Why Not Independence?

Why Not Independence?

I have no dog in the fight for Scottish independence. None at all. I am not Scottish, I don’t know any Scots and I have very little knowledge about the country overall, except for reading a biography of William Wallace.

But why shouldn’t the country be independent?

I actually want an independent Scotland. And if someone like me, who is as far removed from that country as you can get, can be seriously hoping for a “Yes” vote on the independence referendum, there might be others out there who are interested in as well. Is it because of some latent anti-British sentiment? Perhaps, because those folks, in my opinion, are responsible for great deal of misery in the world and have never owed up to it. So why should they keep control over Scotland? The United Kingdom is such because of English conquests, not because like-minded people in Scotland, Wales (and once) Ireland all decided to band together out of their common interests.

You’ll note I brought up William Wallace. While I’ve never seen the Mel Gibson film “Braveheart” in its entirety, I think I can understand the spirit of it, one that Gibson captured fairly well after having read a biography about the hero by James Mackay. Turns out that Wallace’s star shone bright only for a brief period of time. The son of a minor aristocrat, he was a brigand before stumbling into the role of freedom fighter against the English. His greatest victory was at Stirling Bridge but the fall from grace came shortly thereafter. Nevertheless, Mackay has convinced me that Wallace truly wanted Scottish independence from England and never wavered from that, even when his political fortunes had run dry and he was reduced to himself and small core of followers who stayed with him until his ignominious English-ordered torture and execution.

The way I see it, it’s the 21st century: countries should decide their own fate without needing to be part of a kingdom. Maybe it’s the anti-monarchy streak I have in me, but the very concept that in 2014, Scotland really isn’t in control of its own destiny and that power resides in Westminster (England) is unfathomable. I’ve read with interest some items in Scottish media about how a “Yes’ vote would work and the arguments from “No” proponents. I also admit that I find the parochialism of all sorts of muckety-mucks like JK Rowling (of Harry Potter fame) taking part of the “Better Together” campaign to have induced no small measure of eye-rolling. Better together for whom? Well, since true power resides outside the country, I guess the primary beneficiaries are there, not in Scotland.

And what about the luminaries of the Scottish Enlightenment, like Thomas Reid or William Hamilton? How odd that the American Revolutionary generation would be more influenced by Scots in the drive towards independence just under 70 years after Scotland’s union with England than the Scots themselves. What a pity. And returning to Wallace, if Scotland votes no and decides to remain part of the United Kingdom, they should all tear down Wallace’s statue. Or at least cover it up with a big sheet, because a “No” vote is a direct repudiation of why that statue was erected in the first place. After 700 years, a vote to remain under British rule (and let’s face it, Scotland is not in total control of its own fate) means the Scottish people have no place for commemorating people like Wallace. A statue to Wallace in the aftermath of a successful “No” vote is like a bad joke.

So, people of Scotland, there *are* folks who are interested in your country being independent, folks who have no real say in the matter. But there are more eye on this than you might know.