For Scottish Independence
This is open letter to Scotland. In the past year, I have returned to Scotland where I had studied in the late 60s. I spent a year of post-graduate studies at the University of Edinburgh at New College on the Mound.
I lived a very short walk further up the Mound at Ramsey Garden.
I love Scotland, and it was great to return for a month this time to study the independence movement. At the end of last year, I traveled to Myanmar, which at one time was called Burma, to observe their efforts to obtain their human rights. Those two trips changed my life...radically. I am 71-years old driven to help change the world in any way I can for the better.
After several months of struggling to understand this metamorphosis within me, I happened to watch a video by Steve Jobs giving a commencement address. His speech was about connecting the dots. I have used this speech a handful of times during the two years since I had first watched it. Jobs said, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future."
While Jobs connection made sense to me personally, I am writing to you hoping that it will make sense to you both personally and politically. You need to connect the dots; your future depends upon it. Therefore, I want you to see the dots that I see as a Scottish-American who studied in Scotland for a year and recently returned for of month of research on independence. Dots are merely events that occur in our personal and national lives. When they occur, their meaning cannot be seen by looking forward only as one looks backward. Therefore, let us look backward at some of the Scottish dots.
The first dots occurred nearly two millennia ago. Scotland was walled off from England by two actual walls: Antonine and Hadrian's Wall in the first half of the second century AD. Caledonia was not a part of England.
The next dot was exactly 700-years ago on June 24, 1314 when Robert the Bruce defeated Edward II at Bannockburn.
However, a couple of days before his victory, Robert the Bruce hid in a cave to avoid being captured by the English after they had defeated his army. There he hid apparently suffering from Scottish cringe. While hiding, he watched a spider attempts to weave a web unsuccessfully. After many endeavors, the spider was successful. Robert the Bruce learned a lesson from the spider, and he went out and defeated the English.
Of his fighting for freedom, Robert the Bruce said, "For as long as one hundred of us shall remain alive, we shall never in any wise consent submit to the rule of the English, for it is not for glory we fight, nor riches, or for honour, but for freedom alone, which no good man loses but with his life."
However, other invasions off the battlefield have occurred over the years. The Acts of Union in 1707 is another dot. It seems to me that English royalty pushed Scottish royalty to join the Union between their countries. The Scots went along with the Union, and in that process, they lost a great deal of freedom including their Scottish parliament. The loss of a parliament lasted for 3-centuries resulting in Scotland being an unequal partner in their Union.
The next dot was made by Winston Churchill who wrote that "of all small nations of this earth perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind." That is high praise from an Englishman. However, many Scots and English do not believe Churchill's assessment of Scotland.
Another dot occurred when I interview the present Duke of Argyll. In deference to the duke, I broached the issue about devolution cautiously. The duke was open and was not put off with my question. He was very upfront and was quite willing to discuss devolution. I asked about devolution in reference to the larger picture of the devolving of the British Empire. In 1922, it 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 6-counties in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Gibraltar, a section of Antarctica, and a dozen small islands scattered around the world.
This devolution movement has taken less than a century. Name a country that wishes to return to the British Empire. Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland are in varying places related to independence. In the next few years, the UK/British Empire might well consist of England, Gibraltar, a dozen islands, and some Antarctic ice and snow. Regarding the Antarctic Territory, much of the western part of Antarctica is devolving/melting away as the vast majority of the British Empire has melted away.
The final dot is economic. The economic issue is primarily offshore oil revenues and to a lesser degree the revenues from whiskey, tourism, and woolens. Revenues from offshore oil and control of that industry are located at Westminster not in Scotland where the oil is. While the English do not view the Scots as equals, they do want the income and control of Scottish offshore oil.
As Steve Jobs said, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards." When the Scots look back at the dots, they connect at least from this Scottish-American. This is the time for Scots to live as a free people. William Wallace warned Scotland, "Every man dies. Not every man really lives." This is a time for the Scots to live and enjoy independence.
Happy Independence Day. Today is the 700th anniversary of Scotland's independence from England. However, in less than three months is your next independence day on 18 September 2014. Choose wisely and be free.
Visit the Burma Independence page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Scottish Independence page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Connecting the Dots page to read more about this topic.