What would be Bond's position about Scottish independence?

edited August 2014 in General Discussion Posts: 72
I've been wondering about this for a few days. As the later books state that Bond is Scottish, (and he does mention Scotland plenty of times in the final three Fleming novels, besides saying in John Pearson's book that he " doesn't feel confortable in England", I would like to read your views about a hypotetical position that Bond would take in this delicate matter.
DISCLAIMER: This thread is to discuss your toughts about Bond's position on Scottish independence, it's not a thread about your own opinions about the subject. Please try to be as unbiased as possible. On a second note, I'm not Scottish or British ( I'm Portuguese), and I don't have any relation with this matter.

Comments

  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 23,810
    @thelion, while your disclaimer is certainly valid, you should ask yourself if we can pretend to know what Bond thinks and totally exclude our own ideas on the matter. ;-)
  • DragonpolDragonpol https://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    edited August 2014 Posts: 17,989
    I think you will find an excellent answer to this question from the author and blogger Edward Biddulph (of the brilliant James Bond Memes):

    http://jamesbondmemes.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/how-would-james-bond-vote-in-scottish.html

    I concur with his findings.
  • edited August 2014 Posts: 72
    DarthDimi, now that I see, I probably wasn't clear enough in opening post. I understand that might be difficult, and of course that one's personal opinion about the subject will influence the comments, and that's fine. But the primary objective of this thread is to comment on what Bond would think about it, as him, in the later Fleming novels, expresses pride on being Scottish but he is also considered as a British icon and never questioned his allegiance to the Crown. Of course that one may express it's views about it, mas the primary objective it's not to create a political debate thread.
  • Posts: 72
    Dragonpol wrote: »
    I think you will find an excellent answer to this question from the author and blogger Edward Biddulph (of the brilliant James Bond Memes):

    http://jamesbondmemes.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/how-would-james-bond-vote-in-scottish.html

    Very interesting article, indeed!
    I remember a line in " You Only Live Twice" ( the book), in the first chapter, when Bond is playing that children's game with Tanaka, he states the following:
    " (...) that I propose to rub your honourable nose in the dirt at this despicable game and thus display the superiority of Great Britain, and particulary Scotland, over Japan, and the superiorty of our Queen over your Emperor."
    This excerpt certainly matches what it's said in the article that you posted.

    More opinions from other people will be welcome.
    :)

    ( Pardon the double post).
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    edited August 2014 Posts: 9,117
    Well I thought it was always taken as read that Fleming infusing Bond with Scottish heritage in the last few books never having mentioned it before was due to Connery being cast and this was Flemings nod of approval as it were.

    That said given that Fleming's background is very similar to Bond's then it could just be that he always planned that Bond would have Scottish roots but it never came up until the rather introspective and maudlin tone of the last 3 books set in, influenced as it was by Fleming's acute awareness of his own mortality.

    As for the question posed: I think both Fleming and Bond are cut from exactly the same cloth - both men from a different era when Britannia ruled the waves, we had an empire and could hold our heads up with pride in the world as a great nation.

    I doubt the question of the union splitting up is a question Fleming (and by extension Bond) ever considered but given their strong ties to London, England and the Queen & Britain as a whole I can't believe they would vote for anything other than to maintain the status quo.

    Certainly 'On Alex Salmond's Secret Service' doesn't quite have the same ring to it for me as a title!
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,720
    I honestly think Bond would say that whatever the vote on it was would be fine. He never seemed, in my mind, to be overly concerned with politics that he personally had no real control over.
  • Posts: 11,425
    Well I thought it was always taken as read that Fleming infusing Bond with Scottiqsh heritage in the last few books never having mentioned it before was due to Connery being cast and this was Flemings nod of approval as it were.

    That said given that Fleming's background is very similar to Bond's then it could just be that he always planned that Bond would have Scottish roots but it never came up until the rather introspective and maudlin tone of the last 3 books set in, influenced as it was by Fleming's acute awareness of his own mortality.

    As for the question posed: I think both Fleming and Bond are cut from exactly the same cloth - both men from a different era when Britannia ruled the waves, we had an empire and could hold our heads up with pride in the world as a great nation.

    I doubt the question of the union splitting up is a question Fleming (and by extension Bond) ever considered but given their strong ties to London, England and the Queen & Britain as a whole I can't believe they would vote for anything other than to maintain the status quo.

    Certainly 'On Alex Salmond's Secret Service' doesn't quite have the same ring to it for me as a title!

    The Queen would remain head of state of an indpendent Scotland. Given that it was a Scot, James Stuart (James VI of Scotland) who united the Scottish and English crowns, it's clear that the Scottish have at least an equal claim on our shared monarch.
  • MurdockMurdock The minus world
    Posts: 16,340
    To quote him from Skyfall. "I always hated this place." ;)
  • Posts: 2,904
    The name's McBond, Jimmy McBond: How would that British icon 007 vote in the Scottish referendum?
    That question is as tough as the man himself, says Matthew Parker

    Sunday Times 31 Aug 2014

    Bond is a British icon, demonstrated beyond argument by his show-stealing at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. But isn't he actually Scottish? If Scotland goes it alone, will they take him with them? It is only at the end of the very late novel You Only Live Twice, written in Jamaica in the first two months of 1963, when we learn for the first time about Bond's Scottish roots. M, believing Bond to be dead, writes his obituary with the detail that his father is a Scot from "the village of Glencoe". The most recent Bond film, Skyfall, made much of this detail. "Going back in time" to Scotland, Bond and M pause on the A82 in front of the stunning peaks of Buachaille Etive Mor and Buachaille Etive Beag, a backdrop also in Highlander and Braveheart. Then there is the gloomy, gothic Skyfall childhood home in Glencoe (actually a set built in Surrey). Bond confesses he "always hated the place". To underpin the grittiness of the locale, Albert Finney's character blasts a shotgun into the guts of a foreign-looking baddie with the words: "Welcome to Scotland."

