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

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. 

Bob Hale on the One Show

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.

Scottish independence: Celebrities on yes and no

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. 

Comedian Billy Connolly on Scottish independence (17Feb14)

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’. 

Better Together Song

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. 

Jack Dee on 'Who gets to keep what?'

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. 

Weekly Wipe - Limmy! - Scottish Independence

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. 

The Proclaimers - Cap In Hand(Yes Scotland)

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. 

A campaign tale

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.