Devolution Seen by a Scottish-American

Scotland will vote to withdraw from the United Kingdom on September 18, 2014. Approximately a third of Scotland is for it, a third of Scotland is against it, and a third of Scotland has not decided. However, there are 4-major issues that the Scots will have to address over the next year: Scottish cringe, racism and the royal we, history of devolution, and English needs.

Scottish Cringe

The Scottish cringe is the feeling among some Scots of cultural inferiority to the English. The English make the Scots feel a lesser partner within the UK. Scotland has not had a parliament since 1707 when the English... Since then, Scotland was ruled by Westminster for the nearly 3-centuries until May 12, 1999.

However, Scotland is almost in the very middle of countries in the EU when it comes to geographical size and population. There half of the EU members with less population and landmass than Scotland who are able to function as independent nations.

Racism and the Royal We

In 1169, Henry II etched into the English mindset the notion of divine right of kings. Since then, royalty have seen themselves as superior to the commoner, because they were born into a special relationship with God. This special kinship is not based on which royal family but on the relationship with God.

When Americans hear the term, racism, we think of it in reference to black/white issues. However, human history dates back 200k years and racism has not been about skin pigmentation except for the past 500-years. Poverty, spoils of war, religion, and birthright have been the basis for racism.

Steve Biko, who fought for freedom of black South Africans, said, "The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." His point was that if one group makes another group believe that they are inferior, the oppressed will oppress themselves because they believe that they are second-class.

History of Devolution

The British Empire in 1922 consisted of 450 million of people...1/5 population and 1/4 of the earth's landmass. What remains of the British Empire today is Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Gibraltar, a section of Antarctica, and a dozen small islands scattered around the globe.

The British Empire in 1922

This is a Canadian postage stamp of 1898, which enunciated a bit of hubris: "We hold a vaster empire than has been." Well, that is not true today.

Canadian postage stamp from 1898

Canadian postage stamp from 1898

This devolution movement has taken less than a century. Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland are in varying places related to independence. The UK might soon consist of England, Gibraltar, a dozen islands, and some Antarctic ice and snow. Wales has voted 64% for devolution and Northern Ireland vote 80% in a recent poll wishing for some limited form of devolution. However, Scotland will be voting for complete independence.

English Needs

Finally, what concerns the English about devolution in Scotland if they have faced massive devolution already in the past century? While there are many issues confronting them, there are two primary concerns they have. One is economic and the other psychological.

The economic issue is primarily Scottish offshore oil revenues and to a lesser degree the revenues from whiskey, tourism, and woolens. Revenues from offshore oil and control of that industry is located at Westminster not in Scotland.

 I am writing over breakfast while Westminster makes money drilling Scottish offshore oil.

I am writing over breakfast while Westminster
makes money drilling Scottish offshore oil.

The psychological issue is the English concerned about the British Isles as a nation; it is on the verge devolving. The Scots will vote on independence in a year. Northern Ireland has been trying to resolve issues with the rest of Ireland and may soon unite with Ireland. Wales is watching what is happening with the both Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The British Empire started devolving with the American Revolution. Since then, there is long lists of other countries that have left Britain for independence.

What remains of the British Empire

What remains of the British Empire


Scottish independence: Yes campaign

Scottish independence flag

Visit the Scottish Independence page to read more about this topic.