The people of Scotland voted yesterday, pretty resoundingly, to remain in the United Kingdom. Considering the turmoil and violence of the past, this was a very civilized historic event. British government leaders made impassioned appeals to the people of Scotland to reject independence, and promised significant changes if they did. Now it’s time to make good on those promises. I’m in England, watching British TV, and this is the big news story of the week.
It’s surprising to learn how important the 1995 movie, directed by and starring Mel Gibson, was to Scots in their drive for independence. The 13th century real-life William Wallace was probably a much darker and more complex man than he appears in the movie, but the stirring scenes of battle and eloquent speeches on freedom are still affecting Scots two decades after the Academy Award-winning movie. Leaders of the independence drive regularly referred to the movie as a source of Scottish pride.
British people seem to have a special fondness for Scots. In large cities, it is fairly common to encounter a bagpiper in kilt and full Scottish regalia, playing on a street corner. Today at Blenheim Palace I spotted a Scottish soldier in a display of hundreds and hundreds of accurate models, made by the British Model Soldier Society. The Society, founded in 1935, meets monthly in London. Its members do extensive historical research before approving any of the wonderfully detailed models (which are about 3-4 inches tall). The model above depicts a private in the Black Watch regiment in 1815.
Above is an even earlier Scottish soldier from 1684, the Royal Scots 1st of Foot. The union of England and Scotland has deep historical roots. I hope the Scots get the changes they were promised and the union continues with benefits to both sides.
The Braveheart image above is the theatrical release poster. The film is available from Amazon.