Unable To Vote, Scottish Americans Watching Closely From Afar07:52
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Across Scotland today, people are headed to the polls to vote on a simple, but momentous question: Should Scotland be an independent country?

Only those currently living in Scotland are eligible to cast ballots, but many Scots living abroad are watching closely — along with the rest of the world.

Jack Crombie, who moved to the U.S. from Scotland 30 years ago, is the co-owner of the Duke of Perth, a Scottish pub in Chicago.

Crombie tells Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson that he initially thought Scotland should remain part of the union. But he has "come around" and feels it's time for Scotland to be independent.

Since it's the first election in three hundred years, we thought we probably could change our rules for tonight.

Jack Crombie

"The time right for Scotland to go forward and take charge of her own destiny and craft the kind of society that's in line with what it wants," Crombie said. "It'll still be part of [the island of] Britain and England will be a very close partner and a good friend, and that is how I'd like to see the future develop."

But regardless of the result, Crombie says he is proud of Scotland.

"It's been a fantastic exercise in democracy," he said. "Blood has flowed in streets throughout the world over such issues."

Crombie says the pub will suspend its "No TV" rule so people can come watch the returns from the election tonight.

"Since it's the first election in three hundred years, we thought we probably could change our rules for tonight," Crobmie said.

Bill Caudill, an American who is a fifth generation Highland descendant, and the director of the Scottish Heritage Center at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina, tells Here & Now's Robin Young he is undecided.

"I don't know how I would handle the vote myself if I were voting today," Caudill said. "The heart certainly thinks these people deserve self-determination."

But Caudill says part of him thinks Scots might be taking a step into "the blind unknown."

Caudill says the Scottish referendum has piqued Americans' interest in Scotland.

"When people think of the United Kingdom, they think of England as opposed to Scotland," Caudill said. "They're not thinking of an area that is geographically different, that's culturally different...that's linguistically different."

Guest

  • Jack Crombie, co-owner of the Duke of Perth, a Scottish pub in Chicago.
  • Bill Caudill, director of the Scottish Heritage Center at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina.

This segment aired on September 18, 2014.

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