Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Divorce !

I’ve always been a bit cynical about opinion polls but there’s one which has really leapt out at me today. These are its results:

Conservative 17% Labour 37% Lib Dem 22% SNP 21%.

In case you hadn’t already guessed, this is a YouGov survey in Scotland.

It means that for all the progress they have made south of the border, the Conservatives in Scotland would be just over one percentage point up on their showing in 2005.

No one really seems to know what will happen tomorrow. My own gut feeling is that most of the polls are slightly understating the Conservative position, and that Cameron might just sneak an overall majority. Labour are in second place, I think, and the Lib Dems a close third. No science behind this, and it might turn out to be complete rubbish. Part of it, I accept, isn’t based on hard-nosed political analysis, more an emotional anguish (denial ?) about Nick Clegg holding the balance of power, and the orgasmic raptures that would send the BBC into.

Whatever the weather, it is clear that Cameron, who is likely to be the next Prime Minister, is still hugely unpopular in Scotland. Can we really have a situation in which someone rules over one of our countries in which he gets less than one in five of the popular vote ? In mitigation I do know that in 2005 the Conservatives won the most votes in England and yet we still ended up with a Labour (and Scottish) Prime Minister; that the distribution of votes to seats is substantially weighted in Scotland’s favour; and that the Edinburgh Parliament accounts for much of Scotland’s legislation anyway. But that aside, we risk ending up here with something that is just about untenable.

In my eyes every passing day strengthens the argument for a break-up of the United Kingdom. The English have been royally screwed by the Blair-Brown-Cunningham-Dewer-Cook-Darling Raj over the past 13 years but that of itself is no endorsement of an England-centric (virtually England-exclusive) government to do the same back to the Scots. As nations, we are growing wider and wider apart. The Scots have always had a greater faith in a strong State and more centralised control than we have, and these poll results suggest that just at a time when Cameron is at last trying to put forward the argument for a return to individual sovereignty, the Scots endorse yet more of what we’ve been subjected to all these years. The Scottish Parliament emphasises the differences, an English one would just paper over the deepening cracks.

The relationship has been generally been like a stormy marriage. At times, for instance during the first half of the last century when (in a rare show of unity) we saw two World Wars through together, it was a strong and invaluable partnership; two countries united in a common cause. But those days are long gone. That is not to say that we would not once again fight alongside one another if the time came. There is, in the well-worn phrase, more that binds us together than holds us apart. But in terms of nationhood, it is time that went our separate ways. Permanent separation. Leading to divorce. Never to marry again, thanks very much.

Ideally, Scotland would take Northern Ireland with them at the same time. It is, after all, in no small part, a Scottish problem which the English have, in their ignorance, been trying to manage for the last 400 years. When the west-of Scotland Protestants proclaim their support for "the Union", it is that between Scotland and Ulster that they care about most. Let us leave them to it.

And we’ll throw Wales in too. For free.

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