Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. How fitting that we happened to be there, just a couple blocks from their parliament, for the historic vote on independence from England. I attended two “Yes” rallies and spoke to those in favor of independence from England. It would have been better for me to tell these young protestors I was Canadian, as the USA was not at all popular here….
There weren’t any rallies for the ‘No’ crowd but we did see one quiet march through Edinburgh by this obviously older voting group. I listened to some of the debates and the commentary that followed on the BBC. Many Scots feel that they have very little say in the government in England due to their relatively small population. Also, there is a conflict with the conservatives currently in power in England and the liberal leaning of Scotland. However, in speaking to the actual voters, it was clear that the ‘Yes’ voters at these rallies were simply a very young and rebellious group, just wanting change for some idealized life. They had no answers or concern regarding specific questions. It was very apparent to the leader of the ‘Yes’ movement, Alex Salmond, that the idea of independence would be most popular with the young so he engineered the lowering of the voting age for this one election from 18 to 16. That sounded to me like a tactic which might be used in Chicago-style politics. So this group of young kids, who have not yet paid any income taxes, never had a serious job (who has before age 20), never had much of any level of responsibility in life, were strongly in favor of separating from England. On the other side of the issue were the ‘No’ voters. They seemed to comprise every business owner I spoke to, all the owners of the B&Bs and those who had worked and acquired some degree of success and assets in their working career. Business people generally do not like uncertainty, which would have been in abundance if the independence from England measure had passed.