Blogs

Britain is doomed – even if Salmond loses September’s independence referendum

12 February 2014

3:48 PM

12 February 2014

3:48 PM

Last Thursday’s cover story makes alarming reading, Alex Massie arguing that Alex Salmond may come close to achieving victory in September’s vote.

Alex wrote: ‘It is beginning to be appreciated, even in London, that Alex Salmond might just win his independence referendum in September. The break-up of Britain will have begun, David Cameron will have to contemplate being Prime Minister of a rump country — and HMS Britannia will be sunk, not with a bang but a whimper. It will be due as much to English indifference as Scottish agitation.’

I would still put my pound sterling on a No vote, and current odds for independence are around 7/2; but I suspect that ultimate victory will probably go to the SNP. There a number of reasons why the union is doomed.

Firstly, as Alex Massie has said before, even if Salmond wins 40 per cent of the vote, that is a moral victory and will lead to demands for a new referendum at some point soon. Two-thirds is usually the minimum requirement for constitutional changes in countries with written constitutions, because it suggests a consensus; any society in which more than a third of the population supports a change in the status quo is a divided one.

People generally don’t like living in divided societies, which is why they will tend to move towards one mainstream view; what normally happens is that once a rising idea has reached a tipping point it then becomes accepted as orthodoxy. Although some ideas do grow and then recede, Scottish independence, which has risen from a single-figures idea to one closing in on half the population, may well reach that tipping point.

[Alt-Text]


It will also benefit by cascades; people think that it will eventually happen, so they get behind it in expectation. In England there is a feeling that since the split is inevitable, it’s best to end uncertainty and acrimony by getting it over and done with.

Meanwhile south of the border a psychological change has taken place since devolution, so that people no longer pay as much attention to what’s going on in Scotland, any more than they do to what happens in Ireland, which is not foreign, not even semi-foreign but certainly quarti-foreign (my declaration here: I’m half-Irish).

The semantics have also changed. I noticed the other day that Archbishop Vincent Nichols, commenting on the Queen’s trip to Rome to see the Pope, welcomed it as great news for ‘our nations’. I don’t think people would have used the plural 20 years ago. I wonder if there has been any study of the terminology in Scotland; politicians seem to talk about the ‘union’, not the ‘British nation’. The BBC stopped calling Britain ‘the nation’ or ‘the country’ about a decade ago.

Another small, but significant, factor is that because of the way our education system is set up, our young people are not going to university together, as Hugo Rifkind, a London-based Scot, mentioned in the magazine a few weeks ago. That is pretty sad.

However there are two major drivers of a split, neither of which are much commented on; one has to do with the Tory Party in Scotland. In any sort of federal, multi-ethnic state with a two-party system it is necessary for both parties to receive significant support in each section; otherwise the likelihood of one section separating becomes much greater. The Tories, who won Scotland outright in 1951, now have fewer than 10 per cent of seats in the Edinburgh Parliament, and just one Scottish MP in Westminster. It is effectively an English party now, as much as the Republicans were a northern party in the US of the 1850s. If that continues the union cannot hold.

But the biggest reason has to do with multiculturalism. In the past few decades England has gone through a demographic revolution that has transformed its cities, while Scotland has not. Our national stories and our societies are now very, very different, and this has affected the way the English see themselves.

In the past 15 years or so there has been a huge increase in the number of people who identify as English, but this has less to do with the disproportionately subsidised and powerful people across the Tweed than with mass immigration.

Not only is this identification almost entirely among people who the census calls ‘white British’, but there is a strong correlation between people who identify as English and those with negative views towards diversity. Being English is a statement of identity in a multicultural society in which ‘British’ has become a much more neutral, and weaker, term. The only people these days who identify primarily as British are London liberals, ethnic minorities and Ulster Protestants.

But by ceasing to identify with Britain, the English have also become apathetic about what is happening to the north. The truth is that many Englishmen, when warned that Salmond’s victory could mean the end of the country they know and love, would simply point to a London high street and say something about stable doors and horses.

But hey, the good news is that George Osborne is up today, the Englishman who most resembles an 18th century Hanoverian aristocrat who enjoys nothing more than a day kicking crofters off their land before going home for some port and spanking. Or perhaps he’ll remind them of the gay one from Braveheart. Either way it’s likely to resurrect lots of painful, if largely made-up, ancestral memories. Britain is doomed!

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
  • rtozier2011

    How much will support for independence go down if the Tories lose the election next year? I’m intrigued by the comment about how an independent Scotland would be a more socially just, Scandinavian-type, anti-Thatcherite system, which is indeed an ideal to aspire to, but with two caveats: firstly, we are all individuals, so we’ve got to have business if only to give us the ability to provide for ourselves, and secondly, and more importantly, and one of the biggest reasons why I’m in favour of a No vote: why can’t we English also rid ourselves of a Thatcherite Westminster government? Ed Miliband represents the closest we’ve come to reasonable capitalism since 1979 (not that Blair and Brown weren’t much better for the country, overall, than the current lot), and if we can make him Prime Minister and get more involved in semi-devolutionary local government, we’ll have taken two important steps towards a scenario where no part of Britain *needs* independence, because there’ll be nothing unappetising enough to want independence *from*. Also, as a quarter-Scottish, 3/4 Englishwoman, I’d be able to go on feeling like I’m from both one country *and* two nations, as opposed to just the latter. It would be the best of both worlds (Scottish and English).

