At Highland Games, revelers split on Scottish vote

AP News
|
Posted: Sep 19, 2014 3:45 PM

LINCOLN, N.H. (AP) — The head of the St. Andrew's Society of New Hampshire said his heart wanted to see Scottish voters choose independence Thursday, but his head knew remaining in the United Kingdom was the wiser choice.

"There are so many details they needed to resolve," David Bruce said Friday at New Hampshire's annual Highland Games, speaking about the campaign promoting independence. "They left questions to the unknown; they pretty much forced the vote to be the way it was."

This year's games began the day after Scots voted 55 to 45 percent to remain part of the United Kingdom. The referendum's result prevented a split of a 307-year union with England and brought a sigh of relief from Britain's economic and political establishment. Eighty-five percent of voters went to the polls.

Some 21,000 people were descending on a ski resort in New Hampshire's White Mountains to celebrate all things Scottish with traditional music and dance, sheep dog demonstrations, athletic events, whisky tastings and more. As things got underway Friday, revelers took a break to talk politics among tents that represented Scottish clans with history dating back centuries.

The 2000 census, the last to include a question about ancestry, counted just under 5 million people with Scottish ancestry living in the United States.

Alex Robertson, a Connecticut resident with dual Scottish citizenship, said the campaign favoring independence hadn't clearly explained crucial details such as what currency Scotland would use, what it would take to build Scotland's own military or the effect of leaving the European Union.

"U.K. citizenship is much more powerful," said Robertson, whose family comes from Dundee, Scotland.

Barbara and Richard Langworth of Moultonborough traveled to Scotland last month and said members of the pro-independence campaign were very vocal during their visit. They think Scottish voters made the right choice but hope the vote will prompt the British government to give Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland more authority to shape their futures.

In London, Prime Minister David Cameron and other politicians have vowed more autonomy for Scotland, and Cameron said Friday he would stick to his word on further powers over taxation, spending and welfare for each of the U.K. four regions.

Walter Stacy, who carried a full-size Scottish flag in his backpack, has followed the campaign for a year and half and was not happy with the vote.

"People have fought and died and still fight and die for what Scotland gave away in a vote," said the 22-year-old from Sandown.

But to Robert Macintosh of Benton, the results are validated because the Scottish people chose their own fate. He travels to Scotland often and has many friends there who voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. He supports the outcome, but said he would've been proud of Scottish citizens' participation either way.

"It's just amazing," he said. "I cannot get over how many people voted."