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The SNP have already won the culture war The push for independence has changed perceptions of Scotland


May 19, 2021   6 mins

To be British and live in a foreign land means never having to do much explaining about where you come from. Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the Queen (HRH Elizabeth II), the Queen (the film), Queen (the band), The Beatles, Shakespeare, Winston Churchill, Manchester United
 the list of instantly recognisable symbols is long.

But if you complicate that a little by coming from the northern half of Britain, well, that’s a bit different. Yes, there are many world-famous Scots — Adam Smith, Arthur Conan Doyle, James Watt and Sean Connery, to name only four. But with the exception of the last one, none of them wrapped themselves in tartan, and so they are usually associated with the broader “British” identity.

Of course, if the SNP were to have their way, then the very concept of Britishness would be abolished, and Nicola Sturgeon is adamant that this option should be put to the vote sooner rather than later. Were that to happen, then I think these figures and others would be retconned as purely “Scottish”, in much the same way that the post-Soviet states projected their modern identities into the past. Thus was the prophet Zarathustra resurrected in the late 20th century as a Tajik national hero, for instance. Whether or not such retcons gain credence with the wider world, however, is another matter: Nikolai Gogol remains resolutely part of the Russian literary canon, despite his Ukrainian origins.

As for Scotland, I think this retconning might prove to be quite challenging, also. For instance, in more than two decades spent living outside the UK, I have found that many people are quite foggy when it comes to my homeland’s precise constitutional status. They know that it’s not part of England, but the shared parliament and royal family and currency are confusing. Despite this, awareness of Scottish symbols is high, thanks in no small part to Walter Scott cobbling together all that malarkey about clans and tartans in the 19th century. Our whisky is also held in high regard, and many a golfer aspires to play at the Old Course in Saint Andrews. In fact, I’d say that as far as small countries go, we don’t have it too bad — we’re certainly better off than the Belgians with their waffles, Tintin books and melancholy kickboxer.

But still, as Scots are few in number and comparatively rare beyond British shores, we remain quasi-mysterious to many. So whenever Scotland has appeared in the media, or come up in conversation in the different places where I have lived, I have always found it interesting to think about what that says about my homeland, how it is perceived, and whether, after almost a decade and half of nationalist rule, those perceptions are changing.

For instance, in Moscow in the late Nineties, I learned very quickly that by far the most famous Scotsman as far as Russians were concerned was a wee Australian in blue face paint named Mel Gibson.  “Ah, Scotland,” they’d say. “Braveheart!” “Yes,” I’d say, “Braveheart.” True, members of the older generation were familiar with Robert Burns in the Soviet era translations by Samuil Marshak, and quite a few people had seen Highlander (where the Scottish guy is played by a Frenchman rather than an Australian). But overall, to be a Scot abroad then — and since — was to live in the shadow of Braveheart.

Usually I would bluff my way through discussions of the film because I hadn’t seen it, and most people found that baffling, even disappointing (“How can you not have seen Braveheart?”). I suppose it would have been easier just to watch it, but I am very good at sustaining Larry David-style points of principle over things that are inexplicable to others. I’d been taught about William Wallace as a child, but even then, I thought there was something not quite right about the myth. I think it was all that stuff about losing, and then being eviscerated while still alive — it just didn’t seem like something I wanted to aspire towards.

I was more of a Robert the Bruce kind of guy, and not just because his bones were buried in my hometown of Dunfermline. I liked how he — you know — won. Besides, yearning for the days when hairy dudes roamed the heather and had periodic fights with the English just wasn’t my bag. I preferred the bewigged intellectuals of the Scottish Enlightenment: a handful of brilliant individuals coming up with world changing ideas on the fringes of Europe. That seemed like a healthier model for the nation, (though, I grant you, less appealing as fodder for a Hollywood blockbuster).

However, despite the predominance of Braveheart, it wasn’t all Mel Gibson all the time. I remember discussing Dolly the Sheep. I liked to explain that Dolly had aged much faster than a sheep produced by the traditional method and was now preserved forever in the National Museum of Scotland, where she received visitors every day — our Lenin. I also tried to steer people towards Trainspotting because I felt that it captured Scottish nihilism quite well, and I had a story about Irvine Welsh renting Jean-Claude Van Damme movies from the video shop in Dunfermline which made him sound very uncool. But Trainspotting did not endure; people did not want janky Edinburgh junkies. They wanted Braveheart.

And so it continued, for years. It was while I was living in Russia that Scotland held its referendum on devolution, but I don’t remember that catching people’s attention. It wasn’t supposed to; Labour thought that Scotland was their fiefdom and that that they would run it forever, like Moscow ran its satellite states during the Cold War.

When I moved to the US in 2006, I discovered that Braveheart also cast a long shadow over the land of the free, although Sean Connery was very popular, as was the late night chat show host Craig Ferguson, extracted to LA via Cumbernauld. One year later the SNP took power, but things were still quiet for at first, although I do remember one unusual story making it across the waves a few years later. In an early act of cultural auto-colonisation, the likes of which are now commonplace across British institutions, an MSP lodged a motion supporting the gay wedding of the little-known Canadian superhero Northstar to his partner Kyle in the Astonishing X-Men #51, published by Marvel Comics, the New York-based subsidiary of the Disney corporation. Admittedly, I read about it on a crap comics website; even so, it felt like a new development.

But the hitherto super-boring world of Scottish politics was about to change drastically. Mel Gibson’s dominance as a conversation topic for people mildly curious about where I came from was seriously challenged in 2014 when Scotland voted on whether or not to remain inside the UK. Suddenly the possible dissolution of a 300-year political union was in the headlines and, for the first time ever, the continued existence of a collective British identity seemed in doubt. Most people in the US had simply never thought about any of this before. Starting about three days before the referendum I found myself fielding all kinds of questions about independence (not that I had a say in any of it, mind, because the SNP had disenfranchised all Scots living overseas).