  • Reality Bites

    Salmond, win? No.

    I live in Scotland, and I can tell you, it’s not going to happen. The cybernats do a good job of making their presence sound bigger than it is, but the reality is the vast majority of us Scots see through Salmond. Don’t believe the hype.

  • tomthumb015

    Why all this angst, if the Scots want to go their separate way, well so be it, actually I think a lot of English have grown tired of the whinging Scots. Salmond and the SNP can go ahead and bankrupt Scotland with their love of socialism. I certainly will not loose any sleep over Scottish independence.

  • DougS

    I’ve got a lot of sympathy for any nation that craves independence. The Scots, however, do not appear to be serious.

    How can any nation want independence and also want to join the EU – it’s an oxymoron.

    And frankly, a close result with a ‘NO’ vote victory would mean Salmond whining on for years about ‘Devo-Max’ – I don’t think that I could stand it.

    So, a fond farewell and all the best to Scotland.

    • Raw England

      Well said. Plus, Scotland’s Independence, by default, will give us a new opportunity to assert English identity and sovereignty.

      • DougS

        Quite so Raw England.

        I’ve never referred to my nationality as ‘English’, always as ‘British’. But that’s changing now, more and more I see myself as English, in response to the nationalistic assertions of the Scots and Welsh.

        And I’ll never see myself as a ‘European’ citizen despite the creeping EU attempts to subvert our sovereignty – with a lot of help from the pathetic Europhiles in this country.

        • Raw England

          Exactly, Doug. And we English even have to put up with immigrants in our country telling us, aggressively and violently, that there’s no such thing as the English people…..

  • dljvjbsl

    Canada was faced with Quebec separatism. There have been three referendums on it with independence being rejected in each one. Instead, what has happened is a gradual step by step dissolution of a common Canadian state. Quebec is independent in all but name. The federal parliament can pass laws but there will be no effort to impose these on Quebec if it objects. Canada is now something like the EU wants to become. it is an economic and monetary union in which there is a high degree of autonomy among the constituent parts. Multiculturalism rules in most of Canada outside of Quebec. In Quebec, the French culture is recognized as predominant and all others must conform to it.

    • Angus McLellan

      “There have been three referendums on it with independence being rejected in each one”.

      If you know that there were three referendums, when in fact there were two, what else do you know that isn’t true?

      • dljvjbsl

        You are correct. There were referendums in 1980 and 1995 which both were defeated. As for Quebec exceptionalism, one needs only to refer to the federal Canada Health Act which requires all provinces to supply fully portable health insurance. Quebec ignores this. As well, Quebec administers it own immigration program and selects based on its own criteria. I live here in Quebec. I can assure you that Quebec can select its own degree of autonomy within the Canadian federation.

  • c777

    A nation with one in five employed in the public sector and a proportion of the rest servicing that sector ?
    Reminds me of another nation………
    Oh, yes, Greece.
    Still from England’s point of view.
    Labour -41 MP’s
    Libdem -11 Mp’s

  • The PrangWizard of England

    I’ll just be brief. I reject the Union. England must have its own parliament. It cannot be denied that the UK parliament in Westminster must be dissolved at some point – it would be a further injustice on England if this were not happen and some fudged arrangement put in place. The die is cast, England must be set free from the British State and be entirely self-governing.

    • Raw England

      Excellently put. I agree, as do the vast majority of our fellow native English citizens.

      • Wessex Man

        Well they probably agree with him but not with you!

  • Factman

    Blaming coloured immigrants for the Scots breaking away is bizarre: like Germans blaming the loss of World War One on the Jews or Arabs blaming Israel for bad weather.

    In reality the heart went out of the
    British idea with the long reign of hard right English nationalism
    under Margaret Thatcher. She destroyed Britain.

    Year ago I asked a Scottish friend what all the fuss about breaking away from Britain
    was. Was it not good enough to be British, like the rest of us?

    He asked me, Do YOU like the callous suet faced mean souled poor-bashing
    Tory thugs whom the English vote again and again and again into power?

    I said, No. Well then, my friend said. You have no alternative, but we have: We can clear out. And are doing so.

    He told me Scotland underwent a terrible experience of sheer despair in
    the 1980s as the Labour Party and socialism were repeatedly humiliated
    and destroyed by English voters. The sheer gloating nastiness of English
    voters burned into Scottish souls.

    Scots decided after that bitter ordeal that the only way forward was to get out of the Union.

    I wish Thatcher were alive to see it die. So much for her effing patriotism.

    You Tories destroyed our country. Amen.

    The last minute bleating is not worth a tinker’s cuss.

    Only a kindly, inclusive economic policy could have kept the Scots in.

    Too late now.

    • Alexsandr

      this just shows that the scots should go their own way. Enough of them blaming England for all their troubles. but let us not forget, the disgraceful government of blair and brown pushed through measures in England by whipping Scottish MP’s to vote for them.
      but the scots don’t want independence. they still want to suck on the English teat. they don’t have the b@lls to get their own currency. Until they do that they will still not be truly independent. and petulantly saying they will renege on their share of the national debt just shows how immature they are. because no-one will trust them ever again.

