What are some common Scottish greetings

Scotland's struggle for independence

"Hello! Greetings from Edinburgh or Welcome to Edinburgh! Almost 300 years after the Parliamentary Union eliminated our independence, we now have our own Scottish Parliament again ... And we have our own, very expensive Scottish Parliament building."

It's already one of Edinburgh's landmarks, but it's brand new: Scotland's Parliament at the end of the Royal Mile - just a stone's throw from Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the British Queen in Scotland.

What the Catalan architect Enric Miralles conjured up for Scotland's 129 parliamentarians on the meadow at the foot of Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh's extinct volcano, is spectacular and takes getting used to - an ensemble of glass, steel and concrete with a roof structure in the form of a keel floating above Boats. A parliament of the 21st century that would also serve as an ornament to a South Seas state. Grand opening day: October 9, 2004.

"Many in the world will envy the Scots for this parliament building. But above all: We have a parliament that has come of age - in a country whose time has come."

Jack McConnell, First Minister, Prime Minister of Scotland, October 9, 2004.

In a glass showcase the insignia of power: sword, scepter and crown, which the Queen presented at the opening of Parliament in October 2004.

Gary Shields is a picture-perfect Scot: tall, blue eyes, red-haired, red-bearded. The Edinburgh man, who guides visitors through Parliament, knows what the parliament, which was re-established in 1999, means for Scotland:

"Parliament has been working for eight years now and has given the Scottish people the opportunity to express themselves in a rather complicated political process. As part of the UK, Scotland has its own culture, its own identity. Many feel primarily Scots not as British. We have our own language, our own history, our own legal system, our own education. And the Scottish Parliament allows us to bring it all to the fore. "

And what about independence? Everyone is talking about independence.

" That is a difficult question ... "

Gary Shields hesitates, thinks for a moment.

"Yes, I am for independence. Yes. We have a voice in the UK today - and the Scottish Parliament is a powerful voice, but it has also shown us that we can do more. We can do more on the world stage. Me say "yes" to independence, but I also have my doubts. "

Gary Shields is insecure, torn between Britain and Scotland - a Scottish Briton, a British Scot. And like him it is many "North of the Border", between Lowlands and Shetland. The Scots sway: Should or shouldn't they say goodbye to Britain.

For Alex Salmond, the matter is clear. The leader of the SNP, the Scottish National Party, wants to leave London and get out of the UK. And as soon as possible.

"" When I travel around our country and hear people's opinions, it becomes clear to me that Scotland is at a turning point. People tell me it is time to take a new course, time for Scotland to move forward. After eight years of devolution, the Scots want more. The Scots see the successes of our neighboring countries - independent nations like Ireland and Norway. People know that with the right policies and leadership, we have the skills and resources to emulate these success stories. I agree with you. Our economy must free itself from the control of London, we must have a voice of our own in the world ... Scotland has had enough of Labor. They had their chance. Now the clock is ticking. It's time for the SNP. "

Time for the SNP - Time for Scotland's Rebirth?

That is the question that stirs minds in the land of the Scots. Scotland sees itself as "The First Nation in Europe" - "Europe's first nation", refers to a border that has not changed in a thousand years, to glorious battles against the "archenemy" England such as the Battle of Bannockburn on June 24th 1314 and the "Declaration of Arbroath", dated April 6, 1320, which underpins the independence of the Scottish nation in impressive terms.

"As long as there are only a hundred of us alive, we will not consent to submit to the rule of the English. For we do not fight and argue for fame, not for riches, not for the sake of honor, but only for our freedom, which an honest man only loses with his life. "

On May 1, 1707 - 300 years ago today - the proud nation of Scotland was statelessly conquered by England and attached to England through a parliamentary union.

With the stroke of a pen, so to speak. The "Act of Union" creates the Kingdom of Great Britain. The bells of St. Giles intone a sad melody: "Why am I so sad on this my wedding day." Those politicians who - like the Marqis of Queensberry - are responsible for the "Act of Union" - and thus for the end of the Scottish Parliament - are pelted with stones by angry Edinburghers, can only trust themselves on the street with escort. The English agent Daniel Defoe reports from the Scottish capital:

"I've never seen a nation so angry."

From the point of view of the Scottish nationalists, Scotland was literally sold in 1707. The SNP politician Kenny MacAskill, member of the Scottish Parliament from 1999 to 2007:

"If there had been a plebiscite or a referendum in 1707, the union north of the border and probably also south of the border would have been rejected. The number of people who could have a say in 1707 was around 10,000. In Edinburgh and Glasgow it happened Unrest when people found out about the Union. The Union was imposed on us without any democratic mandate. We were "bought and sold for English gold" by the lords and ladies, who were the only ones who had the right to vote at the time sold as Robert Burns wrote in verse. "

The "sold nation" initially fiercely defends itself against the lot that was bestowed on it by the parliamentary union of 1707.

1745 saw the final rise of the concentrated power of the Highland clans.

Vain. On the battlefield of Culloden Moor at the gates of Inverness, the army of the Highland clans under the leadership of Charles Edward Stuart - "Bonnie Prince Charlie" - was decisively defeated on April 16, 1746. What remains is the memory of one of the bloodiest chapters of Scottish history - and the myth of "Bonnie Prince Charlie", which is still alive today.

After the failed uprisings of the Jacobites in 1715 and 1745, there was next to nothing politically in Scotland for more than a century. The Scots submit to their fate - and together with the English build the greatest empire the world has ever seen. In doing so, they often act in the forefront - and set Scottish accents far from their - badly battered and increasingly depopulated - homeland.

