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Giving the Sassenachs a Big Scare
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“Ach, the Sassenachs (English) be greet’in and gurn’in (moaning, groaning, wailing) most mightily.”

Every so often, the Scots like to rise up and give the Sassenachs a big scare. Next week, they are threatening to break their union with England and Wales which has been in effect since 1707. The United Kingdom may be no more.

Good for those rambunctious Scots! If Scotland goes independent, Britain will be left a shadow of its former shrunken self, deprived of oil, imperial pretensions, and much of its arrogance. Egad, the hated French will be stronger than England.

The British used to specialize in breaking up countries: Burma, China, India, South Africa, Nigeria, Sudan, Quebec, the Ottoman Empire, Iran, and many others.

If Scots decamp from the United Kingdom, many of these nations will savor sweet revenge. The Irish, who suffered centuries under the boot of British domination, will finally have their revenge.

Scotland has only 5 million people, but what a remarkable people they are, and what a history. First in war, the fierce highland regiments were covered in military honors. First in industry, science, economics and the Enlightenment. Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh was rightly called “the Athens of the North.” Scots brought commerce and culture to North America, the West Indies, and Australia. Their soldiers served the French kings.

Still, why would a notoriously practical, clear-thinking people like the Scots leave the United Kingdom and embark on an uncertain future that could bring financial crises and political isolation? Britain says it won’t allow the Scots to use sterling as their currency; subsidies from London will be withdrawn. Scotland’s offshore oil has peaked and may be in decline. Its share of Britain’s bloated debt is an estimated 143 billion pounds.

Nearly half of Scots will likely vote to stay in the United Kingdom. But Scots are an intensely proud people whose history goes back to Roman times. Their courage in fighting off British attempts to subjugate Scotland is legendary.

In 1707, Scotland’s ruling elite opted for union with Great Britain against the wishes of most citizens. The reason was truly sordid: the Scot’s elite had invested much of their wealth in a daring scheme to turn Panama’s narrow Darien gap between the Pacific and Atlantic into a nexus of trade. The scheme went bust, as did the first Panama Canal attempt by France in 1881. Financial loses in Scotland were huge.

Along came the British and cleverly offered to reimburse the losses of Scotland’s ruling class if it would vote for union with Britain. London also promised the Scots trade access to its rich colonies. And so the deal was done.

Robert Burns, Scotland’s poet laureate, wrote: “We’re bought and sold for English gold.”


Ordinary Scotts bear a deep, historic grudge against London’s ruling class which, like its colleagues in Washington, has lost all touch with the common man and local issues. Proud Scots are sick of being lorded over, or plain ignored, by Britain’s distant elite, which they see as insufferably arrogant and incompetent.

“Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven,” wrote John Milton in Paradise Lost. Many Scots agree.

Traditionally to the left, Scots have never forgiven PM Margaret Thatcher for wiping out much of their nation’s old heavy industry and mines that while inefficient provided large number of good jobs. Many want revenge.

Interestingly, an independent Scotland would not, as Britons warn, float away to nothingness. The Scots might join the European Union and resume their close historic ties to France. Britain would loses its nuclear submarine bases in Scotland and be forced to relocate them further south.

The United States is not at all happy seeing its faithful British satrap laid low by the Scots. If the Scots hit new oil or gas deposits in the North Sea, the Brits will be livid.

Independence for Scotland is more an emotional than a practical issue. To the devil with the bean counters and toff politicians in London. Sharpen the broadswords and break out the whiskey. The spirits of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace are rising.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: England, Scotland 
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  1. Robert the Bruce was a Norman and William Wallace was a Welshman.

    • Replies: @Rich
    , @Richard K. Munro
  2. Rich says:
    @The Other Observer

    And the Queen of England is a Kraut. A free Wales is next, then Cornwall.

  3. I love this sad little chest thumping. “Laid low?” Is that a joke, Yes isn’t even in the lead and even if it were to lead how does voting to leave a nation that has subsidized your nation for years count as laying something low. What’s going to be laid low is the Scottish stock market when Scotland’s two main banks and BP decamp South along with those nuclear subs and leave the Scots scratching their heads with how are they going to pay for their vastly oversized public services.

