Monday, 6 January 2014

England Awakes

From today's Daily Record column

Is this the week that England awoke to the end of Britain?

While we were sipping drams and looking back on the year that was commentators in what we call the national newspapers, that is the London ones, began to realise that 2014 might be a big year.

Charles Moore, the former editor of the Daily Telegraph and biographer of Margaret Thatcher no less, wrote alarmingly that the United Kingdom "could be voted out of existence". Welcome to the party, Charles.

Philip Collins, Tony Blair's former speechwriter, noted thoughtfully that  the usual  case against independence is that Scotland will be damaged. "The real damage, though, will be done, though, to England."

Simon Jenkins, a hired girn of the Guardian, still reeling from the celebrations, urged the Tories to let Scotland go.

The response from petty nationalists, there are a few of them, is that this is a debate for the Scots alone. Except David Cameron, of course.  They'd like him to debate independence so that it can be framed as an Us versus The Tories battle. 

True, Scots alone - and resident Czechs, Catalans and exiled nats from as far away as San Francisco  who are on the electoral roll at their parent's Heilan' Hame for the year - are the ones who will vote.

But the English will be affected too and are beginning to voice concern. Moore detects a change in attitude, which I see for myself.

A few years ago the tolerant English would say if Scotland wanted to go alone then regretfully, so be it.

That changed to "are you Jocks still here?" as Salmond's policies of differentiation - and downright discrimination in the case of university fees for English students - began to engender resentment.

Now, there is an edge of incredulity when English friends ask what is happening in Scotland. "You're not going to, are you?" they ask. I don't know, I reply.

I do know that Carlisle doesn't see independence as the springboard to English devolution, with Scotland as a Scandic beacon of social justice in the British Isles, as the leftish newspaper chatterati naively wish for.

The Labour-voting north of England will feel abandoned and isolated, not empowered, if Scotland turns it's back on them.

The Welsh see the UK unravelling completely and Northern Ireland, where the problems of sectarianism are far from solved, look on nervously.

That is to say nothing of the 800,000 Scots in England who must wait for their nation to decide whether to make home a foreign country.

Scottish independence is not just about Scotland. The English are beginning to realise that, and beginning to care.

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