The Photo: The Union Jack, the national flag of the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the flag of Scotland, Saint Andrew's Cross.
The referendum: Independence Referendum day, Thursday September 18, 2014 was a long day. The polls opened at 7:00 AM and closed at 10:00 PM British Summer Time (5 hours ahead of eastern daylight time in the U.S.) and 16 and 17 y/os got to vote. His Grace, The Duchess, Fiona and Willow (who Jack insisted be born at Crag Abbey) went together to their polling place and stood in line to vote like everyone else. It’s important to the family to be seen as fair and benevolent while expecting value for money spent.
The last of the opinion polls taken before the voting ended indicated that the outcome would be 54% no (stay in the UK), 46% yes (for separation). However, U.S. readers may remember that Mitt Romney’s polling organization was telling him he was winning… and we know what happened to him. It all depends on where you ask and who you ask as to what result you get. It turned out that the poll takers were pretty nearly spot on!
I was up all night with His Grace and Jack and most of the rest of Scotland awaiting the final results. The Old Bull broke out the good stuff and we were fortified with coffee, roast beef sandwiches and Macallan Fine Oak 30 Year Old Scotch as we listened to the results of the vote counting. I think it’s the first time in history that the citizens of an area in an existing country got to vote on whether they should peacefully declare independence and form a new nation.
Of the 32 Council areas in Scotland the Highland Council area (which includes Inverness) is the largest. Should the voters vote no, to remain as part of the UK, then it’s expected that Prime minister is likely to promise to devolve greater powers, over taxation and welfare, to the Scottish parliament in early address. The Highland Council was last to report its results because of its huge size and scattered population. 87% of the Highland voters went to the polls and they voted 52.9% to 47.1% to stay in the union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The vote was 87,739 No to 78,069 yes, for independence. Overall the voter turnout was 84.6% with Yes 1,617,989 (44.7%) and No 2,001,926 (55.3%).
His Grace said that even though independence was soundly defeated the SNP, Scottish National Party, scored a victory of sorts with a 44.7% yes vote since interest in independence had been in the low 30% range in the years leading up to this referendum. His Grace got together both Nationalists and Unionists on the 19th at the abbey as a start at reconciliation between the two groups and a celebration of the forthcoming devolving of powers to the Scottish Parliament as His Grace sees the vote as a win-win for both England and Scotland.
Even rabid partisans on both sides were civil to one another since everyone was delighted to be asked and wanted to attend a function at the abbey and no one wanted to make a spectacle of themselves at one of His Grace’s parties. My wards and I circulated at the party and every guest we spoke with was pleased to have Americans here to witness democracy in action. It didn’t hurt that we were pretty and they were feeling no pain as the 30 y/o scotch was flowing like water. Even so male advances were easily parried.
Back to routine: Now that the referendum is over His Graces household and guests can get back to what passes as normal in the run-up to any celebration of celestial events at Location Z. The girls and I did take naps this morning after the vote was decided (as no) a little after 6:00 AM. By noon we were all in the studio overlooking Loch Ness for a 90 minute class after which we all spent time in the sauna sweating out the alcohol then took turns with my Esthetician being freshly waxed – we are hairless except for scalp hair and eyebrows - then slathered with soothing aloe vera gel. Freshly waxed we will look our best on the Autumnal Equinox (this coming Tuesday, 9/23) when we will all be ritually inseminated on the five altars at Location Z.
A note to my readers in France: For the last several days I have been getting very heavy page views from France. Actually, page views from France have been even greater than from my readers in the U.S. which is pretty amazing! Would French readers – no spammers please – care to tell me what interests you about my blog?