The kilt and the bagpipes herald on all continents of a nation in Europe that no longer owns a state, but nevertheless knows how to preserve its customs and traditions - also "under British rule".

Scotland lives - from Rhodesia to Singapore. And the connection to England pays off from an economic point of view at times. Scotland can trade with America. An industrial center is growing out of the ground on the Clyde. Shipbuilding becomes the engine of the Scottish economy. At the beginning of the 20th century, Scottish industrial companies often had higher wages than England. With Scotland things are looking up under the "Union Jack" - the common flag, created by connecting the two crosses - Andrew's Cross and George's Cross.

So there is no reason to rebel against foreign rule - especially since central areas such as the church, justice and education have remained under Scottish control anyway. There is practically no breeding ground for nationalism in Scotland.

Only the 20th century with its two world wars and the end of the Empire will fundamentally change the situation. November 1926 saw the birth of a monthly newspaper with the programmatic title "The Scots Independent".

Eight years after "The Scots Independent" was founded, in 1934 the SNP saw the light of day in the British party world - the Scottish National Party - a merger of the "National Party of Scotland" and the "Scottish Party".

But for decades it ekes out a shadowy existence and plays practically no role in British politics. A splinter party.

In the general election in the 1950s, she achieved results of a maximum of 0.5 percent.

But the Scots have by no means forgotten that they are Scots. When a Scottish civil rights movement carried out a signature collection in 1949/50, over two million Scots spoke out in favor of more self-determination. And when the red mailbox columns with the ER II insignia are set up in Scotland, the "Pillarbox War" ensues. Mailboxes are blown up all over the country - after all, Elizabeth II is Elizabeth I for Scotland.

The British anthem "God save the Queen" is difficult for many to cross the lips.

In football stadiums, where Scotland has long been able to play as an independent nation, it is literally voted out by loud whistling concerts, replaced by "Scotland the Brave".

The popular music group "The Corries" deliberately breaks with the tradition of ending events with the British anthem, replacing the song for the Queen with "Flower of Scotland".

They are unmistakable in Scotland in the last decades of the 20th century - the signals of change.

Social grievances, displeasure with the rulers in distant London and the discovery of oil off Scotland's coasts kindle the fire of the supposedly extinct nationalism "North of the Border".

The SNP is catching votes with the slogan: "It's Scotland's oil!"

And wins. In the general election in October 1974, almost every third Scot voted for the SNP: 30.4 percent of the vote, that is eleven seats in Westminster Parliament.

Main demand of the SNP: restoration of the Scottish Parliament - and, no more and no less than "Independence" - independence for Scotland.

The alarm bells are ringing in London. Through "devolution" - political regionalization - one hopes to take the wind out of the sails of the rebellious Scots, promises them more say in the United Kingdom, fulfills the demand for their own parliament in 1999, builds the most modern parliament in the world for 400 million pounds in Edinburgh ... and cannot get rid of the ghosts that have been called.

"The dividing line is becoming more and more between those of us who are ready to support the Union and those who are jeopardizing the future of the Union."

The Scottish Gordon Brown, designated successor to the half-Scottish Tony Blair, is aware that it is up to the Scots to thwart his plans.

If the Scot Alex Salmond, who has worked for many years as an oil and energy specialist at the Royal Bank of Scotland, wins the parliamentary elections on May 3rd, then "Chapter 1707" - the common history of England and Scotland could come to an end sooner or later walk.

The SNP seems to be determined to draw a line under the chapter "Great Britain" and let the Scots decide in a referendum in 2010 whether they want to become independent again or not.

SNP motto:

"Small is beautiful."

From Great Britain to Little Britain? Bye bye UK?

For the SNP politician Kenny MacAskill, there is no question:

"300 years after the Union of 1707, England no longer needs security north of the border, and Scotland no longer needs England for its trade. We are members of the WTO, the European Union, the Western European Union, NATO. For security for England and Scotland's trade are now taken care of by global organizations. And that is why we believe that it is time to separate peacefully and to be a member of the EU as independent actors and to belong to the family of peoples, the United Nations. "

A large majority in the country is in favor of at least a referendum on independence - 82 percent of Scots.

In the Manor Valley in the Lowlands, where the sheep rule life and where lambs are at the moment, independence is not what you mean.

"No, under no circumstances. I may belong to an increasingly minority group of the population - the anti-English stance is quite strong, for some inexplicable reason. No, I do not support the concept of an independent Scotland, no."

Robert Barr, owner of Woodhouse Farm and master of more than a thousand sheep, sees himself as a British and would rather continue to be ruled by London. He doesn't think much of Scottish politicians. So will everything stay the same in Scotland?

"No, I think change is on the way. If I call myself British, that is my personal attitude. Change means that Scotland will gain more independence. But maybe not for 20 years. Westminster will lose its influence. That may take 20 years - or more. Or maybe only ten years. That's my opinion. "

Opinions are divided in Scotland. The country is divided when it comes to independence. But most observers agree that the forced marriage of 1707 in 2007 no longer has any raison d'être.

It is written in the year 1296, when England's ruler Edward I had the legendary "Stone of Scone" - the coronation stone of the Scottish kings - brought to London as spoils of war.

700 years later - in 1996 - Prime Minister John Major felt compelled to give back their national shrine to the Scots.

In 1707 Scotland lost its parliament.

292 years later - in 1999 - it can resume its meetings.

Scotland's train towards independence has departed. And he can hardly be stopped. When he will arrive is in the stars over the Highlands, Islands and the Manor Valley in the Lowlands.