... should the question be put first to all the peoples of the UK, thus asked Matthew Parris in today's Times.
"Scottish independence would create two new countries. The whole of the UK must be consulted before it happens."... he continued:
Iam a citizen of a country called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, whose borders and territorial waters answer that geographical description. This United Kingdom — not England, but the Union of which England is a part — is where I vote. This United Kingdom’s Armed Forces are recruited from all parts of the Union and defend all its borders. This United Kingdom decides and raises taxes across the whole country, and disburses them for all parts of the country. I vote in elections for the administration that determines all these policies — the British Government at Westminster.... and more:
It’s our country. In an important sense, we run it.And now some people are proposing that the union that created it should end, and our country split.
“Split” is the word. This is not an amputation: lopping off an extremity and tossing it into the North Sea. Scotland wouldn’t be “going” — going anywhere — but staying put, reconstituted as a new state. England, Wales and Northern Ireland will no more be divesting themselves of Scotland than Scotland would be divesting itself of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This would be a proper divorce, not an offspring leaving home. There would have to be a tussle about possessions.
For we — the other parts of the UK — would become a new state too. With Scotland gone, the phrase “United Kingdom”, the whole concept, takes on a new meaning: not just for England but for Wales and Northern IrelandThis idea of Matthew is important, because it signals to everyone in the UK that the time has come for a conversation that determines where we will be when our children become adults. It is not a question that would deny the Scots an opportunity to create a separate state, we are democratic after-all, not some single party state that suppresses freedom of expression. Such a conversation is in danger of suppression by the proponents of separation who label it "scaremongering tactics". I for one want to know exactly what will be the effect of separation, as I am sure, do many others in these sceptred isles. Amongst the constituent parts of the UK there is only a very small minority that look constantly for the greener grass of post independence, today the door is opening for a realistic view of this in a way that everyone can understand. The four areas I am interested in gaining an insight are ......
- Currency, how can Scotland consider remaining with Sterling with policy affecting it being set by others.
- Armed forces, would we extend the policy that allows certain foreign people serving in our various arms, how soon before we relocate southwards our submarine forces.
- Our BBC, much despised by nationalist commentators north of the border would be divided, but how is talent divided.
- The EU, might take the opportunity to divest itself of these turbulent isles, forcing the new countries to re-apply, an opportunity the French might relish.
So ask us all and, if we all agree, then ask Scotland. And before Scotland is asked, take time to give the Scots clarity on what is being proposed. Saltires and bagpipes, Union Flags and British bulldogs, are not enough.A comment left at the Times ...
Interesting times, interesting ideas ........ myself, I'm planning the farewell party !
Michael in FranceExcellent summary Matthew. Of course we are all part of that Union and anyone's departure clearly affects us all. We should all have a voice
As for San Toi's egotistical "on behalf of the Scots - "It's not yours - it's us." How then would he respond if the rest of the UK (90 odd percent) were indeed to hold such a referendum and decided we wanted no more of Scotland?
As an Irishman, who has spent most of his life in England, now in France, I have always found the English tolerant, civilised and welcoming.
But I and most of the people I know are fed up to the back teeth with this perpetual Scottish whinging