Thursday’s a-coming

Being outside of Scotland, Neil and I have been pretty shielded from most of the Scottish referendum propaganda, but we do hear reports from his mum about how it’s being discussed so much she’s utterly sick of it. It says so much that Neil does not get a vote, but a more impressionable 16-year old does.

If a majority of voters does vote to break away from the UK, it will not be seamless and they won’t suddenly live in a utopia where everything they liked about the UK remains and everything they didn’t like is replaced with something better. A small nation becoming independent faces a hard road ahead. I have no doubt Scotland could ultimately be economically successful as an independent country, but I doubt there is sufficient awareness of the cost — cost to the short- and medium-term stability of the region, and cost to the economic and civic freedoms Scottish residents currently enjoy.

Many of the things the Independence camp are touting as ‘Scotland’s too’ (the pound, the NHS, the defence forces, the BBC) come about because they are part of the union. If they choose to leave said union, it stands to reason that those things will exit the country, and Scotland will need to set them up themselves. Threatening to punish businesses for warning about the costs of uncertainty and nationalising the oil industry doesn’t really lend itself to that vision of utopia.

Please vote for independence if you live in Scotland and believe you will be able to shoulder the burden and responsibility, helping your community to do the same. Please do not encourage people to vote for independence if you do not live there — and therefore will not have to deal with the consequences.

Roles reversed

I was in the Chinese grocery shop in town and the proprietor was chatting to another customer about one of his products (in Mandarin, of course). They talked about how this particular type was very popular with the 老外 (foreigners). I piped up, since I couldn’t resist:

(Translation: In Britain, you’re the foreigners!)

Hopefully he’ll still sell me udon, 白粿 (large flat rice noodles), and 小笼包 (these small meat buns Neil loves) in future.


It’s so sad to read / hear that Robin Williams was severely depressed and most likely hanged himself. The two films he made that I found most memorable are What Dreams May Come and One Hour Photo. If there is life after death, I hope his is as beautiful as the former film imagined.

Setting the tone

Underwhelming, flat, and ill-prepared — The Economist’s take on Alex Salmond’s performance in last night’s debate on Scottish independence. (Didn’t get to watch as Anne thinks going to sleep is so uncool.) I wonder if enough people worry about those three words possibly also describing the country’s economy if a majority vote to leave and end the UK.