A cheat sheet, rather than a detailed discussion of, say, claims about the viability of North Sea oil was all that was desired, so I didn’t discuss the issues at length. But that was fine — it was startling, and refreshing, after all this time to find that the Scotland my family lived in, and to which I regularly returned, was finally more compelling to the people I knew than Mel Gibson’s bekilted action movie.

Still more striking, however, was the mood the day after the referendum. I vividly recall going into work and feeling a strange sense of anticlimax among those who had talked to me about it. Presented with the opportunity to turn everything upside down and strike out on its own, Scotland had voted to
 maintain the status quo. What lay behind this sense of disappointment, I wondered, among people who had zero skin in the game? At first I thought it was the influence of the revolutionary war — for Americans, declaring independence from the meddlesome parliament in London is ground zero for their national identity. And perhaps that was part of it; but now I wonder if it wasn’t also the shadow of Braveheart. Everyone appeared to have seen that film, they had all heard Mel’s stirring words about freedom, and here, given the chance to at long last fulfil Wallace’s dream and seize independence, a majority of Scots had turned around and politely declined to do so.

The referendum was a watershed moment in the global imagination, the moment at which Scotland ceased to be a nostalgic fantasy and became a modern country, a place where things sometimes happened, things that required further explanation. Now, with Nicola Sturgeon insisting on another referendum, I suspect it is only a matter of time before I find myself answering questions about Scotland’s constitutional status again. The conflict with Boris is scoring headlines even amid the raging garbage fire of America’s self-obsessed media. I’ve already discussed the hypothetical of a hard border between Scotland and England with one curious Texan.

An awareness overseas of Scotland as a place that, culturally at least, is not fully British is definitely on the rise. I’d say that’s half the battle for the SNP, but it isn’t — independence is a zero-sum game, after all. It is a change, however, and a significant one. Something else has changed, too: these days I’m more likely to be asked about Outlander than Braveheart. And I haven’t seen that, either.


Daniel Kalder is an author based in Texas. Previously, he spent ten years living in the former Soviet bloc. His latest book, Dictator Literature, is published by Oneworld. He also writes on Substack: Thus Spake Daniel Kalder.

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Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
3 years ago

That’s an interesting wee piece. I love the reference to a ‘wee Australian’ playing Wallace. Living, as I do on the north east corner of Ireland, I can walk 50yds from my front door & enjoy an amazing view across to Scotland- only 12 miles away. I find the notion of Scottish half independence (as I call it) a curious one. They want to be independent but: the queen will
Still be head if state (That means a Scottish PM, getting on a plane to London every Tuesday to brief her Majesty). They want to retain the £ as the currency (that means their monetary policy is decided in London by
 an Englishman) They want to join the EU as an independent country, but EU rules say all new members must have the € as currency. How’s that going to work? I’ve come to the conclusion that the Scottish nationalists don’t so much have a big vision of a great new Scotland, rather it’s just the don’t like the English very much.

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

that means their monetary policy is decided in London by
 an Englishman”

Not necessarily. Why should it be an English person making monetary policy?

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
3 years ago
Reply to  D Ward

Indeed, it’s currently a Canadian.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  James Hamilton

He’s retired.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  D Ward

Anyone remember Mark Carney?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Yes,he is Globalist Chum of Phillip Hammond. Current head of ”Climate policy” at World bank…So Coldest May in at least 38 years,Possibly 100 ,you can blame him &His Green Davos chums for Current terrible cold May !

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
3 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Scottish PM, getting on a plane to London every Tuesday to brief her Majesty

No, it would mean a High Commission in London, like other Commonwealth countries. If Scotland was admitted to the Commonwealth.

William MacDougall
William MacDougall
3 years ago

And perhaps the Queen of Scotland visiting her Scottish home more often…

david Murphy
david Murphy
3 years ago

You all assume the King (it will be Charles by then) actually wants to be king and the UK government will allow it. Anyway, aren’t they all republican in Scotland?
Anyway, the Pm goes to the monarch not the other way round,

Last edited 3 years ago by david Murphy
Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  david Murphy

“Anyway, aren’t they all republican in Scotland?”

Er, no.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Yes too many contradictions which the SNP won’t address.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

The trouble with some of the more successful Scottish is they do live up to the P G Wodehouse quote’ It has never been hard to tell the difference between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine’Theres a fantastic Scottish actor, who I found really funny in Rushmore as the headmaster with the two awful sons which was gently humorous about all things Scottish. Yet , in person, as a supporter of SNP ( from Hollywood of course) he is dour, you would think he was personally a victim of the clearances at the very least, even though by his surname some of his relatives must be Irish and he has done very well for himself so why so grim Brian?

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

The Wodehouse quote is brilliant, and so,so accurate – for all Scots, whether successful or not.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Very much your last sentence plus the cult of Nicola.

David Number
David Number
3 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

That is the easy answer. It’s also wrong.
My wife is English, my son is English, and my best mate is English. I also live in England.
But I support the SNP, and – although they are far from perfect – I think they are much better than the Westminster government.
Presumably I am an anti-English racist?

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  David Number

The most famous Scottish person in our house at one time was Super Gran & obviously as it involved all things Scottish it was made by Tyne-Tees.The more Scottish a person is the less likely they are to live in Scotland & I note that even Nicola,Queen of Scots had one English parent.

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I remember super Gran! Finally someone that also watched!

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago
Reply to  Jorge Espinha

My (anti-)hero was the scunner Campbell.

More ‘famous’ in my family these days is of course, Rab C Nesbitt, but Chief Constable Cameron Meikle (from ‘Scot Squad’) is a worthy successor.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  David Number

Hardly. Misguided, perhaps.

Lord Rochester
Lord Rochester
3 years ago
Reply to  David Number

Well, I am Scottish, my wife is Scottish, my family going back to the 1700s is Scottish and I live in Scotland. I stopped being a Scottish nationalist in my twenties when I saw how fundamentally hateful, divisive and racist it all was.