  • CraigStrachan

    “The only people these days who identify primarily as British are London liberals, ethnic minorities and Ulster Protestants”

    That’s a formidable coalition – my money’s on them.

  • Mike, Preston

    That’s rather a depressing post. You may be right, although I sincerely hope that you’re not. There are some people outside the narrow groupings you list who still identify as British first – this white, Catholic Lancastrian for a start, although Salmond and his wreckers and many of the SNP supporters who write aggressive and rude comments on this and other blogs have strengthened my English identity.

    • ChuckieStane

      Mike, I have come over to supporting independence. I am not an SNP member, the movement is much, much greater than any political party.

      I love England. I lived there for years – great people. Just because I want indy doesn’t mean I have to have any negative feelings towards our English neighbours. There are some pathetic comments on these and other boards. Most of the personal insults are anti-Scottish but that does not excuse any.

      Is there anything wrong with strengthening your English identity? I would view it as a positive. It is part of the changing relationships on this island.

      • Mike, Preston

        No, there’s nothing wrong in strengthening my English identity but I feel that my country – the UK – is being taken away from me and I don’t have a say in it. I don’t think for one minute that all or even a majority of pro-independence supporters are anti-English but a sizable number appear to me to be so, and I speak as someone who has spent a lot of time in Scotland, my former partner is Scots and I’ve met some of these people. I feel that while there are honourable motives for independence, Salmond and the SNP and many SNP supporters are stirring up anti-English feeling as a means of generating support for a ‘yes’ vote and that can only leave a very bitter legacy, whatever the outcome of the referendum. I think it’s naively optimistic of any pro-independence supporter to think that everything is going to go smoothly in the event of a ‘yes’ vote but the SNP seem to me to be telling everyone that it will, when what they want is in the hands of others who will act in their own interests and not in Scotland’s unless Scotland’s interests coincide with their own. A sterling union is one example of this but there are others, e.g. EU membership; does anyone think that a Spain fighting Basque and Catalan independence will not veto Scottish membership of the EU? Maybe not but don’t bet on it. But the emphasis on the negative consequences that appears to have been the emphasis of the ‘no’ campaign so far is disheartening. To be honest, if the only thing keeping Scotland in the Union is the fear of the negative consequences of leaving then maybe Ed West is right and we are doomed. That would be a great shame.

  • Jez

    Excellent article.

  • JPWREL .

    Permit me as an American anglophile to stick my nose into
    your business for just a minute. If the Scot’s are all that miserable being a part of the UK then why not gracefully wish them a cheerful farewell? What’s to
    lose? It is not as if they are going to lift Scotland off the map and move it to nicer climes.

    What of the consequences of an English divorce with their Scottish spouse? Well, not all broken marriages end up being disagreeable. Many couples bury the hatchet and become quite amicable. Life after divorce can be quite liberating and
    one finds oneself getting along better with the former after separation than before.

    Truth be told, my English relatives are far more disturbed about the gradual destruction of English culture as a result of rampant immigration into their small piece of the island. The left may worship at the alter of multiculturalism but most English in their hearts would prefer another god to worship. Incidentally, the Scots wishing
    to party alone barely registers on their radar.

    • Raw England

      Beautifully put.

    • Daniel Maris

      Hang on…didn’t you have a war over just that point, that lasted 5 years and cost you something like 500,000 dead? – about one in 30 males… And didn’t you establish the principle that no state can separate?

      • terregles2

        Scotland is an ancient country with its own legal and education system we also have our own church.
        We entered a union in 1707 which either Scotland or England can dissolve at any time. Scotland is a country which just like the three other countries within the UK can choose independence any time it likes. One of the advantages of living in a democracy

        • DazEng

          No it can’t and it is actually a criminal offence to even discuss the notion actually.

          • terregles2

            Which law would that be in breach of.? I think you will find that we live in a democracy and any political party can campaign to have independence. That includes England there is no law against it anywhere.

            • Raw England

              Which is different from “Can choose independence at any time”.

              • terregles2

                Well I am certainly not a legal expert but I have never heard of any Law in England that states the English nation cannot form a political party that campaigns to be independent from Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland.
                If there is such a law that would be outrageous and it should be scrapped immediately. England should have the same right to independence as any other country.
                If there is any such law someone should be able to inform us of what it is and when it was passed.

              • Jambo25

                Let me guess. You’re lives are closely controlled by men with Scottish accents, dropped from the black helicopters and directed by a joint EU/UN junta.

        • Raw England

          (a) its not as simple as that, is it. Far from it. And (b) we do not have a democracy any more. Literally.

      • JPWREL .

        Actually it last about four years and was as destructive as you
        say. But our Civil War perhaps on a relative basis was not as destructive as the English Civil War? The principle you imply that of secession was defeated not in court but only at the point of a bayonet. Lincoln who was in fear of losing the argument never tested the legality of secession in the courts. He preferred resolving the issue by arms. The Constitution at the time being differently interpreted in 1860 that it is today.

    • terregles2

      Well said. As a YES voter I have nothing but goodwill towards England. We will always be historically and geographically close and why should Scotland choosing to have self government change that. Indeed very often divorced parties have a better relationship after separation.

