Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scotland Pulls a Quebec, but "What If"?

It appears as I blog at 9:00pm Pacific Time that Scotland has voted to remain in the United Kingdom by roughly 54-46%. Thus it is following the lead of Quebec over the past 50 years. Quebec is the successful outlier in Canada, a predominately French province in an Anglo country. An independence movement arose in the early 1960’s to the extent that the FLQ mounted a ten year campaign of terrorism beginning in 1963. Quebec felt isolated by the Ottawa government, but political accommodations were reached. Wiser heads prevailed and the people of Quebec in 1980 and again in 1995 (albeit by a narrow margin) rejected independence. Scotland has been formally part of the United Kingdom since 1707 following the 1706 Treaty of Union. The Scots often feel abused and isolated by London, but the reality is that they are fully assimilated in the UK while proudly holding on to their Scottish identity, heritage and culture. Two of the three most recent Prime Ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, are Scots. They have retained their separate legal system, religion, and education system under the Treaty of Union. Their Scottish Health System is also separate from the British Health System. The pro-independence Scots had the enthusiasm, the fervor, the boisterous rallies, but the NO voters represented the traditional conservatism of the Scots. They are the Silent Majority of Scotland. Let’s play though the “What If” Game. “What if” excites fervent imaginations. I remember a classic Saturday Night Live when the question was “What if Napoleon had the Bomb?” The skit showed the half-French Canadian Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi flying over Waterloo in a B 52. So what if Scotland voted to secede? The small country of 5.2 million would be initially isolated, but could quickly merge with their fellow Scots, the Ulstermen, of Northern Ireland to form the new country of Nor Scot or Ire Scot. Wales votes for independence, but has nowhere to go. The Parti Quebecois is reenergized with secession following. Quebec quickly joins France as an overseas territory. The French Foreign Legion replaces the Mounties in Quebec. Montreal is Frenchified. British Columbia and the Maritime Provinces join the United States to offset The Secession of the Republic of Texas with Louisiana also becoming a French Overseas Territory. The Shetland Islands, Orkneys, and Outer Hebrides secede from Scotland and remain in the United Kingdom, such that Great Britain will not change its official name and flag as it effectively becomes Lesser Britain. Sean Connery returns to his homeland while J. K. Rowling seeks asylum in England. The new country seizes the British nuclear fleet at Faslane and scuttles it. It reclaims its historic regiments to build a Scottish Army: The Black Watch, Gordon Highlanders, Camerorians, Scots Guards, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and Royal Scots, but Lesser Britain will boycott the world famous Edinburgh Tattoo. Oil is cut off to Lesser Britain. Mel Gibson receives Scottish Passport #1. Scotland’s new symbol is the Unicorn. Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, replaces the Pound Sterling. Gaelic is the national language. Alex Salmond proclaims himself the Laird of Scots. His picture is on all Nessies. Scotland continues to recognize the half-Scottish Queen Elizabeth II as its nominal head of state, but will have no part of Prince Charles, who is no Bonnie Prince Charles. Scotland Yard is renamed Scotless Yard. The Scottish Broadcasting Company (SBC) blocks the BBC. The SBC begins each night with readings from Sir Walter Scot, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, J. M. Barrie, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Auld Lang Syne, played by Bagpipes, becomes the Scottish National Anthem and Burns’ Night a national holiday. (By way of full disclosure, my wife, Kathryne Anne Burns, is a descendant of Gilbert Burns, the brother of Robert Burns)

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