I know. If I love Scottish politics so much, why don’t I move there? Well, I might – then you’ll be sorry, but not as sorry as the Scots.
Scottish independence has been much in the news, even this far south! Before he went off for today’s love-in with M. Sarkozy, our own PM was even talking about it. I don’t claim to follow the full range of arguments he marshalled but I do think he was suggesting that we would both be richer together than apart (this the day after he’d half-inched the Scottish idea for a minimum price for alcohol). A recent visit to the National Museum of Scotland suggested that not much has changed in the last 300 odd years – being richer was reported as a primary driver from the Scottish side for union back in 1706 (the Darien expedition had not gone so well).
One of the options short of full independence is rather unattractively called Devo Max. I assume this must be the calorie-free version of Devolution (there’s probably also a Diet Devo for the ladies). Given the current obesity issues that are popularly supposed to afflict our Scottish brothers, I can certainly see that this might have some appeal for those north of the border.
The issue that the Greeks (and others) are having with a Euro whose value is set for the convenience of quite different economies is only too familiar to the Scots given the rather London-centric currency they have been stuck with for several centuries now (they do their best, poor lambs, by making their bank notes much more colourful – but I don’t think it’s really helping). So, I presume the Euro-sceptic wing of the Conservative Party will be throwing their full weight behind Alex Salmond and his desire for freedom from remote government that doesn’t respect local customs and conditions. I fear, however, that they will be of only limited assistance north of the border: the Poll Tax is still too fresh in Scottish minds (well, let’s face it if Bannockburn is still fairly fresh, and that was nearly 700 years ago).
My big question for the referendum is: who gets custody of Berwick?