Many Americans, when they hear the word Scotland, will think of Mel Gibson in blue facepaint yelling: "FREEDOM!" That's how Scotland is viewed by non-Scots the world over: as a plucky, liberty-loving nation that sits atop snooty England and longs to be free and wild and beer-soaked in a kilt.
Well, if that's how you see Scotland, you urgently need to update your mind's image bank. For far from being a land of freedom-yearning Bravehearts, Scotland in the 21st century is a hotbed of the new authoritarianism. It's the most nannying of Europe's nanny states. It's a country that imprisons people for singing songs, instructs people to stop smoking in their own homes, and which dreams of making salad-eating compulsory. Seriously, writes Brendan O'Neill, Scotland the Brave has become Scotland the Brave New World.