Scotland the Brave

by Carlos Simes, 2005-08

The name Scotland fills everyone's imaginary with dream castles, magnificent landscapes, kilts with tartan patterns, the warriors behavior; there is also vagary on a difficult to understand English accent, butter biscuits and whisky. While some are undeniably, others are likely to be put into perspective. How did the country wilderness evolve ever since the Victorian period? How did english army increase size and tradition around men's skirts? How did cinema inaccurately bring the word “freedom” to the big screens? How come is Gaelic toponymy present on the maps, highlands road signs but, rarely listened to?

Scotland is the geography of another nationalism issue, with Scots claiming culture rooted on different origins; the present is as multicultural as elsewhere. There is history (different tellings of it) and future projections of what it could be if, there weren't dominant british policies; what was coined, often referred as internal colonialism. The social-economic impacts of de-industrialisation are real. Glasgow, once known as the workshop of the world, has 15 percent higher mortality rate in comparison to other similarly post-industrial European cities; hypotheses include vitamin C deficiency caused by lack of sunlight, cold winters, more poverty than the figures suggest, high levels of stress, a culture of alienation and pessimism brought on by industrialisation and the city's more recent de-industrialisation. Some have argued about the impacts of United Kingdom's regional development strategies; first under Thatcher and subsequently under new labour governments - over-relying on services, particularly financial services in London and the south east of England. Scottish waters contain the largest oil reserves of the European Union, are trusted as means to correct the existing asymmetries.

In Scotland there will always be a window for grand views and spontaneous events. A “wee” bit of beautiful or, miserable weather - recurrent theme on Scottish humour - help to unveil them.