“I am William Wallace. And I see a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of tyranny! You have come to fight as free men. And free men you are! What will you do without freedom? Will you fight?”
“Two thousand against ten?” the veteran shouted. “No! We will run, and live!”
“Yes!” Wallace shouted back. “Fight and you may die. Run and you will live at least a while. And dying in your bed many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here as young men and tell our enemies that they may take our lives but they will never take our freedom!”
I’m sure some of you have heard that speech before, hopefully most of you have seen Braveheart; coming from a Scotsman, I think it’s the greatest movie ever. That is the rally cry from the Scottish Nationalist Party in these recent times, not quite to that extent but still a cry for freedom.
Scotland is in the middle of a referendum and the country is deciding whether or not we would still like to be part of the United Kingdom, or go it alone as an independent country. The decision to start this referendum has come around for a few reasons, primarily that Scotland is basically a separate country, except in tax and military; a lot like the relationship between Hong Kong and China.
Another reason is that the living standards could increase considerably, as Scotland gets the same amount of money for infrastructure as England but has a much smaller population. As an independent country, Scotland would control the oil industries and generally increase its economy.
Scotland recently hosted the Commonwealth Games, an athletics event that includes all of the countries that form the Commonwealth, primarily composed of primary and former members of the British Empire. During the games, the whole of Scotland saw how well the events were going, causing them to seriously question their position in Britain. The general thinking from Scotsmen and women was “If we can do this on our own, then can’t we go it alone as a country?”
Personally, my decision would be a vote of “No,” to stay as a part of the United Kingdom. Unfortunately I am unable to vote and much of the proud Scotsman in me wants to honor those words William Wallace cried. But I am happy to say I’m a Scottish citizen first and a British citizen second. I think we are better together in the sense that a lot could have to change and personally for me, being from Scotland but studying here at Point Loma, I’m not entirely sure of the implications, including potentially having to change my passport and also the endless amount of paperwork that comes with it. And without the pound, will Scotland change to the euro? Or to a new Scottish pound? How will this affect the economy?
Scotland wants changes, and if the vote is “Yes” then that is a huge change and Scotland can independently make those decisions. If the vote is a “No” then the issues Scotland raises will be dealt together with the United Kingdom, united.
This vote is one of the biggest, if not the biggest votes in Scotland’s history, and to be honest, I am sad that I can’t be there to vote and be part of the whole event. The future of my family and future family could all be influenced by today’s vote, which is both exciting and scary all at the same time. As for the outcome, I believe that either way whatever happens will be the best for the country, and as someone of a strong Christian faith, I believe that God is in control whatever happens.
Andrew Ritchie is a freshman exercise sports science major at PLNU who plays on the soccer team. His goal is to play professional soccer, ultimately, in the MLS. He is from Scotland.