entirely simply because people who are similar — whether being like minded or of like experiences or ethnicity — tend to band together. So I don’t think we’re headed for a one world government. That is impossible.

    But the idea of nationalism as we’ve come to know it today is not that old, and it won’t be surprising if it morphs into something else.

  36. Gotcha… I think isolationism may for sure be something that’s dead / dying. It just doesn’t seem to be a real option anymore, both because of the global economy and because of terrorism.

    And “successful” nationalism may now be the nation / nationality that is able to reinvent itself, in whatever sense to adapt to the times. (Or maybe that’s what it always was!) I appreciate all the interesting perspectives and resources you and others have shared…. I for one have lots to learn about world affairs, but it’s fascinating.

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