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David Goodhart

London, England

David Goodhart is founder and editor of Prospect magazine, the London-based current affairs monthly. Before starting Prospect in 1995 he worked for 12 years for the Financial Times, including a spell as correspondent in Germany. He is the author of several books and pamphlets, the latest for the think tank Demos is titled Progressive nationalism: citizenship and the left. Close.

David Goodhart

London, England

David Goodhart is founder and editor of Prospect magazine, the London-based current affairs monthly. more »

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The End of the United Kingdom?

London, England - A successful multinational state and key U.S. ally could start to unravel in the coming months: I mean, of course, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

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Whether tragic events touch your family personally or are brought into your home via newspapers and television, you can help children cope with the anxiety that violence, death, and disasters can cause.

Listening and talking to children about their concerns can reassure them that they will be safe. Start by encouraging them to discuss how they have been affected by what is happening around them. Even young children may have specific questions about tragedies. Children react to stress at their own developmental level.

The Caring for Every Child's Mental Health Campaign offers these pointers for parents and other caregivers:

* Encourage children to ask questions. Listen to what they say. Provide comfort and assurance that address their specific fears. It's okay to admit you can't answer all of their questions.
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* Find out what frightens them. Encourage your children to talk about fears they may have. They may worry that someone will harm them at school or that someone will try to hurt you.
* Focus on the positive. Reinforce the fact that most people are kind and caring. Remind your child of the heroic actions taken by ordinary people to help victims of tragedy.
* Pay attention. Your children's play and drawings may give you a glimpse into their questions or concerns. Ask them to tell you what is going on in the game or the picture. It's an opportunity to clarify any misconceptions, answer questions, and give reassurance.
* Develop a plan. Establish a family emergency plan for the future, such as a meeting place where everyone should gather if something unexpected happens in your family or neighborhood. It can help you and your children feel safer.

If you are concerned about your child's reaction to stress or trauma, call your physician or a community mental health center.


paddy yank i am from birmingham where your brave ira scum planted the pub bombs.and you paddy yanks supported and financed.so when those jets crashed into the twin towers and the yanks went anti terrorist mad.i thought hypocrites have some back.


As a Scot living in Scotland, I must say that for most folk here, there never has been a "United Kingdom". It is only a "phrase" used by politicians, as for the people, we are Scots, English, Welsh and Irish respectively. For most we want to be recognised, as "us", not an "area" within England, as was once said by a New York citizen when asked on a local TV news programme here "do you know where Scotland is".
Even here it happens, when English TV presenters and newspapers comment on "British" events, but call them English. And if Scotland did regain Independence, then we would be breaking up the UK, not leaving it, so what would happen to ALL the infrastructures that have formed since the Union? The BBC?, No longer British, EBC (English Broadcasting Company) then? British Gas, British Telecom etc. I think that Scotland could make it on its own, we would need a "settling" in period, and that would be tough going, if taxes go up, well so be it, you don't get something for nothing in today's society, which is one reason I think some Scots are afraid to go Independent. The SNP don't have all the answers, but of all the other parties that are currently there, the SNP have the best to offer.

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An Indian:

We in India were ruled by the British for close to two centuries. Most of the embire builders in India were Scot and theynwere asracial and patronizing as their English counterparts.
It was Scot British PM, Ramsay Macdonald, who decided upon a policy of divide the Indians on religious grounds in order to perpetuate the colonial rule. This eventuall led to the partition of the country into India and Pakistan on religious lines. It is now poetic justice that the Brits are having a taste of their own medicine.
Once the division takes place the biggest loosers would be the defence personnel. Independent Scotland would not be able to support large armed forces. What would then happen to so many Scottish generals and admirals?

bill connor:

to the english democrat...read what I said..All areas of Scotland voted for devolution (in the absence of an independent question).. I dont care how the north of England voted..I said all of Scotland voted..what part of I don't care if England votes to split apart or stay together dont you get....(and I would point out that I'm not anti English..all ALL of my friends are English)...


Wow, it is amazing how hungry for unchecked power politicians can revive 300 years old battles for their own good!
But in the essence it is all about oil profits. Well, in 5 years most of North Sea oil will be gone, and Scottish nationalists will be gone with it. ;)


'Disillusionment, as the author describes it, comes from the left-wing Scots marriage to 19th century socialist ideals. As with Ireland, they will only progress when they stop living in the past.

Posted by: Paul, New York, USA | November 25, 2006 03:28 PM '
Just shows how much you know about the modern Scotland then and thats naff all!



'We should recognise that the UK retains a lot of strength on the world stage due to our Union; if the Union falls neither Scotland nor England will have the same recognition & respect that the UK is afforded.' Ranil M. Jayawardena

The act of union in 1707, which brought about the UK, was made possible through the corruption and conivances of English politicians as well as a corrupt King, Scots noblemen and politicians were bribed and paid off, The union was very unpopular with rioting on both sides of the border.
To say that the UK is respected isnt quite true, there is also the believe amongst pro-unionist politicians today that the UK is a 'Global power', it isnt!, has been one since 1945, so please get real, there is a desire to have an Indpendant Scotland and by result will have a Independant England, no more UK

Dennis V.:

I cannot judge the situation in the UK, but as a Fleming I can say Belgium is going to break up in the near future. It's not a question of 'IF' but 'WHEN'.
Flanders is the Northern and Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. We have already our own flag, anthem, government and parliamant. We have low unemployment and 80% of "belgian" exports is Flemish. Each year we pay 11 billion euro's to Wallonia (the Southern French-speaking state) and we don't get anything in return but insults. I don't feel Belgian, Belgium is not a nation. Flanders is! Flanders exists for over 600 years. I'm Flemish and proud of it and I respect and support all other nations.


I am intrigued by all the speculation and what-if's. Scottish calling the English and English calling the Scottish. For way to long now Britain has been fooling the world into thinking that Britain is 1 country. Lets take sport as an example. "Football 4 different teams" "Olympics One Team" "Rugby League One Team" "Rugby Union 3 Teams" the fourth deciding it better to latch onto the Republic of Ireland and thank god for that as we now have a wonderful team so thank you to all in the North.

Britain or should I say England as used the Act of Union for way too long to gain influence in organisations not just within sport but also in NATO EU and United nations.

I dont want to English bash, but to a small country and at long last a properous one, I believe England should go it alone as they now have serious problems with a range of different issues that they need to sort out domestically. By Scotland becomming independant England could pull back from the brink in Iraq Afganistan and other conflict areas around the globe using the Scots as a way out.

Good luck to Scotland in May but good luck to England and Wales also. I look forward to Scotland coming back to it's true alliance "IRELAND" same currency(if they go Euro) same languages. It will also give the Northern unionists every opportunity to join in the alliance once and for all. Wales if you are reading come and join the party. No royal here.

Stephen Gash:

Not a MORI IPSOS poll Jason, an ICM poll

68% of English people want an English Parliament
59% of English people want Scotland to leave the UK (only 52% of Scots)
48% of English people want England's independence (43% do not, the rest don't know)
Scotland is not the story. England is the story.

Ranil M. Jayawardena, Esq. | Conservative Future:

To the anti-monarchists: You are entitled to be pro-republic, but there is no need to be disrespectful. You negate your argument and, while I disagree with you, I won't even listen to you if you maintain such vicious standpoints.

To the seperatists: England doesn't have a Parliament. Why do you have to have one? England isn't even recognised as a country. Why does Scotland have to push a step further? If independence is voted for in Scotland, surely the English should get a say in whether or not they agree with the separation?

And: on the issue of 'English', 'Scottish' etc, that's fine - but shouldn't we note what is on our passport: British. We should recognise that the UK retains a lot of strength on the world stage due to our Union; if the Union falls neither Scotland nor England will have the same recognition & respect that the UK is afforded.

Finally: we've seen tampering go wrong (devolution! & the House of Lords), we've seen admissions that some changes were wrong (the attempted abolition of The Lord Chancellor) and we've seen that together we're stronger. Why change?!


Mori Ipsos poll released today -

68% of the English want an English parliament with the same rights as the Scotish parliament .

48% want outright English independence .

ie only 4% behind the corresponding figure ( 52% ) for Scotland .

Think on it , all you professional celtic "victims" .

C Cameron:

I'm a holder of a British passport living in the US, and my father's line is Scottish (Cameron of Erracht) though I have never lived in Scotland. Perhaps Dave Coull could tell me whether I'd be eligible for a Scottish passport in the event of devolution...


John Republic of Ireland:

The United Kingdom was built by English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh. It was forced and created by Englishmen, Mostly greedy lords with money on minds and blood on hands. This native indegenous blood of the gaelic scot, welsh or irish became that of the indian or african. As the celts became more english and aceptable they moved up the british food chain, "Hunted becomes the hunter" The imperial experiment grew, the UK/british idea grew morphing into imperialism. UK Higher classes preached how civil they where and believed it. It eventually has to practice what it preached. International pressure and technological advancement ie TV/press & Freedom of speach has lead to a sleeping giant of an oppressed native group of peoples re-surfacing. An example would be welsh language rights growth. I am irish, free of forieng monarchs and governments yet desperate to see a modern scotland, Wales, england and ireland emerge from these historical chains which linger on even today. Look and Northern Ireland, pure tribalism. It is referd to by my elders as remnants of empire. Its solution is directly linked to the UKs break up. It would simply make its argument redundant. So much to say so little time. The world needs a free scotland. It would mature the EU, Westminster & Wasington. The current international power houses are mainly western this is because of technology but there international policy is not driven by humanity but money. The scottish question has economic elements (ironically oil) but is primarily idealistic. Imperial logic needs to be sent into the history books. International decisions need social logic not economic. This can happen only if a big consequence results from economic policy making. Scotland leaving (ending) the UK will send an international political message. Scots are currently not equal within the UK. They will leave eventually. Thankfully aided by englishmen with no para groups. I could go on.

Paul, New York, USA:

Disillusionment, as the author describes it, comes from the left-wing Scots marriage to 19th century socialist ideals. As with Ireland, they will only progress when they stop living in the past.


Ack, cut off:

...It's not our lot to cherry pick the portions of his work that fits our ideology, ignoring the rest.


All the emotional arguments make for a compelling story, regardless of the accuracy of their basis in history. Sadly, this is no argument in itself for independence, and is easily misconstrued (and yes in some cases intended) as xenophobia. However, it is a backdrop that has defined Scotland as a distinct region, for better or worse.

As both sides -- including the English demagogues -- point out, each would be better off economically with the split. They're both right -- why try and bind two diverse nations to a single economic policy? As both are enveloped by the EU, most of the civic benefits of Union can be retained after dissolution -- freedom of trade and migration primarily. It's not like there hasn't already been separation in law and education since forever.

Btw, I think Adam Smith would be proud of his dynamic little country. It's cet

Ignorant Redneckonian:

Hey Bukko,

You're caricaturing yourself as an "exiled" (Oh, the Drama!) San Franciscan aren't you? If not, then we truly are better off without you, and Australia more the worse. If you truly think these nether regions of Jesusland, Redneckonia, and Queensland live up to their pop culture images, and are devoid of creative, productive elements in their citizenry, then you truly haven't examined your world. Oh, and by the way, I found Frisco to be a beautiful, amazing place with many intelligent people, although they did accuse me of talking funny!

And to all the folks in GA and the QLD, if you ever have to deal with this type, just remember--the angrier you can make 'em, the more fun it is for you, and it's all their loss.


Steve said
" I dont see what England or the English have got to do with this debate, but we are still subjected to their educated "opinions", even here! "

A beautiful exposition of Scottish arrogance . This debate is about The End of the United kingdom . Which includes England . Thats right Steve : the country which pays for your country . Scots have been in ultra whinge mode since forever . The English don't tend to whinge but we can take action and that action might just be to declare English independence and get shot of you and your politicians .

( since I doubt Scotland have the guts to do it come May 2007 )


Pete (november 22) posted :This part stood out for me:
" Losing Scotland's 5 million people would not be a huge blow to England's size (more than 50m) ".I find it strange to not consider a 10% loss a huge blow to England's size.

Do you not condider a 90% loss a huge blow to Scotland's size?


Looking at it from a cost-benefit analysis, independence is the better strategy for Scotland. They should have seceded years ago.

Would Scotland really keep the monarch or even get a new one? Personally, I find royalty revolting. I cant imagine people fawning over a fellow human who has blatant disdain for them. Yuck!

Anyway, England, you're not losing a region, you're gaining an ally!


My mom is Scottish, and we now live in America. It never occurred to me until reading these comments here: LOL! my mom has NEVER referred to herself as "British". She is "Scottish". I never even thought about it.

Interestingly, she does (unconsciously) refer to Scottish residents from India, Pakistan, Africa, and so on as "Scottish". She has commented on the novelty of a "Scottish Black" - but if the person speaks with a distinctive Scottish accent, they are, indeed, Scottish!


Perhaps England will leave first?


It's long been clear that since the advent of the EU the UK's days are numbered, and as an Englishman I have no problem with that. In fact I feel the dissolution of the UK could be good for England: it might force us to at long last concede that the British Empire is dead and face the fact that our future is with Europe.

I would set one condition to Scotland's independence though: Northern Ireland. We don't want it and never have done. The NI protestant community is descended from Scots settlers and is culturally far more akin to Scotland than to England, so if the NI unionists don't want to rejoin Ireland in the event of the UK breaking up, it will be Scotland's moral responsibility to take NI with it, not England's.

Patrick Harris Portsmouth:

Steve - You ain't got the guts, come May 2007 and in the secrecy of your Scottish ballot box you will mull over what is best for Scotland and think "English money". You will try to drag your writing arm down to SNP but it juuuuuuust won't do it.


I dont see what England or the English have got to do with this debate, but we are still subjected to their educated "opinions", even here!
Scotland will regain its independence whether you like it or not. We will hoist our flag at the UN, and rejoin the international community. at long last.

And guess what....there's not one damn thing you can do about it.



