It seems that the Westminster bubble have finally woken up to the very real prospect of the Scottish people voting for Independence next week.
The first thing to say is that this is another example of the arrogance and out-of-touch nature of the three main parties – so convinced were they that the vote would be a resounding No, that they have hardly bothered with the campaign until now.
Second thing to say is that the No campaign (such as it is) has been an unmitigated disaster so far – focussing on the negatives, engaging in shouting matches on TV, almost ridiculing the Yes campaign – a fine example of how NOT to run a campaign.
Although I do acknowledge there seem to be a number of significant flaws in the Yes plan.
As things become increasingly desperate the PM decides to try and help by putting the Saltire up in Downing Street. Does he not know that the Saltire is the Scottish flag and therefore arguably shows support for a “Yes” vote? Wouldn’t it arguably show more support for the Union to fly the Union Jack?
From the same article, come the lines;
“Whether their joint venture can make any difference at this late stage remains to be seen; but as Mr Cameron said yesterday, it would look complacent were they to stay on in London while the future of the nation was being decided 400 miles to the north.”
So the future of our nation is being decided in a Scottish referendum in which non-nationals and 16-year-old children can vote, but the English (and Scots resident elsewhere) have no say whatsoever?
This debacle then brings in calls for further devolution for the other Union members, as this is the logical conclusion of the process – so why don’t we all get a say?
What is UKIP’s position – well we are the UK Independence Party and therefore are clearly in favour of retaining the Kingdom as it is. There is an article in the Telegraph by Nigel about why he believes it’s important and why the Scots are being hood-winked by the SNP.
The next question is then related to the EU – can Scotland join? And does this level of devolution trigger a more immediate re-negotiation of our membership, which is currently on the basis of being a United Kingdom?
For the Scots, having fought to leave one union – where you have significant power and influence, to then seek to join another in which you will have virtually no say and influence is surely madness. In any case it seems unlikely to me that Scotland will be allowed to join the EU as this would need sanction from all members states and some – like Spain – are certain to veto the plan, for fear of encouraging their own independence-seeking regions. As for us getting a chance to re-negotiate – ha ha ha.
So what is my feeling? Well, even setting aside my political affiliation, I am a proud Britain and value the contribution of Scotland to the UK (just as I do the Welsh and Irish). I love the Country – my wife and I honeymooned in Scotland, and I love the people – not just because my great great grandmother was an Armstrong and I own an Armstrong tartan scarf.
Friendly sporting rivalry and banter between the cultures that make up the UK is a great tradition, but there is no good to be done by extending that to a complete cessation of ties.
There is no doubt in my mind that we are all, genuinely, Better Together.