Wednesday, September 17, 2014

To U.K, or not to U.K.?


I will wear this shirt tomorrow. It commemorates the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn.
I was born and raised in Canada, although my last name might offer a clue as to my ancestry. Even now, to jokingly say "Robby McAlpine of the Clan McAlpine" just sounds... right.

(Scots still living in the Old Country have multiple facepalm bruises over people like me and our naive assumptions re: our Scottish heritage. Compounded by our feeble attempts at adopting the accent.)

Wendy and I visited Scotland for our 25th anniversary, and we absolutely loved everything about it. (Yes, I ate haggis. More than once. Thank God for Scotch whiskey.)

My family roots are in the United Kingdom. Two of my four grandparents are Scots (the third is Irish; and the fourth, English). My mom grew up in Paisley (near Glasgow). If I could find a Welsh great-aunt somewhere, I'd be thoroughly UK. So, I guess I should be in favour of the "Better Together" side.

And the Union Jack is such an iconic image -- the combining of the flags of England, Ireland, and Scotland. On the grand scale of things, it's a minor note compared to all the other issues surrounding tomorrow's historic referendum on Scottish independence, but you gotta admit: it's a cool flag. More iconic than any of the three flags that comprise it.

On the other hand, like many other Scots and people of Scottish descent, I was very inspired by the less-than-historically-accurate production of Braveheart. (Note: there are also Scots who loathe this movie, although not as much as the English do.) So, with my second-generation Scottish nationalism stirred up, perhaps I'm more in favour of the "Yes Scotland" crew.

So, as a typical second-generation Scot-Canadian armchair quarterback, I can't really say I have the best-informed opinion about tomorrow's referendum on Scottish independence. (And nobody over there has been asking for my opinion anyway.) 

Emotionally, I would love to see Scotland be its own country. But sentimentalism is not a wise thing to base such an important decision on. There are so many complicating factors in the 21st century geopolitical landscape, that perhaps Scotland -- in the long term -- might be better to remain a part of the United Kingdom.

Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, nothing will quell the sense of pride and identity that the Scots are known for. And nothing will affect my affection-from-afar as a Canadian of Scottish ancestry.


And to commemorate the cheeky defiance that Scots are known for, I offer this enlightening video for your education, edification, and enjoyment.


Alba gu bràth! (ancient Gaelic phrase meaning: "Scotland forever")

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