The Scottish Independence referendum is in a couple of weeks. Only Scots in Scotland get to vote. On the usual basis that people should be allowed to do what they like, I say good for them. If the Scots like to believe that William Wallace wore a kilt, or woad, or was nice to children, or that they will be better off as an independent nation, good for them. Personally, I reckon that if they become independent, they will end as a basket case like Portugal, only with rubbish weather, within a decade. Definitely on the dark side of the moon. Hopefully they will still make and sell whisky.
But what about this side of the wall? As far as England is concerned, the only really compelling reason for union – originally under James I/VI – in the first place was to assist in discouraging Scottish thieves from raiding the North of England all the time. Now that raiding is out of fashion, there is an argument that the union has outlived its usefulness. The basic deal over the past decades has been that most of the brightest Scot move to England, and in return for this brain drain, England supports the Scots who remain in Scotland by giving them more than their fair share of the UK’s taxpayer’s money and, for that matter, parliamentary representation. After independence, the brain drain would continue, but the subsidy would stop.
It would also mean that the balance of power would shift dramatically to the right with Scotland off the political table. If one were to ignore the Scottish seats, the Conservatives would have won pretty much every General Election for the last century. With the Scots gone, things in Westminster would eventually move back to equilibrium, but for the next few years, and until the national debt is brought back to a more sustainable position, the country could do without the risk of another socialist government.
Also, we might well have the great fun of seeing Orkney and Shetlands deciding to remain part of the UK, rather than suffer under the yoke of government from Edinburgh. It would not be such a silly move for them, not only because they so dislike mainland Scots, but because they have a very significant territorial claim in what is left of the North Sea oil. Independent from Scotland, but as part of the UK, Orkney and Shetland could do very nicely for themselves indeed.
Without the North Sea oil, there really would be precious little for the Scots to do apart from making their delicious whisky. And fight among themselves. Until Union, that is what most of them (including William bloody Wallace) did most of the time.