    • Gregory Hesse-Wagner

      Yes, you know it all! You yourself are bloody immigrant!

      • JPWREL .

        Well, as for myself no I am not an immigrant but my ancestors certainly were. They were Britons from Kent, Middlesex and Cornwall some as early at the late 17th century. And when they arrived in the American colonies they were still part of the British Empire. They spoke the same language and practiced the same faith as those already here. Hardly the same as the influx of immigration today into the UK.

        • Raw England

          Exactly. You’re not an immigrant. The founding peoples of America were English. We’re closely connected. But now less so, since America is also, unfortunately, dying due to non-White immigration and multiculturalism.

          • Wessex Man

            er what about the Native Americans?

    • Factman

      From the view point of Native Americans YOU are an unwanted immigrant.

      • JPWREL .

        Factman, you need to get your facts right. ‘Native’ Americans were no more native than anyone else in the new world. They crossed the land bridge where the Bering Strait now is perhaps 15,000 years ago.

        • Wessex Man

          That makes them a sight more native than you.

        • Jambo25

          Yep, they only got there 15,000-35,000 years before the Anglos. ‘Johnny come lately bas..rds’.

    • Wessex Man

      You’ve been watching obviously the slow motion event, as have we English, the vast majority care no more for the Union than the SNP and the Yes Campaigners.

      So tell me this what do you think of Alex Salmond excluding the English from the referendum when there are more people in England who want Scottish Independence than there are Scots in favour of it themselves?

      What do you think of a Scottish Leader who describes the £ as a millstone around our necks and who says that he thinks being outside the Euro Zone is already penalising the Scottish economy, who then turns around and decides that the rest of the United Kingdom has to accept a fiscal union with another country even if they don’t want to?

      • JPWREL .

        If I were a Scot I would find having Alex Salmond as my
        champion a bit of an embarrassment. On this side of the Atlantic to those who care about Scottish independence (which is virtually nobody) he seems a bit dense and rather clueless.

        Personally, as somebody who has always has been fond of
        Blighty it actually makes little difference to me whether the Scot’s stay or leave. Or for that matter the Welsh to! In this day and age on an island a border means little among a people who all speak the same language and share a common history.

        As far as not letting English residents vote in the referendum well isn’t that what politicians do, they try’s to tilt things to their way? He isn’t a clergyman (perhaps in these day’s that is a bad example) he is a pol who is tempted to get away with as much as possible while staying of jail. At least that is the way they are over here.

        My expectation is that the Scot’s in their historical quest
        to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow think that they have discovered the map that leads to treasure and it is independence. If they are successful my gut tells me that in the long run they will end up pretty much like Greece without the nice weather. But that is their choice and as a big believer in self-determination they should have the right to make fools of themselves just as the Irish have managed to do.

        • terregles2

          I am surprised that you say Salmond is viewed as a bit dense and clueless in the USA. Where would they form that opinion from?. The British press and media. Most US citizens do not know who he is never mind anything else Leaving that aside. I am surprised that you would think it democratic to give a country of over 60 million people the right to choose the political future of their smaller neighbouring country with a population of 5 million.
          Those who insist that the remainder of the UK should vote on Scottish independence never answer any of the questions that would raise.
          What would happen if the majority in Scotland voted to stay within the UK and the majority in the UK voted for them to leave.
          How would that be resolved.?
          If the majority in Scotland voted YES and the remainder of the UK voted for them to stay in the union. Same question how would that be resolved.?
          I am surprised that anyone from the USA would find it acceptable that the Scottish nation should be denied their democratic voice. Certainly the people I know in the USA appreciate how much Scotland contributed to the USA and would have more respect for the democratic rights of the Scottish people.

          • JPWREL .

            Did I say that I want to deny the Scot’s their right to self-determination?

            If you look at my comment above the one you are referring to you will find that I heartily endorse the idea of allowing the Scot’s to choose their own future. If being a part of the UK means so little to them that they can be swayed by plus or minus 500 quid a year then they should have a divorce.

            What little coverage this issue has received in the USA has been at the expense of Salmond’s image as a bit of a mendacious and conniving dope. Perhaps he is brilliant I don’t know. Maybe the Scot’s would be better to stand behind the banner of Sean Connery. But then again he won’t even keep his first love – his money – in Scotland.

            Sorry but American’s think about Scotland in the same manner they do about Canada – they don’t. Most Americans could not locate it on a map. The only country they care about other than Israel is Ireland. People here with one sixteenth Irish ancestry put Irish flags in front of their house and call themselves Irish-Americans.

            The reason for that is when it comes down to it Americans have developed no culture other than shopping malls and watching TV. They desperately want a cultural feature in their lives to which they can belong and so they choose Ireland. The Irish are the perfect colorful victims and nothing an American likes more than to proclaim his tribe a victim. The English are definitely not victims but snobs and the Scot’s well they are just invisible. Beside the Scot’s didn’t have the wits to produce the kitsch ‘Riverdance’.

