sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul

Wings Over Scotland

When push comes to shove

Posted on December 04, 2012 by

We had a brief but enjoyable Twitter debate (Twebate? Twiscussion? Twargument?) with the Spectator’s excellent Alex Massie earlier today, on the question of whether it’s possible for a person to genuinely belong to two countries at once. Our view has long been that it isn’t, but Massie seemed incredulous, querying whether Sir Walter Scott and Donald Dewar really didn’t see Scotland as a “proper” country.

We’ve long pondered over the simplest analogy to explain our view, and for want of a better alternative (plus we still have the flu) reluctantly went down the war route.

That requires the construction of a hypothetical future that’s highly unlikely to arise, but which is nevertheless perfectly possible. Due to its nature it’s open to easy accusations of melodrama, which Unionists tend to seize on as an excuse to avoid the uncomfortable, unanswerable question it poses to anyone claiming that they belong equally to both Scotland and the UK. It goes like this:

1. The referendum result is a hair’s-breadth Yes.
Let’s say the final vote in 2014 is amazingly close. Since only idiots completely rule out either a Yes or a No victory at this stage, it stands to reason that a tight result is a possibility. The 1979 devolution referendum came out 51.6% Yes to 48.4% No, but let’s imagine something much closer even than that – let’s call it 50.02% to 49.98%, with maybe as few as a couple of hundred votes in it.

2. The Unionists refuse to accept the result.
We know that’s a possibility, because they’ve told us it is. Back in April we reported Jenny Marra of Labour telling Newsnight Scotland that the No camp’s acknowledgement of the outcome would depend on “the size of the majority, the clear majority” (our emphasis again). Linda Fabiani of the SNP, on the other hand, said that 50% plus one vote would be a result either way.

So the Unionists may simply say the majority isn’t big enough, or they might allege some sort of fraud or miscount somewhere along the line, but either way it’s entirely believable that they wouldn’t admit defeat.

3. The Scottish Government refuses to back down.
The Scottish Government’s clear duty at this point would be to stand by the decision expressed by the people of Scotland. A win is a win, and the people have voted for independence. There’s no obvious room for compromise.

Negotiations break down, and with no concession on either side (what possible concession COULD there be? Run the referendum again? What if it comes out the same way?) there’s only one thing the Scottish Government can legitimately do – issue a Unilateral Declaration of Independence, citing the United Nations Charter, Chapter 1 Article 1, on self-determination.

4. The UK Government refuses to acknowledge the UDI.
Well, it’s difficult to imagine them conceding what they’d just refused to accept in negotiations, isn’t it? But now the situation is incredibly grave. Scotland has declared itself independent. The armed forces and police are in turmoil, perhaps even on different sides, but both beset by internal division in any case. The UK’s nuclear deterrent is stranded in Scottish waters. Public unrest threatens to boil over. There’s only one option left open to London – military action.

(If you doubt the credibility of that outcome, you clearly haven’t heard of the Battle Of George Square, when less than 100 years ago a British government sent tanks onto the streets of Glasgow to quell a political uprising and strike, from which the picture at the top of this article is taken.)

5. Civil war.
Obviously, military intervention in such circumstances would lead to what could only be described as a civil war. And it’s here that we arrive at our simple and obvious question for those who claim both Scotland and the UK as their “country”: which side are you on?

Because you have to choose. And whatever your answer is, that’s your country. When the chips are down, you can only ever have one.

Of course, immediately after we’d said all that, we finally had a long-overdue epiphany and realised that there was a much better, shorter and less extreme analogy. The Union is often depicted as a marriage (the UK was formed between two partners, not four), and independence as a divorce. But while a man can love many women, and can have many wives, he can only ever have one at a time. Trying to be faithful to two at once is a contradiction in terms, and can only ever end in disaster and misery.

It was too late at that point, of course. But it’s worth keeping in mind for the future.

Be Sociable, Share!

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 08 12 12 17:03

    Taking wings from reality, or, nationalism’s failure to understand the concept of both/and « Lily of St. Leonards

  2. 12 12 12 07:05

    Taking Wing from Reality: Nationalism’s failure to understand the concept of both/and » Open Unionism

139 to “When push comes to shove”

  1. Doug Daniel says:

    In fact Stu, I believe your quandary can be summed up through the medium of song, in particular the song Bigamy At Christmas by Tony Ferrino (aka Steve Coogan)

    Bigamy at christmas
    What am I to do?
    Spend it with the family
    I can’t – I’ve got two! 


  2. DougtheDug says:

    There is a much simpler question that sorts out the Scots from the Brits without bringing in civil war.
    Just ask them, what passport do you want to hold, Scottish or British?


  3. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    That one doesn’t work, though, because it’s perfectly possible to hold more than one passport at a time. Lots of people have both UK and Irish passports, for example.


  4. Willie Zwigerland says:

    What about the millions of polygamists on the planet?


  5. Doug Daniel says:

    Willie – Bigamy At Christmas highlights the inherent problems with polygamy.

    Similarly, unionist parties not wanting Scotland to implement a Scottish solution to Leveson highlights the inherent problems with devolution. You can’t have two national governments.


  6. DougtheDug says:

    They could of course have dual nationality and hold a Scottish passport and an England, Wales and NI (EWNI) passport  but the choice of Scottish or British passport does work because British as a nationality won’t exist after Scottish independence.

    They can’t have both.


  7. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “British as a nationality won’t exist after Scottish independence”

    Britain isn’t the same thing as the UK. And if England, Wales and Northern Ireland want to keep calling themselves the United Kingdom after Scottish independence, I’m not sure it’s any business of ours. It’s not like we want the name.


  8. Macart says:

    You know we’ve been beaten about the head on every thread for months over the economy, points of law, Europe, nato (defence), prudence of national and local governance, imagined future policies, currency et al, but here is the argument that many often throw in the bin that which is based on the heart not the head.

    Who or what do you feel yourself to be Scottish or a resident of the UK? When it comes right down to it and you’re in that polling booth all by yourself, are you really going to be considering the fine points on all of the above or are you going to go with your emotive self? 


  9. zedeeyen says:

    I couldn’t answer your hypothetical, but not because I’d want to answer “both of them” but rather “neither of them”. I’m not on the side of any country. I’m on my side. My loyalty begins with my family and ends with my friends, and everyone else beyond those groups is a stranger, whether they’re Scottish, British or Azebaijani.

    I support independence because I think Scotland would be better off governing itself and because a diminishment of the UK would be a good thing in and of itself, but I have nothing more at stake than that. I certainly wouldn’t be taking up arms for either side or supporting anyone else who did so.


  10. muttley79 says:

    I think the Edinburgh Agreement has committed both Scottish and UK Governments to accepting the result.  Michael Moore has said that 50% plus wins the referendum.  I don’t see a repeat of 1979 in terms of the 40% rule.  However, unfortunately I can see a repeat in terms of some voters being conned by the No parties promises.  This would apply to some No and undecided voters.  To be honest, I am not sure if a very slender No win would be good for that side, particularly in the medium to long term.  I think the union would be doomed by a No 51%-49% type result.  I think this would be seen as undermining the legitimacy of the union.  I reckon the union would be over within 20 years, possibly less.  Any controversy over a No win would see the SNP boosted significantly.


  11. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I couldn’t answer your hypothetical, but not because I’d want to answer “both of them” but rather “neither of them”. I’m not on the side of any country. I’m on my side”

    Sorry, no good. There’s just been a pitched battle somewhere, the UK forces have won, and an injured Scottish fighter – fighting for the thing YOU voted for – has turned up seeking refuge. Do you hide him in the basement, risking your own life, or turn him over to the UK troops, risking his? (Or slam the door in his face, which is the same thing.) You just picked a side.


  12. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I think the Edinburgh Agreement has committed both Scottish and UK Governments to accepting the result.  Michael Moore has said that 50% plus wins the referendum.”