The SNP make a hash of everything they touch from education to the SNHS. They have normalised deceit in what passes for Scottish political discourse. As I live here, I know this. I know also that they get away with it as they are buoyed up on their whipped up tide of tribal othering that is as obvious as it is groundless.

You also know just fine – even down south – that ‘Westminster’ up here is a political dog-whistle for ‘the English’ by the nationalists’ conscious design.

Agnes Barley
Agnes Barley
3 years ago
Reply to  David Number

Why?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  David Number

Yes….SNP were formed by Scottish Pro-German fascists ,had members imprisoned during the War (Sedition) ..SNP has presided over 1)Decline in Educational attainment 2) Drug use Worst in Europe 3) Its not all England’s fault 4) You’ll need a passport as EU membership requires big contributions & Hard borders…

John MacDonald
John MacDonald
3 years ago
Reply to  David Number

I suspect you just hate the Tories, but that’s not a good reason to support independence either.

John McGibbon
John McGibbon
3 years ago

Two things worry me, as a Scot in England, about the SNP government and the potential for another referendum.
First, the patronage that is now common, either with us or against us, so for the faithful followers positions on quangos, judiciary, education, etc, funding for followers such as that to the publisher producing a book of “our dear leader” speeches.
Second, the rise in anti English racism, knowingly dog whistled by the SNP and it’s leaders, such as the banners held by the nationalists supporters at the main road crossings and train arrival stations from England proclaiming English not welcome. Just imagine the uproar if banners were held at Heathrow saying Africans not welcome, but in modern Scotland such racism is given the nod and the wink.

Last edited 3 years ago by John McGibbon
wjwarren86
wjwarren86
3 years ago
Reply to  John McGibbon

I was surprised at the level of anti-English sentiment when my wife and I travelled to Edinburgh to attend a family wedding shortly after the referendum. I had been to Scotland many times before and had never once come across that before, except in an obviously humorous sense. However this time we had a couple of quite unsavoury incidents which made us feel physically threatened. I think that it’s telling that my wife’s relatives have now moved south of the Border, despite having lived there for over forty years, and most of it was because of the anti-English racism. Substitute “Jew” for “English” in some of what you hear and it takes on a very different hue

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago

The SNP aren’t Scottish (Civic Nationalism is a joke and the SNP are about to stuff the country with (voting) foreigners prior to any new referendum), they aren’t National (they’re left-wing progressives who would cancel every famous Scot of the last 300 years if they weren’t too lazy and stupid to research them) and they aren’t a Party (they’re the cult of Sturgeon).
They are nothing more than an anti-English student party who have been elevated to power by the utter stupidity of Tony Blair’s constitutional reforms.
Any new referendum should dissolve Holyrood if the “nationalists” lose again.
A Northern Ireland style civil war seems inevitable in the next decade.

Last edited 3 years ago by Sidney Falco
Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

I am half Scots, mother’s side born in Glasgow but father was English. I live in London and married to a Chinese. I lived and worked in the far East and South Asia on a UK passport. I wonder how I am viewed by Scotish Nationalists?

David Number
David Number
3 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

You would be viewed like anyone else. If you lived in Scotland, you’d be entitled to vote, as would the person you are married to. Plenty of English people and ethnic minorities in Scotland vote SNP – don’t believe all the propoganda.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  David Number

Any Referendum in once in A generation, Should have English,Welsh,Northern Ireland voters decide if We Want Caledonia to stay..not other way …

Last edited 3 years ago by Robin Lambert
kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

The Scottish view those with Scottish heritage on a case by case basis. For example the Queen had a Scottish mother , so obviously is half-Scottish, but the SNP hardly refer to ‘our’ royal family. However a rock star with a Scottish surname whose family moved to England over 100 years ago is embraced as one of theirs. Which category do you feel you come under?

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Absolutely no-one in my Glaswegian family would believe that the Queen Mother was genuine Scot (like so many upper class holders of land in Scotland, with their cut-glass English accents and condescending English attitudes to the real Scots.)

Also it is worth remembering that the obsession with tartan began with the two egregious krauts Vicky and Albert, and that the kilt was invented by an englishman (Google it if you don’t believe me!)

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

I knew about the kilt-best not to upset people by telling them the facts.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago

“Absolutely no-one in my Glaswegian family would believe that the Queen Mother was genuine Scot (like so many upper class holders of land in Scotland, with their cut-glass English accents and condescending English attitudes to the real Scots.)”

More anti-English paranoia and prejudice. Grow up. There are no ‘real’ Scots.

Last edited 3 years ago by Arnold Grutt
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
3 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

To the SNP, you’re either a vote or an enemy.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

The SNP are in power because the three opposition parties split the vote between the three of them, and the SNP are very good at getting their voters out. The fact that they received as small a percentage of the votes as they did with extending the franchise, allowing postal votes with no need and proxy voting indicates they may be struggling.

If the other parties had co-operated they could, probably, have ousted the SNP.

George Bruce
George Bruce
3 years ago

I was in Scotland, in and around the Edinburgh area, at the time of the independence referendum. I gained an overwhelming impression that the vote was going to be yes, and was amazed to wake up and found it had been no by a large majority. I saw very few posters in favour of no.
I suppose it was because whereas a person say in a pub could safely be loudly in favour of independence, or could hang a yes poster in their window without adverse consequences, the opposite was not true. So it literally was a silent (and posterless) majority.
Made me think by extension that if you see a crowd of people in the street demonstrating in favour of or against something, that does not at all mean it is necessarily the popular sentiment, and that one must be more cynical about appearances. As I say, the silent majority.
Which is not to say they will not vote for independence when the latest fish to run the country gets her way.

Last edited 3 years ago by George Bruce
John McGibbon
John McGibbon
3 years ago
Reply to  George Bruce

As you say the silent majority is frightened for its safety. How long would your car windscreen last from damage by McTrump’s supporters of your were to affix a “No” sticker to it?

