by The Editor
18 January, 2012
I am a West Highland Gaelic-speaking Scot, educated in Scotland, and intensely proud of my Scottish heritage. I was twenty-two before I first set foot outside Scotland to seek a commission in the Royal Navy, and am just as proud of having served Queen and country (The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) for 25 years during which I served in England for a total of 15 years, in Scotland for 2 years, in Wales for 2 years, and at sea for 6 years. Thus I am Scottish, British, and intensely Unionist, and am wholeheartedly against any Referendum which might part Scotland from England in any significant political sense.
The Scottish National Party is led by an extremely astute and clever politician, Alex Salmond, who has based his career on Scottish romanticism. That does not necessarily mean that he holds the future political welfare of the people of Scotland in higher regard than the political progress of Alex Salmond. I have a sneaking suspicion that even he now fears that a complete separation of Scotland from England would be bad for both, but particularly for Scotland.
There is no reason to suppose that an Edinburgh-based independent Scottish government would be any more successful than an Edinburgh-based independent Scottish bank. Alex's Independence Referendum comes at a time when the likelihood of a "yes" to independence may be higher in England than it is in Scotland. It is not yet clear whether English voters will be entitled to participate in an exercise which cannot possibly benefit the ordinary people in either country, but the English are not best pleased at having recently had to "bail out" two "Scottish" banks.
This, together with the complexities which would inevitably arise from a complete separation (and which are only now belatedly becoming clear), may explain Alex's expressed desire to have a third option on his referendum paper which might look something like:
Having climbed to the pinnacle of political power in Scotland on the basis of his promise to give the Scots a Referendum, Alex is preparing a "fall-back" position from which he may claim victory in spite of defeat. As the third option could be negotiated at any time within the current Constitution without any Referendum at all, it is difficult to imagine any other justification for its inclusion.
If I, a Scot resident in England for more than half my life, am granted an opportunity to vote in the forthcoming Referendum, I shall make it as clear as I can that I do NOT want Scotland to leave the United Kingdom and, if there is a third question on the Referendum paper, I shall resolutely disregard it as being redundant.