A reader responds to my take:
Well you may be indifferent to the Scots gaining independence, but in our family it’s absolutely thrilling! We were Jacobites who participated in the 1690, 1715 and 1745 rebellions. We were at Culloden and the entire family had to flee to the Cape Fear River region in North Carolina after the battle. They hid out at Brompton Plantation, which was owned by the Royal Governor Gabriel Johnston, a brother to my sixth great grandfather. During the Revolution they were officers in the NC Militia, and then after the Tories burnt their home to the ground, they moved to South Carolina, where they fought a guerilla campaign with General Francis Marion (aka the Swamp Fox) against the English. I have the pistols my gggggg-grandfather carried at Culloden and during the American Revolution next to my bed (photo attached). To finally win independence and get from under the thumb of the English would be bloody brilliant and a long time coming!
Another takes a step back:
I am an agnostic on Scottish independence. I get the impulse; I get your possible acceptance. But how can anyone looking at our current world situation not be anything but appalled by the possible positive vote? If it passes, won’t every active independence movement – Quebec, Catalan Spain right away – get a boost? Doesn’t it give an easy way for Putin to insist that eastern Ukraine vote for the same? Wouldn’t it give a boost to parts of the U.S., particularly if Dems some time in the near future gain control of all levels of the federal government, that might start talking secession? As a true conservative (not tea-partier or corporatist), shouldn’t you be worried about the larger impact of a positive vote?
Yes, I can see those concerns. And that’s why I hope in my rational mind that they don’t secede. But given the existence of a separate nation, and given the peaceful, democratic manner in which this divorce could take place, I don’t see much of an analogy except for Catalonia. A reader notes:
More than 500,000 have actually signed up to participate in the V for Vote demonstration for Catalonia’s independence, with their IDs. And many, many more will come.
Another drills down into the Scottish question:
I wonder if the Scots might not end up shooting themselves in the foot? There’s a triumvirate of failures they are setting themselves up with:
1) I’m with the Betfair people. It’s easy to say “yes” to a pollster with no consequences, but much harder in a ballot box. I suspect a “no” vote is much the more likely.
2) If they do lose, they can’t come whining back to the table for a good 15 or 20 years.
3) They have, without thinking too much about it, aroused English nationalism, as you detected on your recent visits. I have always been mildly ticked off by the “West Lothian question”, as it used to be known: Scottish MPs voting on wholly English matters. However, since devolution and now with this independence debate, I am convinced that it is an injustice of titanic proportions on me and 53 million other English men and women who put up with Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs (the latter two to a lesser extent) having a say on matters that have no impact upon the people they represent. They can vote without personal consequence. The reverse would never be allowed.
As a natural Labour supporter, I can see that me and mine need the Scottish Labour vote to drive a left-of-centre agenda, but frankly, and you hit the nail on its head, all this self-serving “we want to be independent, but thanks England, we need you to bank-roll us,” has made me agree: “fuck ‘em”. I’m not sure I want them anymore. My public services are on their arse because of Tory cuts, yet Scotland’s flourish, not because of extraordinary financial management on the part of the Scots, but because my English pounds get spent disproportionately across the border. The Treasury reports that it spends £10,152 for every Scot. It spends £8,529 for every English man or woman. Here in the East Midlands where I live, it spends a miserly £8,118. It spends 25% more on a Scot than it spends on me. (See this linked pdf.)
What on earth is Scotland going to do without my money? I am completely convinced that if they do go their own way, Westminster will cave in and agree to bankroll them for years to come.
Whatever comes of this independence movement, one thing seems certain, and that is that they will lose a substantial amount of influence, either by becoming independent, or by the certainty that Scottish MPs must – must – be prevented from voting on wholly English matters. I might have to suffer a lifetime of damned old-Etonian, Oxbridge power and influence, but at least it’ll be English power and influence.
A final aside. I travel to the US a lot. About 20 years ago, when I first starting going to North America, I would take great pains to tell people I was British, or from the UK. Not anymore. I realised that in the last few years, I am English when asked. No conscious decision to change; I just did. I am more and more English and less and less British everyday.
All Dish coverage of Scottish independence here.