Monday 15 September 2014

Scottish independence will save the union

UKIP Daily has an article giving a few reasons why UKIP should welcome Scottish independence and I can't disagree with any of them but there is one reason for your average UKIPper that they've missed: Scottish independence will preserve the British union.

You'd think the union consisted of just England and Scotland the way the unionist campaigners keep trotting out doom-laden prophecies about the end of the union but there are four countries in the UK, not two. If Scotland votes for independence this week then the UK will continue to exist without Scotland but if they vote no the union is doomed.

The British unionist parties had already promised the Scots extensive new powers if they voted no to independence and then they promised even more when the first opinion poll showed a slim majority for the yes camp. It is this commitment to keeping Scotland in the union at all costs (as long as England is paying of course) that will destroy the union if they vote no to independence.

A 2007 opinion poll by ICM found that support for English independence went from statistically zero to 15% in the decade following the creation of the Scottish Parliament and that's a symptom of the discriminatory way that devolution was introduced in the UK to exclude England. Since 1997, the English have become increasingly resentful of the preferential treatment Scotland (and to a lesser extent, Wales and Northern Ireland) gets. If Scotland votes no to independence then the more they get whilst England is ignored - or worse, threatened with being broken up into artificial regions - the more strained the union is going to be.

If the Scots vote to stay in the union then this resentment will bring the union crashing to an end. If, on the other hand, the Scots vote to leave the union the main cause of resentment will be gone and the future of what remains of the union will be more secure. Even though Wales and Northern Ireland both have their own devolved governments like Scotland does and they both get a big subsidy like Scotland does (Northern Ireland gets far more per capita than either Scotland or Wales) it only seem to be the Scots having their cake and eating it that bothers the English. Maintaining the status quo without Scotland is unlikely to be a problem for the increasingly restless English electorate.

Unionists have nothing to far from Scottish independence because it will save the union.