Breaking Up (Your Country) Is Hard To Do

September 17, 2014

in Travel Essays

  • SumoMe

Back in the 1962, American pop singer Neil Sedaka’s single, “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” was a hit not only in the U.S. but around the world.

But what’s that got to do with “Travel”?


Tomorrow the Scots are going to vote on whether or not to “un-unite” their country from the United Kingdom after 307 years of “political marriage.”

If the “Yea” votes outnumber the “Nae” votes, what will happen and when? And how might it effect tourists who are Scotland-bound?

(CaptainOates Flickr Photo)

(CaptainOates Flickr Photo)

First of all, the formal split wouldn’t happen until March of 2016 and, presumably, Scotland would eventually become part of the European Union.

But would tourists (and residents) now pay for good and services in Scotland with the Euro or continue to use the good old British Pound Sterling?

Would Scots get new passports? Would Brits (and those entering from other parts of the world) need visas issued by the new country of Scotland?

And what, if anything, have the Scots learned from the two failed attempts by Quebec to break away from the rest of Canada? To find out, listen to or read this report from Public Radio International’s “The World.”

Update, Post-Election Day, September 19, 2014, 7:30 a.m., PDT: The BBC reports that voting is the Scottish independence referendum failed to pass by 2,001,926 votes over 1,617,989, 55% to 45%.

Update, Friday, September 26, 2014: Felicity Long, writing for Travel Weekly, discusses the impact of the independence vote on Scottish tourism.

And then there’s the Spanish. Keeping their country together could be a problem for them, too.

The Basque Separatists aren’t who has the government of Spain worried right now.

It’s the Catalonians.

(SBA73 Flickr Photo)

(SBA73 Flickr Photo)

On November 9, 2014, they’ll vote on whether they want to separate from Spain, and what happens in Scotland may affect the outcome of that vote.

Listen to or read National Public Radio’s report on how the Scottish independence vote might affect what happens in Catalonia.

Update, October 1, 2014: Spain’s Constitutional Court moves to block the vote.

Update, October 14, 2014: Catalonia will now hold a non-binding vote on secession.

But one place in the world where voters apparently won’t have to find out if breaking up is hard to do is California.

A petition to split the Golden State into six separate “nuggets” looks like it hasn’t garnered enough signatures to make it onto the ballot.

And then means that folks like me, who reside in a state full of (earthquake and political) faults, won’t have to worry about a change in our “citizenship” anytime soon.

(For thoughts on what is fueling such rabble-rousing rebellions against the existing ruling elite, world-wide, read this piece in The New York Times by Neil Irwin.)

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