Let’s stay together.
That was the choice of 55 percent of Scotland voters on Thursday night, whose majority in an independence referendum kept the country part of the United Kingdom. Three thousand miles away on Brooklyn bar stools, Scottish ex-pats and Americans of Scottish descent, some of them clad in kilts, came together to watch the poll results roll in as they tossed back pints and, in many cases, rooted for the split that wasn’t to be.
“The general tone of the bar was independence — everyone was for it,” said Jamie Russell, a bartender at Bay Ridge’s Welsh bar Longbow Pub and Pantry and himself a Scotsman. “There were people — both Scots and Americans — with a very strong interest.”
Longbow and Williamsburg’s Scottish Isle of Skye piped in a British TV feed so patrons could keep abreast of up-to-the-minute results. But Scottish officials didn’t finish counting the four million-plus paper ballots until early Friday morning.
The country has been part of the United Kingdom for more than 300 years, and wrestled limited powers of self-rule from England through referenda in 1979 and 1997.
Russell supports independence but said the latest referendum’s defeat overshadowed an important message Scots sent to London.
“Naturally I was disappointed, but when 45 percent voiced they are unhappy with the current powers that be, it’s still a great victory.”