Tatler quotes the very posh on the Scottish referendum

 Any of our readers in Scotland unsure about the referendum on independence might like to check out the magazine for the very posh, Tatler, that has an article sub headed "Scottish aristocrats are fiercely opposed to independence, but if the 'yes' vote gets its way, will they really abandon their ancestral mountains and ancient customs?"

Some choice quotes below, we recommend you not be drinking while reading these least you blow your computer with repeated spluttered sprays of liquid

"As one whose family was involved in the 1707 Act of Union, I can't really comment on the referendum,' barks one of the country's pre-eminent dukes. 'But the buggers are out to get us!' The buggers, according to His Grace, are those currently trying to persuade the Scots that they should peel themselves off from the rest of the United Kingdom and become independent. "

"Will their 80,000-acre estates be parcelled out to crofters? Might SNP leader Alex Salmond bring in a swingeing castle tax? Will treasonous Scots cast off the Queen as their head of state? It's causing disquiet among the ranks, if not the file.

Half the private land is owned by just 432 people, with 50,000-acre estates rubbing up alongside one another. There isn't a spare inch of grouse moor to be found.

His father, Andrew, is himself clan chief of the Bruces, and lives in large, neo-classical Broomhall House, 15 miles west of Edinburgh, its hall stuffed with the bits of the Elgin Marbles that the British Museum didn't buy in 1816, after the 7th Earl 'borrowed' them from the Parthenon. 'When George VI came here just after the war, he said, "Still got all the loot then!''' chuckles the current earl.

Adrian, 62, a descendant of the Huntley and Palmers biscuit family, is on first-name terms with the staff who work in the first-class section of East Coast trains, because he shuttles back and forth to London every week for his role as a crossbench peer. 'I mean, [the pro-independence movement] simply do not know what they're doing,' he thunders, puffing on a small cigar in a room overlooking the house's ornate fishponds.

Given the fairly feudal distribution of land in Scotland, you can perhaps see why the big landowners are nervous. Cries for independence and modernisation from more urban Scots in Glasgow and Edinburgh have rattled them. New Scotland is probably safer. Not only are they insulated by their immense wealth, the fact that they're foreign means they can't be blamed for notorious historical events like the 18th- and 19th-century clearances when peasants were forced off their land. But Old Scotland is definitely panicked, as if they can already hear the tumbrils approaching. 'England used to be our Auld Enemy,' says a worried Scottish peer. 'Now we really must stick together.'

  


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