Monkeying Around...
Selfie and Scotland

Today, Scotland is voting on the issue of Scottish independence from the UK. They will be voting on what many call devolution...devolving that relationship with the UK precisely as all of the countries that were once a part of the British Empire. I have written about this issue in several dozen articles in the past couple years. I have spent a month informally interviewing nearly anyone that I met while traveling around Scotland a year ago last spring. If you wish to read volumes on this issue, merely click on Scotland.

However, I would suggest waiting until you read this article, which sums up one of my observations about the English wanting Scotland to remain within the UK. It seems to me having spent a year of post-graduate studies at the University of Edinburgh at New College and just recently returned from a month of doing research on independence that there is an arrogance about the English regarding Scottish independence. I had been exposed to that arrogance 45-years ago.

I would wish that the English would have a less haughty than thou attitude about their place in the world especially in relationship to Scotland. Churchill said of Scotland "of all small nations of this earth perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind."

Even though Churchill thought this, the English have the notion that because they are great as in Great Britain, they deserve to be treated that way. Nevertheless, they are as a country not the king or rather the queen of the mountain. The English need to address that issue honestly as it relates to Scotland and many other issues.

Case in point, David Slater, a nature photographer from England, has gotten his English pants in a royal knot. While taking photos in Indonesia, a couple macaque monkeys watched him taking pictures. The monkeys had a great interest in what Slater was doing.

Slater and a friend

Slater and a friend

Slater decided to set up the camera on a tripod and moved away from it. When he did, a couple of monkeys went over to the camera and both clicked the shutter. The macaques snapped pictures of themselves.

Many of us have done the same thing with a camera. We hold the camera and take a picture or a selfie of ourselves. Having done that a couple of times myself, I must admit my selfies are not even close to that of what the macaques selfies were like, which went viral on the Internet.

Crested black macaques  

However, Slater wants Wikipedia to take down the photo or pay him royalties for them since photo are copyrighted by the monkeys. All that he did was to setup the camera, and the macaques took the pictures. Slater's choice for Wikipedia is to either to take down the photo or pay Slater for the use of the photos.

Here is a video where Slater explains.

Wikipedia's defense is that only humans can copyright material not a couple macaques. Therefore, they will not take the photos down or pay Slater for the use of his copyrighted photos. They maintain that the photos are part of the public domain.

I am not an attorney, but it seems to this novice that Slater will not win his case. In addition, I do not see much difference between Slater's case against Wikipedia and that the English copyrighting Scottish offshore oil. The money for Scottish oil goes to Westminster not to Scotland. The English cannot copyright Scottish offshore oil, which they do not own.

It will be interesting to see how Slater's case is resolved. Additionally, I will be interesting to see how Scotland voted on devolution today. England and Slater do not own everything that they touch or seize.

However, I hope that I will not have to write an essay based upon what Bobby Burns wrote when it comes to the vote, "The best-laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry."

Scottish independence: Yes campaign

Scottish independence flag

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