Over the last four weeks, watching the events unfold north of the border, my mood has ranged from conviction that the ‘No’s’ would carry the day, to anxiety that they wouldn’t, to anger at the blinkered political elite, on both sides of the political divide who have let this situation evolve and unravel in the first place, to resignation that the United Kingdom may well split – after over three hundred and seven years of successful partnership. But, in the last few days, that resignation has gradually been replaced by a realisation. A realisation that perhaps, just perhaps, a ‘Yes’ vote may be the best thing for England too.
Leaving aside the thought that if the people of Scotland are, in the majority, stupid enough to listen to the half-truths and distortions of a silver-tongued snake-oil salesman like Alex Salmond, they deserve independence and all the inevitable economic consequences that that will bring; there are are positive aspects to Scotland going it alone. Positive aspects for the rest of the Union.
Firstly, it will mean No Devo Max. Whilst our so-called political leaders have been gallivanting around the Lowlands, Highlands and Islands, gaily promising anything and everything to the Scottish Electorate to persuade them to stay within the fold, without a single thought about how this is perceived south of the border, the fact is that the vast majority of us not living within Alex Salmond’s fiefdom are thoroughly sick of the fact that due to the iniquities of the Barnett formula, Scotland continues to enjoy things like free university education and prescriptions, effectively subsided by the rest of the UK. Alex Salmond makes much noise about Scotland being the bullied underdog when, in fact, the very reverse is true. It’s the over-taxed, over-exploited and long-suffering English, Welsh and Northern Irish who have been for too long in the under-dog position. It’s hard to understand how our political masters can behave so naively with a General Election only nine months away. Presumably they think they can ‘solve’ the ‘Scottish problem’ now and still have enough time to soft-soap and spin the electorate in the time remaining. Personally, I think that saving the Union at the expense of the non-Scottish Electorate will prove to be political suicide.
Secondly, Scotland will have to finally face real economic realities. The population of the United Kingdom currently stands at around sixty-four million. Fifty-three million live in England, three million in Wales and nearly two million in Northern Ireland. Just over five million live in Scotland. 8.4% of the UK population live in Scotland compared to nearly 84% living in England. The population of England alone is ten times higher than that of Scotland. Regardless of how Alex Salmond’s SNP try to spin this fact and even ignoring the realities of servicing far-flung geographical regions such as the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, the reason that costs are broadly the same across the UK is because the cost-base is spread across the whole population whether in terms of taxation or commercial cost. This applies whether we’re talking about a postage stamp or sending a fuel tanker to refill a petrol station. To give a simple example. For the post office to deliver letters to central London, on foot and by bicycle is an order of magnitude times cheaper than sending the post bus to Ullapool but a first-class letter costs exactly the same to both destinations – because the cost is spread across the whole populace. Nobody is saying that following a ‘Yes’ vote, prices in Scotland will increase by a factor of ten but the SNP is simply whistling into the wind when they say that commercial prerequisites won’t prevail and Scotland won’t become a markedly more expensive place to live in. That’s when they’re not busy accusing the whole economic argument as being a ‘bullying tactic masterminded by the Westminster elite’ instead of facing stark financial realities.
I could go on, and on, on this subject. This post hasn’t even touched the currency issue (where the ‘Westminster elite’ are sure to back down – probably for compromises on Trident), Defence, the role of the Monarchy (and one does have to ask the question, whether, if the Monarchy are unwilling to be drawn into any discussion regarding their United Kingdom, there’s any point in them anyway – following a ‘Yes’ vote? In a Federal Great Britain – probably not). But I want to go straight to the main reason why a ‘Yes’ vote could be a good thing and that is quite simply…
The Rise of English Nationalism.
With a few notable exceptions, ordinary English people have been the quiet and down-trodden majority for far far too long. Looking back over the last twenty to thirty years it’s plain to most people that the one group lacking active representation and support are common or garden English people whether from the leafy lanes of Berkshire or the tower blocks of London. Successive governments have been so keen to appease minority groups – ethnic, non-English speaking, gay, religious, you name it, that the quintessential ‘man in the street’ has been simply ignored. His or her concerns thrust to one side in the sure and certain knowledge that, come polling day, he or she will either vote for one of the three main parties – or not bother to vote – which pretty much has the same effect at the end of the day. No clearer example of this politically correct favouritism can be seen today than in the Rotherham debacle. Decades of liberal back-sliding and appeasement have led us to a situation where areas of our cities no longer resemble England in any manner or form. Where rape is ignored for fear of offending the local community. And where England is seen as a soft touch country and destiny of choice for have-nots, globally.
Neil Blomkamp’s 2009 film, District 9 dealt with the subject of an Alien settlement near Johannesburg. Certainly, had the ‘prawns’, as the aliens were known, chosen London as their destination of choice, one can be sure that they’d have been over-run with officials signing them up for benefits, free housing and arranging to translate all related leaflets into the alien tongue.
The English have had enough. The rise of UKIP, as well as more extreme parties, proves this. If the Cameron, Clegg, Milliband comedy circuit now finishing in Scotland succeeds in retaining Scotland at yet more cost to an increasingly embittered and hostile English electorate then they will pay the price in May 2015.
News just breaking reveals that Alex Salmond has approved all-night drinking on Election Night. One fact is sure. If Scotland votes ‘Yes’ then the hangover that they’ll suffer will be of monumental proportions and will last for decades, if not centuries, to come. If Scotland votes ‘No’ then it will be the so-called Westminster elite that will suffer that hangover. The only consolation for them will be that they won’t have to suffer it for long.