More and more English want independence and an end to this union which we never voted for or were consulted about - from a late start the figures in opinion polls for England are rapidly catching up with those for Scotland . Whichever country initiates the divorce is irrelevant - it will be a divorce and after it is done there will be no more UK :
both will be independent of each other

Dave Coull:

Jason wrote "D Coull's remarks about England are typical of the narrow minded , arrogant enmity which we English have had showered upon us" - really? So what part of my remark that "there are many millions of good people in England who are certainly not racists, including some friends and relations of mine, and yes of course they will be our good neighbours when we are independent" was "narrow minded"? As for "He appears to know nothing about us" - I lived in England for twenty years. A few months in Birmingham, almost 8 years in Devon, and nearly 12 years in London. And before anybody makes any foolish remarks about the Scots in England, remember that more than 10 percent of the present-day population of Scotland were born in England, and support for independence for Scotland is just as high amongst them as it is amongst the Scots as a whole.

Dave Coull:

Jason says "D Coull's remarks about England are typical of the narrown minded, arrogant enmity which we English have had showered upon us from Scotland for many years". Really? So which part of my remark that "of course there are many millions of good people in England who are certainly not racists, including some friends and relations of mine, and yes of course they will be our good neighbours when we are independent" did Jason consider marrow minded and arrogant? As for "He appears to know nothing about us" - I lived and worked in England for twenty years. A few months in Birmingham, nearly twelve years in London, and almost 8 years in Devon. And before anybody makes any stupid remarks about the Scots in England, remember that one person in every twelve of the population of Scotland was born in England, and support for independence for Scotland is just as high amongst them as it is amongst Scots as a whole.


D Coull's remarks about England are typical of the narrown minded , arrogant enmity which we English have had showered upon us from Scotland for many years . It just gets worse . He appears to know nothing about us . It is laughable that someone from Scotland where the two most prominent clubs are Rangers and Celtic plus others with a well deserved rputation for extreme football violence should accuse England of same . Yes , there is a bit of football aggro in England - we are novices by comparison with Scotland . Incredibly , those two poisonous clubs have aired moves to join the English FA . Never . We don't want them and we don't want their malignant mentality which is part and parcel of Scotland .

Says it all really .

Here's to English independence .


Anyone who wishes to understand in greater detail just how relevent the idea of 'Calvanist Conservative Scotland' is, should read A History of Britain Vol 2 by Simon Schama.
That Scotland retains this element and they desire to assert their identity once more is good for them, but potentially bad for Souther Ireland, who have been the traditional enemies of Calvanist support of Northern Irish protestants. This 'break up' of the UK could in fact eventually lead to the rekindling of 'British' wars and cause a resurgence of English (read about Cromwell) 'pragmatism'.


"Ironically, the elections will come just a matter of days after the 300th anniversary of the creation of modern Britain when the Scottish and English parliaments were merged in 1707."

Is that really a good example of irony? Or, perhaps just a coincidence.


Sean Connery> If Scotlands good enough for Independence why don't you move back there ;) oh that's right because a man who spent a chunk of his life acting as a British agent in James Bond is a hypocrite and a dis-credit to Scotlands republican movement.
England never had a seat on the security council, Britain did.... You may have noticed Britain's defence minister is a Scot, or maybe you've just watched too many Mel Gibson movies....

Sean Connery:

If independence was good enough for America, why isn't it good enough for Scotland?

As Ewan McGregor said in Trainspotting, "We were colonized by effete wankers."

I agree. Scots, it's about time you got back your country and took control over your natural resources.

And, by the way, England doesn't get to keep the permanent Security Council seat. She doesn't deserve it, and never has.

Dave Coull:

Ed from Sussex posted the Saor Alba website. I had not seen this before, and I agree it is extremely unpleasant. However I would point out three things : (1) It is nothing to do with the mainstream independence movements here in Scotland, most of which, including the one of which I am a member, have English members who play a valued part in our campaign, (2) Most of the posts on that website are under false names, in fact, it is entirely possible that most of them could be from the same person using different addresses, and (3) as one of the posters on the Saor Alba website says about another 'group' (actually, just one man) to which Saor Alba have a link "Everyone knows MI5 are behind them anyway". The purpose of such "groups" is to seek to discredit the independence movement.


This part stood out for me:

" Losing Scotland's 5 million people would not be a huge blow to England's size (more than 50m) "

I find it strange to not consider a 10% loss a huge blow to England's size.

Patrick Harris Portsmouth:

Please don't confuse "British" with English, British is a collective of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The British National Party (BNP)are the nationalist party that shroud themselves in the Union Flag (not jack - it is only referred to as the Union Jack when hoist to the jack of a ship in harbour). They advocate repatriation of all non white "British" residents.
The English Democrats Party are the nationalist party that displays the Cross of St. George flag the national flag of England, Our aim is to set up an English Parliament which will serve all those who deem themselves to be English regardless of colour or religion. That's as short as I can make it, if you want to know more click onto www.englishdemocrats.org.uk


..and the march of new states keeps coming:
Ukraine, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia, Moldova, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Montenegro.
Is it then farfetched that we could have Wales, Scotland, Lombardia, Sicily, Corsica, Euskadi, Bavaria, Flanders, and more?

Europe of 2055 will be a sea of new nations.

ED Sussex:

I followed the link here from another website discussing devolution and the English parliment. I'm certainly disapointed by some of the above posts from both English and Scottish posters. The football hooligan element you speak of in the 80's where more likely to be seen flying the Union Jack then the CoSG and the NF which is a British fascist group where known to be invovled in starting some of the violence. Scottish foot ball isn't without it's yobs either. Rangers, Celtic anyone...
I do agree with the idea of an independent England and Scotland, I think the time has come to part company. If the link below is anything to do by it's only too soon...



How fitting to end with football silliness. When the big war comes, trivial identity games will likely be forgotten.

Dave Coull:

Dennis MA wrote that he "thought that the thug element were British nationalists not English nationalists?" ; but there is no such thing as a "British" football team, and there never has been. The flag that the thug element of English supporters wave is definitely an English one. Yes of course there are many millions of good people in England who are certainly not racists, including some friends and relations of mine, and yes of course they will be our good neighbours when we are independent. But I'm a member of Independence First, the single-issue, non-party-political, campaign for a referendum on independence for Scotland ( www.independence1st.com ) and I see absolutely no possibility of our campaign working together with the sort of English Nationalist who complains that "the Jocks get things too much their own way as it is".

Denis MA:

Dave> From what I could gather from following the world cup England seems to have removed the element that caused trouble except for a few small incerdents ? I also thought that the thug element where British nationalists not English nationalists? I've followed one of the links above to the English Democrats and they do not seem to fall into the white nationalist category, in fact their website says nothing negative about race at all?

Dave Coull:

Somebody or other said about us Scots who want independence "Lets be blunt. We are white christens" - as a matter of fact, a significant percentage of the Scots who want independence are neither white nor Christian. "This movement is based on race, greed, and good old Scottish cheepnes" - You really don't know the first thing about Scotland, do you? "What happens when the oil and gas is no more?" - Scotland is well able to support itself without either oil or gas. We have plenty of several other valuable commodities. Renewable energy sources, for instance.

Dave Coull:

chiron82 wrote "51% of scots want to secede?" - No. That opinion poll suggested 51 percent OF EVERYBODY ENTITLED TO VOTE would support independence. The same opinion poll suggested that 39 percent would vote against. Now, if you add 51 and 39, you get 90. Not 100. Not a percentage. The other 10 percent are "don't knows". Exeprience shows that the don't knows will either (a) not vote, or (b) divide in the same 51/39 proportions. Therefore the percentage likely to vote for independence is 55, not 51. This is in line with other opinion polls. But I think it a safe bet that the real outcome of a referendum will in fact be a FAR higher percentage for independence. The experiences of Quebec and Puerto Rico are totally irrelevant. This is not some province we are talking about. This is a kingdom which was independent for a thousand years. As for "the almighty federal subsidy", the UK is not a federation, and Scotland isn't subsidized.

Dave Coull:

Denis MA asks "do you not think you would be better working with the English nationalists in achieving your goal" - No, I don't. In my experience, English Nationalists really do tend to be racists. It is well know in every country where football ("soccer") is played that flag-waving supporters of the England football team have an unfortunate reputation internationally. Even if English Nationalists are not racist in other respects, their attitude towards us Scots is completely unacceptable. It's like asking supporters of Black Pride in the USA to co-operate with the Ku Klux Klan. "rather then implying that the English are racist and Unionist by default" - There are many millions of English people who are certainly NOT racists. Unfortunately, they are usually NOT the ones who describe themselves as "English Nationalists". The people in England who are the natural allies of Scots who want independence are the ones who say "okay, we recognise that you Scots have genuine grievances with the UK. We kinda wish you didn't want to leave the UK, but we recognise that you do have a right to do so".

Denis MA:

Edward> With regards to London I think that's the same in most countries. People migrate towards New York, Boston, LA etc. as thats where the money is. Head out into the mid-west and it's a lot poorer then say California or the East coast. I'm sure that's the same with most countries, not that it's necessarly right, but very much the case.
I'm also sure there are remoter parts of England that suffer the same problem as Scotland ?
There must have also been wrongs against the Englsh from the period you speak off? You only have to look at the industrial revolution to see how the ruling classes trated the poor, what with the work houses and all. All I'm saying is that the people that makes the decisions in history tend to be a small select group and blaming a whole country of people, whether you be English or Scottish for the other ills seems to let the real perputraitors of the hook.
I hope England and Scotland do work together what ever routes they take, or we will simply see you both taking a step backwards which can't be good for the people living there?


to jimbobuddy
I doubt it, Not really sure where you get this idea that Scotland would be marginalised (this is a regular arguement put out by unionists)Scotland will have the same standing as England will
Ive seen this arguement so many times, but bo one has actually explained why


Denis MA : Well I agree, in modern terms, ideally 2 nations can work together as equal partners. The problem though with the United Kingdom was that it was founded at the start of the 18th Century, with a treaty (the act of union 1707) that cobbled together 2 political institutes, which was derived through corruption and subterfuge, religion also played its part.
Allthough we should be forward thinking, it does help to understand the backdrop as to why things happened. Independence and home rule has been in discussion since the 19th century, so its not something thats just happened overnight. If it had been a partnership of equal parts, then there would not have been wrong doings such as the Glencoe masacre and th highland clearances which happened after the union.
If it had been equal, there would have been equal investment, so we would not have a situation where people migrate south to London 'as thats where the jobs are'. Its only been within the last 5 to 10 years with the devolved parliament in Scotland that there has been a slow redress of the situation, nut like with anything too little too late. Scots now have the desire to continue with devolution, but to take it to the next step, which involves more fiscal powers, to have a bigger say in the world in having its own defence and foreign policy, that can only come about by tearing up the act of union. Scotland can still work with England, but with separate political institutions


Naive tribalism, indeed. What is a nation, anyway? Scotland will find itself marginalized , and will lose MUCH more than will England, itself. Hang together, or hang separately.

Denis MA:

Edward> It seems to me that the English and Scottish nationalists on this forum spend more time sparring with each other then they do actually pointing out that the biggest problems lie with your governments over the years, not the guy on the street. Dragging up history only makes people bitter, surely since you all have the same goal, working together would be a better approach ?


I stand corrected Denis MA, it was wrong to imply that the racists comments came from either someone who is English or a Unionist, I hadnt intended to suggest that.
Some of my best freinds are English. I find it annoying the comments that were made, bore no relation to the true picture of Scotland

Denis MA:

"That by the way is blatantly racist!, which would also suggest that your most probably English."

That comment in itself is racist, to imply that because somebody makes a racist comment they are automatically English seems hypocritical.

"Scotland is probably the most integrated society in western Europe, something that sticks in the throat of some English people"

Only I would have thought the throats of Englishmen who share the same racist sentiment as any person of a racist disposition in Europe, be the Scottish, French, German etc. I've watched European politics closely and it appears countries like France, Austria and the Netherlands have a bigger problem with the likes of their right wing parties then the English, Scottish or Welsh have with the BNP, white nationalists etc.

"Only a Unionist or Englishman"

Surely you mean only a Unionist as the above posts show there are plenty of non-Unionist Englishmen.

You seem to have to have a little grudge yourself against the English, do you not think you would be better working with the English nationalists in achieving your goal rather then implying that the English are racist and Unionist by default?


to New England
"find it interesting that it's referred to as "Scottish" oil when it belongs to all of the people of the UK "currently" if I'm not correct? Just like the trade routes did that where opened up to Scotland after the Act of Union that helped Scotland to prosper during the industrial revolution, right? If the oil had never been found would there be such a shout for independence?
As for England's resources, there is still a whole lot of coal sitting under the ground I believe (although I think both nations should be moving farther away from fossil fule technology anyway). I am all for these two nations breaking apart if they wish too but some of the reasoning seems to be skewed.."

