An open letter to my homeland – Please keep the faith, Scotland

September 17, 2014


My heart is in Scotland right now. Its beating hard, too. I’ll be up tonight in Toronto, Canada, while back home in my homeland my fellow Scots will wake up to answer yes or no to the question ‘should Scotland be an independent country?’.

My answer to that question is a resounding NO.

I am totally proud of my roots. I am proud to be born in Scotland. Even more so, I am proud to be a Highlander. I now live in Toronto, Canada. When people ask me where I am from, I say Strathspey (Speyside) – which is one of the most beautiful areas on the planet,  and if you know your whisky, you know all about Speyside. Equally though, I am also proud to hold a British passport and to be part of the Union. I love the UK.

Pride only gets you so far. Common sense needs to kick in. Scotland has its problems as much as the UK has its problems. Separating will only cause more problems and no solutions. Greater devolution? Sure thing. But as a nation we are intertwined with the UK and firmly sewn together: culturally, geographically, politically, and in terms of really important things like defence, labour, movement, travel and economy.


I could talk to you for hours about the reasons why we shouldn’t separate. I feel exhausted by the number of people who have asked me for my voxpop on the issue in the last couple of months, but I try my best to explain why it makes no sense. The main points you have probably already heard. We can’t run an entire nation on the percentage of revenue that we generate from the whisky, oil and agriculture trades.
The history of nationalism in Europe is not pretty: Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, et al. Alex Salmond lacks both the cunning or intellect of those men, but he shares an equally backwards vision for a country that he claims to love. It does not bode well for us to try to be pioneers as an independent nation, especially at a time of such instability in Europe and with a very real threat of escalating war with Russia and the Ukraine. Independence is not the solution. Scotland’s problems are largely shared throughout the UK: we must moved forward, together, to make things better.

Devolution was a success and I was all for it, but independence is a hopeless notion. It is a romantic idea that plays on the sensitivities of people who are stuck in a mind-set of centuries ago. A lot of the people pro-independence probably don’t get out that much, and are still stuck with a rotten rhetoric that has poisoned our national psyche for far too long.

Scotland has progressed and made a name on the world stage thanks largely to being part of the Union. In my eyes all of the truly great Scots have been pioneers who went out into the world and did something, and helped change the world for the better, be it through science or art.  Alexander Graham Bell, John Logie Baird, Alexander Fleming, Andy Murray, Colin McRae, J.K. Rowling… and many more: all great Scots who went out into the world and did something great. That’s something to be proud of.


Greater devolution and more talk about how we can make our great wee country even better? Totally. Let’s move forward, not backwards, please.


Scotland has moved forward so much in the past 307 years by being part of the United Kingdom. Use your head. Drop the hate. Keep the faith.

© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice

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Brian Banks

Editor and Founder, Music Vice Magazine. Writer. Photographer. Poet. From Scotland. Not Ireland. Proudly based in Toronto, Canada. Rock N' Roll Don't Pay The Rent... 

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