ONE part of Scotland has remained “independent” after Thursday’s referendum – with a constitution that includes a total ban on Bon Jovi.
Islonia, a four-acre island in Loch Gairloch, Wester Ross, has just issued its 7,000th passport, allowing visitors to gain entry to the independent micro-nation across the floating causeway which connects to the mainland. The kingdom’s population is at an all-time high of four: self-styled monarch Ian McWhinney, 47, his wife, royal consort Queen Jess, 36, and their “royal princesses” Iona, seven, and five-year-old Isla.
Mr McWhinney, also a fisherman, said: “We got a bit depressed thinking ‘none of the above’ when it came to elections. That’s why we decided we should try to do it ourselves.
“Our passports don’t get you anywhere except across our causeway, which we like to call ‘the bridge over the Atlantic’. But in terms of numbers, that makes us bigger than the Vatican City as an independent state. They’ve got about 850.”
Under its original name of Dry Island, it has been owned by Mr McWhinney’s ancestors for hundreds of years. Mr McWhinney, who grew up on the island with his grandmother, added: “For a long time, there was no running water or electricity but my grandparents built a small wind generator so they were actually ahead of their time in renewable energy.
“My grandfather paid £1 to have an overhead electricity cable installed in 1955. When an undersea hydrocable was installed 20 years ago, it cost £50,000.”
Islonia even has its own flag – a Saltire, featuring a giant crab – and its own motto: “Size isn’t everything.”
Aside from the Bon Jovi ban, Islonia’s constitution says all visitors must smile and all children must obey their parents – and replacement passports can be issued in five hours “for the price of a pint”.
Trade with Scotland is good, although the Islonians prefer to deal in shellfish, with an exchange rate of one crab to the pound.