Your correct that as per the Act of Union, all resources that Scotland has is shared, so in modern terms that includes the Oil, but Scotland has never benefited from that, unfortunately there was from the start the 'What's yours is Ours- What's mine is mine' edict stemming from the union. Once Scotland becomes an independent nation the revenues will remain in Scotland.
Its actually a joke to say that the trade routes opened after the act of union, a point that's glazed over is the fact that the English Navy at the behest of the English parliament went out of its way to hinder and in some incidences attack Scottish vessels before the union, as a result of the union, Scotland's trade routes that were flourishing, were curtailed as Scotland's merchants had to comply and accept those
that were acceptable to the English. You should read up on what actually happened before, during and after the act of union. A good example would be the Darien project in which Scotland endeavoured to establish a colony in central America, with recommendations by English financiers on what's best. It's a fact that they were ill prepared and the area that was advised for them to go to was not suitable, when it failed and when the Scottish ships and colony were attacked, a request was sent to the English Navy to assist (remember this is at a time when both countries were under a single crown), they English Navy refused, after ordered by London not to help in any way!.
If there had not been the oil and gas finds in Scotland's Continental Shelf, I would
Have not been surprised, if Scotland had been granted independence a lot earlier, as there was nothing for England to get out of the union, by remaining with Scotland other than the Oil and gas.
I agree both nations should be moving away from fossil fuels, it is fortunate that Scotland also has a Hydro Electric scheme, which is currently being increased, together with developing more in the way of wind and wave power


To the Anonymous Unionist Idiot

"Ignore the fact that for years we Scots were supported and defended by England."
Since when? That, has to be the biggest load of claptrap I've ever come across, Scotland has always provided men to defend the UK, before 1707, it was England that kept antagonising Scotland

"Yes Scotland could be independent, but than we can't ask the British Navy to protect the Scottish fishing grounds"
In the settlement Scotland will have a share of the Navy, by the way there will not be a 'British Navy', there will be a Scottish Navy and an English Navy, or haven't you grasped that?
"What happens to students who want to go to Oxford but find they now have to pay the international rate for their tuition?" What happens with students that want to study in mainland Europe? believe it or not Scotland has quite a few Universities of its own
"The idea that a Scot would give to others more than he got in return goes against our Calvinist Religious Scot's principals".
What planet are you on??, you sound like one of those idiot numpties that like to perpetuate the idea that Scots are mean

"Lets be blunt. We are white christens and we don't want any of our money going to help a darkie in Luton."
That by the way is blatantly racist!, which would also suggest that your most probably English. Scotland is probably the most integrated society in western Europe, something that sticks in the throat of some English people

"This movement is based on race, greed, and good old Scottish cheepnes"
Apart from an inability to accept the truth and not being able to spell, again your being racist, with the innuendo that Scots are a mean people (again this would suggest that your not Scottish)
"What happens when the oil and gas is no more? "
Current Oil and Gas reserves have a 30 to 40 year life, this excludes new fields that being explored or coming online
"It's by a common bond and common destiny, for hundreds of years, through good and bad, that has lead to both Scotland and England prospering."
Only a Unionist or Englishman would come out with that remark, there is no common bond, the union came abut through corruption and has always favoured England, right from the act itself

New England:

I find it interesting that it's refered to as "Scottish" oil when it belongs to all of the people of the UK "currently" if I'm not correct? Just like the trade routes did that where opened up to Scotland after the Act of Union that helped Scotland to prosper during the industrial revolution, right? If the oil had never been found would there be such a shout for independence ?
As for Englands resources, there is still a whole lot of coal sitting under the ground I believe (although I think both nations should be moving farther away from fossil fule technology anyway). I am all for these two nations breaking apart if they wish too but some of the reasoning seems to be skewed. To the poster above who spoke of Thomas Paine, indeed he was born in Thetford in Norfolk England and resided in the town of Lewes in England where he begun to write "Common sense".


to chiron82
You seem to be geeting things mixed up, Scotland is a country, was an Independent Kingom before 1707. Quebec on the other hand has nothing in common with Scotland, it wasnt an independent state. Your comment on Scottish culture and language was very demeaning to say the least. Thankfully Scotland IS self sufficient, contrary to Unionist claptrap is not a subsidy junkie


For god sake, it's a simple power grab. We have the oil, cut our links with the UK and live it up.

Ignore the fact that for years we Scots were supported and defended by England.

Ignore the history and common links. For once we are pulling our own weight and that goes against our natural frugality.

Yes Scotland could be independent, but than we can't ask the British Navy to protect the Scottish fishing grounds.

What happens to students who want to go to Oxford but find they now have to pay the international rate for their tuition?

The idea that a Scot would give to others more than he got in return goes against our Calvinist Religious Scot's principals.

Lets be blunt. We are white christens and we don't want any of our money going to help a darkie in Luton.

This movement is based on race, greed, and good old Scottish cheepnes.

What happens when the oil and gas is no more?

It's by a common bond and common destiny, for hundreds of years, through good and bad, that has lead to both Scotland and England prospering.


51% of scots want to secede? That was the exact same percentage of Qubecois and Puerto Ricans that expressed a desire for independence in the weeks before referenda. When the actual votes were tallied though, the independence measures were shot down. Language, culture, etc. are fun to trot out for parades and holidays, but in the end they have never stood up to the almighty federal subsidy.


"No prizes for guesing who gets a much larger share of British government money -
why Scotland does , of course .
Posted by: Jason | November 22, 2006 02:11 PM "

Sorry Jason, but since the act of Union , the bulk of investment went to England and has done in recent years, despite the amount of money thats actually contributed by Scotland. Your vision seems to be a bit blinkered in that you dont recognise the fact that all bills/acts passed in the UK parliament are for England and Wales only.
But you wll no doubt be happier, once England is again an Independant Kingdom, you wont have to blame the woes of the country on 'celtic' MP's as there will be none (well Scottish ones anyway) when the Union is abolished. Scotland will thrive on its own revenue and that includes the revenue from the offshore Oil and Gas that
London has been using for the past 30 odd years, ok perhaps not enough for the UK as a whole, but more than enough for the population of Scotland. By the way what natural resources does England have?

Dave Coull:

Willie Taylor says "Come on all you American/Scots & Canadian/Scots, help us win independence for Scotland in May 2007 by visiting www.snp.org". Mind you, there are quite a lot of Scots who support independence and yet are not too keen on some of the policies of the SNP. So anybody who wants to support independence for Scotland without necessarily supporting a particular political party should take a look at the website of Independence First, the single-issue, non-party-political, campaign for a referendum on independence for Scotland. This campaign is strictly under the control of those of us in Scotland, but supporters in other countries (the USA, Canada, England, etc etc) can join as associate members if they want to.
See www.independence1st.com


" Very Strange notion to me- this splitting apart. Mainly because in the US our states are separate,but equal - "

- thats just what we don't have in the UK - we have a UK parliament " the British parliament " sitting at Westminster ,
and there is a parliament for Scotland and an assembly/emerging parliament for Wales .
Nothing at all for the ancient parliamenatry country of England other than direct rule from the British parliament - which includes celtic MP's of course - and much more than proportionately . There are virtually no English institutions only British ones - maninly dominated by celts .

No prizes for guesing who gets a much larger share of British government money -

why Scotland does , of course .


Gosh, so much looking to the past in these posts. What about political evolution? Ireland is better off but 'not there yet'. Wales has begun to finally assert its long-suppressed language, culture and writing, yet they aren't 'throwing off' any 'colonial oppressors'. Canada continues to evolve peacefully towards the future, whatever it may hold. Virtually every one of these posts feels that the tragedies and injustices of the past (from all sides) will be super-imposed on the future. Don't bet on it...successful cultures evolve, while xenophobic cultures stagnate and fail. The threat of Quebec separation in Canada is far more serious a threat than Scotland and Ireland's situation, yet it hasn't come about despite two referendum attempts. Why? Because the man and woman on the street inherently understand that there's nothing to be gained from embracing uncertainty, especially economic uncertainty.
And as for those americans still obsessing over King George, get over it already...what a tired old horse that's become! Better yet, re-visit the causes of the famous 'Boston Tea Party' and you might find that it wasn't about 'taxation without representation', so much as the crown attempting to intercept and tax smuggled contraband goods that represented the special economic interests of several soon-to-be 'founders'...and the cowards had the nerve to disguise themselves as native americans, a people who could teach all of us quite a bit about 'colonial oppression' if we'd take the time to listen.


"Also may I point out that while the union may only be 300 years old (still older than your country, americans!), the constituent parts were very much connected before.

Posted by: Edmund | November 21, 2006 10:42 PM "
The United kingdom is only 69 years older than the USA. The consituent parts, by which you must mean Scotland and England may be connected just now, but there is a desire in Scotland to put an end to this


to Patrick Harris Portsmouth
Im all for a Parliament for England, in an Independant Kingdom of England, voted for by the population of England. It goes without saying that with the dissolution of the act of union, all those MP's from Scotland, would no longer sit in the Parliament in England as there positions would no longer exist (it should be noted that it would not just be Labour who would loose MP's, but also the Conservatives and LibDems). Personally speaking I would actually like to see an English Parliament built outside London at a location that would be more accessable to all the population of England. In the long run, an Independant Scotland and an Independant England would be better for all and could forsse that it would be an good relationship


Very Strange notion to me- this splitting apart. Mainly because in the US our states are separate,but equal. Is that the state of things now with Scotland and UK? If so, what is the benefit of splitting? Or staying together for that matter?
Posted by: cailet | November 22, 2006 04:22 AM
In the United States, you are fortunate in that each state has its own form of government with tax raising powers and can decide independently on matters that are either ignored or overlooked by central government. The only areas that the indivudual states don't control is Defence and Foreign policy. This is actually very similar to what we have with the devolved government of Scotland. However the difference is that Scotland is a country in its own right, it was an Independent Kingdom before the act of Union and there are many (51% at the last opinion poll) who would like to see Scotland and independent Kingdom again. Many pro-unionists, north and south of the border with England have argued that Scotland could not afford to break away from England (implying it's a subsidy junkie), citing that Scotland gets a larger share of funding from the treasury in London , than the English do, especially in comparison to what Scotland puts in. The fact of the matter (which has been covered up by pro-unionist politicians) is that Scotland actually puts in more than it gets, especially when the revenues from the Scottish continental shelf are included. The pro-unionists answer to that is that Oil & Gas revenues from Scotlands Continental Shelf fields are small on a re head of population basis for the UK. It doesn't take a genius to see that considering the population as a whole for the UK is in the region of 60 million, that may be true, but with an Independent Scotland, which has a population of 5 million, the revenues, generated, although small in comparison to say those in the middle east, would be more than enough to support Scotland's population (which is estimated at around GBP 2500 per head of population in Scotland)

Patrick Harris Portsmouth:

Jack, we will have to agree to differ on the subject of the EU, as for Scotland, I really couldn't care less, you have got what you want (partially at least) and I sincerely hope you are successful in your quest for independence. Back to England, all we want is an English Parliament where all of the elected representatives are elected by English voters (I include any resident of England), In that way, without the added weight of Scots, Welsh and Irish MPs (elected by their own country folk), perhaps English university students could have a free education, life saving drugs could be available to English patients and English OAPs could get cradle to grave social care without charge a'la Scotland. Surely you can't see anything wrong with that. Well done Celtic Rangers!.

Willie Taylor:

Come on all you American/Scots & Canadian/Scots, help us win independence for Scotland in May 2007 by visiting www.snp.org


Patrick Harris Portsmouth
I think your more anti-EU, than anything else, Devolution was not the result of an EU edict, you are obviously ignorant of the truth or just not aware of the facts. Devolution goes back, long before the EU was ever thought of! .
In 1853 the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights was established. This body was close to the Tories and was motivated by a desire to secure more focus on Scottish problems in response to what they felt was undue attention being focused on Ireland by the then Liberal government. In 1871, William Gladstone stated at a meeting held in Aberdeen that if Ireland was to be granted home rule, then the same should apply to Scotland. A Scottish home rule bill was presented to the Westminster Parliament in 1913, the legislative process to pass it was interrupted by the First World War. In 1978 the Labour government passed the Scotland Act which legislated for the establishment of a Scottish Assembly, provided the Scots voted for such in a plebiscite. However, the Labour Party was bitterly divided on the subject of devolution. Despite officially favouring it, vast numbers of members opposed the establishment of an assembly, and this division caused the failure to reach the required 40% of the electorate voting in favour of an assembly (that itself was a quota only added to the Scotland Act by an amendment proposed by a Labour In 1989 the Scottish Constitutional Convention was formed encompassing the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Green Party, local authorities, and sections of "civic Scotland" like Scottish Trades Union Congress, the Small Business Federation and Church of Scotland and the other major churches in Scotland. Its purpose was to devise a scheme for the formation of a devolution settlement for Scotland. The SNP decided to withdraw as they felt that independence would not be a constitutional option countenanced by the convention. The convention produced its final report in 1995. In May 1997, the Labour government of Tony Blair was elected with a promise of creating devolved institutions in Scotland. In late 1997, a referendum was held which resulted in a "yes" vote. The newly-created Scottish Parliament (as a result of the Scotland Act 1998) had powers to make primary legislation in certain areas of policy, in addition to some limited tax varying powers (which to date have not been exercised). Devolution for Scotland was justified on the basis that it would aid in bringing government closer to the people in the nation. It was argued that the population of Scotland felt detached from the Westminster government (largely because of the policies of the Conservative governments led by Margaret Thatcher and John Major


As a golfer, I want to know one thing: If Scotland votes for independence, what would happen to the British Open? Would it still exist under the same name but be played at courses in Scotland and England?
I assume the Ryder Cup would still remain relatively unchanged.
Posted by: Golfer | November 22, 2006 01:36 AM
British Open will remain after independence and will continue to be played at the courses in both Scotland and England, as they have always done since the start of the competition (in 1860 at the course in Prestwick, Scotland). The name 'British' defines the area not a country, in the same way Scandinavia defines the area, which covers Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Likewise the Ryder Cup will remain unchanged, as it doesn't affect the fact that both Scotland and England are part of Europe. Scots in Scotland invented the game of Golf, in its present form, long before the act of Union. King James II of Scotland played golf, but the game was so popular that he had an Act of Scottish Parliament to ban it on Sundays so as to preserve the skills of archery. He declared that "fute-ball (soccer) and Golfe be utterly cryit doune, and nocht useit!" 'Fute-ball' had been banned by his father, King James I, in 1424. The English were a constant threat and the Scots were inferior to the English in matters of the bow and arrow. Residents of Aberdeen, St. Andrews and Leith on the east coast were the main culprits - they played and played. That was the first documented reference to today's game - the edicts of Parliament in 1457. In many parts of Scotland's east coast, parishioners were constantly being punished for playing golf "at the time of the preaching of the Sermon." Two more attempts were made to restrict the playing of 'gowf,' James III banning it again in 1470 and 1493 - although the people largely ignored it. And the Scots finally had to pay the consequences. At the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513, the Scots were assaulted by English bowmen and were no match for them. England routed the Scots, who had spent so much time playing golf! King James IV (King James I of England), the grandson of the king who originally tried to ban the sport, also tried to prevent the playing of golf. But he, too, found it hopeless and gave up, eventually beginning to play the game himself. The Treaty of Glasgow lifted the ban in 1502. So as you can see the game of Golf is firmly embedded in Scotland

Patrick Harris Portsmouth:

Hello Dan New York, What part of "regionalisation of the UK is at the behest of the European commission, to make governance easier, devolution to Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland was set in motion by the UK government on instructions from the EU as was the attempt to break England up into 9 "regions" (London is now under Ken Livingstone and has been tagged Greater london Assembly). When the people of the North East voted against an elected "Regional Assembly" both Labour's and the EU's plans faltered", don't you understand? The EU commission should keep their nose out of the internal affairs of England as they should have done with the UK, we were all getting along quite nicely thank you very much. Now there is rivalry, jealousy and down right animosity all brought about by the EU commission. A pox on them.


