With 11 days to go to the Scottish referendum, I read today:
SHOCK POLL: ‘YES’ CAMP TAKES LEAD IN SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM
I haven’t written about it before, because until today it looked like the No votes against Scottish independence would easily carry the day. But my attitude to Scottish independence is very much like my attitude to the smoking ban: I regard it as profoundly divisive.
I’d perhaps feel differently if the Scots had been demanding independence for years, and conducting a guerilla war against England, much like the Basques in Spain. But in my lifetime there’s barely been a hint of anything like that. The 300-year-old Union has seemed rock solid, with Scots participating fully in British life.
But now, suddenly, and bizarrely, and unexpectedly, it looks like the Union may be about to dissolve. And it will no longer be possible to speak of the United Kingdom of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. And Scotland will become a foreign country, with a border between England and Scotland. The million or so Scots who are living in England will also become foreigners, and equivalent numbers of English people living in Scotland will become foreigners too.
In fact, England and Scotland may even become enemies, as historically they often were prior to the Union.
In thinking about this, I sometimes wonder if I may be being inconsistent, in wanting on the one hand the continuation of the United Kingdom, while on the other hand not wanting to remain in the larger European Union. But there is a difference, and it is this: the United Kingdom has successfully endured for 300 years, while the European Union is a modern invention – still in construction -, and already showing signs of becoming an undemocratic, bureaucratic tyranny.
And I really can’t see what Scotland (or England) has to gain from independence. Both will be diminished. In fact, it seems to me that only the enemies of the UK will gain anything from the dissolution of the Union.
So all I can see is deep division and bad blood flowing from Scottish independence.
And I hope the Scots don’t vote for it.
And: Ed Miliband today issues the stark threat that manned border posts could be introduced if Scotland backs independence in next week’s historic vote.