Wednesday 19 March 2014

An open letter to the People of Scotland

Dear People of Scotland

While I completely recognise that it would right a wrong of history, and would almost be worth it just to see the look on the faces of certain English people, I feel obliged to point out some of the unintended consequences of voting for independence. For starters, it would play havoc with my UK list. My monster twitch for your American Coot recently would have been a waste of time. And both my American Herrings Gulls would have to be binned. Not to mention the Masked Shrike, the Snowy Egret, the Harlequin Duck, the Black-browed Albert, the Greater Yellowlegs and a fistful of Scottish specialities. Just over a dozen deletions in all, I reckon, and that's damage I can ill afford at this stage of life.
Snowy Egret? Snowy Reject more like, if Scotland votes for independence.
Yes I know I could persevere with a British list based on the old one in the event of a 'yes' vote. But then that would be based on a sort of biogeographical unit rather than an arbitrary national boundary. And once I've crossed that rubicon, there's no reason not to include Ireland is there? Stuff it, why not the whole Western Palearctic? The whole world? I'll tell you why, because keeping an arbitrary national list stops me going too far, spending money I don't have, travelling to places I would want to go back to thus neglecting family, career, friends etc. That arbitrary national boundary, dear People of Scotland, is all that stands between me, destitution and probably divorce. Do you really want that on your conscience?
Take the high road? Tell me about it: I bust a puny English lung fighting gale force winds to get up into Coire an Lochain on Cairngorm to photograph this beauty. We don't get many of these in Poole Harbour.
No, I thought not. So let's make a deal. You can keep the oil revenues. We'll amend the Act of Succession so Nicola Sturgeon can be next in line to the throne. We'll bail out your banks if it all goes pear. And in return, all we ask is that the English get to keep Scottish birds on their list. If that's not enough, you can even have Northumberland, just like the old days. Besides, I've never had a tick there.
In the middle of this picture is a tiny black and white speck. That speck is a Black-browed Albatross, digiscoped on a tiny Scottish rock with a tiny camera from a tiny boat in the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.  You can take my list, but you'll never take my memories.

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