    That still leaves the “fraud or miscount” option open. Do you really see them quietly accepting a result decided by a few dozen votes? I don’t, and since this is MY hypothetical situation you don’t get to either 😀


  13. muttley79 says:

    @Rev Stu
    That still leaves the “fraud or miscount” option open. Do you really see them quietly accepting a result decided by a few dozen votes? I don’t, and since this is MY hypothetical situation you don’t get to either
    Yes, it does leave open the “fraud or miscount option.”  However, I expect (fuckin’ hope :D) that Scottish voting stations will be swamped by international observers.  Therefore, I think only the fraud option would remain.  I don’t actually think either side would accept the result if there was a dispute over fraud.  On the plus side for the Yes side, a disputed result would surely see the end of the union within 10-20 years, maybe sooner.  This would be because the Yes side would compare it to the events in 1707, the SNP would be spectacularly boosted and the No campaign would look like (even) bigger shysters.


  14. zedeeyen says:

    Sorry, no good. There’s just been a pitched battle somewhere, the UK forces have won, and an injured Scottish fighter – fighting for the thing YOU voted for – has turned up seeking refuge. Do you hide him in the basement, risking your own life, or turn him over to the UK troops, risking his? (Or slam the door in his face, which is the same thing.) You just picked a side.

    Not really. The dilemma would be identical if it was a UK soldier in the event of a Scottish victory. In both cases my actions would be based on morality, not nationality.


  15. Jeannie says:

    Trying to work this out in my head and it isn’t easy.  If Scotland declares UDI then she is, de facto, independent, therefore two types of war can then ensue.  In scenario 1, the Scottish unionists are unhappy and a civil war  breaks out within an independent Scotland. In scenario 2, the Westminster government is unhappy and invades Scotland as a foreign power (or is invited to invade/intervene by Scottish unionists).  Which side you’re on may be influenced by which type of war breaks out.  In a civil war within Scotland, two brothers in the same family may be on opposite sides,e.g. Culloden, yet be willing to fight shoulder to shoulder in the event of an external enemy threat (World War 2). Maybe the question is, if you were French during WW2 would you be happy to be part of the Vichy government or would you be in the Resistance?


  16. mogabee says:

     In the worst case scenario…and bandages are needed, I’ll tear up the sheets for the Scottish fighters lol


  17. Juteman says:

    The UN intervenes, and sets up a ‘no fire zone’. The UN troops are seperating folk into 2 groups. What groupdo you go into? Scots or UK?


  18. muttley79 says:

    I don’t think it will ever come to civil war.  Both sides would need to compromise. 


  19. Erchie says:

    getting back to the discussion that started this. perhaps Mr Massie is too young or too British, but I remember when putting Nationality Brit/Scot was enough to keep many careers in the doldrums.
     Qualifying “British” meant you failed an unspoken “cricket test”.


  20. Jeannie says:

    Second question:  What is the definition of a “country”?


  21. I think the only 2 credible options in this debate are independence or abolition of Holyrood.  I don’t see how anyone can claim to be British but want to receive all the benefits that aren’t available to their fellow countrymen.  Reading it again that’s maybe slightly off-topic.  Ok, how about:

    In next year’s fitba match at Wembley who will you be supporting – Scotland or you don’t really mind because both teams are part of the same country and you support them both equally?


  22. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “The dilemma would be identical if it was a UK soldier in the event of a Scottish victory.”

    Indeed it would. And you’d still have to pick.


  23. Patrician says:

    Perhaps something less dramatic by Lord Tebbitt, and I paraphrase “If the 2 countries you claim citizenship of, were playing cricket*, then which side would you support? That is your nationality”  
    *Insert sport/hobby of your choice.


  24. Domhnall dods says:

    I received a report after a training course which said I had a “very strong Scottish accent whuch renders him almost unintelligible”. When I mentioned that I also struggled with the authors’ plummy accents I was told “don’t  be ridiculous we don’t have accents, we’re English”. 
    The UK army really knows how to foster a sense of belonging. 


  25. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I don’t think it will ever come to civil war.  Both sides would need to compromise. “

    See above. It’s a hypothetical aimed at illustrating a question, not a prediction. You don’t get to change the terms.


  26. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Perhaps something less dramatic by Lord Tebbitt”

    Yes. I’ve previously referred to that as being the only thing I’ve ever agreed with Norman Tebbit about, but I like neither citing Lord Tebbit nor posing a conundrum based on cricket, so I made my own example :)


  27. Davy says:

    My answer is : 

    For, as long as but one hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, BUT FOR FREEDOM – FOR THAT ALONE, which no honest man gives up but life itself.


  28. Gaavster says:

    A question – 

    Would 10 auld codgers, a Labour politician, union jack buntery and a pasting table, actually constitute a fighting force?  


  29. Tris says:

    I’ve never in my entire life felt British.

    I’ve never put British as my nationality, either on forms, or more recently on the internet. (Fortunately I’ve never had to complete anything that was absolutely vital on the net, so it has just been membership of something like F.B or Twitter or Youtube… in which case I put Danish or Icelandic from the drop down.)

    I don’t want to go to war with anyone, being a pacifist, but, if the whole place is at war and I had to chose whose side I was on, then Scotland without any shadow of doubt.

    Of course I know that I AM British, because I was born in the British Isles and live in the British Isles, but there is no feeling of loyalty or affection for the British state, even when someone else is criticising it. I know that I am also European and an Earthling, like it or not.

    I have a Scottish cover for my passport (which in any case is an EU passport) with the UK subdivision on it. 


  30. DougtheDug says:

    If you think that the naming of the rUK is going to cause a problem just give them a single choice.
    Do you want a Scottish Passport?
    Yes: Scottish
    No: British


  31. Jeannie says:

    I’m sure I read somewhere that at the Battle of George Square they brought the troops up from England as they doubted that the Scottish soldiers would fire on their own people.  If it’s true, it happened under the Union and the UK government must have thought that the Scottish soldiers might not, under those circumstances, have had total allegiance to the British Army. So, when push came to shove, they suspected that Scottish troops would think of themselves as Scottish and not British. Don’t know if it’s true or not – maybe somebody out there knows?  (I think the Chinese did the same thing at Tianenmen Square and brought in troops from a different province for the same reason).


  32. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    50%plus 1 will do it. Either way. Although I think Margaret (the genius) Curran uttered similar such drivel to her Labour colleague.

    Perhaps a more interesting question to ask is there any restriction in The Edinburgh Agreement as to having another referendum, in the event of a NO vote? 


  33. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I believe it sets out an expiry date for the Section 30 powers which would effectively prevent another referendum taking place without another agreement.

    EDIT: Yes, December 31st 2014.


  34. maxstafford says:

    Whilst I earnestly hope it will never come to such a thing I will choose Scotland if forced to take sides. It’s really that simple for me. 


  35. Colin Dunn says:

    “It was too late at that point, of course . . ”

    Hmm. How long till some No campaign nutter claims this article is an incitement to war? 


  36. muttley79 says:

    The problem with the passport question is that  personally I am not really bothered (would prefer a Scottish one obviously).  Same goes with the flag debates, although I like the Saltire much more than the Union Jack.  The reason I want independence is because I think we are more than capable of governing ourselves; I actually think we would do really well, and I think Westminster is a complete waste of time; the place just reeks of privilege, self-importance, wankery etc. 


  37. Galen10 says:

    It would never occur to me to have anything other than a Scottish passport when they are available. I’ve never felt anything other than Scottish first, and British second… and the latter only because it is my de facto nationality pending independence for Scotland. Similarly it would never occur to me to support anyone else but Scotland in sporting ties, tho’ I’m quite happy to feel some pride in British athletes for example in the Olympics.

    I have now lived in England almost as long as I lived in Scotland. I’ve attended university in both countries, I’ve worked for companies in both countries. My wife is English and doesn’t really want to see independence…. but she understands why I do. My daughter was born in Scotland, but has lived her life in England, and attends an English university.

    There must be thousands of families in similar situations all over the UK. I think it IS possible to belong to two countries at once to the extent that many people like me will feel that’s what we do, and have been doing, for years. At present, I’m Scottish, and yet also British… because right now the facts on the ground mean that is a viable choice. I have British passport and my official nationality is British, but my accent instantly identifies me as Scottish, and I’d never introduce myself as anything other than Scottish.

    If the vote in 2014 is Yes many expats like me will face a choice. Some will I suspect simply “become” British, however much they cherish their Scottish roots and identity. Others, myself included, will take Scottish passports whether we intend to return to Scotland or not.

