Scottish independence referendum: The real unanswered question

In just 10 days' time, the Scottish people (oh no, wait, only those living there, which excludes yours truly) will decide whether Scotland is to break away from the UK and become independent. This weekend, one opinion poll put the "Yes" camp in the lead for the first time.

Still, many questions remain unanswered. Would an independent Scotland be able to go it alone economically? If we Scots stay in the UK, will we be forced to leave the EU a few years down the line because of UKIP voters in England? And if we do become independent and set up embassies around the world, would that not slightly bankrupt us?

As well as all this uncertainty, there is another burning question that I am asking myself. It is this: If Scotland becomes independent, will our European friends improve their geographical knowledge of the United Kingdom? In other words, will they stop referring to the whole of Great Britain (that’s Scotland, England and Wales) as “England”? The geographical term “Great Britain” does exist in other languages but seems to be used mainly on postcards.

© France 24 screen grab.

I’m thinking first and foremost of the French here, who tend to loosely use “L’Angleterre” to refer to Great Britain and “Les Anglais” to refer to all the inhabitants of that large and diverse island. Aside from Scotland, only Wales seems to suffer this sort of humiliation. All this on the flimsy pretext that we don’t have full tax-raising powers.

But don’t get me wrong, the French are not the only nation to commit this geographical misdemeanour. The Germans tend to call Britain “England” (pronounced Ehn-gland), the Italians talk about “Inghilterra”. But this is still incorrect and somewhat infuriating, especially the first time you hear it - generally on your Erasmus year abroad. One fellow Scottish friend at university became so fed up at being asked when she was going back to “Angleterre” for Christmas that she snapped back “Jamais!” (Never!)

So what will happen if Scotland becomes independent? Will our European friends continue to blithely refer to the whole of Britain as “England”? Or will they belatedly (and, ironically, incorrectly if Scotland breaks away) start using “Great Britain”?

My guess is that they may start using the word “Scotland” a little more frequently, at least in specific cases. For example: “Caroline, when are you next going back to England?” could well become “When are you next going back to Scotland?”

Still, I don’t have a vote on September 18th. So all this is academic. Or is it?
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Scotland cannot afford to become a nation independent of the U.K. and will suffer greatly from it if it occurs. So will the U.K. which will end Britain's influence in the world. All this would accomplish is to reduce both countries to second rate powers that would have less influence in Europe than Romania or Estonia. If the Scots want to destroy the U.K. then they deserve what happens, which will be a disaster for both countries.
Let me put you right on a few things, Angleterre = England Grande-Bretagne = Great Britain Royaume-Uni = United Kingdom And Ecosse = Scotland This is what was banged into my head when I first came to France 13 years ago, All the people where I live know this and use the right words at the right time. I’m an Englishman with Scottish ancestors. Scotland you have a chance: Go for it. Ian
"If we Scots stay in the UK, will we be forced to leave the EU a few years down the line because of UKIP voters in England?" If Scotland chooses to leave the United Kingdom, then you will also be voting to leave the European Union. If a territory of a member-state leaves that member-state then the treaties and laws of the European Union will no longer apply in that territory. Why are so many Scots so incapable of understanding this basic fact? Of course, an independent Scotland will be able to apply to join the EU. But, that is a process that will take a long, long time. First, an independent Scotland actually has to be founded, and this will not be an easy process, especially considering how the SNP have almost no real proposals - based in reality and which are viable - for creating the infrastructure of a new state and its constitution, let alone the actual practical, day-to-day running of it. Then there is the quetion of just how EU-oriented an independent Scotland will be. Just the very fact that "Yes" campaign representatives completely ignore or lie about the EU treaties and what EU officials say about potential Scottish membership is not a good sign. From what we know so far, an independent Scotland will not wish to adopt the euro or join Schengen. But, a committment to joining the eurozone is a requirement of EU membership. And, this whole "currency union" with the UK that the "Yes" campaginers want to create will also preclude Scotland from joining the EU. So, what is more likely to ensure that Scotland is out of the EU is a "Yes" vote for independence.

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