So today the SNP are outlining their plans for independence. It would seem that Alex Salmond is very keen for the Scots to have a referendum on the subject.
Well why not? I have no vested interest in the Union. I'd like to think it would save me money if it were broken up, but I know full well that any actual financial savings made by England in the event of Scotland's departure from the Union would be soaked up by some other scheme. Nevertheless, if the majority of the people of Scotland want to split from England then that is only right.
The thing is, I'm not entirely sure that a majority of Scots (or perhaps more importantly, Scottish resident Brits) do want the Union to split. I think the oily fish is on a hiding to nothing. Sat in Edinburgh at the head of a minority government, an expensive and divisive referendum would cause terminal damage to his administration if it were returned with a no vote.
I'm not surprised that the Tories are against it, nor the Lib Dems, but I am surprised that the Scottish Labour party aren't, if not supporting it, certainly making noises that this question needs sorting out. In the likely event of a no vote, I think Labour would find their position in Scotland strengthened considerably.
That is unless of course, as some armchair constitutional lawyers have suggested on the radio this morning, that in order for it to be a democratically and constitutionally satisfactory referendum, everyone in the Union would have to have their say. If that were the case then I really don't know what the outcome would be. I think just as many English would vote in favour of kicking out the Scots as would vote in favour of locking them in. Many would vote one way or the other to piss the Scots off and many would do the same out of a genuine desire to see Scotland get the best. It would be a bloody mess.
The question that the SNP conveniently evades is independence from what?
On the face of it, the answer is an obvious one. England. But of course, it isn't real independence. The bloody great white elephant is still in the room. That being the EU. There is no independence from England, England is not in the driving seat. If Scotland wants true national independence, they need to have two questions on the referendum, one asking if a split from England is desirable and a second asking in the event of a yes vote in question one, do you want to remain in the EU.
This is an EU that has railroaded the Lisbon Treaty through. A treaty that was ushered in with nary a murmur from the Westminster parliament and one that Alex Salmond would have quite cheerfully signed if he were Prime Minister of an 'independent' Scotland.
Captain Ranty has a superb outline of a few of the rights that disappear from existence at midnight tomorrow night, including the removal of habeas corpus, trial by jury, the supposition of innocence over guilt and democracy. Just criticising the EU will become a criminal offence at midnight.
If Scotland wants independence, true independence, I'll back them to the hilt. If they get it, I'll be looking at the property pages in Stirling and Perth with great interest.