    England or rUK will NEVER be my country when an independent Scotland becomes a reality; perhaps that’s as close to an answer as Alex Massie or Lord Tebbit can expect!


  38. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    We live on an island called Great Britain. “Britain” derives from the Latin name for England (Britannia).
    The Scottish troops were locked in Maryhill barracks (which is where the strikers should have gone instead of George Square).


  39. sneddon says:

    Anyside that allows me to have a pop at Massie:)


  40. Craig P says:

    One might well be all for one side, but for the sake of a quiet life (or if the side you prefer is clearly going to lose), chose to live under another banner.

    Asking some people to chose under such circumstances would be a real Sophie’s choice.


  41. Jeannie says:

    What a great read.  Thanks for that.


  42. Wullie says:

    All Scottish troops were dis-armed and confined to barracks under armed English guard. It has always been an occupation.


  43. jon abroad says:

    Britain” derives from the Latin name for England (Britannia).
    Except that it wasn’t England. It was Brythonic-inhabited Britain. England came along in 897 (thank you Oxford English Dictionary via Wikipedia).
    So it’s:
    “Britain” derives from the Latin name for the southern part of the island of Great Britain.


  44. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    mato21: Great link, have replaced the one in the article with it.


  45. Jeannie says:

    Just thinking about the principled stance taken by Shinwell, Gallagher, Kirkwood, etc. in 1919, in support of the workers and troops returning from the front and I thought to myself, “What would Johann Lamont, Anas Sarwar, James Kelly and Margaret Curran do if they were ever faced with having to challenge the injustices imposed on the people by the establishment”? Oh, wait, I think I already know the answer to that.


  46. pmcrek says:

    Quick query if any folks know the answer, recently Yes Scotland posted that they had gathered over 143,000 signatures for the yes campaign, these were mostly submitted through the website and also the numerous events that have taken place around Scotland.

    Not so long ago also the SNP indicated that they had also collected over 100,000 signatures for the yes campaing too:

    My query, which is probably obvious now is, does anyone know if the yes scotland total of 143,000 signatures includes the 100,000 signatures gathered by the SNP? Or are we looking at a total of 243,000 signatures at present?

    Oh finally, sorry to hear about the flu, get well soon Rev.


  47. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Just thinking about the principled stance taken by Shinwell, Gallagher, Kirkwood, etc. in 1919, in support of the workers and troops returning from the front and I thought to myself, “What would Johann Lamont, Anas Sarwar, James Kelly and Margaret Curran do if they were ever faced with having to challenge the injustices imposed on the people by the establishment”? Oh, wait, I think I already know the answer to that.”



  48. Tamson says:

    I’m of the view that you won’t get a homogenous acceptance of a Yes result unless it’s by quite a large margin. Any result short of 60-40, IMO, will be called into question, particularly by Labour politicians. If there are significant regional variations, particularly at the geographical edge (Borders, D&G, the Northern Isles) expect other voices to join in too.
    Never, ever underestimate the obstinacy, conservatism, and mendacity of the Westminster mindset.


  49. Jeannie says:

    Re Ed Milliband, These strikes are wrong(you tube) – do you think Ed and the entire Labour Party is being controlled by The Borg? Or maybe he’s just doing it for a laugh. 


  50. Iain says:

    I would say the question (which I’ve never seen a Unionist answer btw) that nails Scottishness for me is ‘Would you rather be governed by {insert party generally opposed to one’s aspirations} in Holyrood or by {insert party approximately supportive of one’s aspirations} in Westminster?’ Though it pains me to contemplate the likes of Lamont, Davidson or Rennie having any control over an independent Scotland, I still think it would be preferrable to what we have.
    Of course it’s an increasingly moot point as Westminster descends into Tweedledummery.


  51. Craig P says:

    The battle of Geogre Square was started by a police baton charge, according to ‘The Legend of Red Clydeside’. The revolutionary rhetoric of a number of exciteable leaders such as Kirkwood go the government so concerned that they sent English troops in, who were in place in Glagsow the next day whilst the local ones were locked up in their barracks. 

    However the government had seriously over reacted to the reality of the situation, worried by the recent Russian revolution and the rhetoric of the leaders of the strike.  There was no appetite in the city for revolution. The strikers just wanted better hours. 


  52. James Morton says:

    Thing is – the UK isn’t a country – It’s not even a Nation. It’s a fiction, an economic compromise that has ran on 300 years or more. The how and why of it is largely forgotten by most in England, and ironically most Scottish Unionists. It has always been able to re-invent itself with the odd incident that reminds folk here what we’re thought of down there in England.
    There have always been those who felt that no matter what the provocation, no matter how shameful the treatment, it was safer to be bullied by westminster than be terrorised by it. There was also a large number of nationalists who felt Scotland could prosper within the Union with England and that it would keep it safe – mainly from England.
    But this is largely forgotten. What is left is banal unionism. Its what the americans would call a “self licking lollipop”. A process increasingly offering few benefits but exists primarily to justify and perpetuate its own existence. For example the argument that you can feel Scottish & British at the same time. its nonsensical, you either are or you are not. You cannot be Hot & cold, or Hungry yet satisfied, rich yet poor all at the same time. We cannot be Scottish, yet feel swiss unless you had parents from both countries.  Simply put if Britishness is simply a collective term, the sum total of its parts then to declare yourself British is simply to say I am Scottish, or welsh or Irish or English, and come from a part of an island called Britain. Your Britishness is informed and shaped by the part of the island you live in. So when a unionist says they can feel Scottish and British, what they are really saying is that they are in fact Scottish but identify with the larger group and feel some sort of affinity towards it, but when challenged as to what that is, they simply can’t put their finger on the part that supposedly makes them “British” – which is what led Robin Cook to declare “Tikka Misala” is now a national dish.
    That’s why most of the arguments presented to date just don’t convince or leave you slapping your forehead in disbelief. Brown says we would be a colony rather than an independent country. Curious notion of history giving that Colonies were areas settled by people from another area controlled by a distant government through local proxies. This only works if there was a thing as Britain, in which case we would be British settlers pushing for independence from the state (Anyone remember America?) We are in fact the indigenious peoples who have been settled here for a long time – wanting independence from a Union with another sovereign state. (
    Darlings latest intervention about Culture shows how little the man understands what culture is. There is no such thing as British culture – its a collection of other strands of local and global influences. We could not be culturally impoverished by Independence, because we have our own local cultures and have absorbed and been influenced by many others, including English and vice versa.
    There have also been attempts to bridge the divide through sport. But this also does not really work. In most sporting events played world wide, we have our own national teams. The idea that a Scot or a welshman would support England in the world cup is utter nonsense and vice versa. For many English our sportsman are British only if they are winning, but strangely become Scottish again if they lose.
    Politics is another area were this disconnect manifests itself. the majority of Scots simply cannot abide being ruled by a party it did not vote for. The Tories support here has withered on the vine after that fateful day they decided to merge with the english tory party. The fact that they are seen as an English Party is one of the driving forces in pushing down their support. If we were truly british this would not be as big an issue as it is.
    I think most people now support the Union – because its there and has become part of the backdrop. But when examined more closely it has lost what appeal it had as it offers little benefits anymore. And it’s banal unionism that has led to this state of affairs. Which is why when trying to support it or put forward the positive message, its always with an fixed to the past. Glorious and imperial, two world wars, a great naval power, a great trading power, an old qaulity street tin vision of Britain through some dickensian rosy prism. Not once will you ever here a unionist talk of social justice, equality or opportunity with relation to the future. They;d rather dwell in the past, that confront what the union has become.


  53. James T says:

    I can’t ever seeing it coming to Civil War. For several reasons.

    1. If it ended 50.1% for the Yes camp, and the Unionists cry foul, then I can see Salmond noising up the UN. Whether they are Scots born, or Scots descendents who live in the nations such as US, Australia, Canada, NZ, SA, and god knows where else, well, I think they would protest against the UK government. I suspect Scots abroad would recognise an independent Scotland. 
    Cameron and Co would also get a fright as it would come from all sides. They’ve been shouting from the rafters for all those nations in the Arab Spring uprising. It would be double standards. Russia, Iran, China, etc would gleefully recognise Scotland as an Independent nation. Rogue nations fair do’s…but if they see a way of militarily weakening Britain, then they will do it. I can’t see the Unionists winning such an argument after Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc.