I wish we here in Flanders would be as close to independence as the Scots. Away with the old and inherently undemocratic remnants of the old colonial empires. Too many European nations have been dominated by the Russian, Castilian, English etc. arrogance while colonializing not only their direct neighbours but whole parts of the world. Whole cultures have been nearly or completely whiped out by the cultural imperialists dominating Spain, the Russian empire, the United Kingdom or France. It is time that the small nations such as Scotland, Flanders, Catalonia, the Basque country and others get their rightfull place in Europe. They should follow the lead taken by the Baltic states, the Ukraine, Czechia, Slovakia, Slovenia and many others. The future lies in the small, democratic and prosperous nations, not in the old, neo-imperialistic, and inherently undemocratic remnants of lost empires.

Dave Coull:

Brian asked "What would happen to the Northern Irish Unionists if Scotland and England split?" - Ulster Unionists will just have to get used to the idea that there is no longer a United Kingdom for them to favour Union with. For a relatively short time they would presumably still have a political and legal connection with England. In the longer term probably the best thing would be if they could unite with the rest of Ireland, but on a FEDERAL basis, rather than with all power being concentrated in Dublin, and with strong gaurantees for the rights of protestants, and with official recognition of their distinctiveness being given by the Irish, Scottish, and English governments. But that would probably take quite a long time to work out, and would involve these three governments and all of the political parties in Northern Ireland in protracted negotiations. Scotland's claim for independence can not and will not wait for a settlement of the problems of Northern Ireland. "Would The Orangemen want to join the new Scottish nation" - some of them might want to join the newly independent Scotland, but, unless they actually emigrate to Scotland, they won't have that option. ALL of the pro-independence Scottish organisations have made it very clear that the Scotland they want independence for is the land where Scottish law applies at present, within it's present borders. There is no desire on the part of any political organisation in Scotland to acquire Northern Ireland or any other territory outside of Scotland's present borders.


"but as Russia stayed on the Security Council in the USSR's seat after that country broke up in 1991, the precedent is in England's favour."
Posted by: Andrew | November 22, 2006 03:23 AM

Hate to rain on your parade, but as the union of Scotland and England predates the UN or even the league of Nations, it would be up to the UN to decide on what happens to the UK seat on the Security Council. There are various scenarios on this.One would be to give it to another country alltogether or to have both Scotland and England on it. What ever happens , the UN will have an interesting debate on its hands

Bob S.:

CA Girl should tread lightly here:
"We in America should not fight the global trends.The blue US states should secede and join Canada, which has similar political and secular democratic values. The red states can then feel free to follow their preferred path of re-electing the Bush dynasty, banning abortion, gays and evolutionary theory and turning schools into state sponsored evangelical bible camps."

Posted by: CA girl | November 21, 2006 11:16 PM

If it was entirely up to Northern Californians, they'd probably have kept their plentiful water & hydro-power to themselves long ago, and used SoCal as a more-convenient-than-Vegas desert resort. I suspect that "California" is as illusory a concept as "United Kingdom", kept in place only by tradition & inertia. It seems to work out O.K. most of the time, but it doesn't have to be that way.


Very Strange notion to me- this splitting apart. Mainly because in the US our states are separate,but equal. Is that the state of things now with Scotland and UK? If so, what is the benefit of splitting? Or staying together for that matter?


Why is Scotland's population so much smaller than and productiveness connected to its being joined with Britain? Is England profiting from Scottish resources etc in a way that is unfair to Scotland? If Scotland has a vote in Parliment, what then is independence? Will this cost Scotland more money than now? I wish the author could have covered these issues. I think he explained the general situation well, but as I am not from the UK, It would be helpful to know


Goodhart writes of the effect of Scottish independence on Britain that "it would dent its standing in the wider world and might call into question things like the UK's permanent membership of the UN security council." It might, but as Russia stayed on the Security Council in the USSR's seat after that country broke up in 1991, the precedent is in England's favour.


Who would get the permanent seat on the UN security council? would they rotate?


Britain is a much more progressive place than it would be if Scotland were not a part of it. The Scots' influence the U.K. -- and the entire world - in a way they would not and could not if they split off and became an independent mini-state.


What would happen to the Northern Irish Unionists if Scotland and England split? When I was in Belfast in 2001, I saw Scottish flags and Scots Gaelic written all over the Orange areas alongside the Union Jacks. Would The Orangemen want to join the new Scottish nation or retain their "Britishness"?

Oh, irony.


There is great wisdom in the comment made by the man or woman many contributors back who said the inextricability of the two nations has roots well deeper and sufficiently coiled than either side would care to admit. I haltingly use the expression "either side." The notion of independence is silly, honestly. No group could possibly be that un-self-interested. Particularly not a group as culturally conservative as the Scots.

brian mccarthy:

as i read and write the day away till
tomorrow, a tear falls in my pint of stout:
the queens men were unable to create a
northern scotland as they have done in ireland. here's a toast; may it fall hard
and fast.


As a golfer, I want to know one thing: If Scotland votes for independence, what would happen to the British Open? Would it still exist under the same name but be played at courses in Scotland and England?

I assume the Ryder Cup would still remain relatively unchanged.


to Dave Kerr
I think it would be helpful if you actually visited Scotland and saw for yourself, before stating that Scotland does not have the 'industriousness' to run its own affairs. Currently Scotland has got its own parliament (http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/home.htm) and its own legal system, so has the instruments to look after its own affairs.
Since getting its own parliament in 1999, the people of Scotland have matured and gained faith in there own beliefs, despite the ongoing pro-unionist retoric that states that they cant look after themselves. The devolved government has been successful, but there is a desire to take it to the next step. Scotland is an industrious nation, which is more than capable of playing its part in the world


One more thing, an independent Scotland means UK will have to give up its UN security council seat, which could go to India. If UK gives up its UNSC seat, then may ( a BIG may be) France will give up its UNSC seat. I know its a bit far fetched, I hope it will happen in the future.


In my pervious post, let me amend the word white with Western. It was not my intent to give my post a racial overtone.

None the less, the author's point that a country 60 million has a more right to a permanent member of UN then lets say country like Japan with 180 million people is quite offensive.

Again appologies for give racial overtone to my previous post


Sounds like a lot of people need to grow up.


When I went to Scotland from India I had very little knowledge of Scotland. For most people in the rest of the world, UK/Britain meant England. For a country with such a great culture, history and people, I felt its kind of living under the shadow of England.

I've stayed in Scotland for about 3 years. I felt most Scots really want an Independent Scotland. I liked the way Scots are dealing the Independence/sovereignty.


In next 25 years the permanent membership of the UN security council of all european counties sould be questioned.

A simple question - why should the white Europe continue to dominate the world.. of the 6.5 Billion people how many are white - no more than 1 billion. So why should four of the five members be white nations.

Stick fork in the Europe- it is done. Tell me how do plan to tell the 4 billion people of Asia that they do not matter and that the pathic 600 million people of Europe have more power. How do you plan to stop these people from rising? Please tell me.

Dave Kerr:

At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked what form
of government was established.

He famously replied, "A republic if you can keep it."

If the SNP wins a majority of the seats in Scottish Parliament in the May elections
and pursues and achieves independence,
which is not certain by any means,
it can be said that the Scots
will have a nation if they can keep it.

This American, whose grandfather
emigrated from Ayrshire, understands
the desire and longing of the Scots
for independence.

Nevertheless, I frankly doubt the capability of the Scottish people to create a successful and prosperous nation
free of Westminster. It does not appear
that they have the industriousness for it.


I have to correct Dr Larrie D Ferreiro | November 21, 2006 08:57 PM
Northern Ireland is not a Kingdom. Northern Ireland was the northern counties of what was the Kingdom of Ireland, therefore with the dissolution of the Act of Union 1707, you would have left the Kingdom of Scotland, the Kingdom of England and a Northern Ireland which could join England or Scotland. If it chose to be with England , then the tirle would be the Kingdom of England and Northern Ireland

another in Washington DC:

I like the idea of Scotland (and others) joining the US as States. That would solve the issue once and for all -- as someone earlier pointed out, you can't quit the Union. None of this interminable debate "should we stay or should we go."

Lart from Above:

The red states are turning blue. What goes around will go around again.

I'm imagining a market for sovereignty, where nations bid for each other's loyalty to form mutually beneficial confederations. Maybe Scotland will merge with Norway, England could join Saxony, Wales could form a union with Brittany and Silesia. The location of the market would, of course, be in the City of London.

Or maybe voters will realize that "nationalism" is just a tool for politicians to create another layer of bureaucracy to enhance their personal power and privileges. Most Quebecois have figured this out; however much they don't like Ottawa at times, they have even less use for the grasping demagogues of Quebec City.

England's economic advantages are simply a function of proximity to European markets and high-density communities in the south offering economies of scale that create wealth. Separating from the UK isn't going to move Scotland physically closer to the Chunnel and Edinburgh isn't going to suddenly become a new London. Democratic devolution is a great idea in many cases, but sovereignty is an illlogical distraction from dealing with society's problems.

Dave Coull:

Jason says "You'd never believe that most of Scotland was enthusiastically - more so than England - against the Jacobites in 1745" - that comment is totally irrelevant. The Jacobite Rebellion was NOT about independence for Scotland, it was about restoration of the Stuart monarchy to power in London. The majority of Scots were presbyterians who feared the restoration of a Catholic monarchy. And it is wrong to say that "Scotland was consulted" about the Union with England. Only a handfull of people could vote in 1707. The vast majority of people in Scotland had no say in the matter, but showed how they felt through both petitions and rioting. There has NEVER been a vote on whether we want Union or Independence. A single-question, non-party-political, referendum on this is long overdue.


And citing the BNP being the BRITISH National Party is kind of irrelevant.


Dave - I wasn't implying that it's any more a problem in Scotland than in any other part of the UK. I just think it's a reality that many think of scottishness, englishness, irishness, or welshness as a racial thing. Britishness, traditionally covering all the races of Britain, is less so.


The above thread is really revealing of that miserable , sour , arrogant , self absorbed celtic reflex racism which we English have had to endure for so long . All with that characteristically dodgy and highly selective version of history which they just love .

You'd never believe that the union was imposed on England by a Scottish monarch ( Queen Anne ) with no consultation with the English whatsoever . Scotland was consulted though - and their parliament voted for it by a large majority .

You'd never believe that most of Scotland was enthusiastically - more so than England - against the Jacobites in 1745 - so much so they produced 4 brand new regiments for the British king just weeks before Culloden .

Contrary to the claim that Scots supported the emerging US in the war of independence -well a few did , most supported the King though , often fanatically -against the English Americans ie the people of New England . Tom Paine was not from North Queensferry , he was from Norfolk in England .

It might be as well to bear in mind that the very word British is a celtic word . The Romans would have been unhesitating in designating the celts and particularly the people of what is now Scotland as British .Not the English though , they would have called us German .

Scottish inedependence means English independence as well . The British national debt is as much the obligation of Scotland as England . Indeed since they get hugely more of British governemnt exepnditure on a per head basis than England does then they should probably take on the whole lot . There is no logical reason why not .

Dave Coull:

Edmund says "white Scots are more likely to deny a asian-descended brit the title 'Scottish' than the title 'British', because they feel the former is racial" - look of course there are racists in Scotland, there are racists everywhere. But racists in Scotland are more likely to support the BRITISH National Party than the SCOTTISH National Party. The SNP's policy is determinedly multi-cultural, multi-racial, and pro-immigration, and that everybody resident in Scotland on independence day will automatically be entitled to a Scottish passport. In addition to the SNP, the other, smaller, pro-independence organisations all agree with this.

Dave Coull:

AD CT says "why don't we go back a bit farther and maybe argue about the Scots invading Pictland from what is now the North of Ireland?" - as a matter of fact, they didn't. Nowadays, most historians who have actually studied the archaeological and other evidence agree that's just a myth. As it happens, I live in a part of Scotland where people are proud of their Pictish heritage, and many have "PICT" car stickers. Yet the majority of us Picts around here favour an independent Scotland. "If the will of the people wish there to be a split then so be it, lets not base it on whose side your great grand pappy fought on" - agreed. The issue should be settled democratically, through a non-party-political single-question referendum. I have not the slightest doubt that the result of that referendum, from every part of Scotland, will be overwhelming support for independence.


Those who compare present-day Scotland with Iceland, Norway, etc, and find Scotland's position poor are simply begging the question. You cannot analyse Scotland's present situation, independently of the UK, for it has so long been so indissolubly part of that Kingdom and - as we all know - is not independent of it. To argue it should be independent on the basis of analysis treating it already as independent, is to be breathtakingly fatheaded.

England and Scotland are stronger and greater together. There should be no talk of separation.


Dave - that may indeed me true. My issue is that white Scots are more likely to deny a asian-descended brit the title 'Scottish' than the title 'British', because they feel the former is racial.


Scotland should declare its independence and become a US state, along with Ireland, Ulster, Wales, and the old Anglo-Saxon heptarchy (7 states). That would be, like, 12 new blue states! How much better for the world! Out with royalism, in with republicanism in the English speaking world. Its time to revive Cecil Rhodes' idea of a federated Anglosphere.

