Back when Mel Gibson cried 'Freedom!' in the epic Hollywood movie 'Braveheart', the notion of an independent Scotland seemed like little more than a pipe dream.
Fast forward a couple of decades however, and the prospect of the UK splitting in two, is increasingly viewed as a distinct possibility.
Not that a change to the status quo is inevitable. After all, the 2014 Scottish independence referendum was supposed to settle the Scotland question
once and for all. No sooner had the ink dried on those 2014 ballot papers though, and last year's brexit results threw Scotland's position into doubt
once more. Or so the story goes.
Of course, Scotland's situation is not the only political football, which is currently being kicked around the muddy pitch of world affairs. And with
each passing month, these political footballs are swerving out of control like hastily taken free-kicks at your village football park.
So what is the score really? Will Scotland go it alone? In reality, Scotland has always been a separate nation in many respects. The legal system,
the education system and even the religion were very different when both parliaments merged in 1707 and in the intervening period little was done to
bring these areas together. The English and Scots did come together to create the empire and Scotland provided many of the soldiers and civil servants
who were willing to travel across the world in search of a more prosperous existence. In general, the Scots were poorer than the English and many welcomed
the opportunity to escape the long dark winter of the Highlands.
The empire has long since been consigned to the pages of history, however, and like the empty nesting married couples, who find themselves questioning
their future without the kids, Scotland and England are now wondering why they should stay together. Well, Scotland is wondering. England seems quite
happy with the current situation, but in these increasingly fractious times of identity politics, there is no guarantee that England will continue
on its current course.
Against the backdrop of last year's controversial brexit vote and with international alliances shifting unpredictably on the world stage, who can say
with certainty what the future holds? As the Scottish Nationalists stealthily pursue their ambitions of political freedom, it seems more and more likely
that European and global events will play a bigger role in Scotland's quest. The relationship with England and the other UK nations is unlikely to
look the same in fifty years time as it does today. But only a fool would predict the future in this quickly changing world which seems noticeably
transformed from one day to next.
From Alan Nicol, Tutor at OISE London
Alan is from Glasgow in Scotland, and has lived in Spain and Saudi Arabia where he taught extensively in the energy sector. He teaches general and
business English as well as exam preparation and uses his knowledge of and interest in photography and philosophy to inform his teaching. As an actor
and writer of several screenplays, he excels at teaching skills such as speaking and writing, recognising the importance of clear communication both
in the written and spoken form.