    2. Salmond is still too shrewd for every politician down south…even Cameron. Salmond would run to Obama, and noise him up. Obama is not that keen on Britain after supposedly ‘mistreating his grandad during those Empire days’.

    3. Both Salmond and Cameron agreed on 50% + 1. Salmond will have also p*ssed on the 40% mark, and told Cameron where he can shove that. That excuse won’t wash for a 2nd time.

    4. Knowing a General Election would be just around the corner, I think Cameron would want Scotland nipped in the bud quickly ie. ‘okay, you win, we’ll negotiate from this point on. One thing…when we have the general election in 2015, Scottish MP’s will no longer sit in Parliament once the results are in. They can sit in Westminster until the 2015 election. One day after the result…they go home’. It would kill Labour instantly. I can see this happening while Labour are locked out in Holyrood and Westminster. The won’t be in the room to negotiate against this.

    Civil war…nah….I can’t see your normal Scot’s Unionists inviting English Battalions into Scotland. I think even they would be appalled at that decision. I think they would be deep down ashamed if they invited such a thing. One thing about the Scots. If we sense that the nation is threatened in any way, then we usually band together !! We are pretty clannish that way. Your normal unionists will bite the bullet. They may be unhappy, but I don’t think they would be utterly bitter, or demanding war.


  54. Michael Hutchison says:

    But but!  Your hypothetical is, for me, loaded by the UK’s refusal to accept the results. This takes the question away from it being about the possibility of whether you can belong to two countries at once and, by my simple perception, changes it to one about right and wrong.


  55. Exiled... says:

    I’m fascinated by the “Scottishness” V “Britishness” debate. Like an earlier contributor, I have lived in the south of England for over quarter of a century – in fact, almost exactly half of my life, after living the first half of my life in Scotland and being born to Scottish parents. I take pride in being Scottish, and wherever I travel in the world (particularly the USA, where I have been many times), if asked where I am from, I do not hesitate in answering “Scotland”. If asked where I live, I will answer England, but will make a point of adding that I am originally from Scotland, because it is important to me to let the other person know that I am Scottish. However, I do have four children, the oldest of whom is now an adult, who have lived their entire lives down here, with no “English blood” to speak of, but who, if asked for their nationality, would very probably answer “English”. That has never been an issue for me, given that we all carry the same passport and live under the same government, but post-independence that difference would carry more significance, and I suspect would feel strange to me. I must also respectfully disagree with a previous poster who suggested that a Scot would never support England in a major sporting event. The length of time that I’ve spent down here has softened me to the point where I have genuinely found myself supporting England in international competitions. But then again, I have an old friend who has lived in Australia for around thirty years and fanatically supports them in international events, so maybe my lukewarm support for England has more to do with having lived amongst them for a long time rather than any feeling of shared “Britishness”.


  56. Bill C says:

    @Tamson – I think you are right we need at least 60% in favour of independence otherwise many in the unionist camp will cry foul and do everything in their power (short of violence) to block independence. I can only identify one group within the unionist camp who might resort to violence in the event of a YES vote i.e. Scottish/ N. Irish loyalists.  I can’t  envisage regiments being formed in Yorkshire or the Home Counties to put down the ungrateful Jocks.
    However, if it came to the bit and Scotland was being invaded by English hordes, I would fight, but I would not see that as civil war. It would be a war between an agressor nation and a defending nation.  I am more of a lover (wife laughs out loud) than a fighter, but sometimes you have to fight and freedom is worth fighting for!


  57. ianbrotherhood says:

    Congrats on having this discussion – long overdue.
    Perhaps this lies outwith your hypothetical, but what if the decision has already been made that the result doesn’t matter? Even if there’s a resounding Yes vote, (say 75%-plus) is the Establishment going to accept it? Nae chance.
    The Whitehall number-crunchers who came up with the 40% hurdle back in ’79 knew what they were doing – they didn’t work it out on the back of a fag-packet. But does anyone believe that they hadn’t considered all other options? (Let’s not forget the recently released Thatcher-era papers discussing the likelihood of social unrest in the West of Scotland if the troops were withdrawn from NI.)
    Most of us are lucky enough not to have the mindset of those who see themselves as bearing the White Man’s Burden – we have to get our heads around the fact that they see us (i.e. anyone who isn’t them) as chattels/useless eaters/ savages/scroungers, and consider themselves entitled to deal with us accordingly.



  58. Luigi says:

    Westminster’s determination and ability to subdue Scotland following a close result (yes or no) may well depend on events south of the border. If, as expected, the coalition austerity measures start to bite really hard before 2014, civil unrest could result. They may have enough trouble in their own backyard. Against this background, the coalition may finally lose heart and any real hope of holding onto Scotland. Many successful independence movements started with 30% of the population onside. With two years to go, we are already at that stage.


  59. Luigi says:

    It is strange how the Battle of George Square is not covered in history lessons in Scottish schools. It is amazing how many scots have never heard of it.


  60. velofello says:

    The Union game is a bogey. Its the internet what dunnit.Now there are lots of Independence’s little helpers digging out information, and truth for us.
    I’m of the generation raised on information provided by the Scottish Daily Mail and the Sunday Post. And the non-Scottish history of our education system. Oddly for all of that I’ve never considered myself British.
    A decade or two back I was over at my sister’s home and we were watching TV. Some guy came on and sang about a John MacLean returning to the Clyde. “Who’s John MacLean we wondered. Each of us educated through the Scottish schools system and on to universities.A schoolteacher, he was jailed for,essentially, speaking out.

    Reference domhnall dods’s of comment his accent being declared unintelligible. My experience is that There are two circumstances at work: 
    The Southern English tend to pronounce the vowels a and e as do the French and so there is a distinct difference in the pronunciation of words from our pronunciation. And notice to how Cameron talking of press regulation pronounces lorr for law.
    There is also the conscious put down of a Scots accent, arguably Welsh and Irish accents too. With International travel through work I never ever did experience a problem it just seemed to be with the English. So I decided to turn the tables. Whenever I came across an uppity Englishman I would ask them to repeat what they said as I couldn’t understand them.Try it the Captain Mainwaring responses are a treat.

    49% or 51% the independence issue won’t go away and must be resolved.


  61. Luigi –
    I’m almost 50, and consider myself a normal bloke, good education, stayed on at school until Sixth-Year, graduated Art School etc. I didn’t hear about the George Square stuff until I was about 22, 23, when Variant magazine (to which I was contributing at the time) included a poster of a photo similar to the one at the top of this page – the caption on it said ‘Dream At The Top Of Your Voice’. I had to ask other folk on the mag what it was all about. I’ve got that wee poster framed, and people always ask what it is, never believe me when I tell them. Whoever it is that writes history? They don’t like that episode!


  62. scottish_skier says:

    Civil war? LOL; would need the union to be at least reasonably popular. They could probably call upon a few bevied orange order blokes late on a Friday and that’s about it.

    And anyway, all you’d need are a few Kalashnikovs and some rocket propelled grenades. That’s enough to defeat the Russian and now US armies long term.


  63. Bill C says:

    @Luigi – I think it’s more than “strange”, it’s digraceful but not surprising. As a retired teacher I have witnessed anti-Scottish sentiment in a number school managers.  For example, I remember way back in the early Eighties picking the Scottish Wars of Independence as a topic for my P7 class. My headteacher at the time questioned the wisdom of my choice as she thought it might be seen “as a bit odd”. Nationalists were regarded ‘as a bit odd’ by the unionist establishment in those days. I also remember my own schooldays back in the Sixties, belting out ‘Rule Brtannia’ in the music room, being told that we once ‘owned’ 2/3 thirds of the globe (much of it was a nice shade of pink!) in the geography room and being lectured in history that Westminster was the ‘Mother of Parliaments’.  It is little wonder that many Scots know nothing of the Battle of George Square, the genocide after Culloden and the cruelty of the Highland Clearances etc.
    It sometimes amazes me that the nationalist movement has come so far in so little time; when you consider the indoctrination the Scottish people have been subjected to by the ‘Scottish’ educational establishment, the ‘Scottish’ churches and the ‘Scottish’ media.


