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The Flag of Scotland, also known as St Andrew's Cross or the Saltire. St Andrew himself never went within a thousand miles of Scotland and had probably never heard of it. In fact, it didn't exist when he was alive.
We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation.
Voltaire actually said this[1]

Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Alba) is the second largest country on the island of Great Britain and in the multinational state the United Kingdom. The magical land of haggis,[2][3] kilts, golf, and the Great Highland Bagpipe is, like the rest of Britain – known as very, very wet. Famous tourist attractions in Scotland include Nessie, Sir Walter Scott's birthplace, J. K. Rowling, and attending a show at the Glasgow Empire on a day when both Rangers and Celtic lost at home.

Scotland in the United Kingdom[edit]

The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to England!
—Samuel Johnson

Scotland has enjoyed a hilariously up-and-down relationship with the rest of the United Kingdom. Scotland fought England over political and provincial issues in the early middle ages, though relations between the two countries eventually stabilised to the extent where they decided to become a unified state along with Wales in 1707. In 2014 after a nail biting final campaign (mainly older) Scots voted by a tiny 55-45 majority to stay in the United Kingdom. [4] A post-referendum poll suggested that the 18-24, 55-64 and 65+ age cohorts voted to retain the union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland, whereas the 16-17, 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54 cohorts voted to separate.[5]

With Ireland[edit]

Ireland's ties with Scotland go back a long, long way. In the old days, Scotia referred to Ireland, not to Scotland. However, as Gaelic speaking Scots managed to gain dominance within several kingdoms in the region, the name "Scots" and "Scotia" came to be applied to Scotland, which had previously been known as Caledonia, and as Alba by Gaels, who wished to be different.

In modern day Northern Ireland, much of the Protestant community is descended from Scottish (and some northern English) migrants to northern parts of the island, who are today referred to as Ulster-Scots, the ones who settled in Appalachia in the eighteenth century and their descendants in the United States are called Scots-Irish. Despite the Ulster-Scots social/ethnic group being traditionally Protestant unionist in nature, the Catholic Provisional IRA's bombing campaign on mainland Great Britain for a united Irish state throughout the 1970s and 1980s focused on targets solely in England, never targeting Scotland, except for one attack on Sullom Voe oil terminal in Shetland.

Political opinion about the issue of Northern Ireland and the Crown is notably divided in Scotland, with some favoring the continued existence of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland while others favour the total independence and reunification of the island of Ireland from the Union. Typically, the Old Firm football rivalry between Glasgow football sides Celtic and Rangers FC have been charged with political opinion, with supporters of the teams sometimes favouring independence and unionism respectively. At Old Firm matches, it is commonplace for Celtic fans to fly the Irish Tricolor, while Rangers fans tend to fly the Union Flag, as many people in the Glasgow area are descended from Catholic and Protestant Irish immigrants who came to Scotland for work, bringing the sectarian hatreds of their homeland with them; indeed Celtic was founded in an effort to help (mainly Catholic) Irish immigrants - as evidenced by the shamrock on the Celtic club badge - while Rangers mainly catered to the native Protestant Scots as well as Ulster Protestant immigrants. Old Firm bigotry tends to be mostly located in and around Glasgow, in the industrial rust belt, where it is compulsory to vote Labour, and their fans are somewhat confused about the issue of Scottish independence since it doesn't appear to involve Ireland.

Scottish people[edit]

How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?
—Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh asking a Scottish driving instructor in 1995[6]

The nature of the Scots can be summed up by the simple observation that Scotland is the only country whose national dress includes a knife in the sock. There are high levels of obesity like in England[7] due to a diet high in fried foods,[note 1] but have low blood pressure due to their habit of eating oatmeal (apparently).[8] Scotland has the world's highest proportion of redheads; approximately 13% of the population has red hair and about 40% carry the recessive redhead gene.

