At the bottom of the whole story is the question about who has the power to call a referendum. There is a false assumption that the Scots want one thing and the English want the opposite. The (barely elected) UK Prime Minister, David Cameron (pardon me for spitting after saying his name) seems to be taking the line that the Scottish Parliament under Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, does not have the power to secede from UK without the approval of London. Meanwhile Salmond is 'sabre rattling' and claiming the opposite.
The more I hear about this story, the more I feel that the question is bigger than is being discussed at the moment. After all it is not a one sided issue. There's a very simple solution to Salmond's problem.
Ask the English!
Being a fundamentalist Scot he is falling into the same trap of making the assumptions that his 'type' often makes in the opposite direction. They accuse the English of not understanding how the Scots think, and in some ways he is right. As I mentioned on January 1st, in 'An Independent Hogmanay', the English do not even know how the other English think, as there are a lot of us and we live in very separate communities across the country. (While many of us may smile at the particular version of Englishness portrayed by Flanders and Swann here, I think most would flinch slightly.)
This time though, Salmond is making the false assumption that he does know how the English think. When you contemplate this for a moment you will see where he has gone wrong. He draws the conceited conclusion that the English don't understand him, but that somehow he has some sort of superior intellect to understand them. Harking back to the long-gone colonial era, perhaps he assumes that the English actually want to retain power over his 'independent nation'.
Well - from my own (albeit limited) viewpoint I think he couldn't be further from the truth. People of my generation and younger have almost nothing in common with the English of the colonial era. Not only that - when it suited them to do so, the Scots played a full and active role in ransacking the colonies, and modern Scots have exactly as much in common with their culpable ancestors - almost nothing.
In the present times of austerity I would say that the majority of the English would be only too happy to stop subsidising the remote corners of the UK. My opinion falls short of the imposition of independence that many would subscribe to, but if they truly want independence, why not let them have it?
However, living in the heart of England, the question of Scottish home rule is almost irrelevant to most people. After all, UK squanders enough money on other lost causes (a new 'Royal Yacht' being this week's nonsense!) so what difference does a few billion wasted on Scotland matter. However, in recent weeks I have only heard one single objection to the idea of splitting up the Union. That came from a colleague who usually has a live-and-let-live approach to life. Unusually his objection went like this.
The campaign for independence is being led by radical Scots. Think about all the other moderate Scots who would be badly affected by independence. Think how their quality of life would be reduced when the English subsidies stopped flowing. As one nation we should all stand together.
Well pardon me for disagreeing. But when the ordinary people of England start to get the same subsidies - including free prescriptions and free further education for their children - then we will be 'one nation', and then I will start to feel sorry for the folks in 'North Britain'.
The message to Alex Salmond is clear. Get the English involved in 'your' vote for two reasons. One - it is their right to have a say in the matter. Two - you would gain a massive surge in support for your aims.
Without the English sympathy vote you might not achieve your target within your own lifetime but with our help you could have it much more quickly than you expect.
Small note: I shouldn't have revealed this English secret should I? If the Scots get wind of this they will want to stay - just to spite us!
And another: This is far from a racist opinion. Where is the line between racism and nationalism?