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  George Bruce

Correct. I remember the scenes of public debates where the No supporters allowed the Yes supporters to have their say and were in turn shouted down.

There are parts of Scotland that hate Holyrood more than Westminster. Unfortunately, they’re not as populous as Glasgow.

William MacDougall
William MacDougall
3 years ago

For a start, you should have a vote next time. Cameron conceded too much to the separatists, letting them decide the timing, bias the wording, and gerrymander the electorate. The British government should choose the timing, hopefully in a generation, and at the best time for the Union, not for separatists. The wording should be neutral leave/remain, like the Brexit referendum, not Yes/no. The electorate should be the same as for the Brexit referendum too, e.g. no children or non-Commonwealth/non-Irish foreigners, and allowing Scots to vote for at least 15 years after moving abroad or to other parts of the UK (as they could on Brexit). Last time 16 year old French exchange students could and did vote, but Scots on a two year assignment to Frankfurt or London could not.

Al M
Al M
3 years ago

I would also suggest no-non UK citizens full stop, Irish Commonwealth, whatever.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

It’s not when Scotland joins the EU but a heavily qualified, supersized if. Even currently, with all the largesse of the Barnet Formula not to mention more recent U.K. support during the last 15 months, Scotland would neither meet the eligibility criteria for membership nor qualify for entry to the €zone (talk about blessings in disguise). That’s a fairly major and awkward technicality wee Nicola is keen to keep away from discussion. From the EU perspective, an impoverished Scotland would hardly be a net contributor to already diminished EU coffers courtesy of Brexit. Quite contrarily it would be yet another begging bowl to be filled with the PIIGS and E. European members ahead of it in the queue for structural funds and subsidies. As such a highly unattractive candidate for accession to EU membership to both contributors and takers in the EU27. Then there’s political reality. Belgium, Spain and perhaps Germany and Italy won’t welcome Scotland as a member for fear of creating a precedent for Flanders, Catalunya and at a stretch Bavaria and N. Italy breaking away. The only way Scottish EU membership could be envisaged is out of a perverse desire to snub / punish the U.K. for Brexit and foment destabilisation. Perhaps not such an impossibility given the bitter, craven resentment on display in Brussels of late but a very expensive way to cut off a nose and spite a face. If there is to be a second referendum, the reality of not attaining EU membership needs to be explained to those delusional enough to imagine a red carpet from Brussels. Every facet of independence should be negotiated up front and resolved, then presented to the Scottish people (which should but likely wouldn’t include expats like yours truly). Rather important issues such as currency, Crown, share of national debt, defence, a hard border with rUK, embassies/consular facilities and national institutions (Post Office, DVLA, Ordnance Survey to pick three random examples of things an independent Scotland would need to create from scratch). The question should rapidly shape itself as one of voting for penury in perpetuity. The SNP were allowed to be so evasive and vague on these crucial matters so as to be dishonest in 2014. Even Barroso had to publicly correct Salmond on EU claims. Lastly the absurd irony of wanting to leave one established union with benefits and a shared history where Scotland has a (disproportionate) say to join an even bigger one with next to no influence speaks volumes for the SNP’s dangerous recklessness. Every bit as ironic and absurd as the SNP’s claims to green credentials while predicating an economic house built on quicksand via depleting fossil fuels in the North Sea.

Ri Bradach
Ri Bradach
3 years ago

All fair points, but I would also ask if there isn’t a better route forward that would be a federal Britain where there are state (England, Scotland, Wales) taxes, budgets and responsibilities and UK ones (defence, trade, financial regulations).

In that format, if Scotland wishes to have a socialist state, then Scottish voters can pay for it. The English meanwhile can go toward a far more free market capitalist society without the handbrake of socialist MP’s that disproportionately come from Scotland.

Moreover, it’s undemocratic for the Scots alone to vote on whether the English continue to subsidise SNP ambitions: the can be no taxation without representation and no representation without taxation.

Perhaps the greatest success of the SNP has been to so thoroughly poison relations that it is an “accepted fact” that the Scottish hate the English and this is OK.

An island wide vote on national sovereignty might actually lead to Scottish independence because the English decide they are tired of being the object of hate yet expected to pay the bills with no say on how whilst Scottish MP’s have a say in English matters.

In that context, might the idea of a federal union not be preferable?

Simon Baseley
Simon Baseley
3 years ago

Among ScotsNats much is made of the suffering the country has undergone at the hands of their perfidious southern neighbours. Much of that suffering is myth, but myth is central to all national identities, so they may forgiven for that; however I am moved to wonder what the reaction in Holyrood might be were the Shetland Islands and the Orkneys to launch their own bids for independence. After all it is a matter of fact rather than myth that they were once quite separate nations to Scotland, only falling into the hands of Scots as part of a 15th century dowry. North Sea Oil might be declining but it wouldn’t half stymie Sturgeon were the Shetlanders and Orcadians to claim the seas around them as their own. Just a thought.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baseley

First they were not separate nations, they were part of other nations. Second Shetland have already suggested this, and that they should keep the oil. The concept was not well received!

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baseley

They could become crown dependencies like the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago

Why should Scotland have to have a different identity to the UK?
After all, it is over 400 years since we had a joint King and 300 years since we had a joint Parliament. You could tell your inquiring friends that this happened before the USA became united – and a Hollywood film about events 700 years ago, is entertainment not fact.
I would not consider Robert the Bruce a stirring example of a national hero – he murdered his opponent at a peace conference in a church!
If you think you have problems about defining Scotland, think about my problem, as I come from the West Midlands – with the same population as Scotland – how can I define that as heroic?

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
3 years ago

I agree. Although, as a Scot I have a parochial Scottish identity, which is superseded by an even more parochial Highland identity (we Highlanders have our own geography, culture, and a language I can’t speak), but I don’t see why this “uniqueness” leads to the kind of pandering to identity politics that has emerged. After all, could anyone say that the Geordies – honorary Scots, all – are less unique and identifiable than the Scots save for the arbitrary imposition of an ancient border?
What we are definitely not is particularly different from our national cousins elsewhere in the UK. The British Attitude Survey consistently shows this to be the case. Scottish exceptionalism presents a false dilemma when applied to the UK.

