There used to be an underlying distaste in Scotland for most things English, I’d suggest that was a very long time ago, things have changed since then & attitudes have matured significantly. The current debate over Scottish independence is absolutely nothing to do with that outdated viewpoint, we’ve moved on.
Irvine Welsh perhaps portrayed one transitional aspect of the beaten down Scottish attitude perfectly in ‘Trainspotting’, with the outpouring speech of ‘Renton’ on his own personal realities on being colonised by the English. This film, set in the late 80’s, amid the Thatcher years, showed a transition in the Scottish mentality. Into 2014, we’ve now moved much further on, Scotland’s attitude has matured incredibly. The Scottish Parliament had a landslide victory for the SNP in 2011, a voting structure which was always designed to have multiple parties in power, instead Scotland voted for change. You’d be incorrect in assuming that Scots who voted for that particular party hold the SNP & Salmond in very high regard, they were voted in a tool to instigate change, not because people particularly like them or their policies. No other party offered anything other than Westminster control, we wanted our own say in constitutional matters. The current engagement of 97% of the Scottish voting population is testament to that, unseen in Western democracies before. This 2011 result created a mandate for change, which is what the underlying feeling always was, not ‘separatism’ & the press portrayal of hatred of our southern neighbours, that’s so 1980’s, that’s not 2014 Scotland at all.
Regardless of what you read in the press, during the debate I’ve not seen any hostility in the streets, I’ve seen no shouting or harassment, even the Police say it’s been blown out of all proportion. I’ve worked the last few weeks in the midst of what I would expect to be a flash point, I’ve witnessed conversations, but all have been amicable, I actually expected something different, I was pleasantly surprised. England, or even Britain isn’t the target of bitterness as far as I’ve seen, all I’ve seen is a scrabble for information, well-mannered debate & an acceptance that Scotland should take responsibility for itself.
As far as sport goes, my blogs make it obvious, I’m very much somebody who embraces change, it’s no different in cycling or in governance. All of these islands can benefit from having a progressive & hopefully modern country in close proximity. We can design our structures from the bottom up & ignore the tired old confines of a badly evolved & outdated sporting structure. We can set a template for how things could & should be done, that’s the opportunity we can have once we know the result at 5am on Friday. A chance to design a structure & plan from the ground up, cycling can thrive if it’s planned to fit Scotland & meet the needs of a smaller population.
Scotland now feels like that slightly odd 40-year-old, one who’s still living at home & all the neighbours think it looks a little odd, but they wouldn’t say out loud. If Scotland votes ‘Yes’ tomorrow, all that happens is that we get a girlfriend & feel happy to leave home. We’re perfectly capable of looking after ourselves, it’s just that we’ve not had the opportunity or the motivation before. We’ve contributed hugely to the household, we’ll still come & help out when we’re needed, but the household will just have to manage without us from now on. If you need us, we’re just up there, call in, you’ll be welcome.