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An Independence Day #BriFri

By Joyweesemoll @joyweesemoll

British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Lift a pint and join our link party!

Last week’s British Isles Friday party included both photos of Edinburgh and a preview of the upcoming book festival there. So, this seemed a good week for a post about Scotland.

Flag of the United States

The American flag with thirteen stripes, representing the original colonies, and fifty white stars representing the number of states. The whole Betsy Ross story that I learned as a kid? Probably false.

Happy Independence Day to those of us in the US! I thought I would take this holiday to write about the Scottish Independence referendum, set for September 18. I first learned of this from a British Isles Friday post at Fiction Fan’s Book Reviews. She reviewed Blossom by Lesley Riddoch, a book in favor of more localized government in general, so with a particular view on an independent Scotland.

I’ve done a bit of research since reading that blog post, but not enough to form a real opinion. On the one hand, it’s easy for an American on Independence Day to cheer for any country declaring independence from England. On the other hand, the entanglements of tradition and economy leave a lot of open questions and no one seems to have a crystal ball with answers. I predict an unsettled and interesting (in the Chinese curse sense) time for the Scottish if they vote for independence, but sometimes it takes going through unsettled and interesting times to get where we want to go.

Flag of Scotland

The Scottish flag is also known as the St. Andrew’s Cross. St. Andrew is said to have been martyred on an X-shaped cross. St. Andrew has been the patron saint of Scotland since a 9th century battle.

The best source for news I’ve found so far is the Scotland Decides page on the BBC website where they gather links to all their features and articles on the topic. Since there is also a piece about a recent protest of BBC bias, there may be a better place for news. At the very least, I’m going to start reading some of the pieces on the Scotland Decides page of The Herald, a Scottish newspaper.

Flag of the United Kingdom

The Union Jack is the flag of the United Kingdom. It combines the crosses of St. George (for England), St. Patrick (for Ireland), and St. Andrew (for Scotland). The patron saint of Wales, St. David, isn’t represented because at the time of the adoption of the flag, Wales wasn’t a politically separate entity from England.

We wanted to understand the Scottish referendum and other current news events before our trip to England, so we subscribed to the Union Jack, a monthly newspaper, mostly for ex-pat Brits in the US. The front cover of the July issue has the headline “JK Rowling Comes Out Against Scottish Independence.” She acknowledges that her view might be discounted since, although she lives in Edinburgh now, she was born and bred in England. Potter lovers will appreciate that she reacts as if being labeled a mudblood: “When people try to make this debate about the purity of your lineage, things start getting a little Death Eaterish for my taste.”

The flags in this post came courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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