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Scotland Tag

On December 21, 1988—30 years ago today—Pan Am Flight 103 dropped from the night sky killing 270 people, including all 259 of its passengers and crew and 11 people on the ground in the small town of Lockerbie, Scotland, which lies 120km southwest of Glasgow. It was the deadliest terror attack ever on UK soil.

This is potentially disturbing and seems to be part of a trend in Western Europe:
Following a report of a series of alleged offensive online posts relating to Syrian refugees living in Rothesay on Bute, Police Scotland confirmed on Tuesday that a 40-year-old man, understood to be from the Inverclyde area, had been arrested under the Communications Act... Following the arrest, Insp Ewan Wilson from Dunoon police office said: “I hope that the arrest of this individual sends a clear message that Police Scotland will not tolerate any form of activity which could incite hatred and provoke offensive comments on social media.”
In the United States, the only way this sort of arrest might be justified would be if the social media postings were used to specifically call for an imminent act of violence against refugees. That would be tantamount to enforcing our own very limited "incitement to riot" exceptions to our free speech policies.

The Scots voted against independence yesterday. At the time the BBC called the referendum election, the No votes (those voting against the referendum for independence) had garnered 54% of the votes counted. Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party and leader of the pro-independence movement, conceded the referendum loss late last night: There was nothing else on the ballot, just the question of independence.

Today's the day of Scotland's historic vote on whether it should be an independent country after 307 years of membership in Great Britain. This a simple majority vote, and is described as very close at a near 50-50 split. Which brings us to a bigger question: should such a momentous decision be made by a simple majority of voters on a single day, at a single point in time? My answer would not be "yes." It depends on how much a person believes in a pure democracy. I do not trust it overly; I fear the tyranny of the overbearing majority that Madison feared. Apparently the Scots have no such trepidation. So, this is the sort of thing Scotland will get:
Conor Matchett, 19, a philosophy student at the University of Edinburgh, said he was both nervous and optimistic about the outcome after voting Yes. "I want change. It's as simple as that," he said. "I believe a Yes vote is the only way to do that." Matchett, originally from York, in Northern England, but granted a vote in Scotland's referendum on the grounds of his residency here, said he was voting to counter what he felt was the continuing politics of austerity from British politicians down south in Westminster. "They are attacking the welfare state and many other things that people in Scotland hold really dear," he said.
It seems unwise that a 19-year-old college student, attending school in Scotland but actually from York, should have a say in this matter. Hope/change; sound familiar? "Simple as that."

Could Scotland once again be an independent nation? They will if the Scottish National Party has their way. Just a few years ago, Scottish independence was a long shot, now, the argument appears to be in a dead heat. According to The Guardian:
Last October, the yes/no split was 37% to 63%, suggesting that the traditional two-to-one balance against independence was holding in the referendum context. But then the nationalists began to narrow the gap. In February, Westminster's three unionist parties made a heavy-handed intervention on the question of the currency, warning that an independent Scotland could not count on keeping the pound. This backfired, and by April, the poll of polls was running at 45%-55%. The race was looking increasingly competitive, before opinion congealed and then froze. Glasgow's Commonwealth Games and the first debate, which a Guardian/ICM poll established Alistair Darling had won for the no camp, came and went without materially affecting the picture.
The last debate between the Scottish National Party and the British Labour Party produced a strong win for the SNP. A Guardian/ICM poll taken immediately after the debate showed 71% of respondents handing victory to Alex Salmond, the SNP's pro-independence spokesman. Whether a debate win translates to actual votes is another issue though.