            • terregles2

              i am of Irish/ Scottish/Swedish descent and I know well the influence of Irish culture on the USA. I visit the US quite often to visit my Irish and Scottish family. There are around 30 million US citizens of Scottish descent and around 36.3 million of Irish descent.
              I don’t know where you live in the US but I speak to many US citizens who are very aware of Scotland and their Scottish roots.
              I work in the tourist industry in Scotland and we can hardly keep pace with genealogy advice that our US visitors search for while visiting us.They are so enthusiastic about viewing the birthplace of their ancestors. I have learned more from the US tourIsts about the numerous Scots who emmigrated to the US and are held in such high regard today. Men like Allan Pinkerton, John Paul Jones. Andrew Carnegie, John Witherspoon etc. The list is endless.

            • terregles2

              What you did say was that politicians always tilt things to their way. That rather suggested you thought perhaps it might be fair or acceptable if English people did vote on Scottish independence..
              I am really surprised that you say Salmond is portrayed on the US media as a mendacious conniving dope especially as you say yourself the issue has such little coverage. You must live in an extremely politically astute area of the USA. I was in New York Tartan week 2013 which was a wonderful experience but I never came across anyone who had an opinion on Alex Salmond good bad or indifferent.
              To suggest that all Scots would vote for independence if they were £500 better off based on the result of one small survey really suggests that you are looking for ways to denigrate the Scottish nation. There seems to be no end to your sweeping assertions you even know that Sean Connery’s first love is money and you even know where he spends it and where he invests it, You and he must be very close. But then you also know the opinion of every single person living in the USA.
              Your most telling assertion though was that Scottish heritage is invisible in the USA . Incredible. Even US president Bush like so many others has acknowledged the debt of honour that Americans hold for those of Scottish descent who made enduring contributions to the US nation through faith, hard work and values,

            • Jambo25

              I wondered why this lack of high profile organisation of Scots-Americans compared to Italians, Poles, Irish etc and then I worked it out. In America its the poor and excluded who organise in this way. It was never on for the Scots as we simply arrived and became wealthy,

        • Jambo25

          The vast majority of my family are American so I visit the country fairly frequently (NY, Conn, Mass and Maine). Most people there, outside my family, wouldn’t know where Scotland was or even if its a real place. Mind you, this is a country where 25% of the populace doesn’t know that the Earth orbits the Sun.

    • mountolive

      But what about the Union Flag? It will look awful!

      • JPWREL .

        Leave the flag alone and say it is as it is in remembrance of the past – a historical artifact so to speak. Actually, I doubt if the Scot’s will much mind and even if they did they are powerless to change it. In fact, the Scot’s will be powerless to do a lot of rings they are counting on doing but they will discover that later.

        • terregles2

          Bullying smaller countries. Certainly the UK and the USA are no strangers to doing that.

    • RobertC

      Before a divorce can be agreed, it is normal to agree how to share out the spoils of the marriage up to that point: children (access and costs), dwellings (ditto), etc.

      This has not happened with Salmond’s push for independence! He has promoted the attractive things he can do, like handing out candy to voters, without airing any details of the costs or how it will be done.

      For example, Scotland does not have its own currency and he wants to use the GBP. For this to have any credibility in the financial markets, the BoE will need to control the interest rates in Scotland. This will make Scotland ‘NOT independent’. The Spanish say they will refuse Scotland’s entry into the EU (because they have their own independence movements to crush!), so no chance of joining the Euro – which is now mandatory for any countries joining. There is also the possibility that they will not meet the requirements to join the Euro, even if they get that far. There are also the (over large) public sector functions, like car registration and social security that need to be unraveled. It is not that it cannot be done but, as far as I know, very little, if anything, has been done to scope the work that needs to be done. Every area needs to be scoped, even those areas that are not believed to be affected, because that is the only way to avoid a car crash of a mess! I expect much of the Scottish financial industry, currently centred in Edinburgh, will decamp to England, as will some of the oil companies. But do we, in England, care? Not really, because we think they will vote ‘NO’.

      If Scotland does vote ‘NO’, I hope that the muddle, mostly created by Labour, can be sorted. It has been mainly caused by creating parliaments/assemblies in every ‘home nation’ apart from England. So, if we could either we loose these parliaments/assemblies, or if England gets one of its own and similar functions are devolved to each one, we might get what we could have had in the first place, a United Kingdom, with country powers passed to each country and county powers for each county!

      I have no idea whether the Scots in England, Wales and NI will need passports, and whether it will be true of those countries subjects when in Scotland, I do not know either!

      If Scotland does vote ‘YES’, all I can see is that the larger political entity will drive a very hard bargain! So, why the Scots have not woken up and continue to sleep walk into Salmond’s nightmare, does not really bother those in the South of England!

      It is ironic that the Union occurred because the Scots were bankrupt and, if we split, they will probably slide into the same state. 🙂

  • tjamesjones

    I don’t agree with the “nations” point. In football and rugby we have always talked about the “home nations”, and being Scottish has always been a meaningful distinction within Britain. What we have now is simply the lack of an external conflict (such as WW1) to draw attention to what we share rather than what separates us.
    But if I was to identify one thing that does seem to have changed, it’s not in Scotland, it is, as you say, in England, where there is quite limited interest in a future together with Scotland, and I don’t know that it won’t be English rather than Scottish separatism that will be decisive if we don’t find ourselves drawn together by some event from outside the UK.

    • Raw England

      One thing did change in Scotland; or rather, increase: their blatant – and increasingly violent – dislike of the English.