    Strictly speaking, these scenes, overdid Bond's Scottishness. In M's obituary in You Only Live Twice we learn that young Bond, because of his Swiss mother and his father's expatriate job, grew up in Europe and southern England, not Scotland, although he did spend a short time in the "Calvinistic" and "rigorous" atmosphere of Fettes school, having been expelled from Eton. Furthermore, up until that time in the novels, Bond is firmly English -- he never visits Scotland, which is hardly mentioned. The homeland he is defending is always England rather than Britain; in fact, he's a Home Counties Tory, only reading the Times and despairing at the "featherbedding" of the post-war welfare state and the "assertiveness of young Labour" these days.

    But when in Fleming's last novel, The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond is offered a knighthood, he turns it down, claiming to wish to remain a Scottish peasant". What happened? Fleming himself was part-Scottish. His grandfather Robert Fleming came from humble origins in Dundee before establishing a bank that made the family's fortune. He moved south to a pile in the Home Counties, but the family regularly gathered at rented Scottish hunting lodges. But Fleming, a lover of nature, took no pleasure in the outdoor pursuits, saying later he "would rather catch no salmon than shoot no grouse". He preferred to stay in the warmth listening to the exotic tropical rhythms of the Royal Hawaiian Serenaders. He would later categorise Scottish scenery as "all those dripping evergreens".

    Even when rich, grandfather Robert remained parsimonious, never taking a taxi in his life. Ian saw the two sides of his family as conforming to national stereotypes: his father's Scottish side was austere and reserved, while his mother's English family were notoriously vain, extravagant and self-indulgent. Fleming inherited this split personality: although a prodigious drinker and womaniser, the house he built in Jamaica was simple and austere, without comfortable furniture, hot water, kitchen appliances or even windows. This split is passed on to Bond, who is not all playboy, being fond of cold showers and rigorous fitness training. It is this tension, between luxury and austerity, between appetites indulged or suppressed, that gives Bond his psychological energy, his flashes of coldness and warmth, his standoffish charisma.

    Writing about Jamaica, it was not lost on Fleming that most of the landowners were descendants of Scots, rather than English. Some of them were sprung from the handful of survivors of William Paterson's "Darien disaster". Others were ambitious second or third sons of distinguished families or refugees from England's wars against Scotland (there are two Cullodens on Jamaica's map). He put their success down to the Scots' "leather morale". In the same year as his first Bond novel, he wrote in the Spectator: "The Scots are naturally patient and sober, and that is why they make such wonderful colonisers." For arch imperialist Fleming, this was the highest praise. "They also have a hardy and absorbing inner life," he went on, which means the "apathy to the tropics does not irk them". In addition, they seem to have a proper attitude to the colonised. Bond's relationship with his Jamaican aide Quarrel, "remained that of a Scots laird with his head stalker; authority was unspoken and there was no room for servility".

    But neither Fleming's background nor his admiration for Scottish hardiness and empire-building completely explains Bond's sudden reinvention as a Scot. In early 1962, Fleming was in Jamaica as always, but this time the first Bond film, Dr No, was being shot on the island. Fleming had always imagined David Niven in the role and was put out when the working-class Scot Sean Connery was cast. Connery later said: "Fleming was not that happy with me as a choice. He called me an overdeveloped stuntman." The film's director, Terence Young, told the actor who played Strangways: "Sean's got this terrible Scottish accent, but I think he's going to make it."

    Connery more than made it, of course, and part of his success was the modern classlessness he brought to what on paper was really an old fashioned imperial role. And with the huge commercial success of the first film, Fleming looked again and how he portrayed his hero, declaring that Connery was 'not quite the idea I had of Bond, but he would be if I wrote the books over again'. Indeed, it is only after the release of Connery's first film that Bond suddenly is outed as a Scot.

    So, more than anything, it was Connery who made Bond Scottish. Given Sir Sean's longtime support for Scottish independence, should we imagine his co-creation putting his mark for 'yes'? James Bond experts and Fleming's extended family both believe that Bond was too fond of the 'grand nation' of the United Kingdom and what he saw as its achievements to countenance separation. Early Bond: no doubt - a firm cross on the 'no' box. But if the vote came at the end of his career when Bond is disillusioned with the Service and even with himself and his endless mission to prop up British decline, who knows where his pen might drop?

    A few brief notes...
    * Bond actually began calling himself Scottish in OHMSS, which I believe (correct me if I'm wrong), was written after Connery was cast but before the first Bond film's release.
    * If memory serves, Fleming actually referred to himself as a Scot in his Playboy interview.
    * Fleming had NOT always imagined David Niven in the role of Bond. His first choice seems to have been Richard Burton. I hope this canard is eventually laid to rest.
    * There's no way even the later Bond--who isn't as disillusioned with the Service as Parker suggests--would vote for Scottish independence. Bond's political opinions remain relatively consistent throughout the books. Fleming himself was a product of a Scots-English union.
    * Connery's casting probably encouraged Fleming to draw on his own Scottish background and share it with Bond, and this was part of a larger trend in Britain during the 60s, as class barriers crumbled with postwar affluence, and actors no longer disguised their regional accents. Connery's friend Michael Caine is a prime example--before the 60s no leading man would have retained such a prominent Cockney accent.
  • Posts: 2,904
    With regard to discussion of the overall issue yes, but not with regard to the article.
  • Samuel001Samuel001 Moderator
    Posts: 13,353
    It's well worth discussing, so I've merged the two threads together.
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