Of course whether Scotland votes for independence or not has little to do with us- it’s the people’s choice and I say that as someone who is sort of half Scottish c/o his mother being born and growing up in Scotland.
A lot of my friends want independence and a few don’t and I hope whatever people want works out ok in the long run but how will it affect the musician and music itself? will there be a surge of tartan culture and will things change for the music scene? true independence means big changes and it affects even the humble troubadour…
1. Union Jack-ass? In Europe the Union Jack is still worn with an iconic pop pride by hipster kids in far flung towns. What will happen when the design is changed? will the new Union Jack have the same kind of pop culture cache or will they still wear the old one as some sort of popster reference point to a far flung and long lost age of pop imperialism reflected by mini skirts and the Beatles? Will they now wear T shirts with the new Union Jack designed by Peter Savile or Wayne Hemmingway or will they revert to the England flag or the Scottish flag- the battle for Euro kids hearts and minds has not even started yet!
2. International- continental? Young bands seeking rock n roll gravitas can now claim they have done international tours by popping over the border to Scotland to play Gretna Green instead of having to go on the car ferry and slog over to Europe. Young Scottish bands can do the same by making the big trip to border town Carlisle.
3. The sound of new young Scotland – Will there be a rush of Scottish tinted songs- swelling Braveheart anthems from LA based superstars? Hopefully it will be Mogwai and Franz Ferdinand but you have a feeling it will unfortunately be Rod Stewart and not even classic Rod at that. That’s just the way of the world…Will the sun tanned superstars return to the old country? ‘you will never who moved in next door? that James Bond bloke…’
4. Paperwork- will touring bands have to remember passports to pop over the border to play gigs? will they have to change currency if they don’t get that bit worked out? will there be a forlorn, rainswept border post with a gut ache cafe full of grumpy truckers or will it be a drive straight through blink and you will miss it affair?
5. Tory story – Scotland’s independence would mean the Tories will get in for ever in England. Losing 40 plus Labour MPs in one go is a bit of a dent and it’s hard to see how that can be made up. Does that mean we have to continue down the path of rich kid indie in England or will we get a generation of spiky young protest singers singing songs about when we had an NHS? David Cameron will be shamed in Tory history as the man who presided over the collapse of the hallowed union which is central to his party’s core and will be bundled out by his own party. With a name like Cameron he may even find his own Scottish blood and retire north of the border. Meanwhile the Clash loving, pretend loveable buffoon Boris Johnson will be ushered in and take over the party and will end up in a coalition with UKIP after the next election as England sulks its way to the right…
6. Top Of The Pops – Scotland will have its own top 40- how different will that be from the moribund England fab 40? will it be full of Scottish tinted songs?
7. Do you want to make tea for the BBC? An independent Scotland will be wanting it’s own media- plenty of opportunity to make a whole raft of new programmes to fill the gap by the departing BBC. This is a good thing- it’s very rare even now to hear a Scottish voice on national TV so will make little difference in England and there’s a lot of talented people north of the border looking to fill the void.
8. Read all about it! Will there be a new Scottish music media reflecting the cultural changes- will there by big cultural shifts or will things remain the same?
9. Disunited kingdown – Will the rest of the UK follow suit and splinter into at least a federal state – will regions think they are countries? are we going to have heated debates in Cornwall and Yorkshire? will London stomp off in a huff and become a 21st century city state- a hi tech version of mediaeval Europe – imagine navigating all these new borders on tour- ‘passports out for Rutland!’ ‘Don’t forget to avoid Humberside – no trade agreement!’
10. At least we won’t get confused when people ask what country we are from any more – one of this ‘er Great Britain or United Kingdom stuff’ mumbled to confused customs officials. You will now be able say Scotland or England.