      • terregles2

        Have you ever lived in Scotland? I have often asked my English friends and English work colleagues if they encounter any anti English sentiments. They tell me no they haven’t . If anyone visits the Highlands and Islands every other hotel is owned and run by English people and very welcome they are to.
        Many Scots no longer wish to be governed from Westminster but disliking Westminster does not mean they dislike English people.
        To say that Scots hate the English is untrue and it is a bit insulting.

        • DazEng

          LIAR!

        • Raw England

          I’m afraid to say you’re the minority in this regard. Maybe you’re middle class, and live in a gentle area. The working class Scots really don’t like England and the English. It doesn’t matter anyway; that’s merely one of the reasons separation is needed.

          • terregles2

            I do live in a nice affluent area but I also mix with every type of person in my working environment. I can assure you I am not a minority. You say it doesn’t matter but really it does. English and Scots live and work quite happily together in Scotland and to state that Scots hate the English is really both untrue and unacceptable. I do not hate any nation especially not the English.

            • Gregory Hesse-Wagner

              The voice of sanity!

          • Jambo25

            I lived in working class areas for decades and I cannot remember anyone hating the English. This will come as a shock to you but I remember a sunny day in 1966 when the streets in my Edinburgh council scheme were empty and you could hear a pin drop until England scored against West Germany then you could hear the roar from up and down the street.
            The 30 or 40 years of braindead boosterism ended that.

        • Gregory Hesse-Wagner

          Why is it that the right-wing English think that EVERYBODY hates them?!

          • terregles2

            It’s hard to understand. The boys can be so agressive and rude it is almost as if they are the ones who hate everybody. The extreme right certainly do not epitomise the perfect English gentleman. It’s so disappointing.

            • Gregory Hesse-Wagner

              Yes! Yes! Yes! Let’s not be extreme: We are, we hope, intelligent, educated and … open-minded people… Let’s look at things with a calmer, more balanced eye: The Spectator readers really should know better…

          • Raw England

            Oh, ya know, just the little thing about our ethnicity, culture, sovereignty, identity, pride, history, economy, voice and actual existence being viciously, aggressively, openly and systematically destroyed from all sides.

            That’s all.

            • Gregory Hesse-Wagner

              Is, in your view, England this only country that is “systematically destroyed from all sides”; and could you define what or who you mean by “all sides”?

              • Raw England

                By ‘all sides’, I mean by the Marxist, viciously undemocratic, anti-England EU; our government and political class, which enforces multiculturalism (and thus our ethnic destruction) by increasingly ultra-fascist laws, and which is actually itself increasingly composed largely of non-ethnic English/British and Liberal fascists; by the millions of blacks and Muslims here, who have now proven Enoch Powell painfully correct by solidifying influence, voting as a bloc, and generally, by total, open default, doing everything they can to destroy what remains of us, spit on us, and humiliate us.

                I could go on.

                • Wessex Man

                  I wish you wouldn’t!

              • Raw England

                And no, its not just England. This is happening to White people as an whole; it’s happening to American and European Whites. Though the sinister war against us English is particularly savage and relentless.

        • Glucoboost

          It’s untrue and also *weird*.

          What violence, BTW?

          If there is hatred, it is of SE England Tories who take Scotland’s wealth (9.9% tax in, 9.3% spending back — govt figures) and spend it on things like HS2.

    • Ed West

      Yes that is true, but it was only in a sporting context though it was ever used (as far as I recall)

  • john

    There is much truth in this article but it fails to recognize the fact that England is two countries also – a wealthy, Tory dominated London within the M25 and everywhere else. If Scotland goes, these regional pressures will surface.
    NB I also think the phony Commonwealth will start to fall apart as the Aussies etc also focus on their local issues and downplay interest in the UK monarchy.

    • Ed West

      I agree, but having blogged on the London/England divide a few times recently, I didnt want to go on about it again lest I start to bore everyone on the subject.

      • Raw England

        Ed, that issue isn’t boring, I’d say. It’s a very urgent and important issue. Its an issue that’s having overwhelmingly horrific and increasingly depraved, ongoing effects for all native English citizens.

      • Raw England

        Can I just request you read this blood-curdling article, Ed. I’m not a Liberty GB member or promoter or anything like that; I do have a glance at their site from time to time, though. This article truly reveals just how sinister the situation is:

        http://libertygb.org.uk/v1/index.php/home/root/news-libertygb/6293-dean-mayley-and-racial-double-standards

    • terregles2

      I think that if Scotland becomes independent it will help the north of England to get a fairer deal from Westminster.

      • john

        Maybe you’re right but the North cannot just beg for a fairer deal – it’ll never happen. The London Establishment has always got its way and only a real power grab will turn history around.

      • Wessex Man

        It will be none of your business then won’t it?

  • Raw England

    Very insightful, and 100% correct, Ed. By FAR the most accurate article on the situation. And thanks for describing English opinion on this so well.

  • 15peter20

    “In England there is a feeling that since the split is inevitable…”

    Is there now?

    • Raw England

      Yes. There is.

      • Daniel Maris

        I would agree – amongst those who think about such things, and that may be a minority.

        • Raw England

          Exactly. The majority of native English really, really don’t care at all. They’ve got much, much more urgent, terrible, immediate, horrific, painful and serious problems to deal with. We’re fighting for our own lives and nation. But the concensus is clear: “Cut Scotland off; let them go. They want very different things to us, and are now an hindrance”.

