Friday, September 19, 2014
Scots Stick to UK
by Pa Rock
Yesterday there was a vote in Scotland over whether to remove itself from the political conglomeration that is the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland), or not. The vote for independence failed by ten percentage points (55% to 45%).
I managed to see and enjoy some of Scotland in 2003 when friends and I rode a train from London to Edinburgh. Those two cities, at that time, existed in stark contrast to one another. London was a mess of traffic congestion, unkempt public parks in need of mowing, and a quickly spreading sea of graffiti that was seeping across the urban landscape. Edinburgh, on the other hand, was a breath of fresh air with beautiful vistas at every turn, well kept public spaces, and numerous small businesses staffed by friendly and out-going individuals.
Edinburgh, of course, is not representative of all of Scotland. I had seen the movie “Trainspotting” a few years before that trip and had been told that the residual dregs of several decades of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, were sleeping on the streets of Glasgow. But we didn’t go there.
The Scots have a beautiful old culture, one that is markedly distinct from that of the British. While in Edinburgh, my friends and I went to a distillery where Scotch whiskey was manufactured, and to a weaving factory where beautiful Scotch plaid cloth was woven. And, of course, there were golf courses (Scotland is where the game was invented.), bagpipes, and men wearing kilts – which were made of Scottish plaids.
Another vivid memory of my trip to Scotland was the view from the train. At one point we closed in on the seacoast and had a breathtaking view of a little fishing village sitting at the foot of a cliff. I remember the country as being very green.
We were only in Scotland a couple of days, but those two days were a big highlight of my first and only trip (so far) to the United Kingdom.
I didn’t have a horse in the race on whether the citizens of Scotland should have voted for independence or not, but I notice that my President did. Mr. Obama tweeted his desire that Scotland remain a part of the United Kingdom. That, to me, was a bit high-handed – advice to “stay put” from the President of a country which went to war to break itself away from the same mother country.
Big O, next time you encounter a situation like that of the Scottish move toward independence, may I respectfully suggest that you keep your American nose out of it. And if the urge, or need, to intervene is too great to resist, send in McCaskill. When it comes to rigging an election, there is no dictatorial despot or Republican secretary of state who can hold a candle to our Claire!