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Showing posts with label Paul McMahon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paul McMahon. Show all posts

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Independence and America’s Scottish heritage and Scotland’s American friends

This headline – Declaration of independence ‘wrong for Scots appeared under Derek Lambie’s byline in today’s Scotland on Sunday. I immediately emailed The SDSDI, as did Paul McMahon. Jim Alexander of The SDSDI replied promptly to both of us, as follows -

BY EMAIL from Jim Alexander of The Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence

This is the first time I have been able to read the results of phone interviews that John Glyn of Glen Stewart and I had with Derek.  I can tell you that many other things were said that did not make the article.

I will say up front that the only people who can decide the issue of this case are you folks in Scotland.  Nothing I can say or do overcomes that basic fact.  I can state my opinion, but I really have no say in the decisions you make at the secret ballot.

The opinions of a 7th generation émigré from Scotland are just that; opinions.  Most Americans do not equate the conditions in the colonies in 1776 to modern Europe, or the UK in any way.  I do know that there is a Bank of Scotland, there is a Church of Scotland, there is something know as the Scottish Enlightenment, and that most of Europe is facing economic hard times.  That is just context, and I am probably more aware of that than most of my countrymen.

I told the reporter that most of our members (DSDI) would probably not have an opinion one way or the other. I also never release the names and addresses of the members so I know that the reporter is in no position to say what most of the descendants of the Scottish Signers have to say.  The remark that “their descendants are opposed to Scotland taking the same road to separation”  is simply inaccurate.  2 people in an organization of over 1000 simply to not make any statement about that organization at all.

I am of the opinion that all the economic issues will not go away if Scotland decides to go its own way.  I am also of the opinion that what you gain with the complete break is another level of bureaucracy and its associated costs.

I have indeed visited Scotland twice, and the whole subject of independence never came up, so consider that when you read “I’ve yet to meet people who can give me a definitive answer as to what would be gained from independence. “  you need to know that I did not ask that question and no one answered.  With regard to a breakup as unsettling, I  did say that the prospect of Canada breaking apart as few years ago as unsettling to many Americans.

No matter what happens, we will adapt and adjust to the realities on the ground. And we both live in a system that gives us the opportunity to vote on the issue.


Jim Alexander

I replied, as follows -

Thanks for your prompt and courteous reply to Paul and copy to me.

I thought the situation would be more nuanced than the way it was reported, by a newspaper often hostile to Scotland's independence.

I will make sure that is reflected to a wider Scottish audience now engaged in the great debate taking place in the country we all love. Our First Minister recently spoke at the Brookings Institution and his speech is well worth a listen. He was received with the kind of unfailing courtesy but vigorous questioning that I have come to expect from Scotland's American friends 

with best regards


from Kirkliston - the Scottish village where the first recorded meeting of the Scottish Parliament was held in 1265