Hypothetical British Civil War

Well, I’ ve just finished watching a rather fair and balanced, if slightly misinformed video in regards to the likelihood, and subsequent effects of an independent Scotland, to both Scotland, and England. And I have to say; it was all fairly inoculous, full of political guess-work, speculation, what if scenarios, and the like. And I was absolutely fine whilst watching it, honestly; no uncontrollable fits of homicidal rage; no swigging from the bottle of Whisky which I keep perpetually at my side for just such occasions. Then, before I knew it; t’ was time to flick down through the comments; another day, another aneurism inducing free-ride on the opinion section of the internet.

And oh boy was I not disappointed, and it was not long until I was subsequently propelled into an indignation fueled seizure of bright, vaguely saltire-shaped flashes of exquisite Scottish rage. Anyway, the general jist of the comment threads boiled down to a civil war scenario between Scotland and England; with Yorkshire being bandied around simply for having a comparable population size to Scotland. Essentially, Yorkshire alone would defeat us in the eventuality of such a nonsensical war; and so, as usual, I’ am going to painstakingly write out each particular comment, before utterly destroying it, and the comical logic behind it, with an air of whimsy and commonsense; before finishing with a more in depth and serious examination. So without further ado, let’s begin.

Side note: This hypothetical is in regards to a Scotland fighting for independence, rather than an established independent country waging a conventional war against another.

The comments

Comment: “Hope Scotland and England start a civil war # TEAMSCOT

Me: Thanks bro, that’s super nice of you to say 🙂

Comment: “you do realise that Scotland doesn’t have a miitary right?

Comment: “England doesn’t have a military either. You know that right?

Me: touché!

Comment: “Yes I know but the military is majority English and the higher command would help England because more people live there

Me: Well, of the 37 regular battalions compromising the British army; 6 are Scottish, 3 are Welsh and 2 come from Ireland. Though this excludes branches of the British military such as the Para’s and the SAS. Now, last time I checked, the SAS is roughly compromised of about 80% Scottish soldiers. So, by your logic, if every English soldier, and to a man, was to side wholly with England; then the majority of the SAS would side with Scotland. Let that sink in a moment. Also, what of the 16 or so artillery battalions, of which, 2 are Scottish; and that might seem vastly outnumbering, and it is; yet considering the mountainous terrain of Scotland; the Loch’s and rivers; massive Glen’s and forested high country; small, swift moving and versatile armored/infantry/special forces units could wage an incredibly efficient war against lumbering ‘Might-is-right’ style forces; not to mention the civilian population who would surely take up resistance against an aggressive invasionary force; Ireland being a prime example of what such civic resistance is capable of against a far superior force; regardless of having an established and deployable military or not, which, in this scenario; Scotland would initially field.

Comment: “the US would probably back Scotland now the president is half Scottish and vastly prefers Scotland over England. Anyway there is not going to be a civil war it would be over in 5 minutes when sturgeons lot had to all go an collect their benifits. It would take a few Giros to buy a chopper. Ha. Ha

Me: Welp; lets continue with the nonsensically down spiraling logic of this thread shall we; okay; so what’s stopping Canada from giving us helicopters then, whilst we patiently wait for our Giros to accumulate! After all, there are several Canadian-Scottish regiments in their armed forces; so why wouldn’t they. And if the U.S did help us (Which they wouldn’t, or at least not publicly) then I’ am sure we could scrounge up enough foreign aid/donations from those Scottish-Americans/Canadians (or maybe even the Iranians for all we know) with which to buy one. Or, maybe one plucky Scots soldier could steal us one, as there has to be at least a dozen Scottish pilots currently serving in the British army as it stands. Variables my friend; unforeseen variables.

Comment: “The entire British Armed Forces is like 90% english resources lol

Me: Lol, where are the nukes kept, and who guards them; cunt…

Comment: “LMAO even Yorkshire have a higher population than Scotland. sit the fuck down

Me: How many of those Yorkshire bumpkins are of fighting age, and of those old enough; how many are eligible for active combat. Let’s compare demographics for all of Scotland, and all of Yorkshire then, and see if we can’t find an answer.

