Postcard of the Week: Edinburgh & Scottish Independence
Last weekend I flew up north to visit Edinburgh (I’ll post a full article about our weekend there in a couple of days, so keep your eyes peeled). I had been expecting to like it a lot, and the Scottish capital didn’t disappoint – I loved it! The centre is nothing but grand Georgian architecture, it’s close to the countryside and the water, it’s possible to go everywhere on foot, it’s elegant and relaxed, and nothing like the frenetic pace of it’s bigger brother, London. I once wanted to study at Edinburgh University, and as I wandered around the city’s streets I tried to picture myself there as a student. It would have been absolutely wonderful Even now I think I wouldn’t mind a spell living in Edinburgh, just for a couple of months.
But that all really depends on what happens in Thursday 18th September. This Thursday the nation will vote in the referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country, leaving behind the United Kingdom and forging ahead on its own. As I’m English, I am obviously for the ‘No’ vote, but I’m not a resident in Scotland so I don’t have a vote. The polls are worryingly tight, with Alex Salmond’s ‘Yes’ vote taking the lead over the weekend while we were in Edinburgh. The consequences of a ‘Yes’ victory are enormous, I can’t even begin to comprehend all of the implications. The UK is gradually losing territories and shrinking ever smaller from its once extensive empire. Scotland would need to change currency, it would need to apply to join the EU, it would lose the economic, military, international and diplomatic support of Britain, and what would it mean for the Scots themselves? Would Scots living in England and Wales have to apply for visas? It’s all a bit ridiculous in my mind, although the counter-argument of Scottish patriotism is understandably a powerful tool for the political campaign of Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party.
Walking around Edinburgh, we saw no flags shouting out the ‘No’ vote, only lots of blue and white ‘Yes’ flags, I imagine because those in favour of the union with Britain don’t feel strongly enough about it to stand up and make it known, maybe for fear of being accused as anti-nationalist.
So we wait with bated breath to find out what will happen north of the border in Scotland – to be announced on the Friday 19th September. I think the importance of this referendum hasn’t sunk in for many people outside of Scotland, and the aftermath shall be an interesting one to see.