Millions of people in Scotland have been heading to the polls today to cast a vote on the question of Scottish independence. The reasons are myriad and stretch through over a thousand years of history, so it’s hardly worth getting into here. Vox has a pretty solid point-by-point primer if you’d like to know the important details, or check out John Oliver’s hilarious take. The race is neck-and-neck, with the last poll showing just over 50% favouring the “No” side. There’s tension and excitement in the air, and a lot of emotion, of course. The BBC has reported that 97% of the electorate is registered to vote in the referendum, which bodes well for an incredible democratic turnout.
As a Canadian, I have conflicted feelings on the matter. We’ve dealt with our own serious separatist movement in Quebec, and I have generally been against that. In our case, a referendum in the 90s came within a margin of 0.6%, which was close call. I look at my country and think about the foundational idea of bringing together people of all stripes and all walks of life to work toward the common goal that is a nation. That’s something to take pride in, and it’s disconcerting that Scots might reject that goal in their own union with England, Northern Ireland and Wales. At the same time, though, I understand the impulse and the beauty of self-governing. That’s something we can all aspire to as a great goal. So yeah, conflicted.
But enough about that stuff. We’ll be getting the results of the referendum some time tomorrow, most likely. In the meantime, let’s celebrate Scotland, whatever they decide. And what better way for us Pajibans to consider all that we love about Scotland than to list some of our favourite Scotsmen (and women) in popular culture!
The Badass Scots
In the novels, Bond is of mixed parentage. In the movies he is whatever he needs to be based on the actor. Of course, of all the actors who played Bond, James Bond, the most important was Sean Connery. A Scotsman to beat all Scotsman. Devilish and sexy and my god that accent. Probably a little unfair to the rest of the men in Scotland, to be honest.
Now, a lot of people soured on Karen Gillan’s Doctor Who character, Amy Pond, but pshaw! She’s wonderful. A redheaded badass bombshell and, again, that accent. Melts your heart. Amy Pond kicked all kinds of ass and made Scotland proud (and the rest of the world envious).
I could’ve gone with his new role as The Doctor, but Peter Capaldi’s most awesome, most badass, most quintessential Scottish role was as Malcolm Tucker on The Thick of It and In the Loop. Scotsmen are known for many things, but chief among them is the ability to throw together a string of foul language that’ll make your jaw drop. A stereotype? Yes. But a badass one, and one Mr. Malcolm Tucker perfectly embodied.
Sure, she turned her mom into a bear. But she also stood tall, climbed those cliffs, and shot those arrows with pinpoint accuracy. And good lord, that hair. THAT HAIR!
There can be only one. The Highlander. Conner feckin’ MacLeod. Time-traveling badass to end all badasses. To argue otherwise is foolish and wrongheaded and I won’t accept it.
This list could not possibly be complete without Professor McGonagall. She’s pretty much the ultimate badass in the Harry Potter universe, and the Scottishness is just icing on the cake. Remember when she pretended to be a cat in that first book/movie? And remember in the last movie when she cast a spell to bring all the Hogwarts statues to life? And remember how she never ever ever took shit from Harry or Ron, but would then sort of smile, knowing that they’re really good kids, and your heart would just warm up and you’d feel like everything in the world was in its right place? Yeah. The best.
What would this post be without indulging in the offensively stereotypical Scotsmen of popular fiction?
Ewan McTeagle, the Scottish Poet
Montgomery “Scotty” Scott
Corey Atad is a staff writer for Pajiba. He lives in Toronto.