Scottish flags flying in London, September 2014

I was in Aberdeen at the weekend, but I think I saw more Scottish saltires flying from flagpoles in a fifteen-minute walk through Westminster this evening than I did all weekend.

Every government building in London is flying the Scottish flag now, it seems, as part of a desperate last-ditch attempt to head off the increasingly real possibility of Scottish independence. I think they might have left it a bit late to start taking things seriously.

I’ve been telling people for the past year that I think Scottish independence will happen. I may still be wrong, but I’m looking a lot less wrong now! If I were a gambler, I’d have put money on it back when it was 7/1. (But I’m not, and betting shops scare me a bit.)

I’m not sure how I feel about that. Scotland will still be there, of course, a short flight or a longer (and much dearer) train journey away. It’s always been a different country, but after independence I’d be visiting as a foreign national rather than a citizen. Without Scotland, this would no longer be the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Would we even be British any more? Geographically, yes, obviously, but perhaps not politically.

But it’s not my choice, and those are all bad reasons to deny a group the right to self-determination. I envy Scotland the chance to escape from the staid, unchangeable it’ll-never-work-here of British politics. It’s a risk, full of unknowns, and there’s no guarantee of what will actually emerge at the end of the process, but I can see why you’d would want to try. I think I’d feel the same.

And if independence happens, it’s going to change things down here too. Quite a lot, I think.


  1. Tim

    Wrote at 2015-04-22 16:19 UTC using Firefox 37.0 on Windows 7:

    I remember back when I still occasionally put a bet on the Grand National, apologetically explaining to the guy behind the counter in the bookies that I wasn’t really familiar with the process.

    Said guy looked slowly around the betting shop and advised me it was for the best and I’d be wise to keep it that way. I’m assuming he knew what he was talking about.

    As for Scotland? I’m sorry for their sake that you were wrong, but selfishly a little glad for our sake, especially since they didn’t offer to let us (Manchester) go with them.