The English Invasion

So it’s going to be me, then?

So I’m the one who has to say something, eh?

So the possibility of a great confluence of English folk coming up to Scotland in the event of Scottish independence is supposed to be a good thing, is it?

Well. I have a few things to say about that.

English People Don’t Think Like Scots

See, Scottish people are supposed to be dour, thrawn, mean, tight-fisted, conservative with a small “c.” That’s why the 2015 General Election campaign was fought on an anti-Scottish ticket by the winning party. Scots aren’t supposed to want a better society, they’re supposed to  just complain about how terrible everything is without actually doing anything about it. Most of all, Scots are supposed to hate Scotland. Those Scots On The Make who actually want to achieve something have to move out – to London, to Europe, to America, anywhere but Scotland. There’s an old saying: “a Scot is never at home until he is abroad.” Why would such a phrase gain traction unless there was a good reason for it?

What’s it going to do to our precious Caledonian Antiszyzygy when we suddenly have an influx of people who actually want to live here?

Scots Have Never Welcomed the English

Scots are supposed to be anti-English xenophobes; narrow, inward-looking chauvinists who think if you weren’t born in Scotland, then you’re not Scottish at all – especially if you’re English, like in that documentary, White Settlers.

At no point in Scottish history have the English ever been welcome in Scotland. No Scottish dynastic marriages have ever taken place; no Scots have ever owned estates in England, or vice versa; no Scottish king ever supported the English against their own despotic king; certainly Scotland cannot claim partial descent from an earlier Anglo-Saxon kingdom and its successor whose legacy can be seen to this day. This is because, after all, Scotland and England have constantly been in a state of war, and that if it wasn’t for the union, Scotland would undoubtedly have been conquered by England. We don’t need constant reminders of our own inferiority, which is manifested in the English people themselves.

The English Would Overrun the Highlands

We’d need a place to put all these Sassenachs. Glasgow & Edinburgh are pretty full, as is most of the Central Belt. Yet how could we break the solace and sanctity of the Cairngorms, the Cuillin, the Galloway Hills, the Glenkens, the Tweedsmuir – or the Highlands?

Imagine: those desolate, empty Highlands, full of the quiet ruins of once-thriving communities, a true wilderness of peace, would suddenly be overrun with people again. Achanlochy, Arichonan, Badbea, Bernera, Boreraig, Crackaig, Craig Navar, Easter Turrerich, Glen Banchor, Glen Quaich, Morvern, Rosal, Shiaba, Stiomrabhaigh, Strathnaver – no longer old stones, but alive and bustling with human activity. The legacy of the likes of the Duke of Sutherland, who did so much to cleanse the highlands of diseased and inferior foreign savages, would be utterly undone. And what proud Scot could possibly want that?

The English Would Make Us A Minority In Our Own Nation

If the poll reflects the most extreme possibility, then Scotland’s population could more than double – meaning that Scots born in Scotland would be outnumbered. Imagine: English people having a bigger say in Scottish matters than Scots; English accents and English idioms all over our streets and TV screens; English ideas and culture and philosophies being promoted over Scottish ones. Could you imagine such a thing.

Is that really any better than the current situation, where English people who don’t live in Scotland make decisions about Scotland, frequently against the democratically expressed wishes of the people of Scotland and their elected representatives; where voices from England dominate Scotland’s media from outside Scotland, & frequently outside England too; where England’s interests must always, logically, override Scotland’s interests simply due to population?

I cannot imagine living in a Scotland full of English people. Not people like Math Campbell, founder of English Scots For Yes, who has the plummiest accent you could imagine, yet served as an SNP Councillor in Inverclyde & continues to campaign for Scottish independence. Not folk like Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, Robert Bontine Cunningham-Graham, Nigel Don, Christine Grahame, Ian McKee, Ellen McMaster, Stuart McMillan, Angus Robertson, Shona Robison, Mike Russell, or any of the other SNP elected representatives born in England past and present who campaign for Scotland’s interests, whether they identify as Scottish, English Scots, or English people in Scotland. Certainly not folk like Aamer Anwar, Eric Branse-Instone, Simone Charlesworth, Andrew Chevis, Angela JariwalaJonathan Kiehlmann, James Loxley, James McKean, Peter MacKenzie, Claire Robertson, Julia Thomson, Sylvina Tilbury, or the late, lamented Christopher Neill, who all crossed the Solway-Tweed line into our nation & decided to honour us by staying.