  64. Jeannie says:

    I was born in Scotland.  I was raised in Scotland. I live in Scotland.  Being Scottish is enough for me and I’m happy with that.  I don’t feel the need to be anything else. But if there are people like me me who prefer to think they are British or Scottish and British, that’s fine with me, too.  For me, voting for independence is nothing to do with ethnicity or identifying with one country over another or identifying with more than one country – it’s simply about taking responsibility for running your own affairs and taking your own decisions, for the benefit of yourself, your family, your friends, colleagues and fellow citizens. Simple as that.


  65. peter says:

    Although I was never into history how can it be the only significant thing I can remember is 1066, were we even taught Scottish history. If not, why not?


  66. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Your hypothetical is, for me, loaded by the UK’s refusal to accept the results. This takes the question away from it being about the possibility of whether you can belong to two countries at once and, by my simple perception, changes it to one about right and wrong.”

    I’m not sure people are understanding the concept of a hypothetical.


  67. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I can’t ever seeing it coming to Civil War.”

    As I’ve said – it’s NOT a prediction. It’s a mechanism to get to the question.


  68. scottish_skier says:

    Mrs SS is French with mini miss SS Scots-French; as a family, we’ve discussed our marriage and resulting joint nationalities as a necessity for Scotland’s political union with France at length. We concluded that would just be really silly. 

    I quite like the fact Mrs SS is French. Gives things a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ 😉


  69. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    I’m sure you are aware that French and Scottish people born before 1906 had dual nationality under the Auld Alliance. Never got taught that in school either!


  70. Morag says:

    RevStu said:
    I’m not sure people are understanding the concept of a hypothetical.

    Srsly, what did you expect, coming out with a scenario like that?

    Which side are you on?  It’s probably much the same question as, which side do you hope wins the referendum.  No?  I think questions about what you would do if you came across an injured combatant muddies the waters though.  Help him, as a fellow human being, while wishing to bang a few heads together, I suspect.  Irrespective of uniform.

    Obviously, an article like this is going to raise the question, could that actually happen.  One fervently hopes not.  However, we have to remember what happened in the Balkans, not so long ago.  Or Spain, a bit longer ago.  Lots of places.  To people just like us.  I’d hope we would never start thinking about our English friends and neighbours the way the Serbs and the Croats started thinking about each other.  But we have to recognise we may not be immune to the poisons that have affected others.

    I’ve come across those who have bitterly criticised the SNP for even starting this, fearing, even expecting, that it will lead to violence in the event of a close result on either side.  I’ve replied, no, this will all be agreed in advance, and everybody is going to be civilised about it.

    I hope I’m right.  I hope Cameron’s behaviour to date signals that he will indeed accept a Yes vote without quibbling.  I hope he too has looked at the Balkans.  After all the fighting, all the attempts to prevent various countries becoming independent, where are they?  Balkanised, that’s where.  And apparently much the happier for it.

    There’s a lesson there, I think.


  71. Bill C says:

    @Morag – I think you are right, however I also think that we need at least a 60% YES vote to secure independence. If we achieve 60% all sides will have to accept the decision of the Scottish people.


  72. J. R. Tomlin (@JRTomlinAuthor) says:

    Good heavens, demanding a 60% vote is putting an artificial barrier in your own path. Of COURSE, no such thing is required. I am both shocked and appalled to such a thing repeatedly posted.
    However, don’t count on support from the US, not even from the diaspora in the US. All too many have only the vaguest idea of Scotland and the basis for Scottish independence and the government will be (or already is) in a snit over the WMD issue — hence the comments from Bill Clinton.


  73. jake says:

    The question posed was whether or not it is possible to genuinely belong to two countries at once.
    Firstly, a wee gripe about the word “belong”; neither my country or any other owns me, and I don’t belong to it or any other. Ok, so I’m being pedantic, but it’s a point worth making because let’s not start by making an argument based on an ambiguously worded premise, or at least let’s recognise that it is ambiguous before we head down dubious routes of logical reasoning. Apart from that I don’t want some subliminal narrative of serfdom being implicit in this or any other debate about independence.
    Secondly, there is nothing, absolutely nothing in the philosophy of CIVIC nationalism which says you can’t have 2 nationalities. Take for example a guy born in England ( or Poland, or Spain or anywhere ) , who identifies, indeed self identifies with his country of birth, but who lives and works in Scotland; that guy is both. Civic nationalism does not apply the Tebbit cricket test, the “what team do you support” test, and it doesn’t apply the “tanks in George Square” test either……civic nationalism asks only one question and its whether or not you live here.


  74. Vronsky says:

    My sister, long resident in California, recently took US citizenship.  One of the interview questions was: if Scotland and America were at war, which side would you be on?  She evaded it, saying ‘Don’t be silly.’

    I’m not sure that your civil war scenario is as hypothetical as you might like.  Military restraint is not a characteristic of the Westminster mob.


  75. scottish_skier says:

    Today, as you travel to work etc, count the number of Scottish symbols you see; saltires, rampants, thistles etc vs the number of British ones.

    That alone should tell you how it will all come to pass in a surprisingly quiet and amicable way.


  76. pbyrne says:

    I thought your article must be a joke! Being myself half-French and half-Scottish, I don’t see it as divided loyalties. Just a sense of belonging to (or ‘identifying with’ – I take your point, Jake) both countries and feeling at home in both. My children have been brought up in Luxembourg, so they, naturally, identify with that country and its people, but they have also inherited a special love for Scotland and France. And, as their mother is German and Germany is just next door, they are also very fond of Germany and all things German. Where’s the problem? Some people always want you to say where your ‘real’ loyalties lie. Especially in times of war (or football matches, come to think of it). But that just illustrates the absurdity of war.


  77. G H Graham says:

    You can guage the perception & knowledge of Scotland when I learned from an acquaintance just yesterday that he was recently asked by an English lady from London if he was able to get the BBC.

    He lives in Edinburgh.

    And if it ever comes down to it, God help us, I’ll be carrying a rifle marked with a Saltire.   


  78. Aplinal says:

    @Morag, though this is OT, just a couple of things.
    Re: The Balkans.  My wife is from here (we live in Macedonia at present) and the whole “Balkanisation” thing was so badly reported in the MSM (especially the BBC) in the west, that it was more like Alice in Wonderland than an objective analysis of the situation.  The Yugoslav Federation had a perfectly acceptable, legal process for the secession of the six countries within it.  The dissolution was prompting from outside (mainly Germany and the USA) and that led to Croatia going down the violence route.  It was not at all necessary, and countless deaths were avoidable.
    The “problems” between the Croats and Serbs go back, mainly, to WWII and the death camps established in Croatia and run by the Ustasi (equivalent to the German SS).  These camps were so brutal, even the high ranking German commandeers requested that they be dismantled!  Google Jasenovac. 
    Tito created an “uneasy” peace, which everyone agreed was better than Soviet subjugation, but it was always am imbalance.  Tito was a Slovene/Croat and those two countries were most favoured by him in terms of their development.  His mantra was “Smaller Serbia, Greater Yugoslavia”. 
    The release recently by the two Croat generals who were convicted and then won their appeal to the “kangaroo court” over Operation Storm is felt very badly here.  But there is no desire to go back to war.
    Sorry to go OT, but I feel very strongly about the lies and misrepresentation about the Balkan wars.  (Not pointing fingers at you, by the way!!)


  79. Aplinal says:

    Rev Stu
    To answer your hypothetical,  I am Scottish, have always been Scottish, and will always be Scottish.  As will my son!


  80. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Some people always want you to say where your ‘real’ loyalties lie.”

    Well, it’s kinda relevant when there’s about to be a VOTE on it…


  81. Bill C says:

    @J.R.Tomlin – With all due respect it is not me who is putting an artificial barrier of 60%. What I am suggesting is that if the vote is anything less 60% YES the British Establishment will pull every dirty trick in the book to thwart Scottish independence. I have first hand knowledge of how British black ops works, it is not nice. Anyone who thinks Westminster will give up Scotland without a fight is living in cloud cuckoo land. That is with all due respect to s_s and his theory that the Tories actually want rid of us, which I am not ruling out.


