Separatist and nationalist movements are gaining steam across Europe these days, and Scotland is listed among those nations seeking secession. Despite voting down secession in 2014, the Scottish National Party (currently headed by Nicola Sturgeon, the first woman to lead the SNP) won 50 seats in the 2015 parliamentary elections, leaving one Scottish parliamentary seat to the Labour party. Separation is increasing as powers devolve, with some votes in parliament only being voted on by the MPs from the country affected by that law (“English Votes for English Laws”). Something is up indeed in Scotland.
Other recent developments in Scotland are interesting in light of the America 2016 presidential campaigns. Much like Bernie Sanders’ proposition, Scotland has had free college for years. It’s a cornerstone to the Scots’ deep dedication to equality, but economically it seems to help the opposite people you’d think it would — it resulted in a net transfer in wealth from the poor to the wealthy. This doesn’t mean “free” college doesn’t work, but the way the policy is done matters. America would be wise to learn from the unintended consequences of policies in places like Scotland, so that we can make a truly equal opportunity higher education system.
On the other side of the spectrum, the antics of one familiar (half-)Scot have not been confined to the US: Donald Trump (whose mother is Scottish) built a huge development in Scotland, but, according to one Scotsman, “He promises the earth, delivers nothing. As far as that goes, he’s in a good position to be a politician. But as far as the real world goes, no, do not trust this man with anything.” Trump also sued to stop the building of off-shore wind in Scotland because it would disrupt the view from his golf courses. Apparently, Trump just runs around insulting and threatening his neighbors. In fact, the petition to ban Trump from Britain originated in Aberdeen, Scotland. Alex Salmond, former head of the SNP, has Trump about figured out: “I wish somebody had said no to him when he was a wee boy, because I think he would’ve turned out better.”
Victoria Mooers is a fourth-year in the College. She is from Edmond, OK.