David Simpson
David Simpson
3 years ago

Personally I was heavily influenced by Peter Watkins’ (?) “Culloden” in my youth, and my other Irish Catholic half by RTE’s “1916” which I watched in Ireland at Easter 1966. I did start to develop a fairly vivid hatred of the “English” and I could have become a fully paid up member of the victim club. I didn’t, I became English instead, after nearly 40 years in East Anglia. But viscerally, I’m still a Scot and an Irishman, an outsider and underdog, and often explain when I’m abroad that I’m not English, but Scots/Irish, for the delightfully warm and friendly reaction it provokes. So, a tart, really.

George Bruce
George Bruce
3 years ago
Reply to  David Simpson

You sound a bit like me, David. I would have been horrified to be told as a child in Scotland I was partly English. But I am! (I think 3/8 would be a reasonable number to use.)
I used to say I was Scottish when travelling on the continent for similar reasons to you.
But I live abroad now and often go for British, the reason being I hate the smarmy Oh, good, we do not like the English but we like you Scottish, Irish, Welsh etc. that you get from a moderate number of people.

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  David Simpson

Every other American I meet claim to be ‘Scots/Irish’ though I’m not exactly sure what they mean by that?

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

There was a reconstruction of the Mayflower in 1970 in Plymouth & the amount of Americans who claimed their family went to America on it , it would have had to be the size of a tanker. Some of the Americans claiming this were also Japanese so something for the 1619 project to look into.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

We were watching a Marx Brother film when Groucho suddenly quipped ‘Well we obviously didn’t come over with the early settlers’.That might be a blessing in disguise with all these calls for reparation , many of these’ Irish/Scottish Americans will probably suddenly remember that they are actually Hungarian.

Eamonn Toland
Eamonn Toland
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

Nowadays some might say Ulster-Scots. There has been traffic to and from northeast Ireland and western Scotland for thousands of years. Scots was originally a name for Ireland (hence Johannes Scotus Eriugenus).
More settlers came from Scotland after the Ulster Plantation and often their grandchildren moved to America with a strong “Scots-Irish” identity, including the “Hill Billies” of the Appalachians, partially because Presbyterians and Catholics were discriminated against in Ireland under the Penal Laws.
President Andrew Jackson is notorious for his role in the Trail of Tears but he was a populist who helped bring universal white male suffrage to the US a full 80 years before it happened in the UK. He was the son of Presbyterian immigrants from Ulster who disliked the coastal Episcopalian (Anglican) landed gentry.

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
3 years ago

Time for my pointless comment. What was Scotland for me? Shity football team and recently a shity rugby team. For some odd reason very good at Curling. Independence can be overrated, I say this as a member of the oldest independent country in Europe. I don’t want to be Spanish but somehow it seems we missed out on something. Our neighbor is sexier, more exciting, fiesta! Hemingway and Orson Welles felled in love with the place, not a word about us! Because We only joined the club for a mere 60 years we can’t dump all the guilt about the empire on them like the Welsh, the Scottish and the Irish do with the English. We can’t claim, Goya, Velasquez, Picasso, Flamenco, Cervantes, etc…Are you sure you want independence?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Jorge Espinha

What about Bartolomeu Dias, Vasco da Gama, Afonso de Albuquerque, Henry the Navigator & Co.

Then you’ve got Toma, Alcobaca, Belem, Batalha, and much more.

Finally who had an umbilical cord of fortifications from Mozambique, Mombasa, Muscat, Bombay, Ceylon, Malacca and so to Macao by 1554? About the same we managed to lose Calais!

Then Plan B saw Rio de Janeiro and all that gold to plunder from Minas Gerais, and squander on Mafra!

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
3 years ago

I’m quite happy with being Portuguese. I just pointed out that had we been inside the empire we could have dumped all the negative stuff on the back of Spain and be all hypocritical and happy with the good bits. After all I’m a child of the empire, I was born in Angola, third generation.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Jorge Espinha

Tudo bĂȘm o Jorge? Being the junior partner to a large neighbour on a shared landmass is never straightforward, especially when physical independence is self-evidently impossible.

However Portugal has centuries of recent (relatively) experience at going it alone, Scotland none. Does that sound like a rugby or football score?!

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Jorge Espinha

I like your Port! Uk oldest allies ……Eusebio,etc…

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago

Interesting article. Though I doubt Scotland’s sons will be brought back as Scottish, given the woke have already cancelled Hume. Also it’s Her Majesty not HRH.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
3 years ago

an MSP lodged a motion supporting the gay wedding of the little-known Canadian superhero Northstar to his partner Kyle in the Astonishing X-Men #51

This is more significant than you think.
It’s typical of the vanity of small-country politicians to seek out vacant (usually for a good reason) “World Leader In …” thrones to occupy and Scotland, (like NZ , Canadian provinces, Welsh councils and Australian states) is replete with such attention-seekers.

Anthony Rice
Anthony Rice
3 years ago

The biggest mystery for me is Her Highness wants independence from the UK, where Scotland is one of four and with MP’s in the main Parliament, yet wants to join the E U, where Scotland will be a minnow , DICTATED to by unelected persons, so what is the advantage. And from which the U K voted to get out because of dictatorial powers exercised by Brussels. Plus of course all the problems Scotland will get by detaching from a union in which it has been intertwined for over 300 years. And civil war/ strife in Scotland could well be on the cards. AND the UK has been GOVERNED by Scots.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Anthony Rice

Why do ”Smelly socks” Want to atagonise their Best customer,England, same with Plaid in wales, Dublin EU sycophants ignore 1922 border with Northern Ireland..

Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
3 years ago

Were I Scottish I think I would be most proud of James Clerk Maxwell. His has been called the greatest intellectual achievement in human history. Admittedly he didn’t (as far as we know) shout ‘freedom’ before charging at the English with a blood stained axe, but boy did he change the world.

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
3 years ago

He “only” helped the creation of modern science. I didn’t know he was Scottish. I wonder if the Scots would trade Mourinho for him?

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Jorge Espinha

De manera ninguĂȘm, obrigado!

Al M
Al M
3 years ago

Edinburgh University still has a building named after him. For now, at least.

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago

Articles like this one, i.e. constantly ‘talking down’ one’s own nation and people, the obsession with what ‘the neighbours will think of us’ were commonplace in Irish newspapers throughout the nineteenth century; a sad reflection of the hyper-colonized mind. Scotland is so much more than Braveheart, Trainspotting or whiskey. The fact that Braveheart was so much more memorable internationally perhaps tells you what people ‘outside’ actually admire about the Scottish. Not that that should be the defining issue. You’re a proud country with great potential, a wealth of natural resources, a rich culture, a three thousand year old native language, music that’s better than Ireland’s (yep, it’s true). There’s darkness as well as light in your past. There is in every country. Why the shame, why the fear? Wake up Scotland, “Wake up William … It’s time to wake up.” Your waking up may even help the English to wake up.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

Scotland is more than braveheart and trainspotting, the same as Cornwall is more than Poldark (series 1, 2, plus various films) and Cambernauld is more than Gregory’s girl.
Not sure what your point is.

Last edited 3 years ago by Andrea X
Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Birmingham is more than Crossroads and peaky blinders. Let’s have independence for the West Midlands!

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

I rest my case!

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Though of course the West Midlands is bigger than Birmingham!

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

My point is that Scotland is a proud nation, with a noble culture and history and that it is perfectly natural and logical that the Scots would desire independence, particularly now. The ‘British’ (establishment) media of late is non-stop torrent of nay-saying and negativity directed at the Scots. The hypocrisy is breath-taking. Anyway, one can be proudly Scottish and British and European, all at the same time. Imagine!

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

The ‘British’ (establishment) media of late is non-stop torrent of nay-saying and negativity directed at the Scots. 
Can you give any examples? I associate current Scotland with SNP racism. I’m aware of none flowing the other way, although it will be fun to watch Scotland implode.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Quite. And I live in Scotland, so I know.
Anyway, I think the Cornish people should be proud of the history of Cornwall, their language and customs. It is hight time they rose up.

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I think the Highlanders should rise up. After all, we (not really “we”, but you know…) were butchered on the field of Culloden by Scottish government soldiers acting on the instructions of a British prince. But that’s nothing in comparison to the appalling treatment Scotland received as a key partner in and beneficiary of the British Empire. But, you know, oil and Thatcher and stuff…

Last edited 3 years ago by James Hamilton
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  James Hamilton

That would only see Culloden repeated.
Let’s face it the Agile & Suffering Highlanders were no match for the Redcoats last time around. Has anything really changed?

Last edited 3 years ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  James Hamilton

It is England’s Oil, 60% is in England’s sector of north Sea..You cannot even keep Irish trawlers away from your sector of celtic Sea..

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I’m a Yorkshireman living in the Highlands. Lets restart the rose war – only this time the white rose should win.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago

Wisdom from Dounreay!
I think you may have been ready the wrong books judged by that asinine comment.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

If you read the Daily Telegraph there’s plenty of anti-Scots feeling there. As an example – the BTL comments explicitly so.
Any anti-English racism from Scots or anyone else is abhorrent.
You associate Scotland with racism, you think it will be fun to see Scotland implode. If you said you associated Israel or India with racism and looked forward to seeing it implode that would rightly be considered appalling. Why is it different for Scotland?

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

The SNP DO NOT want independence!!! What they want is to run away from the hated English (maybe an extension to CRT – its just English who are nasty white Scots are luverly) and join the EU. THAT IS NOT INDEPENDENCE!!!!!

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

What about sending all the Scottish people who live in England , Andrew Marr , people called Kirsty , Alaister Campbell etc back to Scotland as its so nasty here?

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I think Taggart might be more representative of Scotland together with Rab C Nesbitt if the truth were known

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

I agree with much of this and certainly with your last point. If Scotland wants “independence” they should have it. Most English people would probably support this, as we’re not especially keen on being told how horrible we are by people who take more out of the collective pot in benefits than they pay in through taxes. I’m sure Scotland will be fine… There are plenty of little countries around the world with much larger neighbours who do OK.

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

I’m sure the lowly Scots will be heartened by your oh-so-slightly bitter and not-at-all patronizing ‘blessing’ bestowed upon their aspirations. ‘English people would *probably* support this’. Well, frankly, whether they do or not is immaterial to Scottish Nationalists I’d imagine. That kind of is the point of independence, after all. And going by the ongoing ‘British’ media deluge against Scots independence (including at ‘Unherd’) I’m not sure your assertion is true. Come on man, you’re talking to an Irishman here. We both know, that before this is over every possible avenue, threat, treasure and trickery will be thrown at Scotland. Maybe, ‘let go’, who knows maybe you will all prosper mightily because of it.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

To be fair, that probably did sound patronising, so apologies for that. What I meant to convey (and apparently didn’t) is that there isnt some desire by the English people (as opposed to the government) to keep the Scots locked into a union they don’t want. Frankly we’re a bit sick of their whining and wish they’d get on with it. And you’re right: the government will use threats, bribes and tricks to keep the status quo, just like they did with the brexit vote. And my last point was genuine: there are lots of countries smaller than Scotland with less resources who do just fine, and I’ve no doubt Scotland will be OK.