  82. sneddon says:

    Just feck off with the 60 % pish.  50% + 1 as agreed, that’s a majority.  Unionists have trouble with that let’s go to the UN or whatever international court and sort it out.  Bet we win and for the reasons pointed out above by James T .  Anyway it’s all hypothetical a fine example of ‘whatabootery’.  We’ve enough work to do in the real world and to be honest I can’t see the use of this discussion.  There are many fine issues raised above that could easily be the topic of a seperate post.  But please discussing a hypothical  result not being accepted by the  unionists naw.


  83. Doug Daniel says:

    I see a few folk suggesting that Scottish children should have been getting taught about the Battle of George Square and that the fact they haven’t is typical of the way Scottish history is ignored in our schools. While I absolutely back anyone who bemoans the lack of awareness our kids are given in regards to really important parts of Scottish history (the Wars of Independence, the Jacobites, the Enlightenment, the Highland Clearances), and that the absence of such things from the curriculum is, at best, an example of the Scottish cringe, and at worst, evidence that the establishment has made a concious effort to deny us a distinct Scottish history to avoid kids growing up feeling aggrieved at the wrongs Scotland has suffered in the past, let’s not go overboard.

    At most, it could be included in a more general look at the Red Clydeside era, as part of teaching children a proper history about The Great War. But since children already grow up thinking WWI was merely a sort of trial run for WWII (i.e. Britain vs Germany – I don’t even know how old I was when I found out it was really Austria-Hungary and Serbia that kicked it all off, but it was long after I’d left school), then we can hardly cry foul that ONE riot is not taught to our children.

    After all, we don’t even trust children to understand the complexities of WWII, relying instead on the idea that it was “goodies vs baddies” and almost completely glossing over the Soviet Union’s part in the war (and certainly not letting on that it was they who ended it, rather than us or the USA), and we certainly don’t tell them that there were fascists in Britain and that people like Churchill supported eugenics. We certainly don’t teach them about 20th century revolutionaries, except perhaps a passing reference to the Suffragettes. So why on earth would we teach them about one riot which is part of an era of history which is largely ignored anyway?

    I think this is the kind of thing that leads to unionists caricaturing us as “Cybernats” who think everything is a big unionist conspiracy and who want to force everyone to speak Gaelic etc. Let’s not give them that ammunition. Yes, it’s an interesting piece of Scottish history that people should read up on, but if you’re going to go to this level of detail on Scottish history in schools, when do we have time to teach them about a more general history of the world, never mind maths, science and language?

    (There’s maybe a slightly better argument for including it in Glasgow schools, although I don’t recall getting ANY Aberdeen-specific history at school…)


  84. MajorBloodnok says:

    @Bill C,

    Re. belting out Rule Britannia in the 1960s: when I was (briefly) at Glencorse Primary School in Penicuik in 1973 we were taught Flower of Scotland with the headmaster belting the top of the piano with his tawse to keep us in time.  Those were the days…


  85. Dcanmore says:

    @Doug Daniel
    Hi, I’ll just mention my history class when I was 14/15 yo, that would be 1983/84, I got the Russo/Japanese War, First World War and the Russian Revolution. Pretty much covering 1900 to 1920, that formed the basis of my history O’ grade exam. This from an ordinary Scottish comprehensive. However, during the five years I was there I can remember 18th century Scottish farming techniques as my only insight into Scottish history. If I remember correctly, First Year: Classical history (Romans, Greeks, early medieval); Second Year: American Revolution, 18thC Scottish farming; Third/Fourth Years: mentioned above; Fifth Year: WW2 (from 1937 to 1945 including Japan’s invasion of China).
    As you can see nothing much of Scottish history, most of what I knew then came from my parents and the books I got at Christmas. Only much later through self interest I learned about Red Clydeside and the Battle of Glasgow and pretty much everything else about Scottish history.


  86. Dcanmore says:

    @ Majorboondock
    I remember at Primary School in the 1970s we got a temporary music teacher who was English. She picked me out of the class to stand up and sing God Save the Queen. I couldn’t get past the second line as I didn’t know the song. She was absolutely perplexed that I didn’t know it. She soon found out that most of the class didn’t know the words either :)
    Most of the music we learned at primary was Scottish.


  87. Dcanmore says:

    O/T NNS is running this story …
    A Highland league football club has been forced to remove the Scottish flag from its club badge after a member of the public complained.
    The Saltire had been proudly displayed on the club crest of Formartine United for 53 years, but has now been dropped and the club forced to re-brand at a cost of thousands.
    According to STV news the badge, which featured a saltire, a lion rampant and red stripes with French writing was deemed illegal under heraldic law.  However a compromise has allowed the club to retain the red stripes and the lion rampant.
    Speaking to the Scottish broadcaster, club secretary Martin Johnston said more hurt had been caused to the fans emotionally.
    He said: “It will be a sad day when the badge is completely removed from all items inside the ground.
    “It was designed over 50 years ago and it represents everything about the club – but it’s been taken away from us…


  88. MajorBloodnok says:


    My son’s started Gaelic now (he’s in P5 in Edinburgh) and as well as Gaelic songs, they’ve been learning “O ye cannae fling pieces oot a twenty storey flat” – an interesting social commentary on the destruction of tenement communities in Glasgow – and I can remember that one from school as well.


  89. Morag says:

    Slightly O/T, but….

    I was in a massed choir due to sing Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand” in the St. David’s Hall in Cardiff.  Most of the choir were London-based, and the conductor, Owain Arwel Hughes, came up to London from Cardiff to take a couple of rehearsals.  After we’d sung Mahler for a bit, he broke the news that we would also have to sing the Welsh national anthem, in Welsh, because it was the first concert of their season.

    He handed out crib-sheets with the Welsh words sort of transliterated into south-east English (which read so peculiarly that I ended up getting hold of the actual Welsh, which was easier to make out).  Then he raised his hands and started us off.  About three people started to sing, very uncertainly.  He lowered his hands and said, what’s the problem?

    One very brave tenor spoke up.  “Sir, we don’t know the tune.”

    I really, really wish I could have bottled the look on his face.  Utter, gobsmacked incredulity.

    Then followed a massive scramble to photocopy enough copies of the music so we had about one between three.  We learned it, and by the time of the concert (which was about three days away) I for one could sing it, in Welsh, by heart.  So we didn’t disgrace ourselves in front of the Welsh audience.

    Eat your heart out, John Redwood.


  90. scottish_skier says:

    A recent Angus Reid poll had only 27% of Scots stating they’d be sad if Scotland left the union. Just another wee titbit which helps explain why you don’t see many union flags flapping in the breeze up this way.

    Referendum result should look something like 1997 Q2 (63.5%); at least all available polling evidence combined with historical precedents would suggest so. The ‘no’ camp can only rely on at best 30% of the electorate voting for the union after all.


  91. MajorBloodnok says:

    At least the Welsh have got a national anthem.  I don’t consider Flower of Scotland appropriate any more, given we want to be a forward looking nation and not wallowing in medieval self-pity.


  92. Dcanmore says:

    I agree. Flower of Scotland feels like a temporary measure for me even through I quite like it. Perhaps a new rousing song for a newly independent nation?
    @Scottish Skier
    I’ve always believed we would get 62%, can’t think why Yes-Yes voters would vote for a step backwards. Jam Tomorrow doesn’t cut it anymore.


  93. Jeannie says:

    That clip of John Redwood trying to sing the Welsh anthem was hilarious, right enough.
    By the way, if you’re interested in history, Strathclyde Uni and Glasgow Uni do some great classes – no exams, no essays, etc., just the sheer enjoyment of learning something new and interesting.  I’ve just finished a class in early Irish history at Strathclyde – focusing mainly on the Neolithic and Bronze Age – the Irish Scoti. Last term I did the Neolithic and Bronze Ages in the West of Scotland and the Antrim Dal Riata tribe who colonised our west coast and islands.  Next term, it’s the Dark Age in what we now call Scotland.  It’s fascinating stuff – honest.  You’ve no idea how clever,enterprising, well-educated and well-travelled our ancestors were till you look at these periods. Hoping they do something on the Picts soon.
    The Sea Kingdoms by Alastair Moffat is a good start.


