By Chad MacGregor
The BBC published an article recently mocking the fact that the Scottish-American diaspora of thirty million strong were throwing their support behind the campaign for Scottish independence.
I was contacted by the author of the BBC article, Brian Wheeler, prior to the publication asking what the general consensus was amongst the Scottish-American community. Mr Wheeler was most displeased to learn that the vast majority within our community thought positively towards an independent future for Scotland.
This does not mean that every Scots-American wishes for their voice to be heard nor do they intend to protest for a vote. We are merely showing our support and good wishes to those who fight for nothing less than normality – for Scotland to become an independent nation in her own right.
Mr. Wheeler portrayed the Scottish-American diaspora of being Braveheart junkies with little knowledge of their ancestral homeland. Personally, I think Braveheart was an excellent movie however historically inaccurate it may be, but I think he would be most surprised by the knowledge and understanding of most Scots-Americans towards Caledonia.
There will be Scots on both sides of the debate who will express their distaste towards an American expressing their opinion towards such a controversial issue, claiming that the American people contribute little to Scotland and therefore their opinion is invalid. Well, it is important to point out that the United States imports more Scottish products than any other nation in the world.
The American people also make up the largest number of international visitors to Scotland each year contributing more than £806 million annually to the Scottish economy through tourism alone. I will abstain from providing the figure of Scotch whisky exports to the United States each year – it’ll make us look bad!
There is a Scottish Highland Games festival in all 50 States with the largest festivals attracting an average attendance of 30,000 spectators. The New York Tartan week celebrations kick-off with a charity run through Central Park followed by the parades that head down 5th Avenue consisting of more than 1,000 performers and an average of 10,000 spectators. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Scotland has a big presence in the United States and contributes a little more than you may expect.
The Scottish-American diaspora will continue to show their support towards the campaign for Scottish independence. We will continue, as a people, to encourage our friends and family to visit their ancestral homeland, to import only the finest Scottish goods but more importantly promote Scotland in the United States at every opportunity.
Founder – www.scottish-american.net
Our next article will explain why the Visit Scotland organisation needs to improve its presence and ideas in convincing Americans to visit Scotland.