I have had some tenuous connections with Scotland.
One was when my accent was mistaken to be Scottish while talking to a tech support guy based in the Philippines. You might ask how I know that the tech support guy thought I was Scottish. I might answer saying because he asked me, "Are you Scottish?" I responded, “As much as you are a New Yorker.” We both laughed.
There are two other equally tenuous Scottish connections . One is Sean Connery who is Scottish but could well be a country unto himself. Who does not like Sean Connery?
The other is the bagpipe which I was introduced to as a child in Rajkot’s famous Rajkumar College (RKC), once meant exclusively for fake princes of erstwhile Kathiawadi kingdoms. During the school’s annual tattoo I used to see a bagpiper or two on it’s meticulously manicured lawns. In the interest of clarity, I did not study at RKC but merely peered over from the wrong side of its low black stone wall.
These thoughts come to mind as I read about the impending vote over Scotland’s independence from Britain. As a citizen of Britain’s former crown jewel—a charming euphemism for a colony—I see a measure of poetic justice in Scotland seeking to hive itself off from a three centuries old union. The number of pieces Great Britain carved out of its former colonies for no reason other than because it could and their bloody consequences, which continue to be felt even today, come to mind.
I was mildly amused to see Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron say this in Edinburgh the other day: "I care hugely about this extraordinary country, this United Kingdom that we’ve built together. I would be heartbroken if this family of nations that we’ve put together – and we’ve done such amazing things together – if this family of nations was torn apart."
I would not be surprised if many in the former colonies look at Cameron’s and Britain’s predicament and feel a measure of mildly sadistic joy. There is such delicious irony here that it is hard to stay decent about it. In any case, I have never been enamored of the much proclaimed sanctity of sovereignty, territorial integrity and suchlike.
I am sure Cameron genuinely feels what he says he does but somewhere along the line Scotland’s rich oil resource is also at the back of his and others’ minds. There are estimates of between 15 billion and 16.5 billion barrels of oil and gas still under Scottish waters. That cannot but be a factor in the vote towards independence.
Essentially, Scotland has two very significant things going for it and both are kind of addictive—oil and whiskey.