As all eyes focus on today’s Scottish referendum, I started thinking about my own views of Scotland and how a separation from ‘Team GB’ will impact on not only people but business too. Also, I consider a slightly nostalgic view of generations past and the implications for a shamed David Cameron and ‘Team England’, should Scotland ‘go it alone’.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Scotland. I love the place. It has a magical quality. Perhaps I was so drunk I was hallucinating most of the time. This is possible if not probable. Scotland’s people are proud, hard-working and wild. England could learn a lot, apart from the wild part. Pubs help with this. Scotland is famed for five of my favourite things: salmon, fishing, great beef, whisky and ‘beefcake’.
I have spent many crazy nights supping on quite a few drams of the ‘liquor of truth’ when I worked as a whisky PR, many moons ago. Along with my then agency colleagues, we almost missed flights, got escorted through airports for being in the wrong terminal (travel PR’s no less), danced the night away post-shinty matches, experienced 24/7 light and witnessed a well-known Scottish Earl smash open a Castle wall with his head. Just because…
I have sat in an outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking Loch Lomond in the freezing November rain, happy as a larry, imagining that the Monster will pop out and say ‘ROAR’ to me. Just taking in the partial view (due to the sheets of rain pouring down my glasses) and feeling at home. So for me, Scotland will always be My Beloved Scotland and their people must choose for themselves.
But that is part of the problem. No one really has a clue what the short, medium and longer term implications of such a change will include. Winston Churchill and Maggie Thatcher will probably turn in their grave should the vote be an un-challengable YES. I can understand why.
Britain used to be great. Today, there is less passion, clearly unity, care, commitment and a terrible sense of apathy and blame culture. Resting on our laurels and harking back to the Empire has passed its sell by date, sadly. We came together for The Olympics but such highs go back to normality fairly quickly. I do wonder what would happen if there was a world war and we had to go into battle, as did our grandparents and great-grandparents. Scotland wanting to move away highlights these points and should make David Cameron sit up and think.
If Scotland votes YES, this probably says more about the state of England today than Scotland itself. The beloved Union Jack (as I know it) won’t look the same without that flash of blue that we have all grown up with. Not only will re-branding every piece of tourist paraphernalia need to be changed but also every team GB sports kit and logo etc. These changes will cost English business as much as it will cost Scottish or Welsh. The latter isn’t part of this discussion but who knows, may take its lead from Scotland. And then our flag would just be white. A modern day artist might re-name it ‘England – Gouache on Canvas – Team Bland’.
What will happen with the whisky industry? Will different taxes and laws apply under English sale of goods as well as at airports? Will people start sneaking off on booze cruises to Scotland or hop over with their cars to stock up on whisky like we used to do back in the day with short breaks to Calais in France? I think Beaujolais season is round about now as it happens.
The bottom line is that no one actually knows how this will pan out. For any of the parties involved. Legal teams, officials and governmental big wigs will sit round tables and pontificate over the minutiae of six zillion page documents. But paper is not people. It doesn’t help Och Eye or Joe Public come to term with change and generations of history before them. And for the voters today, probably 50 per cent are digging their heels in and 50 per cent haven’t got a clue what to do. Such is the state of any type of ‘British’ politics today. From a PR and human perspective, this will all take time. England’s leaders seriously need to take a look at how this fares for Wales as well as the future of England overall.
In reality, change can be a good thing. I can’t answer this. It can wake people up and take them where they need to be. I love Scotland and want its people to make the right choice for the Land. For England, I fear for its future, truly and sadly. I only hope and pray that if Scotland goes it alone, England wakes up and makes a positive change for its people and communities throughout its borders. I don’t want future generations to have to see a blank white canvas, formerly known as Great Britain.