Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Scotland: United Kingdom?


Scotland is -- for now -- part of the United Kingdom. Anyone who has spent time there, from the western edge of the Hebrides to the busy streets of Glasgow to the quiet border hills, knows that Scotland is, however, an entirely different country from its neighbor, Britain. At the three hundredth anniversary of the signing of the act of union which joined the two nations, there’s a simmering, not to say boiling, debate over whether Scotland should stay connected to the other parts of the UK, or become politically again what it is in thought and culture, another nation.

Opinion is divided, on both sides of the border. Though most Scots -- eighty percent in a recent poll by Edinburgh’s Scotsman newspaper -- think Scotland will be best off on its own, many are wary of trading British connections for entanglement in other European Union issues, and there are matters of defense and public policy as well as social concerns, environmental actions, and relations with the United States and other countries fueling discussion, both public and private.

This simmering debate on Scotland’s future does not seem to be getting much press in America. An interesting way to keep up with what’s going on and what’s being thought is the nationhood blog, at the Scotsman’s website.

A reminder of what’s so individual about the character of Scotland, new music from Borders fiddler Shona Mooney, and a look at the history of shipbuilding along the Clyde through song on one the Radio Ballads series of CDs, Big Ships.

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posted by Kerry Dexter at

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