    I think the most pathetic thing about this article though is the impotence of writer with so little influence in the USA and so bitter for that reason that he bases his view of Scottish independence entirely on the fact that it might humiliate America’s “satrap” Britain. This would be like me going to a little league game just to cheer against Margolis’s son. Grow up. That said when the Yes vote is defeated I will eagerly await an article about Scotland being laid low and the triumph of the Anglo-American axis.

  4. 22pp22 says:

    Your ignorance is so complete you do not even know the difference between England and Britain. If I were you I would remove this of an article before you make even more of a fool of yourself.

  5. 22pp22 says:

    I can see why the Americans cause so much harm in the world. You know nothing of Britain and yet feel no shame in revealing your ignorance by writing stupid articles and silly posts. If you know so little about Britain, your ignorance of the Middle East must be even greater.

    1). You appear not to know the difference between Britain and England. Great Britain is a geographical term. It refers to the island that contains England, Wales and Scotland. Scotland cannot seek to join Great Britain any more that Canada can seek to join North America.

    2). Why should Scotland use the same currency as England? Independent countries have separate currencies. Alex Salmond has no right to make these decisions unilaterally.

    3). Much of our debt was acquired under Gordon Brown who is Scottish.

    4). How did we break up Nigeria? It used to be British West Africa. It almost broke up after independence in the Biafran War. How did we break up India? India was not a single political unit when it came under British control. It broke up at the time of independence because majority Muslim areas refused to live in a Hindu-majority country.

    5). Independence threatens to reawaken sectarian demons in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    6). The Atlantic coast of what is today the USA was under English control before 1707. Are you implying that they was no commerce or culture there before 1707.

    A silly article unworthy of You have revealed yourself to be a complete fool. I will never again take anything you write seriously.

  6. Matra says:

    Your ignorance is so complete you do not even know the difference between England and Britain.

    It’s truly astonishing how many Americans can’t figure out the difference.

    As for the Albanian-American Margolis, he has been spewing anti-British bile for decades. He’ll take his bitterness to the grave.

  7. What utter garbage. Enough people have already pointed out Margolis’s geographical ignorance, so I won’t do so again.

    “Traditionally to the left, Scots have never forgiven PM Margaret Thatcher for wiping out much of their nation’s old heavy industry and mines that while inefficient provided large number of good jobs. Many want revenge.”

    Purleeze. Scots were not “traditionally to the left” – up until the seventies, the English and Scots voting patterns were not that different. Mrs T got about 45% of the vote in England in 1979, and 39% in Scotland.
    Margaret Thatcher did not wipe out the nation’s heavy industry and mines. The mines closed down because there wasn’t any coal left in em, and because North Sea oil and gas was cheaper cleaner and more convenient. There were a million miners in the UK in 1945. There were about 150,000 left when Thatcher came to power. 85% of the jobs had already gone. Between 1945 and 1985, four times as many miners lost their jobs under Labour governments as did so under Margaret Thatcher.

    With regard to Scots heavy industry, that was wiped out not by Thatcher but by the Japanese, Germans and Norwegians who built better ships and cars and steel quicker and more cheaply and actually did what their customers told them.

    Also it’s whisky, not whiskey. Whiskey is Irish.

  8. Kick out the bloody English !

  9. Sunbeam says:

    Wouldn’t this be a net positive for England?

    It’s a long shot, but this would weaken Labor and make the field a lot better for the UKIP and any other party opposed to immigration.

    England might be able to save itself and Scotland.. can do whatever it is it wants to do. Whatever that is wouldn’t really matter at that point. Face it, 300 years of history is a small cost to pay to avoid what immigration is going to bring you.

    • Replies: @john cronin
  10. @Sunbeam

    Precisely. The whole thing is a massive distraction from the real problems facing both countries – and the rest of Europe – namely Islamification. I can’t see the point of Scots independence if Glasgow and Edinburgh become majority Muzzie. Last time I was in Glasgow, it seemed almost as culturally enriched by the Paedostani community as Rotherham or Rochdale.

    You might care to look up Kriss Donald of Glasgow when you get a chance.