Scotland’s population: 5,373,000, of which 50% are women and 50% are men.

Yorkshires population: 5,288,200, of which 51% are females and 49% males. The median age is roughly 40, whilst Scotland’s population is 70% 16-50. In total, the population of England aged 65 or over is around 16 % (Out of over 50 million people) Whilst Scotland has a population of only 15% over 65, out of nearly 6 million people, and so with a relatively young to middle aged population with which Scotland could theoretically defend itself…Yorkshire should be the one to sit the fuck down and mind its manners.

Comment: “Scotland will lose

Comment: “it may be true but wouldnt it be nice to see?

Me: Aye and I bet that’s what they said about the original I.R.A, during both the rebellion, and the following troubles.

After this, the comments essentially range from; they don’t have the population, or; London has twice the population, etc., etc. Now, I don’t claim Scotland would win a war against England. I also don’t claim England could beat Scotland, as such a conflict would be a mish-mash of fighting styles, counter attacks, ambushes, guerilla tactics, urban warfare and rural skirmishes along mountainous fault lines, treacherous moors and ice cold, unfathomably deep Loch’s and a multitude of restraints imposed by terms, treaties and outside influences; all of which, Britain has not exactly fared well in overcoming in the past; such as in Ireland and Iraq for example, wherein, a fast moving and easily vanishing enemy can strike and then blend in at a moment’s notice. If such a war was to actually occur, then not only would it take place in Scotland, for that would be the militarily, and internationally, tactical and strategic situation for the Scottish forces to try and orchestrate, so as to encourage sympathy from the international community; I.E, appear as those under aggression; whilst also being smart in using Scotland’s often impassible terrain as a strategic advantage for smaller forces to repulse larger ones effectively; as demonstrated in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now, with many of these hypotheticals, a lot of the time things like aircraft carriers or fighter jets being deployed are mentioned, and my response is always; seriously? To whose benefit, would an aircraft carrier off the coast of Scotland be; would it shell the Isle of fucking Bute; the stronghold of Arran? This isn’t 1919; its 2017. And anyway; what sort of reaction would that provoke from within the international community if it actually did begin bombarding the civilian centers of Glasgow or Edinburgh; a war crime methinks. So, no; it would almost certainly be an infantry based war, bolstered with armored units and special forces, akin to those deployed during the troubles. So forget the use of nukes and of ‘Murica’s’ involvement, for that simply wouldn’t benefit anyone. Again, such a war would simply consist of a wide variety of fronts being won and lost, as mentioned above. To say that just because England has a vastly higher population than Scotland, means that they would easily defeat us, is quite simply an example of the uneducated nonsense regurgitated by the tactical brilliance of a 12 yrs. old COD enthusiast’s brain-fart.

Side note: This isn’t the medieval period, wherein might is the decider; a large modern army is only useful when a similarly large modern army is fielded against it.

But in all seriousness; as to who would emerge as victor? No one would. Scotland would either hold out until a meeting of factions was proposed; a peace agreement of sorts. Or, decades of perpetual stalemates’ would occur across all fronts, with one side eventually opting to negotiate rather than continue. There would be no great moment of victory for either side; no capitulation; no overwhelming and total surrender; especially as there would ever be remnant enemy factions and strongholds in many devastated and destabilized regions of both Scotland, and England; not to mention the economic downturn, civic strife and condemnation provoked from the rest of the western world as a result; sanctions and embargos most likely. Also, this isn’t even touching on the fact that a weakened England would be dangerously susceptible to third-party terrorist attacks, both foreign, and domestic, i.e.; dissident Irish republicans/Islamic terrorism etc.


Simply put; many people would die from conventional warfare in the initial stages of the conflict, and if Scotland’s military was to be defeated; it is feasible that civilian militias would form to replace them, and then carry out ambushes and civilian-targeted bombing campaigns throughout England and English held positions within Scotland. One side would wind up dying for freedom, of which is close at hand already through peaceful democracy; and the other, would have weakened itself considerably both monetarily and internationally, and for absolutely no conceivable reason at all.

Cinead MacAlpin