          • terregles2

            I wish you could get Osborne to see that. Can’t understand why he wants to kepp Scotland. Do you think there is something he is not telling us.?

            • Wessex Man

              He doesn’t want to keep Scotland, he just doesn’t want to guarantee a foreign countries debts, do keep up and stop blaming him for the Fat Controller’s idiocy!

  • HJ777

    On the contrary, Ed.

    The SNP has reached its high water mark and will decline after it loses the referendum.

    One area you are correct about – the UK government must take action to change the university situation to stop discrimination against English (but not EU) students in Scotland and to allow Scots to go to university in England. If the SNP wants Scots to have free university education, it should fund those students to go where they want to go.

  • Mr Grumpy

    Vincent Nichols, weathervane. Hah! Who knew?
    Having been born and spent my early childhood in Scotland I shall always consider myself British, and I’m sure something similar goes for a significant demographic. But of course I don’t get a vote even though I would presumably have an automatic entitlement to Scottish citizenship. I find it all very sad.

    • terregles2

      I am interested in the point you raise Mr Grumpy. Do you mean that everyone in the UK should vote on Scottish independence or do you mean that all the people who once lived in Scotland but no longer live in Scotland should have the vote.?

      • CraigStrachan

        Do all Scots live in Scotland? Is everybody who lives in Scotland a Scot?

        • terregles2

          Of course not all Scots live in Scotland. I asked the question because I wanted to know what would happen if Scots voted NO and the majority not living in Scotland voted YES or indeed vice versa, I just wondered how that would be resolved.

          • Jambo25

            Sending the tanks and black helicopters in. Woooo scary.

            • Wessex Man

              do grow up.

              • Jambo25

                Strangely enough I thought of saying don’t be so pompous to you.

                • Wessex Man

                  are you ever going to grow up, you full well know we English want you to have your independence so just go for it!

              • Jambo25

                Strangely enough I thought of saying don’t be so pompous to you.

      • Mr Grumpy

        I didn’t use the word “should”, as it happens. You seem understandably happy with the position that I can be a Scot after the referendum but not before.

        • terregles2

          I would imagine that you can think of yourself as a Scot any time you like now or in the future. Apologies if I misunderstood you. I thought that you meant people who do not live in Scotland but were born in Scotland should all be voting in September.

  • edlancey

    In my experience the “ethnics” only identify as British because they refuse to call themselves English – other than for the occasional sporting event.

    I have heard many of them (friends) say that to me over the last twenty years – being Scottish, they evidently let their guard down a bit speaking to me.

    • Raw England

      Well, its impossible for ethnics to be English. English is a White ethnicity. They can’t even be British, as that’s also a White ethnicity and the identity of native peoples of these lands. But I guess its too late for Britishness now; any old immigrant can come and claim it, which is actually, when you think about it, disgusting.

      • MichtyMe

        Were not the majority of the British in the earlier part of the last century, before the success of independence movements, Asian or African

        • Raw England

          Is this a joke question? Or are you actually serious?

          • MichtyMe

            No, equal British Subjects.

            • Raw England

              Ah, sorry, I get you. Well, no, to be short. You’re talking about Commonwealth/Empire civic status stuff here.

              • MichtyMe

                Yes, but it illustrates a nebulous concept, British/ness. This indistinct phenomenon could be discussed til the cows come home.

      • Wessex Man

        You really are the unacceptable face of stupity.

        • Raw England

          Looks like you’re having one of your Leftie turns, today, then. The above is a factual statement.

          • Wessex Man

            never voted for any left wing party in my life, you find that they are the spawn of Stalin and Hitler. Just because I don’t agree with your stupid rabid racist comments doesn’t make me left wing anymore than your racist posts makes you anything more than a halfwit!

            • Raw England

              I said “One of your Leftie turns”. As in, I know you’re not a Leftie; I’m just pointing out that you have rather occasional lurches to it.

              And calling me racist for pointing out facts? How very, well, Leftie!

              Also, I note that you can’t actually refute my statements; just launch insults.

              Ah, Wessex. You are a funny bugger at times.

              • Wessex Man

                I don’t like microwaved!

  • sir_graphus

    3 decisive factors in the rise of Englishness:
    * attempts by the liberal left to suppress what would be a dominant English culture by associating it with colonial guilt and racism
    * EU and other liberal-left attempts to divide England into regions.
    * a realisation that while we’ve generally supported and liked the Scots for generations, there are becoming increasingly rude and vocal, and in some cases violent in their dislike for us

    • Frank

      Can I add the steady drip drip drip of the Welsh and Northern Irish nationalists (plus the absurd expense of the three devolved parliaments/assemblies).

      • Hegelian

        Don’t forget the drip drip drip of Thatcherism.

    • Raw England

      Exactly, Sir Graphus. And another one: the sickening effects of immigration, multiculturalism.

      • Hegelian

        May I remind you the SNP is NOT a rightwing party, plenty of Scots vote Labour and it is the Tories who have been wiped out electorally north of the border? That Scottish nationalism rose in tandem with Thatcherism?