  11. IBC says:

    I like how many in the Scottish nationalist movement, along with many of its cheerleaders/Mel Gibson fanclub members, like to portray the Scottish as some long-suffering minority group dominated and misruled by the English for hundreds of years. Sort-of like the Irish except with better educational opportunities. The idea that the Scottish were victims of the British Empire is laughable. If anything, they were disproportionately involved in its administration and expansion and should therefore be discredited/credited with its legacy the same as the English and anyone else who was involved. People like Eric Margolis, are either genuinely confused by the sloppy historic terminology often used (e.g. English for British) or they knowingly exploit this confusion to allow them to praise Scotland for many of the same things that they would condemn England for during the same time period. In Margolis’ case I think it’s a bit of both mixed with a little something else. Was it dealing with one too many grumpy customs agents at Heathrow? Or maybe he was doing genealogical research on and found that one of the Irish “Wild Geese” flew all the way to Albania.

    “Scots brought commerce and culture to North America, the West Indies, and Australia. Their soldiers served the French kings.” [and] “The British used to specialize in breaking up countries: Burma, China, India…”

    I wonder if Eric Margolis has ever noticed the preponderance of Scottish names among Jamaicans? Does he think that’s because freed slaves chose the names of Scottish abolitionists? And what was it that George Orwell (real name Blair) said about Burma being like a Scottish colony because of the background of so many of the colonial bureacrats and colonists there? I guess Margolis thinks that Lord Dalhousie (who was from the English home county of Midlothian) was really just trying to build up the Indian independence movement when he dreamed up the E̶n̶g̶l̶i̶s̶h̶ British East India Company’s policy of Lapse and Annexation. However, it did provide two of Dalhousie’s “English” compatriots with an opportunity to test out their claymores: Field Marshal Colin Campbell and Field Marshal Sir Patrick Grant.

    There are plenty of other examples of Scottish involvement in the “English” Empire and probably even some books on the subject. (Hint: check out the older sources to learn about the more un-PC “contributions.”) Although, it’s true that the conquest of Ireland was mostly England on its own, even the establishment of the Ulster Plantation was thanks to a native of Edinburgh, King James I (of England and VI of Scotland). The late “civil rights” activist Ian Paisley (nice “English”-sounding name) was one distant legacy of that experiment. So yes, the more neutered the UK becomes, the harder it will be for a percentage of Scottish people to act out their imperial fantasies. They will have to immigrate to the USA or learn German and French to follow that dream.

    And what about those historic Scottish ties with France? I guess Margolis is thinking of John Law, the brilliant Scottish economist, gambler and sometime mountebank who founded the first central bank in France and whose financial creativity yielded the infamous “Mississippi Bubble,” which Margolis no doubt recognizes as providing an inspirational lesson for the opportunistic international financial elite of today, whom he is (rightfully) critical of. Come to think of it, if one were alive today, would Margolis have enough common ground with the “notoriously practical, clear-thinking” financial perspective of a stereotypical auld Scottish merchant, for them to find public agreement? Perhaps not.

    I enjoy reading the usually contrarian if often jaded perspective of Eric Margolis because he usually offers something different. But not always I guess. If he wanted to make a convincing rational case for the independence of Scotland from the UK, he should have made one that was independent of putting down the rest of the country and especially England. And if he was feeling in an emotional mood, he should have been consoled by the fact that having a public referendum on a 300 year old political union, is not exactly confidence inspiring for the future of that arrangement. Even if Scotland votes to stay in the UK, it’s already a given that it will become more politically devolved from its neighbors. And as in Quebec, there would probably then be future referendums for the “rambunctious” percentage of the Scottish public to look forward to and for armchair cheerleaders like Margolis to write a column or two about.

  12. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    An independent Scotland could be very good for both Scotland and England. Nor do i see why Scotland would have to rejoin NATO. Who is going to attack Scotland? Ireland is not a member. I see no negative consequences to Ireland by not being a member.

  13. Matra says:

    The idea that the Scottish were victims of the British Empire is laughable.

    It is not an accident that it was only after Britain became a has-been nation that Scottish nationalism took off. The fall of the Empire meant they were no longer playing a disproportionate role in a great project.

  14. This is a ludicrous article.

    One can quite convincingly argue that Scots gave us the so-called British Empire.

    The English simply bankrolled the imperial pretentiousness of Scottish Lairds and Charlatans.

  15. @The Other Observer

    Robert the Bruce had a Highland mother and spoke Fluent Gaelic and Wallace may have been a Brythonic Celt in origin but he considered himself a Scot. He was quite a linguistic himself (I know he read and wrote Latin) some I am sure he could get by in Gaelic as well as Scots. Old Welsh was extinct (I believe) by his time.

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