Thursday, September 18, 2014


This whole Scottish independence movement is hard to follow from here. I've always thought that Scotland and Wales and even Northern Ireland, had distinct identities and did not think of themselves as 'British'.

This movement seems to emerge from two distinct and very different situations.

1) The Iron Lady and beyond: Some Scots wanted a third choice on the ballot along with 'Yes' and 'No'--'Devolution'. Until Margaret Thatcher, Scotland had a great deal of control of their education system, their health-care system, their banking system...they even had the right to add a tax to the British income tax of 3 pence to a pound that would stay in Scotland for Scottish use. They never did it, but they had the option. Actually, Scotland made out like bandits in the 'marriage of convenience with England, Wales and Ireland (now just Northern Ireland). The Scottish economy, semi-autonomous from the rest of the UK, flowered in the alliance in trade and manufacturing and banking. But beginning with Thatcher, lessening with Blair and increasing again under David Cameron, Westminster took back some of the autonomy...quite a bit of it. "Devolution" as an option would give Great Britain the opportunity to 'devolve' powers back to a Scotland still in the union. In fact, Cameron and others have suggested that would happen if there was a 'No' vote. However, the thing politicians do worst is make promises they keep.

2) The discovery of oil in the North Sea 30 years ago: all that oil (mostly undeveloped) is now in the ocean of Great Britain. If the vote is 'Yes' today, the ocean belongs to Scotland. Don't need to explain that much more. Follow the money....

The vote was on paper ballots and the total won't be known until Friday morning sometimes although the population of Scotland is only a tad larger than the population of Connecticut.

Bern said she hopes the vote is 'Yes'...just to see what happens!

Who knows what will happen--but the vote will be extremely close although about a month ago "No" had a big lead. Then England started sending PM's and others to croon about how lovely it is to be 'British' and the Scots were appalled.

Whatever happens, this close vote will change the conversation in Scotland from "Why should we be independent?" to "Why shouldn't we be independent?"

That shift in the conversation is a crack in the dike of unity. That much I know from the 2% or so of my DNA that is Scottish.

Scottish DNA is DNA on steroids and bagpipes and haggis....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.