Surely, it’s ludicrous to imagine that English people in Scotland will vote, like Scots, in what they think are the best interests for Scotland; Scotland being the place they now live; the English people in Scotland being people who share our side of the island. What do you think, that the people best suited to decide a country’s future are the people who live in that country? That it doesn’t matter where you were born, but where we were going as a country? “If you’re here, you’re ours”? Nonsense. Who ever heard of a thing like that?

You get the idea.

I was being deliberately provocative with this post, because I know a great deal of Scottish folk would be concerned about circumstances like this, and for entirely legitimate reasons. There are real logistical issues we need to deal with in the event of a massive influx of New Scots, from England or elsewhere – issues that we must address if we’re to survive as a nation that’s had to deal with population depletion and stagnation for decades, even centuries. Considering the dominance of England in the UK already, how many people must think that millions of English folk coming to Scotland will just be more of the same? What would be the point of Scottish Independence if we’re just going to end up being “another English colony?”

The difference which changes everything is that the people of Scotland – all the people of Scotland – will decide what we do. We could repopulate the Highlands and Islands, if that’s what we felt was best, or we could develop existing villages to house newcomers and returning expatriates. That’s the beauty of immigration to Scotland being decided by the government elected by the people of Scotland. Similarly, the English could be as English or as Scottish as they please, just as Africans, Americans, Australians, Europeans, Indians, Irish, Polish, Pakistanis, or any other folk could be as Scottish or not as they like: simply offering the choice, rather than enforcing assimilation, makes it more likely for others to feel comfortable enough to consider being Scottish. Being Scottish is pretty darn infectious, after all.

In England, the monarch is the King or Queen of England – the land, the territory, the thing. In Scotland, the monarch is the King or Queen of Scots – the people. It’s a subtle distinction that makes all the difference.

16 thoughts on “The English Invasion

  1. Kangaroo says:

    Liked this all the way down to. “You get the idea.” Then not so much. Maybe I was correct to just move here; to get away from them. Then of course I married one. Just for punishment I suppose. Sigh!

  2. Andy says:

    Just as a reference, look at the south of Wales.

  3. mattseattle says:

    One of those English bastards co-wrote this

    How dare they?

  4. Marconatrix says:

    When I came to Scotland I soon became Scots. Then after a good few years, and for complicated reasons that seemed to make sense at the time, I had to leave Scotland. But I remain Scottish 🙂

    I only hope it works like that for others too.

  5. nymeriameliae says:

    so how do the folk of Tynedale… lands south of the border once owned by the king of Scotland… fit into this equation? Is it not bad enough that most of England and a lot of Scots already think most of both Northumberland and Newcastle is part of Scotland because it is north of the Wall. We are only English on paper but we’re not Scots either. We are the forgotten folk who live in no-man’s land. England stops with Yorkshire and Manchester because after all that is supposedly the North… we then have a gap before we reach Scotland. If they included us as part of England then Mancs, Scousers and Yorkshire folk would have to become Midlanders instead of Northerners and then what would happen to all the Brummies? We Northumbrians could all move to Berwick and then ‘return’ (or should that be give) it to the Scots… would we then all be Scots too? Or we could exchange the town in return for getting Edinburgh back as part of Northumbria once more… it is not as if we need anymore castles but a new zoo might be nice… pandas are after all black and white. And if all that wasn’t bad enough… give a thought to the folk of Alston… once part of Tynedale, but in Cumbria not Northumberland. What will happen to those poor folk?

  6. penguin says:

    Genius! Planet Earth is being destroyed by the human locust and you want to import millions of them into Scotland!
    We should be working towards a population of no more than 2 million instead of adding to the unsupportable mass we already have.
    Scotland is not empty. Scotland is full. Some parts of Scotland are empty and the rest is packed nose to tail, heavily polluted and a living Hell due to people congestion.

    You couldn’t be more wrong if your name was willie rennie.