CA girl:

We in America should not fight the global trends.The blue US states should secede and join Canada, which has similar political and secular democratic values. The red states can then feel free to follow their preferred path of re-electing the Bush dynasty, banning abortion, gays and evolutionary theory and turning schools into state sponsored evangelical bible camps.


Undergraduate musings from a Little Englander. Can I get a gig at the Washington Post as well?

Dave Coull:

Edmund says "Anyone may theoretically gain British citizenship, whereas to be a Scot, or English, is very much a racial thing" - that may be true of Englishness, it is not true of Scottishness. Support for Scottish identity and Scottish independence is if anything even higher amongst Scottish Sikhs, Muslims, and Hindus whose grandparents came over from southern Asia than it is amongst "native" Scottish Christians, both Protestants and Catholics.

Eoghain Clavin:



I'm with Dan.

NA Loyalist:

I have grandparents who hail from both Scotland and England and I've travelled extensively in both places. In my experience the Scots are a truly warm and welcoming people and they genuinely feel a sense of injustice from their place in the Union. If the majority of Scots decide to set their own destiny, I say all the power to them. The English should be tough but fair in negotiating the terms of separation and then give the Scots a fond farewell. I suspect the Scots will be no better off financially at the end of the day, but they will have their pride and for many outside of London, money isn't everything.

Dan, New York:

To the many posters arguing that Scotland will be an economic wunderkind or also-ran upon independence from Westminster, I'll be beggin your pardon. Mineral wealth has not paved any British streets with gold, nor would it in decline as parceled out differently. The public dole argument is another canard, (with its parallels in English embitterment over the phantom funding of the Falkland's treasury), and the two combined are only exceeded by the revival of centuries old grievances. This is not so much beating a decomposing horse as rattling its bones (next perhaps, an embargo on Italian goods in retaliation for the Boudica incident).

The egg is well and truly scrambled. If Scotland and England decide to part political company it will be because they chose to further narrow the circle of 'like-me' ness.

PS Patrick Harris Portsmouth- your ultra-nationalist credentials are intact, but perhaps you can enlighten the rest of the audience on the remote relevance of EU institutions to this issue.

Not British:

The union was built through invasion bloodshed and tyrrany. Lets end it with democracy!


With the obvious exception of sporting rivalries,the "emnity" between Scotland and England is totally overplayed.
Why? to discredit the independence movement. Most have relatives over the border, and it isnt an issue.

The SNP are the least corrupt party in Scotland by a mile. That reason alone is good enough for me.

I cant wait to see Scotland take its rightful place in the world again, as an independent country.


Correcting myself above, the union which is 300 years old is between England/Wales, and Scotland. England and Wales were joined already, and Ireland joined the 'gang' (ok, perhaps not willingly!) later.


May I be one of the sole Britons (yes, Britons!) to praise the union: the appeal to me of the UK, as opposed to Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Island, is that it is less ethnically based. Anyone may theoretically gain British citizenship, whereas to be a Scot, or English, is very much a racial thing.

Also may I point out that while the union may only be 300 years old (still older than your country, americans!), the constituent parts were very much connected before.


James Buchanan, I would not miss Texas at all. In fact, I'd like to volunteer to go and help dig the moat. Or maybe we could re-route the Rio Grande....


Whilst we are talking about 500 years of history why don't we go back a bit farther and maybe argue about the Scots invading Pictland from what is now the North of Ireland? Maybe Scotland should return the area south of Edinburgh to Northumberland since the Scots invaded? How about arguing over the Norman invasion and the slaughter of thousands of Anglo-Saxons in Northern England, or maybe the Roman defeat of the Celts etc etc etc.
Let's debate the current issues that warrent the dissolving of the UK not history from 300, 500 or 1900 years ago.
Some people seem too keen on using the past to justify nasty comments or in the case of other parts of the world killing each other. If the will of the people wish there to be a split then so be it, lets not base it on whose side your great grand pappy fought on. Especially for those of us in the US, we are such a mixed bunch your best friends ancestors could have been English, Scottish, Roman etc...

Scotland Free:

Independence please!
Scottish nationalism isn't about race or ethnicity, it's about national self determination, democracy and self respect.
The unionists cant have it both ways.
They tell us we're too poor to run our own affairs, while at the same time,bleeding us dry of our resources! The union is dead. Lets bury it.


This all suggests the interesting image
of the United States breaking up into
Red and Blue nation states. Perhaps the
new global economy encourages break ups
of the big nation states. Remember the
Soviet Union?

Dave Coull:

"Sam Houston" says "you don't know your American history very well" - and here was me thinking my American History professor at university knew what he was talking about. Mind you, he's from the state of Georgia. I do know that when Texas (slave state) joined the USA it was at the same time as California (free state) so they kept the delicate balance for a few years longer. I do know Texas was just independent for a few years, not for a thousand years, like Scotland.


I'd like to point out one of my great grandfather was Irish and brought up in Glasgow to an Irishmother and a Scottish father another was born in Albany NY USA to Irish parents. They all emigrated to England over the years. I consider myself English as it's the country I was born in. Why I should "get what I deserve" as some of the above have suggested just because I was born in England is beyond me. That seems very spiteful. You may not realise it but a lot of us English have mixed hertitage ourselves and a lot of Irish and Scots did move to England for economic reasons and their descendants are now English. Thank god I don't have a memory that goes back 500 years to drag up some past war my ancestors where not probably invovled in, to score cheap points on a message board......

Texas Girl:

To Sam Houston, uh friend. The Alamo was a battle between the Americans living in Texas and the Mexicans. The American Texans wanted independence from Mexico, not the U.S.

Dr Goran Nowicki:

In 20 Feb 1998, late Dr Macartney (Scottish MEP) and former SNP deputy leader in his last year of life, gave an anology of Scottish and English situation (in a Nationalism workshop near Sterling).

He said for years we and the English were living in a house and sharing the house together. "Now we want to have our own house and have our own kitchen." The English can have their own house, kitchen and toilet. A year later in May 1999 Scots voted for formation of their own house (parliament).

In 1998 event, Nicola, the current deputy SNP leader was also in the same meeting and assured me and the participants that SNP is getting ready for governing and is forming its shadow ministers. Now after 8 years in opposition, those shadow ministers have proved to the Scottish public that they are ready for independence and gained the confidence of more Scots. It has been a matter of time and hard work.

With Labour, losing its support because of its Iraq war policy, SNP is in a very good position to cash on people's dissatisfaction. Another factor is the unpopulaity of the Royal family in the UK after the Diana scandal and its aftermath and people are fed up with the monarchy system. I doubt that Scotland will be a monarchy after independence, but I don't think it is a good time to discuss it in the election. SNP should be careful in raising controversial issues such as penny tax again before the election.

I should also mention another factor that there is a very negative sentiments among many Scots towards English from South while very friendly to foreigners. With UK declining in the world Politics and being replaced by the US politically and overshadowed by the EURO and EU, the Scottish population finally have realised that they are better off in the long term having their own separate house, kitchen and toilet.

Alexandria, VA:

To Washington DC, I was enjoying reading the name calling posts from people outside of the U.S. and then you ruined it. We don't have a dog in this fight. Just stand back and watch. Anyway, I love you UK guys no matter what. Kisses.


With regards to the post about "Scots, English etc = British" I was refering to the fact that all of these peoples are considered British citizens, hold British passports etc. I wasn't trying to suggest that people would refer to themselves as "Brits".
The only way for the situation to be resolved is a referendum in all of the countries of the UK.
Also with regards to the link to the Scot who fought in the War of Independence. If you check your history books folks you will find plenty of Englishmen and their descendants who contributed to the War of Independence and the creation of the USA. Thomas Paine is a good example.


North Sea Oil is not the cornerstone of economic policy for an independent Scotland. The revenue stream from that is only likely to grow - it is after all averaging around $20bn this year, with higher forecasts for the immediate future. Most economic surveys suggest that there is at least 20 years of significant deposits still left.

The cornerstone of economic policy for an independent Scotland is shedding the parasitic union, that drains Scotland of its wealth, its people and its rightful prosperity. A one-sided economic relationship that keeps the SE of England in the pork barrel and the rest dependent on them for crumbs? Does that sound like a successful relationship to any decent minded person here?

With Scotland's identified potential as one of the global powerhouses of GREEN energy, it's rapidly expanding banking sector, its abundance of resources and its highly educated population - it is in a much better position to ride out the challenges of the 21st Century.

England's imperial power will continue to drain, as will its economic stature - which is what happens when you are just too damned greedy!

Sam Houston:

Dave Coull - you don't know your American history very well. Texas wanted to be part of the US? Have you ever heard of the Alamo?

Sam Houston was a traitor - why is that city still named after him?

Washington DC:

England continues to get what it deserves after hundreds of years of committing atrocities all over the world. I find it humorous that there are English on this blog whining about how the Scots do this, the Scots get everything, wah, wah, wah, after all they have done to the Scots and everyone else in the world.

Karma's a beotch, don't you think?


In reply to "Answer", you identify that the union has left Scotland, a nation, in a less healthy economic position than Yorkshire, a region. If that is not a damning verdict of the union I don't know what is.

Let's remember, the economy of Scotland and it's social health is becuase of the union. That union is now outdated and a burden. I want Scotland to go out into the world and be grown up.


Katie, I hope you're kidding.
While you are quite correct about the positive role Scots may have had in our battle for independence, many more Scottish highlanders fought with the British in the attempt to quash the rebellion, such as in the Battle of Bound Brook:


...which is besides the point. The US has its hands quite full already presently without engaging in even more issues with which it has no real business.


A few commentators need to check their facts. North Sea Oil, for example, is being exhausted rapidly, and will not provide decades of unlimited wealth. Other natural resources are few. Irish success as EU member is not repeatable, now that the EU has 25 members. Unlike Italy, where the prosperous North has ambitions to shed the poorer South, Scotland (like Quebec) finds itself in the opposite position.

Dave Coull:

James Buchanan says this "seems as ridiculous to me, as an American, as it would were it that Texas, itself a briefly an independent nation, suddenly up and decided it wanted to be an independent nation again" - but the Texans never wanted to be independent, they wanted to be part of the USA, the only reason they were briefly independent was because the existing states of the USA couldn't agree on them joining, because Texas had slavery and it upset the delicate balance between "slave" and "free" states. Scotland, on the other hand, was an independent kingdom for a thousand years, and kept it's own national identity all the time it was part of the United Kingdom.


I've never seen so many posts trying to analyze a simple cause. My ancestry goes back to the tiny town of Spierston on the Isle of Skye. The soul of William Wallace is revived again! Let's go to battle, my Scottish brothers, and separate from these arrogant English !


One of the world's most successful multinational states? What a typically English euphemism.

As an American of both Scottish and Irish decent, I've always considered the United Kingdom more wishful thinking than anything. The English can't honestly be deluded enough to to think that the Scots, Irish and Welsh are happy under the UK umbrella. Honestly, I'm surprised that the "End of the United Kingdom" hasn't come already. England may have "conquered" them once upon a time, but they never won the battle for their hearts or nationalities.

My great-grandfather was from Glasgow. My great-grandmother was from County Tyrone. They considered themselves Scottish and Irish, not British. When they needed better lives, they emigrated to the USA, not England. England was the overlord, not a co-state in the the UK.

The English may have selective memory syndrome, but 500 years is recent memory to millions of Scots and Irish. Scratch the surface, and you'll find the seething undercurrents of a revolution. We here in the colonies threw off the UK mantle 230 years ago. It's high time the non-English nations of the UK considered doing the same. God knows they'd have plenty of allies here in the US.


The US finally seems to be catching on that British devolution is inevitable.
Wales is only 20 to 30 years behind Scotland.

I had the privledge of interning at SNP HQ during the '99 election. They've got some brilliant minds in the organization; Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson to name just a few.
If you're interested in learning more you should check out www.snp.org.

William Wallace:


A Hardwick:

There is an assumption that "Scotland" will have ownership of the "Oil". What if "England" won't give it up? Will y'all fight? Just curious.

To the posters talking about Hawaill, and San Francisco, a very short history lesson. The Civil War settled one thing. No current nor future state may secede from the Union. To attempt to do son would constitute treason and rebellion. Hence, the current abivelance of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico On the one hand to be rid of the drated gringos and the English language would be great, but it is a cruel world out there. On the other, statehood would help to intergrate Puerto Rico economically and give better representation in the Government but statehoold would be IRREVOCABLE. Hence both statehood and independence refrenda have been voted down.

Douglas Boyd:

Its taken a long time to finally put England in its place. As an imperialist empire builder, England has seen many of their subjugated countries they invaded and called their own take their own rightful independence - America was one, everyone might remember! Scotland clearly has its own culture, language, flag, geographic boundary, and rightful pride of being a Scot! The SNP has always stood for the welfare of Scots. I applaud Alex Salmond as a real hero to our nation of Scotland!

Meyer Marks:

I would hate to see Scottland leave the U.K. but I can understand the reasons. Would hope they can came to some type of an agreement on cooperation of power shareing. Living in the U.S. I do thank the U.S. would be much better of if they were still under British rule. With the current state of affairs in U.S. politics with corruption and the reputation the U.S. has in world today. The U.K would a good role model for the U.S. government. For one if the U.S. still had a manarch as head of State and the U.S. had self rule with the U.K. was in charge of foriang policy. Over all I do not see Scottland leaving the U.K. anytime soon.
Kind Regards!
Meyer Marks


For many a decade the British Empire existed on the works and sacrifices of Scots, the Welsh, the Irish, the Sikhs, the Aussies, the Kiwis, et al.

If the USSR ceased to exist as such after 70 years the UK is lucky to have lasted longer. Besides this whole charade is due to the fact that Englishmen resent non-englishmen and especially ones like Mr, Brown who is definitely a Scotsman and is due to be PM of the [shudder, shudder] the UK.

