So Scotland’s independence movement has come and gone, and this time it didn’t take a series of bloody wars fought by a skirtclad Mel Gibson. Granted, the Mel Gibson version of Scottish independence is far sexier than talk of secessional jurisprudence and devolutionary decentralization. But unlike medieval treaties signed by the illiterate, and unlike Mel Gibson’s constant and egregious apologies to the Jewish community, this means something.
It’s over: no more campaigning, no more nationalistic sentimentalism, no more CNN special reports on who exactly Scotland is and why she wants a divorce so badly from that smug politician guy being played by Colin Firth. The referendum is done and Scots have ambiguously but finally declared that they’re about 55 per cent sure that they are, in their own words, “sort of okay with the idea of staying with England maybe for the not too distant future, I guess, we’ll see how it goes.” By way of national referendum, this means that Scotland has agreed to stop arguing and come back to bed with David Cameron (Colin Firth) before she leaves and makes a mistake she’ll regret in the morning.
For Scotland, this move represents a win by all accounts. Sure, there are plenty of political and economic reasons to stay in the union, as the ‘No’ campaign made every attempt to show. And maybe secession, as the ‘Aye’ campaign says, might have held some benefits that have been passed over (including Sean Connery’s famous vow to return home from tax exile only on condition of a free and independent “Shcotland”). But what Scotland gained from this referendum is farther reaching than either campaign has let on.
A Scotland without the union would be a Scotland with no Englishmen, Welshmen, Northern Irishmen, English Channelmen, nor any other folk of or related to the British isles to blame for its problems. Not only would this fly in the face of a whole phylum of ageless British humour, but it would also be a serious blow to the contempt-based value system which Scots have held dear ever since those goddamn southerners let those goddamn Romans put up a big goddamn ugly wall in their backyard like a bunch of goddamn sassenach idiots all those years ago. God damn them all!
It follows that where Scotland avoids losing its favourite source of complaint, it also gains another wonderful addition to the long list of wrongs levied at it from the wrong side of Tweed (the river, not the fabric, with which there is clearly no wrong way to align oneself). For generations of old, bitter Scots to come, the referendum has produced ample fodder that will fatten up their sense of injustice in a way that sheep guts and deepfried Mars bars never could. Yes, Scotland can rest easy this week knowing that while political reform and social change are surely on their way to try and clear the post-referendum air of hurt feelings, their neighbour nemeses remain constant as ever in their attempts to drag them down, and if the votes show one thing, it’s that a lot of Scots wouldn’t have it any other way.
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