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Braveheart is Not a Reason for Independence

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It's St Andrews Day. A day for haggis, neeps, tatties and a ceilidh and as of this year it seems, a day for Scottish nationalists to lose the plot completely. Whilst the official social media account of the 'Yes' campaign and the SNP has been very civilised outlining their belief in the benefits an independent Scotland would bring. Whilst I disagree with the sentiment I respect their argument and take no issue with its existence.

However, this is where the sensibility ends. Today, social media is full of references to Braveheart and "Freedom" as nationalist sentiment spreads across Scotland. It seems that posting a link to a fictional William Wallace' spouting nonsense is an adequate summation of the arguments for those that support independence. This is, frankly, worrying.

Scotland is free and England is not invading or encroaching on these freedoms. We have our own parliament, control over our own social services and all the other freedoms associated with an advanced democracy. There is nothing to be free from.

Perhaps then this is a desire for nostalgia, a desire to see Scotland returned to its former self. However, the image of Scotland as a nation of hulking, kilt-wearing strong men who have no shame in displaying their naked buttocks is an invented concept of Scotland. Before the Act of Union, Scotland was ridden with famine, disease and economic hardship. I'm not suggesting that the Act of Union solved these problems but a return to the pre-Act of Union status quo will not be happening. An independent Scotland would be a new state - not seen before.

Maybe, then the pro-independence infatuation with Braveheart stems from a belief that the film represents Scottish nationalism - very well. But a sense of nationalism is no reason for independence. Not at all. It is well documented, and widely accepted that nationalism is invented, in fact, it really came to the fore in the nineteenth century, after the Act of Union. There was no Scotland has never been a nation state and the sense of nationhood has been created post facto.

If someone wants to engage in a debate with me about the true benefits an independent Scotland would bring, then fine, please do (@alasdairdrennan) but don't make a case using a clip from YouTube.

Today the 'Yes' campaign announced they had 143,000 registered supporters if these supporters are being motivated by Mel Gibson and not the economic and political arguments for independence then their support means very little. Happy St Andrew's Day. Enjoy your haggis, enjoy watching Braveheart, but don't use it as a reason to create a whole new state based on an imagined tradition.