  7. BSA says:

    I worked with many English people resident in Scotland. A minority took a real interest in the country and accepted it as it was. The majority, even after 20 years, retained the prejudices, stereotypes and assumptions they arrived with. They came for the attractive environment, but were dismissive of the country, its identity, institutions and history. They were much like the British expats in Spain who live there for the sun alone but don’t want any bother from the locals and certainly don’t want anything to change. Their bottom line was always that we were just like them, essentially that we did not exist, and that was,ironically, because they could see we did in fact exist and it made them uncomfortable. You are exactly right that we would welcome immigration from England and folk here cite many positive examples but that open mindedness has to be reciprocated and you would imagine that folk coming here would come with a positive attitude to an independent Scotland.

  8. Terence Callachan says:

    It’s entirely reasonable that English people can come to Scotland to live in future but it is not reasonable for five or ten million English people to come to Scotland within a year or two of Scottish independence.
    No country would cope with a doubling or trebling of its population in a short time.
    Scottish people do not hate English people but they do want to retain their own identity and do not wish everything to continue as it is now.
    Many many small things crowd out our Scottish identity I’m already thinking about whether I can watch the World Cup with the sound off because all we will hear about is England no matter what game is being shown, even if it’s a game that England is not participating in this is just the way it is.
    We get to see England live in Scotland all the time but only get highlights of Scotland we have had this all my life and I’m 62.
    I don’t want English people flooding into Scotland once Scotland is independent.
    They should have to apply to live here under the same rules as people from any other nation in the world once Scotland is independent.
    Don’t try and make out that this is all just a friendly amicable separation and we can have a special friendship afterwards because that is not the way of it.
    They England have fought dirty to keep control of Scotland for Englands benefit you just need to look at the infrastructure in England compared to Scotland and you will see that Scotland is twenty years behind.
    Left to rot by England.
    Get real.
    Wake up.

    • alharron says:

      Terence, you’re encapsulating a lot of the fears I mentioned in the third-to-last paragraph.

      I agree with you. Really, I do: it is entirely unreasonable for 5-10 million English folk to move up to Scotland within a year or two of independence – because there is no precedent for such a vast migration in such a short timeframe. Even the vast USSR’s Population Transfer of 6 million people took thirty years to complete. Syria’s 5 million or so refugees are spread throughout multiple countries – I’ll wager many English refugees will be going to Ireland and other EU countries as well as Scotland.

      The key thing is that in an independent Scotland, we – the people of Scotland – will hold the power over what happens in Scotland. Anyone coming to Scotland will have to abide by the rules set by the people of Scotland through the representatives they elect and the systems they support. And we must acknowledge there is a difference between the people of England – especially the people of England who would go to the effort of leaving their home & lives behind to find new futures – and the ancient anachronistic establishment which rules England.

      You’re right, this won’t be an amicable separation – the establishment made sure of that, and if they want to be idiots, there’s little we can do to stop them. And no doubt, there are many people in England who support that toxic, self-destructive status quo (just as there are in Scotland).

      I’m a bit younger than you, but I’m just as sick of seeing our Scotland marginalised and ignored. With independence, that will and must stop, no matter how many English people come up here – because they will be coming to a Scotland that the Establishment no longer has any power over.

  9. jeans-jacques says:

    No dynastic marriages ?. Did’nt James IV marry Mary Tudor ?
    No Scottish King supported English subjects against their own King ?. All the Scottish Kings were big players in the Wars of the Roses.
    And lets not forget James VI could get out of Scotland fast enough and made one trip back in 20 years.
    I think a lot of English people and companies who might come to Scotland would only come to register here so they could have free movement and access to europe.

    • alharron says:

      If you click on the links, they take you to an excellent online resource which provides a great deal of evidence that there was, in fact, a lot of friendship between Scotland & England beyond the more famous conflict. I was, as Homer says, being sarcastic. 🙂

  10. […] is why I take the “Scottish Independence is Anglophobia” meme so very personally – because when I felt on the verge of mental breakdown over Scotland’s future, when I […]

  11. […] reasoning hasn’t changed, and my conclusions have not either. If you live in Scotland, you get to decide its future. […]

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