What are the the cultural implications of the potential England/Scotland divide?

27 August 2014
Reading Time
2 minute read

This week editorial assistant Amy Lewin ponders the cultural impact of the potential England/Scotland split. As ever, feel free to leave comments below.

If latest opinion polls are anything to go by, Scotland might soon be an independent country. In this hypothetical split, who will get what? We’re not talking economics – oh no! We’re talking something far more difficult to divide up and work out, something as slippery as a haggis on the loose: culture.

Divvying up Turner Prize winners, the Scots would weigh in with several in the past two decades (Susan Philipsz, Martin Boyce, Douglas Gordon, Glasgow resident Richard Wright and Glasgow Art School graduate Simon Starling); not bad going for a nation of six million. David Shrigley upped sticks from Macclesfield to make Glasgow his home, but vociferous Better Together patron and Edinburgh resident J.K. Rowling may just hightail it to Platform 9 3/4 if this separation goes ahead.

Scottish art schools churn out cracking creatives in more plentiful supply than the shops do Irn Bru. Artists Adrian Wiszniewski, Steven Campbell, Ken Currie and household name Jack Vettriano are all Scots, as are fashion designer Christopher Kane and photographer Jane Stockdale. The Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival, making more than £250 million in tourism revenue. Even if the Scottish pound detached itself from the British, or became the Caledonian coin, they could commission illustrator Lynnie Zulu to design them a new set of pennies.

Things could get far more serious if the Scots actually took back everything they’d ever given the English. Soggy souls trudging off to work without their mackintoshes, cars halted stripped of Dunlop tyres and the dulcet tunes of Eastenders forever silenced without Logie Baird’s television.

Cultural catastrophe, or a chance for a cornucopia of creativity? 18 September will decide.

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Amy Lewin

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