        • Raw England

          Yes, I know. The SNP is the weirdest ‘Nationalist’ party in the world. Because they’re not, in any way, shape or form Nationalists at all. They’re Leftie braindeads.

          • Jambo25

            Yes, Scots insult and attack the English but you know we don’t call large numbers of English voters ‘Rightie braindeads’. We leave those kind of puerile insults to largactil munching numpties like your good self.

            • Wessex Man

              I’m a bit embarrassed by this rather strange ‘Raw England’ person suddenly springing out of the ether and being nearly as corrosive as you.

              • Jambo25

                Well all you’ve got to do is show where I have made insults against the English of that sort. Simple.

                • Wessex Man

                  everywhere you look!

                • Jambo25

                  Shouldn’t be too difficult to find then.

            • Lena Helena

              Well Jambo – The likes of John Clegg & Raw England are blinkered and prejudiced. I have relations living in Scotland and in England, but each and everyone want to see an Independent Scotland. Unlike John Clegg we in England, do not insult the Scots by saying that they are incapable of running matters – a recent deplorable jibe from JC for example, referred to the Scots eating of fried mars bars – what a fool. As for Wessex man – how can you talk about hate when it is something that the Westminster parliament and successive governments have and are still conducting on a regular basis. By all means call it bullying if you prefer!

    • Hegelian

      Blaming coloured immigrants for the Scots breaking away is bizarre: like Germans blaming the loss of World War One on the Jews or Arabs blaming Israel for bad weather.

      In reality the heart went out of the
      British idea with the long reign of hard right English nationalism
      under Margaret Thatcher. She destroyed Britain.
      Years ago I asked a Scottish friend what all the fuss about breaking away from Britain was. Was it not good enough to be British, like the rest of us?

      He asked me, Do YOU like the callous suet faced mean souled poor-bashing
      Tory thugs whom the English vote again and again and again into power?

      I said, No. Well then, my friend said. You have no alternative, but we have: We can clear out. And are doing so.

      He told me Scotland underwent a terrible experience of sheer despair in
      the 1980s as the Labour Party and socialism were repeatedly humiliated
      and destroyed by English voters. The sheer gloating nastiness of English
      voters burned into Scottish souls.

      Scots decided after that bitter ordeal that the only way forward was to get out of the Union.

      I wish Thatcher were alive to see it die. So much for her effing patriotism.

      You Tories destroyed our country. Amen.

      The last minute bleating is not worth a tinker’s cuss.

      • Wessex Man

        nothing like carrying a chip on your shoulder for twenty four years, you Scots certainly know how to hate don’t you.

        • Hegelian

          I would very much like the Scots to stay n the Union.
          But this is now hope against hope: my gut tells me the Union is finished.
          How can Scots be blamed? The caring, decent country that Britain was went out with Thatcherism. Why be part of a brutal society if you can build a better one? The Scandinavian world might be a better family for the Scots to join.

          • terregles2

            Sadly any Scottish person who expresses a wish to run their own country is met by a torrent of abuse and accused of hating English people.
            It doesn’t matter that many English people living in Scotland are campaigning for a YES vote. It doesn’t matter how often we point out that we have English friends and family some still hurl the anti English accusation.
            It doesn’t matter how often we remind them that we are against Westminster government not English people we are still accused of hating the English. As long as we know that we don’t hate anyone English or otherwise that is all that matters.

            • Wessex Man

              now you know that’s not true, I’ve even offered to go out doorstepping with you to persuade people to vote yes and you threw it back in my face.

              If you want to be independent be so but don’t ask us to bankroll you!

            • Damon

              Terregles – if you suggest that support for the SNP is in no way driven by dislike for the English, you are disingenuous. It may not be true in your case, but Scottish nationalism is partly (not entirely) fuelled by a bigoted anglophobia, and you know this.

              • terregles2

                Damon there are a small proportion of Scottish and English people who are rude to one another and make nasty comments. They are a minority. That is a fact.
                There are many English people living in Scotland vote SNP that is a fact. There are another four political parties campaigning in Scotland for independence apart from SNP that is a fact. The overwhelming majority of Scots and English get on well with each other. That is a fact. Nicola Sturgeon’s granny was English and very many of us have a mixture of Scots/English roots that is a fact. The majority of nasty comments on this forum are not coming from Scottish nationalists that is a fact.
                You and others saying that people voting for independence hate the English is both untrue and insulting. We will continue to dislike the Westminster government and we will never hate the English. That is a fact.

                • Jambo25

                  My wife’s English. A number of my friends are English. A large number of my neighbours, down in Dumfrieshire, are English (about 20%-30% as far as I know.). None have ever complained that they are the targets of Anglophobia.

                • terregles2

                  Same here in Strathclyde. It would seem that the further away some people are from Scotland the more they know about what happens here.

          • Damon

            All very well, Hegelian, if pre-Thatcher Britain was the gentle paradise you suggest. I was there. It was a tired, drab and defeated place, with a basket-case economy, beset by a corrosive sense of national decline and national inferiority. Something radical needed to be done about it, and that’s why Mrs Thatch was voted into office.

    • Jambo25

      Horrible that, isn’t it. Nowadays when Scots are insulted or patronised by some of their English ‘cousins’, they answer back. How dare they?

Close
Can't find your Web ID? Click here