With all the bull about bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq the English still cling imperially to Gibraltar, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, the Falklands and several Pacific Islands and to a lesser extent Scotland and Wales.

The possibility that the UK will cease to exist in its present forma will provide outstanding opportunities for the Irish, the Scots, Welsh and others to be considered separate and apart from the Limeys.

The day when London provides a home to the billions in gold that the Sheik of Kuwait has stashed away in the nation's capital of the country that made him rich and the center of production of many a nations currencies should be open to good old competition among the non-Londoners.

The day the Union Jack stops fluttering some 8 to 10 thousand miles away from Piccadilly Circus will be celebrated by many.

As the adage goes, " all good things must come to an end".

Dr Larrie D Ferreiro:

Should Scotland vote for and gain independence, then Great Britain would no longer exist (as Edward above noted) but technically there could remain a United Kingdom of England and Northern Ireland.


It is pretty funny reading Scots lustily cling to their "oil and gas" as the security for their independence -- as if Scots are not leading global warming haranguers. A petrol state. What great polities grow up that way . . . .


Watching this from Chicago for the last decade or so, it seems to me that Scotland is now and will continue to be thoroughly beset by rot with or without the Union. Internationally, they will follow their George Galloway soul to become champion do-nothing whiners, lecturers, and dictatorship-coddlers who will give their all to build up unelected international bureaucracy as much as possible in the misguided belief that a seat at the table in such bureacracy multiplies otherwise non-existent Scottish power.

England will continue to be a leading state of the world, as it has been for hundreds of years.

Scotland was last a leading light in the days of Adam Smith. Too bad they've so thoroughly rejected their best product.

James Buchanan:

Some of this seems as ridiculous to me, as an American, as it would were it that Texas, itself a briefly an independent nation, suddenly up and decided it wanted to be an independent nation again...


I know only one fact and that is that the Scott's are the most intelligent people in the world (10 of the 100 most famous people are Scotts!)
Scotland Zindabad.

Dave Coull:

"Crazy Canuck" says the issue of Scottish independence reminds him of Quebec. It shouldn't. The two are totally different. Scotland has a long history as an independent kingdom. Quebec is merely the remnants of the French colony of Canada. There is no "language problem" in Scotland. While Gaelic and Scots will both be encouraged, nobody who has any chance of getting into power in Scotland is going to try to force any language down our throats (unlike in Quebec). Scotland has a clear, well-defined land border. Quebec's boundaries would be certain to be disputed in any bid for independence. Scotland has a population which is remarkably homogenous by international standards. There is no "Six Counties", or even five, or four, or even one, there is no region of Scotland which will seek to 'opt out' if the nation as a whole chooses independence. In Scotland, while we have strong regional identities, there are no native national minorities with their own national territories. In Quebec, there are thirteen different native-Canadian nations with their own national territories. All thirteen of the native-Canadian groups of Quebec have made it clear that, while they can just about put up with French rule while Quebec is part of Canada, they will secede from an independent Quebec. The territorial claims of the thirteen native-Canadian groups that say they will secede from an independent Quebec amount to over fifty percent of the land area of Quebec. Quebec has already had numerous referendums in which independence lost. Even if there should be a referendum in which the independence option should win, this is certain to be hotly disputed. By contrast, we in Scotland have not had a single referendum, but, when we do finally get one, independence will win easily, and this will be accepted without dispute by the unionist minority, for the simple reason that they are, first and foremost, Scots.

The Boomer:

Bring back Mary, Queen of Scots.

Crazy Canuck:

Being from Canada, the issues raised here sound eerily familiar. Our Supreme Court was asked to give an opinion on the circumstances under which Quebec could gain independence. The Court said that if a clear majority of Quebecers vote for independence, then the rest of Canada has a duty to negotiate the terms of that independence in good faith. Sounds simple, but the devil would be in the details. How is the national debt divided? If the population in certain geographical areas do not vote in favour of independance - are they forced to separate? How are land borders determined - do you give effect to original historical boundaries or to subsequent revisions in those boundaries? How do you divide up the armed forces? What about the national currency - can they still use it? How do you deal with and divide common business and legal issues such as terms of trade, securities regulations, and taxation? While independence sounds simple in theory, it will not be so easy to implement in practice.


Other than my Latin name I class myself as English, the country of my birth and proud of it, although saying English and proud of it is not the flavour of the month at present, in some quarters it can be classed as racist particularly so if you hoist the English flag!! If the Scots want independence in May 07, great! I'm sure we will survive, England I mean, in fact we will most probably prosper. So here's to an independent England 2007!


UK has become an increasingly inconsequential nation, so who cares... those racist bigots, snobs, colonialist murderers will eventually become totally irrelevant.


By the way...who do you all suppose will come out of the woodwork with some bizarre and antiquated claim to the Scottish throne? Last I checked there was still nobility in Scotland. Does the king over the water have a g-g-g-g-grandson somewhere?


If the author of this editorial is to be blamed for condescending to a nation of people as if they were seeking to become a "boys only club" then he can be excused perhaps by pop culture. It is almost as if he were watching Braveheart while he writes. Scotland can easily view being a part of Britain as a ball and chain. If a country with centuries of on and off self rule finds itself more inclined to be self-ruled once again, then it has the right to seek it. Furthermore why should Scotland share its monies with England when it could far more efficiently and effectively govern itself after the model of high-living-quality countries like Iceland, Denmark, New Zealand, etc?

A low population and a high tourist trade, as well as a movement towards environmentally friendly industry and energy production make for an ideal country. Small and smart beats large and slow.

Scotland historically has been torn between loyalists and nationalists, but speaking as an American, perhaps we all may have learned in the last 250 years that England and its colonies are better off independant from each other and friendly.


For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

Michael Bindner:

As someone who traces his ancestry to the Plantagenets, I would hope that the current Monarch would move north in the event of a split and remove the English standard from her flag and crown. The British Monarchy has ceded too much to be called more than a tourist attraction. I offer for example the Queen's Speech. This should be an address by the PM. A Sovereign Queen would have never gone along with the Tory program when they committed such abominations as the reversal of the right of self-incrimination. The Monarch must be the conscience of the nation or it has no purpose. Perhaps the Glorious Revolution was not so Glorious after all. As a Plantagenet, I do not recognize its full implications and do not support anyone holding the crown who does. I also think that an independent Scotland has a better claim of union with Northern Ireland than England does, at least ethnicly and religiously.

Patrick Harris Portsmouth:

Amen to that Johan. In the most recent census taken in the UK Scots could describe themselves as Scottish, Welsh could describe themselves as Welsh and Northern Irish could declare themselves as such. The English on the other hand had to go to a box marked "other" and insert "English". can you imagine the outcry if the Scots, Welsh and Irish were told they could describe their nationality as "British" only. Any "English" Americans out there that would like to support their mother country have a butchers at www.englishdemocrats.org.uk we could do with a bit of support.


To Anglo Amercian. "British" is a contrived identity designed to benefit the interest of a narrow elite rather than the common people of the captive countries. Gordon Brown et. al. portray themselves as British for personal gain. Most Scottish nationalist would not consider themselves British.


American readers would do well to remember the vital role which many Scots played in securing American independence. For example:


Perhaps it's time for you to return the favor?

Dave Coull:

There are no controversies about the LAND border between Scotland and England, but
John G. says "if Scotland were to actually become independent the original maritime borders would surely have to be re-instated". That sounds like a very good idea! "They were of course moved for the benefit of the Scots nationalists some years ago". - What nonsense! OF COURSE the British government didn't change the maritime borders "for the sake of the Scots nationalists". Turkeys do not vote for Christmas! The truth is completely the opposite, the British government moved the maritime boundaries further NORTH so that,
if Scotland should become independent, more of the oil and gas would be in the English sector. But if the English want the original maritime border re-instated, that's okay by me!


If Scotland votes in the SNP next May 2007, then the people will have decided that the Union of Scotland and England should come to an end. It will be the countries invaluable right to do so. As its pointed out, it will be ironic that this would come on exactly 300 years since the act of Union that unified the parliaments of the Kingdom of Scotland to the Kingdom of England to form the Kingdom of Great Britain (the crown was already unified about 100 years previously). It was evident from day one, that the union was slanted towards England, anyone who has read the 1707 treaty, can see this. At the time it was unpopular with the Scottish population, but with corruption rife in the political and noble classes, it was a done deal. 300 years later we have the pro Unionist politicians promoting the lie that is the UK, espousing that Scotland is better off, that Scotland gets more than it puts into the UK treasury, ignoring the fact that Scotland actually contribute more through taxes and the oil wealth, than it actually gets, a fact that's often denied but cannot be ignored. It's a shame that David Goodhart gave away his English right wing credentials at the end of his piece. He should have pointed out that in the event that the union is dissolved, politicians like Gordon Brown, Dr John Reid and the current speaker of the House of Commons would no longer be MPs in England. Also David Goodhart failed to state that if Scotland dissolved the union there would be no United Kingdom, but a Kingdom of Scotland and a Kingdom of England, just as it was before 1707. I, for one hope that Scotland will make the right decision (without interference from foreign governments, has been the case recently with the US Vice Consul to Edinburgh) and become an Independent Kingdom once again. Following the model of Norway, Iceland or Norway, who are similar in size and economies, will be good for the country.

Patrick Harris Portsmouth:

Bill Conor - you are full of it. The only referendum on "regionalisation" was held in the North East of England arranged by that bufoon Prescott (Welsh), he thought that because it was the Labour heartland he would get the required "Yes" vote, when the resounding "no" was returned he and the pseudo Scots Parliament in Westminster completely ignored it and went full steam ahead anyway. All we in the English Democrats Party are asking for is a referendum throughout England, this is surely our democratic right, you had a choice about your future, as did Wales and Northern Ireland. England was afforded no such curtesy, we fight on.


A lot of the article seemed aimed at the pesky Scots going all tribal and breaking up England oh sorry Brtain the best superstate the world has ever seen, yeh right. Read the amount of comments from the English up above, a lot of them do not want Scotland either, but I don't see them being branded small minded or tribal.

The day that Scotland achieves its independence is coming fast, maybe America should remember its struggle in gaining independence and the important part that Scots played in that. An independent Scotland will be open for trade and relations with America, might be an idea for America to stay out of this debate and let it happen itself. The land of the free sounds nice, but does not fit America well if it is influencing things to Englands benefit.

Bring on the republic.


Just a few notes about this supposed preponderance of English people in the UK's armed forces. You may be right, which makes the use of Scots as cannon fodder all the more disgraceful.

A few examples; Scotland has under 9% of the UK's population, but 18 of the first 100 (that's 18% in case you don't understand) UK personnel killed in Iraq since the 2003 invasion were Scots. During the First World War no European country lost a higher proportion of its population than Scotland, except for Turkey. In Turkey's case it was disease which carried them off, for the Scots it was ordnance.

in 1759 General James Wolfe died while capturing Quebec. He famously remarked of his Highland troops "They were hearty, intrepid, accustomed to a rough country and no great mischief if they fall." From before that day to beyond this one that has been and will remain the attitude of the UK's leaders to their Scottish troops; no great mischief if they fall, i.e. expendable.


As an active member of the SNP, I always despair when I read my fellow nationalists falling into the trap of believing that we have somehow been hard done by by the English - I would argue that the vast majority of the English establishment (bar the likes of Samuel Johnson) , from 1707 on, has done a very good job of accomodating us, and making the best use of our people. Anytime when we have had a raw deal out of the union, there have been Scots standing alongside these so-called English oppressors.

Scotland's problems compared to Englands are purely demographic - 5 million people up here are always, always going to be of less import to a British government than the 25-30 million living in the South East of England. We do badly because we are a remote satellite state, not because there is considerable English ill-will towards us. Those who try to say otherwise do the movement a great disservice.

Some Scots have, and will continue to get a good deal out of the union - the problem is that very few Scots in fact do today. While it may be a force for good for all the 'Scottish Raj' media commmentators, (Wark, Marr et al) the union, and its resultant demographic problems, do not benefit the vast amjority of Scots.

And finally - what to fear of an independent Scotland, freed from its remote orbit round the London axis, able to turn itself to face the world, knowing that it may not be able to tip the balance in Iraq, but that it could make its positive contributions similar to those of Norway, which consistently 'punches above its weight' internationally with its leading positions on the Israeli-Palestinian and Sri-Lankan conflicts? Freed from the burden of power politics, Scots could go on and fill positions in international organisations that will more than compensate for any loss of a seat on the out of date UNSC.


As a nationalist I believe (and hope with all my heart) that we can indeed take back our nation in May. The fact is that this would be a benefit for both Scotland and England - both would be free of their 'ever-whinging neighbour'.

From a Scottish point of view (well I am Scottish) we would retain our oil and also be free to create positive social conditions focussed on Scotland rather than the south east of England. We would also be able to opt out of illegal, unnecessary wars. I also believe it would give England a new lease of life and they could finally find their national identity - at present that seems to be defined by wearing an English football strip.

Many of the English posters on this forum argue that they are run by Scottish MPs. I think you would have to stretch your imagination a long way to find a Scot who defends the Union and Britishness with as much vigour as Gordon Brown (apart from perhaps a few Rangers fans). And Tony Blair, Scottish, don't make me laugh.

The simple fact is that Scottish independence is going to happen, like it or not. No party stays in power forever, and when Labour have had their day at Holyrood the SNP are the natural successors - Scotland has traditionally been a left-wing country and the SNP are the only major left of centre party still in existence, despite what Labour councillors would have us believe. It could be next May, it may not be for another 10 years but it is going to happen. As mentioned, one poll noted that 51% supported independence. But this poll had other interesting points to make:

1. 10% were undecided, so 51% was the very minimum
2. Huge chunks of the other parties' voters (even the Tories) supported independence

Bill Connor:

Isnt it funny that the English posters on here always go on about Scotland splitting up...well I say to you...all areas voted for devolution so all areas would vote for independence...If your country (England) is going to be split into regions..then that is up to you...we in Scotland don't particularly care what England decided to do to themselves..... as for the barnett formula where the English Democrat party want it scrapped...you dont want it scrapped more than us Scots..we want independence and anyone who says we should have a federal system...No it would be the same thing as now - no change and no chance.
While I am on...Can any of our American cousins please right to your congress/senate and complain about the US consul in Scotland making political speaches condemning the independence movement in Scotland.

