The call for secession came as no surprise. Scotland has always yearned for independence. Edward I of England known as the “Hammer of the Scots” tried to defeat them in the wars of Scottish Independence in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. William Wallace, now a national hero, led the Scots to victory against English troops at the battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. He was later captured and executed as a traitor. He is immortalized in the movie Braveheart. Somehow, the Scots prevailed and remained an independent country.
Coronation chair with Stone of Scone
Edward, however, captured the Stone of Scone, the symbolic sign of Scottish royal power. He removed it to Westminster Abby where it remained in the coronation chair until 1996 when it was returned to Scotland. When James VI of Scotland succeeded Elizabeth I of England and became James I, in 1603, he and his successors ruled both kingdoms. The two countries were merged in 1707 to become the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Scotland is a small country with an area a little bit smaller than South Carolina but with twice the coastline. Since it is surrounded by water on three sides it does not suffer the temperature extremes seen in land masses.The Scots speak Gaelic in some parts and they claim to speak English, but they have many words of their own that they substitute, such as bairn for child. Unique to the country are tartan kilts worn by men, the Highland Games and the haggis. The Scots gave us golf and Scotch whiskey. Indulging in the former causes a need for the latter. Some of Scotland’s famous people include Alexander Graham Bell, David Livingstone, John Paul Jones, Robert Burns, Thomas Carlyle, Andrew Carnegie and Adam Smith to name a few. Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, 1776, is the foundation of today’s capitalistic economics.
Scotland has it’s own parliament and currency and a good income from North Sea oil but a break with England would require it to add some important functions, primarily: defense, foreign relations, taxation and banking support from either London or the European Union. They would also need a head of state. It seems ironic that the British Royal Family is at their summer home at Balmoral Castle during the referendum. One wonders what would become of that castle, in the event of independence. The Union Jack of Great Britain would need to be changed to exclude the cross of St. Andrew.
The September 18, 2014 referendum has been won by those who wish to preserve the union with Britain by a vote of 55% to 45%. The turnout was above 80% in many areas. The argument is settled for now, but things will change if London does not deliver the promises it made to the Scottish people as an incentive to remain with the union.