  94. MajorBloodnok says:

    No trip to Argyll is complete without a visit to Dunadd, where you can follow in the footsteps of the Scots of Dalriada (literally).

    Is your prediction increasing slightly?  I thought it was 62.5% last time I looked!


  95. Doug Daniel says:

    Dcanmore – “I remember at Primary School in the 1970s we got a temporary music teacher who was English. She picked me out of the class to stand up and sing God Save the Queen. I couldn’t get past the second line as I didn’t know the song”

    You clearly didn’t pay much attention to popular music at the time, because it was quite a big song.

    God save the Queen
    The fascist regime
    She made you a moron
    Potential H-bomb

    (Ahem :P) 

    As for talk of the post-2014 anthem, Stu has already had an article on this a few months ago, but my personal vote would be for A Man’s A Man – if nothing else, we would be bringing up our kids to laugh at the idea that people of privilege are anything other than birkies! 


  96. Jeannie says:

    @major blooknok
    Well done your wee son learning gaelic.  I’m trying to learn it myself, and find it really difficult, though I come from a languages background.  On Monday, someone complained to me about “Salmond” wasting taxpayers’ money promoting the gaelic language and having dual-language roadsign/placenames.  I honestly cannot see how protecting a dying, minority language can be a waste of money.  I thought that what we were about was protecting minorities, not taking things away from them. I tried to explain the importance of gaelic roadsigns to understanding the history of a given area, e.g. Campbeltown is the current name of the main town in Kintyre, but when you read it’s gaelic name, you see that it was originally “the cell of  St. Ciaran at the head of the loch”.  On Sunday, on the Crinan Canal, I stopped for a rest at Dunardry.  Means nothing written in english, but in gaelic it reads, Dun Ard Ri – the fortress of the high king – and the Dalriadan fort of Dunadd is just across the Moss. If you want to be able to see history within the landscape in the west of Scotland, a basic understanding of gaelic is extremely helpful.


  97. Jeannie says:

    @major bloodnok – our posts must have crossed. Yes, I’ve been to Dunadd and tried out the footprint.  By my calculation, the ancient kings of Dalriada must all have been size four and a half. Argyll – my favourite place on the planet.


  98. Jeannie says:

    @doug daniel
    Re the national anthem, I remember a version of it for singing to Prince Charles, called “God save yer maw”.  Can’t remember all the words except, a couple of lines which went, “God save yer Aunty Mags, wi’ a’ her booze and fags………….God save yer maw”. Anybody recognise this?


  99. Ronald Henderson says:

    1) A friend of mine attended a meeting of the Yes campaign in Renfrewshire and asked a question relating to our experience of Alex Douglas Hume and his promise of something better if we voted No in the 1979 referendum. The person running the meeting didn’t know who Douglas Hume was, and didn’t know anything about his spurious promise that the Tories would come up with ‘something better’. Her explanation was that ”it was before her time”.
    Sounds to me like some serious education is required in the Yes camp.
    2) When I was at school in Glasgow in the late 50’s we got so sick of the English songs we had to learn in the music class, and the skewing of Scottish history and culture (when it wasn’t being totally ignored) in the history class that we submitted a petition asking for more Scottish history and more Scottish songs. Everyone who signed that petition was belted with the tawse. Result? A couple of dozen young people who suddenly realised that there was something seriously rotten in the state of Scotland.


  100. scottish_skier says:


    60-65%. Weather to hard to predict this far in advance 😉


  101. Jeannie says:

    I remember that music lessons in primary school seemed to consist of us being given a booklet, then the music lesson arrived via a loudspeaker in the classroom.  I’ve no idea where it came from.  I remember having to sing:
    Bobby Shaftoe
    The Vicar of Bray (about an English vicar during the reign of one of the Charles kings)
    A Good Sword and a Trusty Hand (about a Cornish Rebellion)
    Quinquerine of Ninevah from distant Ophir
    On no, John, no John, no John, no. (sounds a bit suss now)
    Don’t remember any scottish songs, though.


  102. Bill C says:

    @sneddon- It’s called realism and I don’t see any need for the foul language.

    @Major – Superb! 


  103. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “When I was at school in Glasgow in the late 50?s we got so sick of the English songs we had to learn in the music class, and the skewing of Scottish history and culture (when it wasn’t being totally ignored) in the history class that we submitted a petition asking for more Scottish history and more Scottish songs. Everyone who signed that petition was belted with the tawse.”

    Wow. That’s mind-boggling.


  104. Commenter says:

    I have a cople of comments.
    Firstly this “hypothetical” is another example of the Nationalist side raising unnecessary hares which could be chased all over the Unionist media if it is picked up by them. It will be distorted and changed such that in no time it will be claimed that …  “the Nats want to fight the English”. I have complained in a number of Blogs that Independence supporters and the SNP need to be very circumspect about what is published during these difficult pre-campaign times.
    Nicola S also made a bad move the other day in her speech claiming Scots would still be British after Independence. Who was that aimed at and why? All it did was raise the usual claims of why bother? My view is nobody in Scotland who will help us to win the Referendum cares about being British. And those who do will vote NO anyway. So drop it SNP.
    Secondly the 60% nonsense written above by some commenters is another example of Nationalists writing unhelpful copy about Independence and the Referendum. If the vote is 50% + 1 then we are Independent. No ifs no buts from our side, please. The Unionists can go and themselves for all I care. And keep your silly thoughts to yourself, because that’s what they are.


  105. MajorBloodnok says:

    @Bill C
    Does it spoil the story if it wasn’t Flower of Scotland but might have been Amazing Grace?  I can’t remember which it was now!


  106. Jeannie says:

    @major blooknok
    Oh…..I hope it was Flower of Scotland.  I hate Amazing Grace with a passion!


  107. scottish_skier says:

    “My view is nobody in Scotland who will help us to win the Referendum cares about being British”

    Quite, and those not caring particularly about being British are in large majority. It’s also why the “it’s ok to be Scottish and British” line from the no camp is pointless too. Likewise why the concept of a jubilee and Olympics saving the union was not just silly in the political sense (i.e. people running around, jumping up and down etc is more important than e.g. health and education), but the concept that all the associated union jackery would cause people across Scotland to well up inside and maybe shed a tear or two.

    In fact if you are a supporter of the union, you should ask yourself ‘Is it really sensible to be governed by people who actually believe a sporting event can influence the outcome of an election/referendum?’. 


  108. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “It will be distorted and changed such that in no time it will be claimed that … “the Nats want to fight the English””

    We’ve seen a million times that they’ll do stuff like that completely regardless of what actually gets said. I think we really need to stop caring what they say. It’s why I gave up ages ago trying to engage with the hopeless-case diehards like Duncan Hothersall – it’s a waste of time. I’m only interested in talking to reasonable people with open minds, and those people tend to read what was actually written, not what some howling Unionist propagandist tries to PRETEND was written.


  109. Colin Dunn says:

    “I remember that music lessons in primary school seemed to consist of us being given a booklet, then the music lesson arrived via a loudspeaker in the classroom.”

    Me too. It was called ‘Singing Together’, and fed through the school on tannoy.


  110. Bill C says:

    @MajorBloodnok – Not at all Major, still a cracker!
    @Commenter – It remains to be seen who is having “silly thoughts”, one thing is for sure, telling people to go and “f..k themselves” is not raising the level of the debate.


  111. Commenter says:

    Rev Stu says I’m only interested in talking to reasonable people with open minds, and those people tend to read what was actually written, not what some howling Unionist propagandist tries to PRETEND was written.

    But then you’re only engaging with the converted. It’s the unconverted we need to engage and they are reading the PRETEND stuff thinking it’s what was written. Better not to indulge in outlandish hypotheticals at all and stick to facts.


  112. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    How are you translating “reasonable people with open minds” into “the converted”?


