I heard some purported expert on the Scots in Canada on the radio recently havering about the "native genius" of the Scots. I don't believe the Scots are naturally any smarter than anyone else on this planet. But during the years that the Scots did punch above their weight in Canada they did have something going for them - educational opportunity. When Scotland did indeed produce more than its fair share of doctors, scientists, inventors and other contributors to the general good it had one of the most highly educated populations in Europe. That wasn't actually saying much, because outside of Germany, there wasn't a lot of commitment to the idea of universal education until quite recently. And Scotland was only a little further down the road than most countries. The availability of universal educational opportunity was in reality pretty limited. Few of the Scottish doctors of English stereotype were from the Gorbals. But enough Scots did get an education to validate the notion that it was well worth giving as many people as possible the opportunity to develop whatever talent they had. Developing and harnessing talent benefited everyone. A nation that only believes the existing elite is worth educating is doomed. Universal and equal educational opportunity is a worthwhile and sensible aspiration. I just hope that the fruits of the recent independence referendum include the chance to move the dream a little closer to reality.