Yes Scotland or Better Together: Trying to Make Sense of the Scottish Independence Referendum

The flag of Scotland. (Photo: Endrick Shellycoat on Wikimedia)
The flag of Scotland. (Photo: Endrick Shellycoat on Wikimedia)
In less than one week, the Scottish public will be going to the polls to make a very important decision about the future of their country; whether to remain a part of the United Kingdom or leave to become an independent country.

If you haven’t heard about the impending Scottish Referendum, here’s a short informational video the BBC put together last year which covers the basics, in less than sixty seconds, followed by our attempt to break down what’s going on. 

To understand the complicated relationship between England and Scotland, we probably need to back up a bit and look at their shared and often antagonistic history. 

It should be noted that Bob Hale (Laurence Rickard) of Horrible Histories fame mentioned an option called devo-max; however, since this clip was made that compromise choice has been scrapped.

Both the Yes Scotland and Better Together campaigns have been in existence for over two years so the Scots (and others) have had some time to think about their decision. As expected some celebrities have spoken out as well though their opinions have not always been as clearly communicated as some might like.

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Then there are other entertainers like the legendary Billy Connolly who, perhaps rather wisely, have chosen to remain out of the political spotlight and let the public decide for themselves. 

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As matters of pride and patriotism tend to do, this referendum has inspired anthems to the cause. Though to be honest, I couldn’t find a single music video that supported the Better Together cause. Not even this one entitled ‘Better Together’. 

Comedy is often used as a gateway to discuss and explain more serious social topics, particularly politics. In this clip, English comic Jack Dee explains how he thinks the UK and an independent Scotland should conduct their split. 

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Conversely here’s a Scottish perspective from Limmy which examines some deep-seated trust issues concerning the current Tory government and its leader in London. 

After all this “extensive research” I’m still not sure how I feel.  Never mind that the SNP hasn’t decided what currency they would use. Many of my unanswered questions remain such as what will happen to the Union Jack? Will the blue bit be taken out? Where will the Queen go on holiday? Will Balmoral Castle still belong to the royal family?

Finally I don’t wish to rain on anyone’s parade, but in the UK it’s a regular occurrence I’m told. I too used to be an idealistic young thing. Alas, the cynic in me has unfortunately grown with the years and I’ve seen it enough times to know that getting rid of the government you don’t like doesn’t guarantee you’ll get anything better.

I echo Billy Connolly’s hope that the Scottish people get what they want and deserve. However, this video (set to a Proclaimer’s tune) is a highly ambitious to-do list indeed. 

I’m not a Scottish citizen so it would be presumptuous of me to come down on one side or the other unlike the young English woman in this sketch. 

Whatever the result of the referendum on the 18th of September, I wish only the best for the people of the Scotland and the UK. I hope you’ll show us Americans how to be gracious in victory and defeat and, more importantly, how to behave like adults in the political arena.

Carmen Croghan

Carmen Croghan often looks at the state of her British addiction and wonders how it got so out of hand.  Was it the re-runs of Monty Python on PBS, that second British Invasion in the 80’s or the royal pomp and pageantry of Charles and Diana’s wedding? Whatever the culprit, it led her to a college semester abroad in London and over 25 years of wishing she could get back to the UK again.  Until she is able, she fills the void with British telly, some of her favorites being comedies such as The Office, The IT Crowd, Gavin and Stacey, Alan Partridge, Miranda and Green Wing. Her all-time favorite series, however, is Life On Mars. A part-time reference library staffer, she spends an inordinate amount of time watching just about any British series she can track down which she then writes about for her own blog Everything I Know about the UK, I Learned from the BBC.  She is excited to be contributing to Telly Visions and endeavors to share her Anglo-zeal with its readers.

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