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Fair enough friend. English people have no desire to keep the Scots locked in. You may well be right.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

Glad we can be civil… Hopefully a model for the future. Best wishes.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

The SNP would wet their beds if they thought a say in Scottish independence should be given to the English – because they’s get it.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

There is actually a rapidly narrowing window of opportunity to detach Scotland from the UK right now. About 45% of Scots seems to have swallowed both SNP racism and SNP propaganda, notably to the effect that there is such a thing as Scottish oil.
In fact all the oil is reserved to the UK under 50-year-old international treaty, and the UK will still exist. The SNP doesn’t understand this and imagines existing reserves will magically change hands. This won’t happen, and although they would have a claim to new production, there won’t be any.
We need to get shot of them before they notice this. Because if we thought Scotland was poor now, wait till we get a load of Scotland with the oil and gas industry gone. The revenues have always been the UK’s and will remain so, but the related services provided direct jobs in Scotland and indirectly supported many others; those will all go. The banks will go too, except the insolvent ones, and if they try to join the EU so will the fisheries they’ve just got back, and of course there will be a hard border.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

You’ve forgotten that we are the windfarm capital of the world. We will also have an advantage of getting rid of petrol and diesel cars because we’ll have to walk everywhere because the wind turbines will occupy about 175% of the land. 175% because they’re out to sea as well.

Long live the green revolution.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago

How very attractive Caithness must look. Is that Dome still extant at Dounreay?

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

They want to keep the ÂŁ because an independent currency will collapse within days. Join the Euro? Another Greece then. The Germans will love that idea. Wales, Scotland or or any other area of GB will not be voting for independence anytime soon because the prospect of a Venezuela type collapse, will ensure that every penny that can be moved will be in English banks on Independence Day.

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

“You can never, ever possibly survive without US” We’ve all been hearing quite a bit of that old chestnut of late, haven’t we? All 27 member states of the EU have had that thrown at them over the course of the last five years, and look where it got you. It’s all getting a tad tiresome, isn’t it? Hubris and delusion might make you feel ‘big’ for a while, but it’s not in anyone’s interest, least of all your own. Look, I’m not a Scot. I do know however that ‘unity’ by threat is no unity. Have you lot learned nothing from the past century in Northern Ireland? Ireland literally starved under English ‘rule’. All told, we’ve been doing pretty well since you lot departed.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

I’m sad to read that EU have been telling its 27 remaining states that they can’t survive without it. We, in the UK, had that thrown at us a lot. But we ignored it. Seems to be working out so far.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

Neither you or Scotland are doing “pretty well” as you so prosaically put it.

Both of you suffer from deep rooted victim syndrome, (VS) as a result of English conquest, that has seen you both fail the Darwinian Test of protecting your own home and culture.

Predictably ‘you’ both made the fatal error, centuries ago, of actually inviting Anglo-Norman thugs in to sort you out. A bad mistake.

As a result any national culture you had, including your rather idiosyncratic language, has been almost totally submerged by that of the culture of the dreaded English.

Sadly a combination of poor education*, poverty, drug abuse and alcoholism have only heightened the sense of VS, with unfortunate results.

(* much worse in Jockland it must be said.)

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

Look I am not a Scot…..

LOL !!

Hey lets talk about the potato famine…Cromwell was not a nice guy…. anything else of irrelevance to drag up?

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

As a Welshman I would like to see Irish lorries paying to use Welsh roads. You see petty cuts both ways

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

Don’t forget ‘we’ very generously bailed out the hideously corrupt Irish Banks a few years ago.

Another “call me Dave” Cameron blunder as I recall.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

You show your ignorance,It WAS Irish farmers who sold English Wheat….As for your absurd assertion EU is going great guns, Why do 5million EU Citizens (1.2% of whole EU population,)) want to take up British Citizenship ..I suggest you stop deluding yourself..EU offers only threats and is stoking up problems in France,Greece,Italy,Sweden who will probably follow uK out of EU within 4 years..

Last edited 3 years ago by Robin Lambert
Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

I watched the last leaders debate. It was amusing. Nickie says that an independent Scotland would keep the ÂŁ until an independent Scottish currency was launched, forgetting to mention that when they joined the EU they’d have to switch to the euro. I’ll bet Scottish business will love that – two currency changes. I’ll also bet that the general population will be thrilled at the opportunities to round up.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

It’s not when Scotland joins the EU but a heavily qualified, supersized if.

Even currently, with all the largesse of the Barnet Formula not to mention more recent U.K. support during the last 15 months, Scotland would neither meet the eligibility criteria for membership nor qualify for entry to the €zone (talk about blessings in disguise). That’s a fairly major and awkward technicality wee Nicola is keen to keep away from discussion.

From the EU perspective, an impoverished Scotland would hardly be a net contributor to already diminished EU coffers courtesy of Brexit. Quite contrarily it would be yet another begging bowl to be filled with the PIIGS and E. European members ahead of it in the queue for structural funds and subsidies. As such a highly unattractive candidate for accession to EU membership to both contributors and takers in the EU27.

Then there’s political reality. Belgium, Spain and perhaps Germany and Italy won’t welcome Scotland as a member for fear of creating a precedent for Flanders, Catalunya and at a stretch Bavaria and N. Italy breaking away.

The only way Scottish EU membership could be envisaged is out of a perverse desire to snub / punish the U.K. for Brexit and foment destabilisation. Perhaps not such an impossibility given the bitter, craven resentment on display in Brussels of late but a very expensive way to cut off a nose and spite a face.

If there is to be a second referendum, the reality of not attaining EU membership needs to be explained to those delusional enough to imagine a red carpet from Brussels. Every facet of independence should be negotiated up front and resolved, then presented to the Scottish people (which should but likely wouldn’t include expats like yours truly). Rather important issues such as currency, Crown, share of national debt, defence, a hard border with rUK, embassies/consular facilities and national institutions (Post Office, DVLA, Ordnance Survey to pick three random examples of things an independent Scotland would need to create from scratch). The question should rapidly shape itself as one of voting for penury in perpetuity.

The SNP were allowed to be so evasive and vague on these crucial matters so as to be dishonest in 2014. Even Barroso had to publicly correct Salmond on EU claims.

