Union Jacked?

Did you know that the Union Jack – made famous by the Red Coats, Reebok, and Austin Powers – is in peril? On September 18, Scotland goes to the polls to vote on independence from the “United Kingdom” – or, more accurately, England. This after a 309-year shotgun marriage. If the Scots lift their skirts to the Sassenachs, like the flag the notion of Britain as a united kingdom may literally come apart at the seams. The Saltire, the Scottish flag, is an integral part of the Union Jack – which is itself a compilation flag.

Here’s the before and after impact of the Scot’s pull back on the Union Jack.

Stick or Quit?

As I mentioned last week, I was in England this summer. As you can imagine, the Scottish independence referendum is a hot topic at the local pub. Will St. Andrew walk out on St. George? Like William Wallace and Edward Longshanks, the leaders of the pro- and anti-independence parties – Salmond and Darling – are at one another’s throats. Word is the stickers are a wee bit ahead of the quitters. But the latest polls are getting tighter – William Hill, the bookies, quotes 1/5 on sticking and 10/3 on quitting.

Cryptic Cameron?

Here’s the rub. Whatever Scotland’s decision – David Cameron, British Prime Minister, is caught between clans. He’s against Scotland’s secession from the U.K. – but he’s for the U.K. cutting loose from the EU. Business is piling on pressure for Scotland to stay – as banks, including the Royal Bank of Scotland, threaten to move their headquarters south is Scotland cashes out.

Irish Eyes?

If the Scots take back their haggis and highlands, what if the Welsh decide to let the dragon fly? Yes, Wales is a separate country that’s not part of England. And, that brings us to England’s oldest overseas colony – Ireland. If the tartan army takes off, does that elevate Ireland’s case for reunification?


Celts call the Union Jack the Butcher’s Apron – because England wrapped itself in the Union flag when it planned to do mischief. Seems the butcher’s apron itself is now on the block. We’ll know on September 19.

“Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… our freedom!”

Should the Scots go for independence – what do you think?

Steve O'Keeffe
About Steve O'Keeffe
The most connected executive in the government technology community – O'Keeffe is an accomplished entrepreneur and tech-policy expert, with 30 years’ experience as an innovator at the crossroads of government and industry. He founded MeriTalk, O'Keeffe & Company, 300Brand, among other entities. O'Keeffe is a fixture on the Hill, in both the House and Senate, testifying on IT, budget, government workforce, and the requirement to modernize government IT to enhance outcomes for the American people and government employees. He is a champion for change, simplification, transparency, and clear communication of IT value without jargon. A committed philanthropist, O'Keeffe has served for 15 years on the USO-Metro Board of Directors – Vice Chairman of the Board and Chair of the Annual Awards Dinner. He started his career as a journalist – O'Keeffe has contributed to The Economist, Government Executive, Signal Magazine, The Washington Post, and, of course, MeriTalk.