LAKEWOOD RANCH -- While Scotland was teeming with people who turned out in record numbers for its historic vote for independence Thursday, MacAllisters Grill & Tavern, the popular Scottish-themed restaurant in Lakewood Ranch, was surprisingly quiet.
Customers sipped Scotch or martinis or drank beers at the local watering hole while golf was televised above the bar -- not surprising since golf is widely considered to be a Scottish invention.
It's also not surprising a large number of people of Scottish heritage have settled in the Sarasota-Manatee county area, since the Scots came ashore in 1885 to soak up the sunshine and make a new life for themselves.
While modern-day Scotland was divided over independence, local Scots were sanguine about the issue.
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"My heart tells me 'yes' and my head tells me 'no.' I don't want to see a devolvement of the United Kingdom, however, the attitude that pervades the British parliament in Westminster is, to say the least, condescending," said Alastair Robertson, a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, who moved to Sarasota 22 years ago. "There's a lot of scare-mongering driven by the UK parliament because fear always works, but a 'yes' vote would certainly be beneficial to the Scottish problems we have with Westminster, and it would be a wake-up call."
He had just finished visiting MacAllisters for lunch with his son, Ewan, who grew up in Scotland before joining his father in Sarasota.
"Romantically, every Scottish person would love a 'free Scotland,' but whether it benefits the Scottish people or not, that's for the Scots to decide. I suppose Scotland could do it, but it's not going to happen tomorrow," Robertson Jr. said.
Jim Martin, born in Glasgow, Scotland, moved to Sarasota after he retired from a long career with Kodak. He said the Scots are a hard-working people who could manage the country's economy.
"The Scottish have an ethic that hard work never killed anyone," Martin said. "They should be independent. There's still a lot of industry in Scotland and they are more than able to take care of themselves and run their own country."
Martin is a member of the Jacobites Pipe & Drum Band in Sarasota. Bradenton attorney Larry Jacobs, his partner in bagpipes, agreed.
"Emotionally, I'm for independence, but it would appear that a UK is stronger with all its parts than broken up into various countries," he said.
Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.