Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Scotland Votes

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on September 18, 2014
Russell Cheyne/Reuters


Cuckoo’s Bakery in Edinburgh has been tracking support for Scots independence based on sales of cupcakes emblazoned with Scots and Union flags (above). As of today, the “no” vote is running about four points ahead of the “yes,” a figure that seems to be reflected in actual polling.  By this time tomorrow, we’ll know how accurate both the bakery and the polls are.

Regardless of the outcome, it’s important to note that the Scots have not gone about achieving independence by laying siege to the Royal Navy base at Faslane.

Having most of my own lineage come from every part of  Great Britain, I have no great stake in this fight, or notion as to whether an independent Scotland is a good thing or not. But if independence encourages sartorial atrocities such as this, it’s just not worth it. No one needs that.



5 Responses

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  1. M.D. Blough said, on September 18, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    No, the equivalent for us would have been if the US government had agreed to let the whole issue hinge on a referendum in the would be secessionist states, with a bare majority being enough to prevail, and, in an elaborate game of chicken with secessionist leaders, make it an all or nothing proposition. It’s not that the Scots Nationalists are that brilliant. It’s that British, primarily English, leadership (including Labour which took Scottish support WAY too much for granted) are that thick-headed, having spent much of the time from Margaret Thatcher on doing their level best to antagonize the Scots and who are now surprised that it’s that close. I have family in Scotland and I am far from convinced that independence is in Scotland’s best interests, at least at this point in history, but, quite frankly, things seem to have not improved too much since my Scottish grandfather who went to primary school during the reign of Queen Victoria spoke of the London-approved and mandated history textbooks he was given as referring to “British defeats and English victories.”

    • Andy Hall said, on September 18, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      Does David Cameron survive this? I’m not sure how, even if the Unionists win (which is looking likely at this point). I read somewhere that he took one hell of a risky gamble with a simple up-or-down vote, when he could have defused the SNP by adding an intermediate option for increased autonomy, without a complete break — “devolution,” I think is the term of art. Cameron will be known to history, I suspect, as the Prime Minister who almost lost Scotland.

      • M.D. Blough said, on September 19, 2014 at 7:27 pm

        I think you may have seen this article in the NY Times. When I read it, I wanted to shake David Cameron until his teeth popped out (and I don’t think he wears dentures). This is the fate of the United Kingdom and of its constituent parts at stake and he seemed to see it as a game of chicken with Alex Salmond, who but for the prudence of the majority who voted “No” (and, given the turnout, this is a rare case where a majority vote may really be a majority), would have outmaneuvered him. For God’s sake, to get Scotland to give UP the middle option (Devo Max), Cameron gives into the demands that the voting age be lowered to SIXTEEN from 18 and that the referendum be held in 2014 instead of 2013, giving the SNP a whole additional YEAR to campaign. The Conservatives were so tone deaf to Scotland; according to the article, London backed a candidate for the dubious honor of leading the Scottish branch of the Conservative Party who opposed giving any more powers to Scotland over a candidate who was supportive of additional devolution, The remarkable thing is that a passionate speech by former PM Gordon Brown (MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. In an nice piece of trivia, my mother’s parents came from Kirkcaldy and I still have a second cousin there.)

        It’s ridiculous to see the neo-Confederates see any parallels between the Scottish situation and their fantasies. Scotland was a separate nation for over a millenium (traditional date of founding: 843 AD-Act of Union 1707) before the United Kingdom was formed. It was never conquered (Contrary to League of the South pseudo-history, the Jacobite Rebellions were not Scottish v. English but, primarily, Protestant v. Catholic). James VI of Scotland succeeded Elizabeth I on the throne of England as James I because he was the closest legitimate heir (on of his maternal great-grandmothers was Henry VII’s daughter, Margaret, who married James V of Scotland) and Protestant. (I’ll leave you with another bit of trivia. One way of telling a hard-core Scot is how they give the titles of the James who ruled England. King James of the KJV was James VI and I and his grandson was James VII and II.

        The romance of independence has a strong pull on Scots but, I think, as the time to vote got closer, enough felt that there were too many holes and too many assumptions that predicted a rosy future for a separate Scotland. Scots may be annoyed at Conservative condescension and Labour taking them for granted but, I think, if Devo Max had been an option, it would have won by a landslide. The national parties had better come through on the promises made to Scotland (basically Devo Max) or there will be hell to pay.

        • Andrew Raker said, on September 22, 2014 at 10:45 am

          I’ve been thinking a lot about M.D.’s point about the Jacobite Rebellions as I try to connect Scotland’s history with American history. I remember seeing a small memorial stone at Culloden that said something about “the English Dead”, but then later read in the guidebook that everyone buried there was an anti-Jacobite Scotsman – but since they were the wrong kind of Scottish, they became English. The same thing happens among some Southerners regarding the Civil War, as they either ignore those Southerners who were Unionists, or treat them with disdain with terms like “scalawag”. In both places, the overwhelming public memory has been constructed to remove the internal elements of society that supported the winning side of the conflict.

  2. Craig L said, on September 19, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    My Scot-Irish ancestors are also the source of my Native American ancestry.

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