Scotland was described as a "dark land overrun by homosexuals" by noted international vigilante Pat Robertson.[9]

Notable contemporary Scottish people include Nicola Sturgeon, Alex Salmond, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, George Galloway, doctor Gillian McKeith, and David TennantWikipedia's W.svg (more of a Doctor than Gillian any day). Scotland has a vast tradition of great scientists including Alexander Fleming, Alexander Graham Bell, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), James Clerk Maxwell, David Brewster (inventor of the kaleidoscope), Robert Watson-Watt, John Dunlop, and more recently Newcastle-born Peter Higgs.

Other notable, though considerably more dead, Scottish people include a large number of progressive thinkers who flourished in what is known as the Scottish Enlightenment, from around the mid-18th to mid-19th centuries. Some of the better-remembered names today include David Hume, James Hutton, Adam Smith and James Watt. Scotland's most famous writers (apart from J.K. Rowling, obviously) Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Walter Scott also lived during this period. More recent authors include fairy-believer Arthur Conan Doyle, fairy-lover J.M. Barrie, and Unionist step-counter John Buchan. Bisexual monarch James VI and I flourished a bit earlier.[note 2]

In Scotland, their only gripe with "Scotch" Americans is that they ruin Edinburgh for a few months every year and make inane statements about "their clan", or think Braveheart still dominates Scottish political life (a film which aimed to take the wind out of the threat of Scottish nationalism in the late 90s).


Scotland is a traditionally Christian country, converted by 1000 CE, largely thanks to the efforts of Irish missionaries such as St Columba (who was the first person to see the Loch Ness Monster[10]). Initially Celtic Christian, it was brought in greater conformity with Rome by St Margaret in the 11th century.

In the 16th century, the Scottish Reformation happened, thanks partly to noted misogynist and Mariaphobe John Knox. Protestantism gradually spread until Catholicism was restricted to the Gaelic-speaking fringes of the Highlands and islands. More recently, however, Catholicism has had something of a resurgence with Irish and then Polish immigrants meaning there are now more active Catholics than Church of Scotland parishioners.[11]

In the 18th century, Scottish philosopher David Hume was famed for his atheism, and Scots have often taken a rational approach to religion. Humanist weddings are popular in Scotland, and it is predicted they will soon become more common than church weddings.[12]


Scotland's national animal is the unicorn.[13]

Mel Gibson[edit]

The country is populated by rebellious commoners who, in 1995, were led to independence from England by the Australian Mel Gibson. For that, Gibson won an Academy Award and had Gibson's Law named after him.


Common misconceptions about Scotland are: that it originated Scotch (the sublime beverage), wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Rod Stewart, Scotch™ transparent tape, and Scott paper towels; and that it has been inhabited for over 10,000 years.

Several things can be "scotched"; including rumours, snakes, butter and eggs.

Scotch eggs were invented in London.[14] Scotch tape was invented in Minnesota.[15]

The traditional courtesy extended to an Englishman who calls someone from Scotland "Scotch" is a Glasgow kiss.[note 3]

The kilt[edit]

The kilt is a skirt worn by jessies all true Scotsmen, usually while playing the bagpipes or on formal occasions, ideally both.[note 4] Kilts have distinctive plaid patterns which supposedly represent the wearer's clan. However, most of those 'clan designations' were in fact created in the early 19th century, as is frequently pointed out by the wearers of traditional Scottish garb such as jeans, string vests, T-shirts, and three-piece suits.

The curious often ask whether anything is worn under the kilt. No: it's all in perfect working order.[16]


The Scots have a wholly unjustified reputation for meanness: on the contrary, they are an admirably prudent, frugal and thrifty nation.[note 5]

Does Scotland really exist?[edit]

Legal advice prepared for the British Government on International Law with regards to the referendum on the Independence of Scotland, suggests, in the context of the union of 1707, that

" a matter of international law England continued, albeit under a new name and regardless of the position in domestic law, and was simply enlarged to incorporate Scotland."[17]

See also[edit]


  1. The deep-fried Mars barWikipedia's W.svg is considered a delicacy,
  2. The numbers are thought to record either the notches on his bedposts or his pitching record.[citation NOT needed]
  3. "Twa' the bonne' off, an' pu' the heid on him!"
  4. German troops in World War I nicknamed Highland regiments The Ladies From Hell. Draw your own conclusions.
  5. Especially the Aberdonians.