As the date of the Scottish independent referendum fast approaches, it seems that the ‘No’ campaigners, not least British politicians of all political persuasions, having finally woken up and realised that there is a real possibility that Scotland will vote to go independent and begun reaching for the panic button.
I’ve blogged on this subject before, but can it really the case that our political elite has slept-walked into the break-up of the United Kingdom as constituted for the past 300 years?
Did Tony Blair, when he first instigated devolution as a policy (presumably in the pursuit of votes), ever contemplate the possibility that it might end one day with Scotland – or indeed Wales – actually leaving the United Kingdom?
I very much doubt it.
And did David Cameron, when [attempting to call Alec Salmond’s bluff?] he agreed to set up a Scottish referendum on independence, ever imagine for a moment that the result might be a ‘Yes’?
I’d suggest never.
And yet here we are. Of course, one of the problems for the ‘No’ campaign has been its predetermined negativity. However well-presented, the arguments against Scotland going independent inevitably come across as scare-mongering.
This – particularly with a stubborn, not particularly intelligent, electorate like the Scottish – inevitably provokes a reaction of “Sod you, then, Jimmy!” and a momentum-building desire to give the British political elite one of those traditional ‘two fingers’ salutes.
In contrast, the ‘Yes’ campaigners have had it relatively easy.
If they can just field enough charismatic orators creating a fantasy image of a future land of milk and honey – fuelled by North Sea Oil – in which stout-hearted, kilt-wearing, whisky-swigging jocks enjoy life without interference from those swine down south against a background of a bagpipe band bashing out Flower of Scotland, success should be a nailed-on certainty.
(Do let us hope so – I cannot wait to get rid of those boring Scottish soccer results which are no interest to anyone, all those Scots television presenter/reporters who clog up our BBC airwaves and, of course, all Scottish athletes out of Team GB at future Olympics …)