Dave Coull:

John Lease asks "At what point do you have negotiations on exactly where the borders would be?" Answer, the border between Scotland and England already exists. For hundreds of years, Scottish law has applied on one side of this border, and English law on the other. Since this is one of the clearest and least disputed boundaries anywhere in the world, there would be nothing much to "negotiate" about. "Would each section of Scotland have to approve it, or would there be a 'Southern Scotland' attached to England?" - Answer, the South of Scotland is intensely patriotic. Every part of Scotland will vote unambiguously for independence. You are making the mistake of thinking that the Irish precedent is relevant. It isn't. There are no "Six Counties" in Scotland, nor five, nor four, no, not even one, which would choose to remain with England when the rest of Scotland becomes independent.
Will Smih says "Independence for Shetland and Orkney!" - but they don't want this, they just want a substantial degree of autonomy within Scotland. When a referendum is, at long last, held on independence for Scotland, the majority of Orcadians and the majority of Shetlanders will vote in favour, the same as the majority of Scots as a whole.


" How many wars did Scottish blood and courage win for the English? You would never have had an empire without us. - - - -
Scotland Forever!!!! "

This is the sort of over puffed , factually wrong , endlessly resentful drivellings from the pamapered parasites north of the border which we English have had to put up with all these years .

The answer to your question KG7 is NONE .British armies , navy's etc were always predominantly English -and more than proportionately so for countries of the UK .
They still are . Scotland's always numerically minor contribution is likely to get more minor still - particularly given the rapid decline in Scotland's population ( assuming the UK continues that is )

By the way , contrary to Scotland's view of history , England was invaded much more often by the Scots than the other way around . And they nearly always got thrashed . eg Flodden 1513 .

Time for England to be rid of the professional victims .

England Forever ! .

Niall Scotland:

For the information of our American friends, Scotland is an ancient nation which was pressganged into the union of 1707. Its not an equal union as Scotland with 8.6% of the total UK population is very much the junior partner. For example: Scotlands economy suffers when Interest rates are increased to prevent overheating in the SE of England.

Also it should be noted that Scotland with 8.6% 0f the UK Population actually contributes 10.41% of all UK Government Taxes and revenues. In effect Scotland actually subsidises the rest of the UK. This is the main reason the British Government are resisting the growing demand for Independence.

Independence would actually free Scotlands entrepreneurs, businessmen, artists and creative people to build up a dynamic, vibrant and forward looking economy, which like Norway can offer the best of public service to her people. Something that cannot take place while the dead boot of Westminster rests upon Scotlands neck.

Airson Alba!
Yours for Scotland.

John G:

If some of these more recent posts are anything to go by it will be a messy divorce! As for squabbling over what's left of the oil and gas, if Scotland were to actually become independent the original maritime borders would surely have to be re-instated. They were ofcourse moved for the benefit of the Scots nationalists some years ago. According to international convention much of the oil and gas reserves therefore rightfully belong to England.

I would love to see the Scots vote SNP but I can't help thinking that the 51% figure is no more than 'talk' and when it comes to the crunch they simply won't have the nerve. I hope I'm wrong.

The Union has served a purpose. We should be grown up enough to take the stabilisers off now.

Patrick Harris Portsmouth:

Yockel, me ole son, Under the iron fist of communism, in the form of Tito, Jugoslavia was a united collective of diverse ethnicity and religion, no one can forget what happened on the death of both communism and Tito. In our part of Europe (ever increasing in size) relations between, the erstwhile warring factions of, Britain, France and Germany since the 2nd WW have been cool but cordial which has developed naturally. Now the powers that be, seek to force unity on a collective of diverse ethnicity and religion, left to our own devices I think that relations would have naturally developed to be more than cool and cordial, I hate to think what would happen should there be a collapse in world economy or worse still a global environmental castastrophe. the rush for the door would make WW2 and Jugoslavia seem a picnic.

David McCann:

It is not just the SNP who supports Scottish Independence. The organisation which I am Secretary of,- The Scottish Independence Convention, is an all party/non party umbrella group formed to advance the cause of Scottish independence, and to promote the case for independence within Scotland and beyond.
Our Chairman is Murray Ritchie, a much respected former Political Editor of the Herald newspaper.
We provide a forum in which people, parties and organisations in and beyond Scotland can cooperate in advancing this cause;
We believe Scotland as a nation is entitled to self-determination and to become an independent state when the people of Scotland vote for it by a simple majority in a referendum.
The problem we have is that our supine media for the most part will only promote the case for the union. Had they supported independence we would have been independent now. But things are changing and more and more are beginning to realise that independence is now a distinct reality.
Check out our website www.scottishindependenceconvention.com

Paul G:

"The Scots economy is reliant on public (ie English taxpayers) expenditure as now 1 in 4 Scots are employed by the state, hardly the profile of a dynamic nation, it has ever been the case. If parochialism, envy, ingratitude and bitterness were national commodities then truly the Scottish would be a wealthy nation."

So what you're saying is that Scotland has a poor economy? I agree. That's why I support independence. And you sound pretty bitter yourself, as do many of your English compatriots in this thread. Indeed, I am tempted to go so far as to describe you all as "whingeing." Now where have I heard that word before?

To refute a few of the points you make :

"it has ever been the case." Nope. In fact, Scotland was the motor of the industrial revolution. Its economic woes are of recent vintage.

As for the excess public expenditure, it is more than made up for by oil and gas revenue you steal. I love you English. You take all the money from our oil and gas, throw a few coins back to us on public expenditure, then whinge about how we get a little more public expenditure than you do.

And the Barnett formula was originally proportionate to population. It only became slightly disproportionate in Scotland's favour because Scotland's population size, relative to the rest of the UK, continued to decline - this decline being a consequence of the poor economy which, in turn, is a consequence of our membership of the United Kingdom.

Anglo-Saxon Steve:

KJ5 opines "How many wars did Scottish blood and courage win for the English? You would never have had an empire without us".

The answer is "none", the overwhelming majority, 92%, of the Army is English, the lowest ratio it has ever been is 89% English. The Scots like most of England's psuedo-celtic neighbours are imbued with a passion for victinhood and a propensity for never letting the truth get in the way of misrepresenting history.

The dependency culture and victim paradigm of Scotland is only matched by their ability to self publicise. England would be well rid of Scotland and its over reliance on English taxpayers and access to our markets, cut from the coat-tails of English enterprise the heavily subsidised Scots would then find their true level amongst the worlds economies, (nowhere to be seen) as a Disneyesque theme park where American tourists can see a nation balance a giant chip on each shoulder. The Scots economy is reliant on public (ie English taxpayers) expenditure as now 1 in 4 Scots are employed by the state, hardly the profile of a dynamic nation, it has ever been the case. If parochialism, envy, ingratitude and bitterness were national commodities then truly the Scottish would be a wealthy nation.

King James VII:

I love the photo of Mr. Goodhart. He looks like he's puckering up to kiss the Queen's wrinkled old arse.

For the friends of the Olde Enemy,
How many wars did Scottish blood and courage win for the English? You would never have had an empire without us. I for one will be setting alight a Butcher's Apron (aka, The Union Jack)in May.

Scotland Forever!!!!

D R Lunsford:

I have been very troubled by social conditions in the UK, where life is assuming an Orwellian/Bradburian shape. Do the Scots plan to roll back the pervasive presence of The State in their lives, should they break with England? I hope so.



Perhaps it is time that the USA gets involved in this devolution fad. My question is how far back do we have to go when we start over as individual cultures?
I mean I have Scottish (Dudley,Gordon) English (Gates) and Norwegian ancestry. Am I offed or do I get to choose?
"The hammer of the gods Will drive our ships to new lands"
Will we have to recombine Pict DNA? I'd bet we'd find enough of it in the Isles despite noone wanting to admit to it. Neanderthal DNA? Now there is a clear case of genocide we never owned up to. Well, maybe Douglas Adams did it for us.
"To fight the horde, singing and crying:
Valhalla, I am coming!"
I am all for it!
"How soft your fields so green"
Who needs inclusion anyway.

Fred Gibbons:

In the age of the internet, and vast numbers of cable channels, marketers often talk about targeting micro markets. By analogy and perhaps an unanticipated consequence, micro nations are also emerging.

The elements of nationhood like shared identity, common laws, security, and economic policy are either easily facilitated by technology or easily borrowed from one's neighboring country.

In addition the global economy is providing such a degree of interdependence, it's relatively easy for a want to be nation to solidify on top of it. If nothing else establishing a nation is like establishing a micro brand symbolizing unique characteristics and creating economic opportunity for its owners.

The sun has set on nations as we know them.

Bukko in Australia:

I hope the Scots do become independent, and show other English-speaking countries the proper way to unwind. Specifically, the United States. I would welcome the disengagement of forward-looking American regions from the "beknighted" (as in Knights of the Ku Klux Klan) sections of Midwestern Jebusland and South Redneckonia. If my beloved city of San Francisco could only set itself up as an idependent city-state, or the cultural capital of the West Coast nation of Ecotopia, my wife and I could return from our political exile in Australia. And don't get me started on what the Aussies should do with those daft Queenslanders!

Al Khan:

Having lived in England Scotland for several years, I am of the view that Scots will be only be better off if they start to take matters in their own hands by:

1. Cutting public expenditures drastically and devise a investment oriented fiscal policy away from the past.

2. Encourage savings less on consumption.

3. Invest more on R&D and Technical Education.

4. Have a balanced budget and float its currency for first 5 years.

5. Provide basic health care to its citizens.

The above is a very tall order and would be a great challenge to Scots to shape up or take a cut in their standard of living
Taking over some of the National Debt would involve a rancorous debate. In final analysis, the cost of separating would be enormous even with North Sea Oil revenues.
My Scottish friends think before you take the jump!

dan in london:

so many comments
if anyone makes it this far down I can assure you that the UK is not on the verge of independence. The bonds are too complicated, there are too many people with roots and loyalties on both sides of the border and it's in the interest of too many people, on both sides of the borders, to stay the same for it to actually happen.
A vote for the SNP is not in practical terms a vote for independence and if there was a referendum on independence it would fail.
I wish British people wouldn't write half baked articles in foreign newspapers that paint a false, and overly dramatic, picture of things.
my twopenny worth

Goran Nowicki:

It is time for the Londoners and English to realize that wih the birth of EU, the days of United Kingdom-ism is over.

Scotland was reborn when Madam Eccose and Dr Macartney won their seats in the European Parliament. SNP new generation such as Alex and Nicola are the students of those teachers.

If the conservatives join the SNP in Scotland, it will bring a good balance to the SNP policies and strengthen the man power with administration skills to rule the new Scotland. With Alex and Nicola's good chemistry and the rising price of the oil, the dream of Independence is not very far away for Scots. Scotland and Kurdistan will be two new born countries in this decade.

Steve Shackleton:

The article misses the true driver behind this and other nationalist movements in the UK, namely, the chasm between the political classes and ordinary people. Provide devolution, independence, or go the other way and strive for a Euro-state, it makes no difference, because people know deep down that these changes are not implemented for their benefit. Walk around the slums of Edinburgh and ask the people if that shiny new parliament building uptown has improved their lives. The voters are tuning out all politicians; independence is politicians' way trying to get them to tune back in.


Useless royals: Off with their heads!


"People look to the UK as a model for civility and reason."

Correction: People in most of the world look to the UK as a model for hundreds of years of brutal, vicious, violent, hateful, fanatical racism, eliminationism, colonialism, and imperialism. People also look to the UK as an example of brain-dead royalism.


Patrick, the benefits of the European Union are not about governance but peace in Europe. Just look at what happened to Franco-German and British-Irish relations.

Patrick Harris Portsmouth:

Danny boy, there would be no woods or trees to worry about had the European Union not decided that, for the purpose of easier governance, the UK should be divided into 12 regions (Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland were the first 3, stealthily disguised as a means to enhance democracy by de-centralisation). This has exacerbated the problem that you highlighted in your post. Instead of 4 countries getting along, quite nicely, thank you, for the last 300 years there will be 12 "regions" vying for the best deal, causing 3 times the amount of rivalry and jealousy, 12 "Regional" governments scrapping for the crumbs dispensed by central Government who in turn will be scrapping with 28 other EU countries for the crumbs dispensed by the (unelected and unaccountable) EU commission. Please don't even mention the tower of Babel that is the European Parliament, they can't even decide where the seat of European government is to be sited and given that there is only a choice of two, Brussels or Strasburg, it does not bode well for the future.


I recently returned to the US after spending a year in England as a racialized minority. I mostly had negative experiences there. England has tremendous internal social problems regarding race relations; basically, immigrants from the countries formerly colonized are arriving in England en masse, and neither the healthcare nor education systems are capable of handling the challenges. Immigrants are set apart from the mainstream population in cultural enclaves. Perhaps there are cultural reasons the Scots are looking for a divorce from England; from my experiences interacting with English institutions, it is clear to me that England as a society still suffers from the need to promote homogeneity...even more so than where I grew up in the deep South.

Will Smih:

Independence for Shetland and Orkney! If Faroe gets its own World Cup team, why not them? For far too long the lazybones in Glasgow and Edinburgh have been stealing the right to claim that "England" has been stealing "Scottish" oil revenue. These are Shetland and Orkney revenues and the sooner the Earldom is revived the better.


Scotland can prosper independently because the European Union envelopes Britain. Law, not might, governs the affairs between peoples in Europe.

Under the tent of the European Union, there is more ethnic self-determination everywhere. The Irish government, for example, was only able to cooperate with London when the European Union guaranteed that law, not coercio, governs the relationships between states. That laid the foundation for ending the terrorism in Northern Ireland.

