Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Historic Mission of the Scots in the United Kingdom

On 18 September the Scots will go to their polling stations and vote on whether or not to remain part
of the United Kingdom.

As the son of a Scottish Father and Welsh mother who has also lived in Scotland but now in London I of course, do not have a vote. Quite rightly so...but like every else I am entitled to a view. 

Personally, I think it will not be the end of the world if Scotland votes to separate but I think it will a blow to Scotland and to wider progressive politics.

In my view it is in the interests of Scots, Welsh and English that we do not separate.  I think though that it is more in the interests of Scotland than England that the union continues.

There is a degree of lalaism by both sides in the current debate but I don't think there is really a real downside for England to have an independent Scotland as a neighbour? The argument in favour of the union by the English is mostly sentiment.

The crucial issue is that the ONS estimate in 2013 that the population of the UK is 64 Million while Scotland is only 5.3 million. The English population is over 10 times the size of Scotland and GNP gap is even greater.

The Scottish economy is and would be inevitably tied to England regardless of any legal constitutional arrangements.

As someone who has lived in Wales, Scotland and England I am amazed at the naivety of those who slag off the English and want a separate state but who think that if this happens then they will have some sort of equal status and power with a neighbour 10 times their size? ...Dream on.

Just a thought but surely if the English are really so bad that you want to split with them, don't you think there is a risk that they will use their dominant economic power and size to further their interests at the expense of Scotland?

My own personal major beef with Scottish independence is that it will split and divide the working class and the progressive vote in this small island. I am amazed at the views of those who think that if Scotland becomes independent that it will be some sort of Socialist Idyll. Yeah.

I can remember discussing this with my Dad who was a Aberdeen born and bred, Rosyth docks trained electrician, who reminded me that the Tories were the major party Scotland until the early 1960s and that it is no co-incidence that the Tory vote went down roughly the same time as the Nats vote went up.

My view is good luck to Scotland if it goes separate but don't naive about what will happen if it does. The historic mission of the Scots in the last 300 years of the union is to hold the English in check. Scots have played a huge and completely disproportionate leadership role in the United Kingdom. Despite the small population, Scots have a significant place in our common history as British Prime ministers, Field Marshall's, Philosophers, Artists, Entrepreneurs and Social leaders.

Remove that influence and mission and I genuinely think none of us will like what will happen. To be clear, I don't stay up all night worrying about Scottish nationalism - I do fear English nationalism.

I am reminded of Truman Capote, that "More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.” I hope that the real land of my fathers 18 September will not result in more tears. 
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