Learning to live with abundant freedom of thought and expression outside the reach of the British crown will perhaps prove the next major challenge to face this historic, breathtakingly beautiful, shining crown of what has become known as the British Isles."With a referendum on Scotland's full independence from the United Kingdom going ahead as planned in 2014, there's disquiet in the English ranks. So much so that Downing Street has announced plans to shut down its defense outposts in Scotland in a clear attempt to warn that breaking away could lumber the Scottish economy with new costs for a start. Bonnie Scotland's courageous attempts at ending England's dominance have all been undone throughout history via a combination of military defeats, treachery by disloyal clans and, in Bonnie Prince Charlie's case, a lone English spy's input. Scotland was most viciously treated by the English Crown for its aspirations. Land confiscations, exile, imprisonment, and in William Wallace's case, execution by getting hung, drawn and quartered. After Bonnie Prince Charlie's defeat at Falkirk, English soldiers traversed the battlefield killing all the injured Scottish combatants. Then all the clans that'd fought alongside Prince Charlie were viciously purged and sent into exile for hard labor in the New World, known to us today as Canada and the United States of America. Those days are long gone but Scottish pride has yet to be satisfied: there can be no masters but God across a breathtaking rugged terrain that has seasoned an equally rugged people.
The Scotland National Party or SNP is headed by Alex Salmond, who makes no effort to hide his dislike for foreign rule. In an official announcement on 10 January 2012, the Scottish Government declared that the nation would hold a referendum in the autumn of 2014 to decide whether Scotland should break away for good from the so-called United Kingdom. It did not come as much of a surprise following the Scottish Parliament's devolution and SNP's overwhelming victory in Holyrood. Abundant reserves of oil in the seas off Scotland often referred to as "Scottish oil", have hastened Holyrood's aspirations for full independence. And this has left the English crown with a major dilemma.The Shield of the UK Royal Arms, the British monarch's own standard, has four quadrants. The first and fourth quadrants represent England and contain three gold lions passant: in plain English, three gold lions with their right forepaws raised and their heads facing the viewer on a red field. The second quadrant represents Scotland and contains a red lion rampant on a gold field; the third quadrant represents Ireland and contains the gold harp of Ireland on a blue field. Should Scotland vote to break away in 2014, the UK Royal Arms will be left without Scotland's red lion: a bit of an embarrassment for "Great" Britain. With regards to maintaining the British monarchy in Scotland, Salmond has said the monarchy would be retained, and his close relationship with Queen Elizabeth II is seen as favorable toward maintaining ties. However, the Queen is said to "fear" for the future of "Great" Britain all the same. The queen will have to accept and respect the result of the referendum. Then again, Holyrood's justice committee convener, Christine Grahame, has already pledged to hold a second referendum on maintaining a "full-blown monarchy, an edited version, or going for a republic." Realistically speaking Salmond is not going to be there forever to maintain cozy ties with the British crown, so there's no telling whether Scotland would opt out in favor of carving out its own identity on the international stage, leaving behind the centuries' old, painful memories of English military and political supremacy. The future for an independent Scotland could entail hordes of the Scottish exiles' descendants arriving in dodgy shorts and sweaters -- not to mention the novel shoes -- from the new world. But Edinburgh will no doubt take the arrivals under its wing and pretend there's no hint of a foreign accent. By all accounts, however, this has been happening for some time and perhaps Scotland's new-found confidence has much to do with the exodus of yesteryear Scottish freedom fighters' descendants returning to add extra weight to the argument that things must be put right after all these years. A new identity is not required for Scotland regardless of England's brutal colonial record there. Bonnie Scotland, like many other nations that have suffered the British imperial rule, has become a cohesive national powerhouse in today's world and as such, its people's attitudes have changed. The English crown's pomp and pageant is no longer enough to hold Scotland's lion in an English quadrant. Learning to live with abundant freedom of thought and expression outside the reach of the British crown will perhaps prove the next major challenge to face this historic, breathtakingly beautiful, shining crown of what has become known as the British Isles. KM/SS