Likewise the European Union provided groundrules to defuse ethnic conflict and devolution in Spain. Even unitary France is granting regions and peoples more autonomy. Belgium has become a federation between a Walloon and a Flemish state.

There will be few draw backs to Scotland going its own ways. Like Dublin, Edingburgh and Glasgow will move from the British periphery to European centers once Scotland is independent.

As Iraq demonstrates the limits of Anglo military might there is no reason to remain the appendix of England. On the contrary, once Scotland becomes independent, there is a good chance that Dublin and Glasgow will once again become metropolitan hubs.


Goodhart's nauseatingly Scotocentric article is full of the usual simplistic and biased Scottish good / English bad rubbish which we in England have had to put up with over the years . He completely fails to appreciate that most of the English are heartily fed up with our northern neighbours' hectoring , spoilt , racist attitude to us and the absurdly overprivileged status they have in terms of government expenditure and massive political over representation . All this , by the way , at the hands of a Scottish dominated British government which carefully denies England a national parliament along the lines of the Scottish parliament and forces us to put up with a British parliament about which we were never consulted in 1706 - though Scotland was , at length .
A better model might be the 1993 split of Czeckoslovakia when the long tolerant Czecks became terminaly fed up with the endlessly curmudeonly Slovaks and collectively decided to get shot of them .

Much the same mental process is now happening is England . Belatedly , most English are coming to the realisation that it might well be better to be free of Scotland , which would mean a free England . Lets hope the Scots have the guts to do it on 1/05/2007 and don't chicken out .

England will be the freer and better for it and richer too( Scotland will have to shoulder its share of British national debt ) .

Celtic Ranger:

One interesting note: If Scotland became independent, the UK would no longer be a nuclear power, as all of Britain's nuclear weapons and submarines are north of the border.

My suggestion is to just bring back the England v Scotland football match to settle it.


I am an American, and I've got to admit I don't really know what the situation is with you guys in the UK, but I hope that whatever decision is made that it goes through without any violence or nastiness. There's already far too much fighting in the world. People look to the UK as a model for civility and reason.

Leo Myers:

It seems to me that the silly notion of nations has passed. It is probably time to revive the idea of "tribes" or communities of related individuals. Given the capacities of communication and travel, having an additional layer of national governments just leads to power mad demogogs seizing despotic rule of people who have no stake in anything that is done by such folks.

There is no useful purpose in having Scotland, Ireland, or even Wales combined into a "nation" except for those who wish to play the Power game. Cooperation where it works can be easily negotiated between neighbors, forced activities by a National group just breeds resentment and does not contribute to the good of the peoples involved. This idea relates to all of the groupings of the European nations, and the disUnited States would be a much better citizen of the world if its component parts were independent.

The UN could morph into the World Federation with Continent size sub units. Course we would have to destroy all of the war toys, and let the people start anew with axes and spears!

English Democrat:

England needs to be freed from the theiving Scots.

The Scots are currently ruling over England, and the English have had enough

Watch this Space !!!!!!!!!


5 million population Scotland
5 million population Yorkshire and the Humber

17.4% Scotland's working age population on benefits (556360)

15.4% of Yorkshire and The Humber on benefits (486450)

88810 scot's on Jobseekers allowance
87470 yorkshire+humberside on Jobseekers allowance

84850 scots on incapacity benefit
67270 yorkshire+humberside on incapacity benefit

58000 uk civil servants in Scotland
38210 uk civil servants in yorkshire+humberside

£7 billion a year more public expenditure in scotland than in yorkshire+humberside.

This is the main tool for you own answers.

No need to say anymore......


the problem with england, it's full of snots

(...and royal bloodsuckers and lackeys of Washington)


the problem with scotland, is that it's full of scots


Several posters (Stephen N in particular) seem to be laboring under the misapprehension that Scotland is somehow oppressed by its neighbor to the south when, if anything, the opposite is true. Scottish MP's routinely vote on purely English affairs and, most eggregiously, the Home Secretary, the man charged with overseeing English law and order, is a Scot. If the Scotish people do decide that they're fed up with English taxpayers subsidizing their public services, I suspect the average Englishman won't loose much sleep over it.



"United Kingdom" indeed. It makes one sick just to pronounce the phrase. Down with all royalty, may they rot good and well.


if scotland gained independenc it would be annexed faster than you could say United Kingdom.


It's a great piece. I particularly like Goodhart's description, "the moral earnestness of the Scots leavening the famous pragmatism of the English"- who knew such generalities could be substantive.

The 'British Question' has plenty of idiosyncrasies, but if you survey the forest accounting for the vagaries of its trees, it shares remarkable similarities with the tens of dozens of other 'tribal' antagonisms afflicting the old world. Each side has its blood boiling narratives and pride, each is inextricably tied to the other by myriad dual loyalties, mixed blood, shared religions and traditions. To the extent that blunt force political and institutional segregation is the answer to such problems, I wonder if it doesn't bode poorly for the future and the growing global propensity to reduce conflict to perceived ethnic, national and religious differences.

Patrick Harris Portsmouth:

The United Kingdom was split asunder when:
1. The Scots, Welsh and N. Irish people chose devolution.
2. Lord Barnett arbitrarily decided that, per capita, Scots, Welsh and N. Irish residents should have more money spent on them than on English residents.
3. Scottish MPs at Westminster voted yes to legislation that brought about tuition fees for English university students, Knowing that their counterparts in the Scottish parliament had voted to give Scottish university students a free education.
4. The English NHS deprived English patients of life saving drugs, knowing that these drugs were available to Scottish and Welsh patients.
5. The elderly residents of England were forced to sell their homes in order to pay for social care, for the elderly Scots it was free.
6. When MPs elected to Westminster by Scots voters could vote on purely English matters but had no say in the affairs of their home country and were unaccountable to the English electorate.
There is plenty more where that came from but from this sample alone, who can dare say that there is unity of any kind between the erstwhile constituents of the United Kingdom. I say good luck to the Scots in their bid for independence, they will not be the only country set free.

Paul G:

"A depressing victory for tribalism"? What rubbish. Scotland has been ill-served by the union with England. In 1707, when the union was formed, we had one third of England's population. Now we have less than one tenth. That says it all.


Now the British get to taste their own medicine. Divide and conquer is the tactic. What is next? Hawaiians want to be independent? Time will tell.

Jon A. Christopherson:

With a Scottish Stuart ancestor on my mother's side, I like nearly all of us have been inundated with Scottish nationalist hero stories from Robert the Bruce, to Bonnie Prince Charlie and William Wallace. The Romans built Hadrian's Wall to keep the barbarous and wild Scots out of Britannia. The Scots are never satisfied and I suspect that if they break away from Britain, they will soon devolve into fighting amongst themselves as they did before the Romans and the English tried to "civilize" them. As with the Quebecois in Canada, the British should divest themselves of these atavistic tribes and move on.


To Irish-American. Scots recieving a raw deal from Brits? I think your getting your labels mixed up. Currently Scots are Brits, just like the English are Brits. It's a common mis-conception that Brits = just the English. It referes to anyone who comes from the British isles. Most of the UK's powerful cabinet positions are controlled by Scottish MP's who weren't voted for and are unaccountable to English voters. Imagine if Canada and the US where unified but Canada called all of the shots from Washington and none of it's Senators where voted for by US citizens, and you get an simplified idea of the current state of play in the UK.
Scotland is welcome to it's independence and the quicker they vote for it the better I believe it will be for the English.


I am Scottish and am in literally two minds about this.

Interesting discussion; I spent Saturday afternoon in the new Parliament building and was staggered by it and its location.

It is very tempting to see if we can plough our own furrow.

As to Mr Ford Lane's comment about finance for Scotland under the Barnett formula, that's OK, remove it.

We will go our own way and keep our own oil and gas.

We would be as rich as Norway.

Nah, just kidding.

I LIKE the English and do not want a divorce.

Next May I will be voting against independence.


I am glad to see England face this SCOTTISH
SYNDROME and to see how Englishman handle it.
No "civilization clash" here, I do not know why Scottich wants to break away from England.
To my best understand, I would like to make a educated guess here, Scotland will still unite with England for at least 50 years. Reason: if they break away, each will fall into the third -rated country. No one wants it.

Irish American:

Independence for Scotland wouldn't be "another depressing victory for tribalism." Empires that were assembled at gunpoint/swordpoint (UK, USSR, the Austro-Hungarian empire, Yugoslavia) aren't legitimate and are likely to unravel. If after all this time the Scots don't feel like they got a fair deal from the Brits, we should support their right to self-determination.

Richard Thomson:

Goodhart misses the point spectacularly when it comes to comparisons between Scotland and Ireland.

Scotland does not have the economic problems which Ireland had until the late 1980s. In running a large relative budget surplus to the UK thanks to strong oil and corporation tax revenues, an independent Scotland could emulate Irish corporate tax cuts without risking a budget deficit.

Of course, as part of the UK, Scotland has fewer powers over her economy than the state of Rhode Island. That's why Ireland is stealing a march on Scotland, and why she will continue to do so for so long as Scotland is shackled to the economic policies deemed most appropriate for the well-being of the City of London.

Is it pedantic to point out that 'England's size' is, well, England's size, regardless of whether Britain remains intact or not? And as for independence meaning 'tribalism', I'm sure people like Goodhart were making the same very arguments when the Baltic States won freedom from the Soviet Union, and when the Austro-Hungarian Empire disintegrated.

Truly, in David Goodhart, the Habsburgs are alive and well, and chattering round a dinner table in Hampstead.

David Ford Lane:

What annoys me is the mis-informed suggestion that we want to keep our neighbours from hell!.A few comments you may find interesting: England needs to be recognised and treated as a unified country. Scotland and Wales have been recognised as countries and their people given the opportunity to vote in referenda for devolved government. Scotland now has a parliament, and Wales an assembly. In contrast, the people of England have been denied the opportunity to choose an English Parliament. Instead, England is being dismembered into nine regions. We find this discrimination unacceptable. England should be a political entity with its own parliament and executive.
The immediate abandonment of the Barnett formula. The formula institutionalises discrimination against the people of England by ensuring that public spending in Scotland and Wales is far higher per head of population than in England. The Barnett formula diverts about £8 billion of extra public expenditure to Scotland each year. This means that the entire population of Scotland enjoys a subsidy averaging £30 per person per week. This has meant, for example, smaller class sizes in Scotland, higher pay for teachers, shorter hospital waiting lists, and the availability of prescription drugs and surgical procedures which are unavailable in England on grounds of cost. This unjustified discrimination must end. A new fairer system is needed which enables England's share of the £8 billion to be used to improve public services in England.
Free the English....please vote for independance and take your politicians with you.

David Ford Lane English Democrat

John Lease:

I found the article interesting. I would think a federal system would take care of this problem, I'd guess the Scottish Parliament doesn't have any real authority then. A UK without Scotland is definitely weaker, whither then Northern Ireland? Would they attempt to hang onto Scotland? What then happens in Wales? At what point do you have negotiations on exactly where the borders would be? Would each section of Scotland have to approve it, or would there be a 'Southern Scotland' attached to England?


This is far more complicated than just one parliament declaring independence.

The issues of a common Monarch between England and Scotland are the result of 700 years of wars and intermarriage.

I doubt the current inhabitance of Windsor castle would be willing to give up the Scottish crown and remove the coat of arms of Scotland from their flag.

And if they don't, then they are still one "Kingdom" no matter how much autonomy London gives them, and with that comes some sort of higher authority than they would have under an indpendant state.

Unless they did something along the lines of what Canada and Australia have done.

Slim Jim Baxter:

"To emulate the Irish model, the Scots would probably need to cut public spending by one-third, not a good start to life as an independent nation."

Really? On what basis does the author make that assertion?

With North Sea oil revenues (75-90% in the Scottish area) keeping down the UK's borrowing requirement for the government's fiscal deficit how does it transpire that it is Scotland which would cut public spending?

Jay Gee:

This piece starts well but ends badly.

The author is correct in his analysis that currently the SNP are the more likely winners of the Scottish election next May, and that this is partly due to the continuing failures of devolution to work to significantly and substantially improve the lives of those in Scotland. That's why even die-hard opponents of Scottish Independence such as Michael Fry have now switched positions and are backing self-determination.

Given the current lack of willingness for a real contest for the leadership of the post-Blair British Labour Party within present members of the Cabinet, it may well be that Gordon Brown's inability to secure Labour votes at home may be what forces the hand of the Blairites to enter the contest.

But the article is simply let down by its ending. On current projections, Scotland has a relative surplus of 4.34 billion pounds compared to the UK and an absolute surplus of 1.01 billion pounds - not a bad start for any new country.

Add to this the potiential to grow the economy that full powers will give people in Scotland and it's understandable why the majority view in Scotland's business community is that have more powers will benefit Scots and the Scottish economy.

Stephen N:

The people of the United States decided long ago that they were better off without London taking decisions for them.

Was that decision an example of tribalism? Or just the common sense choice for your nation?

Mr Goodhart writes from a peculiarly British perspective, but his is a very out of date view. Scotland's 18th century union may serve London well but for decades it has been bad news for Scotland. As part of Britain we have had the lowest long-term economic growth in the EU, with family incomes being squeezed, interest rates higher and wages lower.

And at the same time as Scotland underperforms, similar neighbouring nations like Ireland, Norway and Iceland - all the same size, in the same part of the world and with similar talents and resources - are at the top of world wealth and quality of life league tables. Just last week the UN described Norway as the best place in the world to live, Iceland was second, Ireland fourth. Scotland as part of Britain had fallen 3 places to 18th. That is not good enough for my nation. We no longer want or need London remote control. Instead we want a new more modern relationship with the people of England as two equal nations, partners in much of what we do, but like Ireland, Norway or Iceland, free to prosper.

The readers of this blog in the USA know what it means to be free and able to make your own success. It is time Scotland had that opportunity.

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