Lastly the absurd irony of wanting to leave one established union with benefits and a shared history where Scotland has a (disproportionate) say to join an even bigger one with next to no influence speaks volumes for the SNP’s dangerous recklessness. Every bit as ironic and absurd as the SNP’s claims to green credentials while predicating an economic house built on quicksand via depleting fossil fuels in the North Sea.

Last edited 3 years ago by Duncan Hunter
Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

Its certainly more than a midget playing a giant, its also more than the myths about “the Bruce” but resources – well. Why do you think NS is so keen on joining the EU. She expects to be a net recipient.

Ernest DuBrul
Ernest DuBrul
3 years ago

I think Scotland needs a good PR person to force us Americans (and probably most Canadians and Europeans, as well) to recognize the tremendous contributions of Scots to human learning. Smith, Maxwell, Watt, Doyle, et al,– we’re taught they are all British, i.e., English!

Malcolm Beaton
Malcolm Beaton
3 years ago
Reply to  Ernest DuBrul

The Scots electorate seem quite capable of distinguishing between Scottish MP/MSPs and Independence
Constant very sophisticated voting by the population bears this out
It rather looks like the “Independence “ship has sailed
Conditions are much worse now for Independence -Brexit,Covid etc
Hopefully Scottish MSPs and MPs can get back to the day job ASAP

Last edited 3 years ago by Malcolm Beaton
andrew.drury172
andrew.drury172
3 years ago

A few sticky questions: a) Will the Shetland and Orkney islands get a vote on separation from Scotland (as there is a desire for these areas to become English protectorates in the event of Scottish independence)?, b) Will an independent Scotland have to spend money on improving their ports for imports and exports as Ireland had to after Brexit to avoid goods going through England?, c) Will the Scots living in England get a vote in any referendum (as most are opposed to independence as they will either have to change their nationality or get a permit to work)? and d) if the SNP lose another referendum, will that be the end of the matter or will they keep on banging the same old drum? As they say in exams: Discuss

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago

Great caption photograph of the ‘enraged’ Aussie/Scotch pygmy!

Al M
Al M
3 years ago

Were that to happen, then I think these figures and others would be retconned as purely “Scottish”

Were that to happen I suspect they would be cancelled.

Last edited 3 years ago by Al M
M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago

there are many world-famous Scots — Adam Smith, Arthur Conan Doyle, James Watt and Sean Connery, to name only four. 
Interesting that 50% of the first four you thought of are Catholics with Irish names.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  M Spahn

What? Watt? Is Watt an Irish name?

VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
3 years ago

It’s all so pointless. European national separatism is the luxury of providence and plenty. There are about 100 regions in Africa and Asia that are more deserving of independent political representation than Scotland.
It all seems like so many wet nappies to me.
Put on the big boy pants there Hibernia.

Last edited 3 years ago by VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
Sam Mac Gill-Eain
Sam Mac Gill-Eain
3 years ago

Hibernia is Ireland. Unless of course you’re referencing Hibernian who play in the Cup Final on Saturday, which seems unlikely………..

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

You meant Caledonia, I’d assume?! But otherwise spot on: kolado megale!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago

What has happened to all this afternoon’s comments?
You seem to censored/removed most of them, particularly Mr Jon Redman’s excellent appreciation of the financial implications of any precipitous action by ‘Nickie’ & the SNP.

Is this the way it is now is on UnHerd? Only PC comments permitted, sanitised for reader protection or some such nonsense?

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago

Surely the key icon of Scotland is the deep fried Mars bar – that just has to be a global winner!

Harry Potter
Harry Potter
3 years ago

These people are simply spoiled because they grew up in one of the world’s freest democracies and enjoy political rights that people in Hong Kong dare not ever imagine for granted. Humans are by nature greedy creatures. If something is free for them to enjoy from birth, then they will desire more and more.
The British Isles are small enough compared to the continental empires of Chinese and Russian. Westminster gives more than enough power and freedom for local self-government. Yet these separatists feel no sense of contentment or appreciation for that, no sense of the bigger picture, no awareness of the importance of compromise in uniting a society, and no idea of the importance of population & economic size’s on a nation’s influence in international discourse.
Waving fists and shouting empty slogans that are essentially useless for improving quality of life and social welfare, these people are nothing more than over-coddled, capricious giant babies. With a population smaller than that of a prefecture-level city in China, speaking almost only English, but trying to make yourself king just because of the insignificant differences between Scotland and England 4 hundred years ago? If that represents justice and progress, why not have Germany split into dozens of small states back to the way things were in the Middle Ages, and then go their separate ways and hate each other? Why don’t China just split into hundreds of small city-states and go back to the way things were 3,000 years ago?
Just abolish the SNP, legislate against any act of secession, and then put its leaders in jail. Undermining the sovereign integrity of the country shall not be tolerant under any circumstances.
There is a famous saying that is held in high regard in China: If we lose our human nature, we lose much, but if we lose our bestial nature, we lose everything.
–A suggestion from the East

Last edited 3 years ago by Harry Potter
George Wells
George Wells
3 years ago
Reply to  Harry Potter

If Germany had stayed divided into dozens of small states, it would have been a very good thing.

Harry Potter
Harry Potter
3 years ago
Reply to  George Wells

for enemy of Germanys.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago

And anyway, why is independence “a zero-sum game”?
(Gosh I really hate this now omnipresent phrase)

George Bruce
George Bruce
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Yes, a zero-sum game is a situation where the losses of certain parties are offset by the gains to others, and overall the total gained and lost is unchanged.
I do not see any reason why overall that balance of outcomes would be the case in the completely different setting of an independent Scotland.
I think Mr. Kalder (strange spelling – is it a Scottification of a foreign name?) is not really sure what the phrase means.

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
3 years ago
Reply to  George Bruce

I think he means that independence is a binary choice.

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

The us and them game?