  113. Cassandra Lee says:

    I remember Singing Together. It was a radio programme IIRC. There were occasionally Scottish songs. I also remember a schools radio series about the Wars of Independence, which is how I learned about that period in history. This would have been in the late sixties. I don’t remember getting much else in Scottish history until I came to do O Grade history in the mid seventies. We did a strand called Scotland from 1760-1820 which was very interesting. I remember being annoyed that there was no mention of Scotland at all in the strand, Britain from 1815-51, despite covering the Irish potato famine in some depth. I never heard about the Disruption until much later. Again, the WW1 strand seemed more concerned with Irish home rule than Red Clydeside.


  114. pmcrek says:

    When it comes to anthems we could do worse than Do-Re-Mi.


  115. Commenter says:

    Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    How are you translating “reasonable people with open minds” into “the converted”?

    Sorry. I should perhaps have said … mainly people who read your Blog … who I guess are mainly Independence supporters; and ‘converted’. Also, being such they are mostly open minded reasonable people!


  116. Robin says:

    Britain gets its name from the Brethonic name Prydain. Brethonic is the ancient celtic language of most of Britain, including southern half of what is now Scotland. This name still exists in modern Cymraeg (Welsh). Apparently derives from the name of the ancestor of all Brits – Brutus, who came from Troy… though this may be more myth than history. What is certain is that the Latin (Roman) name “Britannicca” is itself derived from Prydain, and dates only from  the time the Romans arrived/colonised parts of Britain/Prydain.
    In relation to Scotland the term “Caledonia” also thought to be latin, but in cymraeg(welsh)/brethonic caled = rough/hard and dynion = men. So this is a brethonic name meaning “land of the hard men” (maybe – I am not a scholar of ancient welsh). The highlands especially at that time were not populated by brythonic celts. The Scots (and the English – anglos and saxons) came much later.
    A bit O/T but wanted to point our history doesn’t begin with the Romans.
    On topic I am and would be Scottish.


  117. Doug Daniel says:

    Commenter: “And keep your silly thoughts to yourself, because that’s what they are.”

    Kind of missing the whole point of blogging/commenting there, no? 


  118. Adrian B says:

    @ Commenter,

    Sorry to be pedantic, but I was born as one of the ‘converted’, and have never been moulded in another form, to get converted later. : )


  119. Craig P says:

    We are lucky that there is no genuine heat around this issue. The only part of the UK that comesanywhere close to the poisonous complications of the Balkans is Northern Ireland. There is no appetite for trouble – sure, there is the secret service, orangemen, and Siol nan Gael, but these are all minority groups. The end of the UK, whilst unique, is more likely to be like the end of Czechoslovakia than any other example I can think of from recent history. 


  120. Commenter says:

    BillC    telling people to go and ”f..k themselves”

    That comment was not aimed at real people but at hypothetical Unionists in the future in the event that we only win the Referendum by a few % points.
    Doug Daniels: You are right.


  121. velofello says:

    Most enjoyable posting here. Intertwining subjects, like watching the path of a kite in the wind.
    i think this talk of needing +60% etc is a sign of feartiness. Be resolute. A win is a win. 51% is a win. The poltical parties of this fractured UK are fully prepared to govern on circa 30% of the vote via the skewed FPTP voting system. Does the democratic aspect of that bother them?  Does having but Scottish MP bother them? Does it bother you?

    I’ve taken up Margo Macdonald’s advice with a vengeance. If each of us can persuade just one other we will match scottish skier’s musings.
    And so to music.  Scots Wha Ha played with a bit of swing would suit me, and new lyrics! Yet there are so many beautiful Gaelic melodies that to plump for a popularly known tune would be hasty without research.



  122. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “51% is a win.”

    Frankly, I’ll take 50% and the toss of a coin.


  123. Holebender says:

    50%+1. Them’s the rules.


  124. muttley79 says:

    Does it not have to be 50.01% to count as a majority?  It would be a smash and grab win, but a win nonetheless.  😆


  125. Holebender says:

    50% of all valid votes cast, plus one.
    So if 3,000,000 votes are cast 1,500,001 is a winning tally.


  126. velofello says:

    That’s more like it. And if we achieve 49.999%?
    A delay along the way for us and a problem that won’t go away for them and I’m not interested in this once in a lifetime referendum bullshit. Or settled will or whatever.
    Maybe we need a referendum cave for fearties. Bruce had one, and he had a spider for company. 
    Gerr intae them! Or whatever phrase one may choose to encourage one’s fellows and fellowines.


  127. jake says:


    “and if we achieve 49.999%?”….then we will be a minority, and the Better Together campaign will re-brand itself as the Democratic Alliance of Epicaricacic Triumphalists.
    Practice touching your toes….and get in supplies of lube.


  128. pmcrek says:


    Well 20 years was considered adequate time to pass between devolution referenda, I wouldnt see a problem with this justifying another independence vote in 2034 when people become utterly sick of what would happen in the aftermath.


  129. deewal says:

    Declare UDI now and get it over with.


  130. Holebender says:

    If we lose in 2014 (which we won’t) and a pro-independence party is elected with a manifesto commitment to hold another referendum another referendum we shall have. Regardless of how long it has been since the last one. Similarly, if we win a majority of Westminster constituencies in Scotland on a manifesto commitment to declare independence, that’s what will happen.


  131. Erchie says:

    A thing always to be wary of on any blog is a commenter who tries to present themselves as sympathetic to the general discussion of the blog, but is anything but. They will try and derail conversations and try and provoke comments that could be misrepresented.


  132. sneddon says:

    Bill C -we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one :) 


  133. Bill C says:

    @sneddon- fair enough, but I still don’t see any need for the use of foul language.


  134. Siôn Eurfyl Jones says:

    The scottish Government should invite both the uN and the Jimmy Carter foundation to observe the referendum.  So in the event of fa disputed result, both sides ( as signatories of the UN charter) would be obligated to accept any decision made by them. 


  135. sneddon says:

    Bill C  Sometimes you fire without thinking in the heat of the moment to be honest and if the Rev objected I’m sure he would let me know. By the way unless you are the owner of a site it’s usually bad manners to have a go at posters for swearing, strange but true.    There’s a time and a place for everything.  Anyway,  never felt anything but Scottish despite or because of having lived in other countries,  so no issues with nationality if it came to the crunch.  But the situation painted would never happen.  By the time the vote happens we’ll all be pleasantly surprised by the size of the YES vote. Nae bother :)


  136. Bill C says:

    @sneddon – Point taken and don’t get me wrong I can curse with the best of them, just think it’s inappropriate on a good quality site such as WoS.
    I  sincerely hope you are right about the size of the YES vote, might even let off a few expletives myself that night if it’s as good as you seem to think it will be.
    Saor Alba


  137. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    NOTE: Effie Deans has referenced this blog discussion on a piece in Open Unionism and also on Effie Deans own blog:

    That article can be seen here:

    and here:

    I ahve already replied stating the following:

    “The blog in question was not a serious belief in possible civil war (as was noted by the author in several instances), but rather a thought exercise to try and elicit a response to a question.
    “The idea was to get people to think about what their nationality really is, so that if they described themselves as British and Scottish, then which is the dominant (and therefore true) nationality.
    “The argument was that although you can have more than one sympathy, you can only have one nationality deep down in your heart.
    “I’m not sure I agree but the case the blog put was to pose a hypothetical.
    “They argued that if you class yourself as both British and Scottish, who would you side with if it came to a war?
    “There is no suggestion of any violence erupting, and this was pointed out in the article in question along with reasoning behind that, just as your references to the American Civil war are merely references to emphasise a point rather than a call to arms.
    “It was an interesting piece that explored the issues of cultural nationalism (Scottish Nationalist and British Nationalist) rather than civic nationalism, which is the current theme of the debate.
    “On the other hand, the reason that Lord Fraser of Carmyllie was ridiculed (quite rightly) was that he actually meant what he said as a realistic outcome. However, in the 90 odd years of an (organised) Scottish Independence Movement there have not been any violent scenes, and that looks set to continue, so the Lord should have known better.”


  138. mogabee says:

    Scott I saw that she had linked to an article here again. I don’t/can’t discuss anything with Effie as she has the blinds down and can’t see out!!


Leave a Reply

↑ Top