Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Little Tiff

I don’t know how aware you folks in the US of A are about the relationship between England and Scotland, but if they were on Facebook, their status would read, “It’s Complicated.” We’re not having a tiff, per se, (we know this because there are no actual armies lining up and facing each other over Hadrian’s Wall) it’s more of an…I don’t know…assessment, discussion, one of those “we need to talk” moments. You’ve been there; you know what I mean.

Scotland was the one who first broached the subject (“it’s not you, it’s me”) but that’s not really relevant; the relationship has been stagnating for years and staying together “for the sake of the children” isn’t really cutting it any more. Scotland feels stifled and stymied and, well, in need of “the talk.” And we’re going to get it, in a referendum on 18 September 2014 to decide whether Scotland should become an independent nation.

Being, as I am, a late-comer to this party, Scottish independence shouldn’t matter to me, but it does. I like Scotland, my wife is half Scottish, I have in-laws there, I love haggis and I really don’t want to have to bring my passport with me every time I holiday in the Highlands.

But my personal inconvenience aside, there are many other compelling reasons to keep England and Scotland from breaking up:

Think of the flag; we’ll have to change them all and that is going to be, not only confusing and expensive, but a fashion travesty, as well.

Really, do you want to see the flag on the left flying over Buckingham Palace?
Scotland means well, but (sorry, Scotland) it doesn’t have what it takes to be a real country. Scotland is a bit like Canada, in that it is a large, relatively empty country where the vast majority of the people live close to its southern border with the populous, prosperous country they profess to dislike. It is roughly the size of West Virginia and has a population of only 5.2 million, which is less than the population of any major city. Now, I grant you that there are some cities that claim independent nation status (the Vatican and Monaco come to mind) but, behind their backs, everyone agrees that they aren’t really counties.

You could base an argument on Andorra, as it is only 180 square miles in size and contains only70,000 people, but Andorra is really just a bit of mountainous land in the Pyrenees that neither Spain nor France wanted so they just decided to be independent. And they never could have made a go of it if it hadn’t been for their world famous Andorra Sweaters. Or was it the fact that fear of heights (Andorraphobia) was first recognized there? I can’t be sure, so don’t quote me on any of those facts.

Yeah, it's that tiny country -- too small to see -- inside the red circle.
The other problem with basing an argument on Andorra, Luxembourg or any other diminutive country is that all of them were established long ago, before there were rules about such things. Since the mid-1800s, it has been necessary to have a quorum in order to start a new country. Why do you think we fought the Civil War? The South didn’t meet the population requirements and, well, someone had to enforce the rules or there would have been anarchy.

And, finally, the official animal of Scotland is the Unicorn, which sort of hints that they might base their economy on the Galleon, Sickle and Knut, and locate their seat of government at Hogworts. Are these people really ready to run their own country?

Scotland, however, is certain they are; the Scots are like the younger, hipper partner, itching to spread their wings and fly into an uncertain world, confident they can meet and overcome any challenge it throws at them, while England is the staid, stable and, yes, sort of boring partner who insists on pre-booking theatre tickets instead of just showing up on the day and hoping for a deal (I mean, really!), who would rather watch Dancing on Ice than Breaking Bad and encourages healthy, high-fiber meals.

But is security and stability really a bad thing to bring to a relationship? It may, at times, pinch around the edges, but overall, it is a solid foundation for lasting happiness, and it is no reason to end a long and comfortable relationship: Scotland and England don’t need to break up, they just need separate vacations.

What’s New

I got tired of culling the never-ending stream of spam resulting from leaving my comments open, so I have had to close comments to anonymous posters. This means, to leave a comment, you actually have to have a Blogger account, or a Google account, or something. I apologize, but dealing with the spam was taking up a large part of my day.

Note that I have merely blocked anonymous posters and have not instituted verification; you know, that annoying thing where you have to prove you are not a spambot. Hopefully, this change will settle things and it won’t come to that.