Scots Way-hey-hey!!

September 12th, 1997

In all the fuss and palaver over the last couple of weeks, it's rather crept up on the world that a thumping majority of Scots have just voted for their own Parliament. It's not quite independence - you are still some way off needing a visa to get past Carlisle - but it remains a significant event.

Personally, my patriotism increased markedly after moving to England; or perhaps more accurately, my anti-English resentment. I suspect I was not the only Scot cheering Moldova on Wednesday, even if I couldn't tell you where it was without an atlas. This resentment has grown in Scotland noticeably since the last referendum, in which a majority again voted for devolution, but it wasn't 40% of the eligible electorate. This was a bit like saying, okay, 2 million people attended Diana's funeral, so the other 54 million must think she's a toffee-nosed slag. [I'm sorry: I won't mention the D word again]

Things built up under the Conservative government, when Scotland resolutely failed to vote for them, and was punished by being used as a sort of testing ground for ideas, both good (all-day opening) and very, very bad (the poll tax -- we TOLD you it wouldn't work, but it took riots in Trafalgar Square to convince you). Finally, the rest of Britain decided to agree with Scotland, and Major was given the boot.

So, now what? Not a lot, really. Should hopefully bring an end to daft suggestions about a United Kingdom football team, at least, but otherwise, this new referendum is the equivalent of your teenage son deciding to move out -- oh, and can he have the TV, please? And he'll still pop back for Sunday lunch. And when he needs washing done. We Scots are a canny bunch, and would love nothing more than to have our independence, and make England pay for it. Maybe we could become England's mistress: a steady stream of money flows North, in exchange for the odd footballer every once in a while...

But somehow, I suspect this would offend national pride a bit; a more likely match is a country whom Scotland could get into bed with, yet keep our self-respect. France is the obvious candidate: the Auld Alliance, and it's a country in sore need of something we Scots have in abundance: pop stars. Their home produced variety are...well, let's just say that Big Country would be a major improvement. In exchange, we could take some of their surplus babes off their hands, as they have far too many, and we have, er, Sheena Easton. If ever there was a partnership made in heaven, this is it: we get rid of Wet Wet Wet and Rod Stewart, while acquiring Emmanuelle Beart and Isabelle Adjani (or close facsimiles thereof).

Given this as a potential future, is it really any wonder we voted "Yes"?


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