As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, there are people who are looking forward to not being shackled to Brussels and being able to get back to being a country on our own again. Being integrated with Europe has seen a loss in farming, manufacturing, fishing etc. so it’s an opportunity for rebuilding a nation hopefully with the help of younger visionaries.
Of course there are those who are still wringing their hands and wailing ‘woe, woe and thrice woe’ at the thought of Britain falling off the end of the world because we are letting go on Europe’s grip. Some of course are the ‘Doubting Thomases’, believe that nothing will work ever again regardless of what way the vote went, simply because they are afraid of change.
Before the European Union, Britain offered the world many inventions and in fact as part of the United Kingdom which was a treaty between Scotland and England, Scotland did it’s share in being a useful part of our union. Some will ask ‘what has Scotland ever done for us?’ Although I can list many things, I think the following tale is representative:
“The average Englishman in his home he calls his castle, slips into his national costume, a shabby raincoat, patented by Charles Macintosh from Glasgow Scotland. En route to his office he strides along the English country lane, surfaced by John Macadam Ayr, Scotland. He drives an English car fitted with tyres, invented by John Boyd Dunlop, Dreghorn, Scotland. At the office he receives the mail bearing adhesive stamps, invented by John Chambers of Dundee, Scotland. During the day he uses the telephone, invented by Alexander Graham Bell, from Edinburgh, Scotland. At home in the evening his daughter pedals her bicycle, invented by Kirkpatrick Macmillan from Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He watches the news on TV, invented by John Logie Baird from Helensburgh, Scotland, and hears an item about the US navy, founded by John Paul Jones from Kirkbean, Scotland. Nowhere can an Englishman turn to escape the ingenuity of the Scots. He has now been reminded too much of Scotland and in desperation he picks up the holy Bible, only to find that the first man mentioned in the good book is a Scot, King James the VI who authorised its translation. He could turn to drink, but the Scots make the best in the world. He could take a rifle and end it all, but the rifle was invented by Captain Patrick Ferguson from Pitfours, Scotland. If he escapes death, he could find himself on the operating table injected with penicillin, discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming of Darvel, Scotland. And given chloroform, an anaesthetic, discovered by Sir James Young Simpson from Bathgate, Scotland. Out of the anaesthetic he would find no comfort in learning that he was as safe as the Bank of England, founded by William Paterson from Dumfries, Scotland. Perhaps his only remaining hope would be to get a transfusion of guid Scottish blood which would entitle him to say ... WHA’S LIKE US?”
Of course we have done a lot more and add to that what England, Northern Ireland and Wales have also contributed to the building of a nation as well. Some of the Scottish/English rivalry is ‘tongue-in-cheek’, but sadly there are the extremists.
Sometimes turning the clock back can give us time to gather strength to face the future of opportunity. One of my favourite authors is William Shakespeare, who wrote the following in the play, ‘Julius Caesar’
“There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.”