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It’s not you, it’s us

September 12, 2014

The whole issue of Scottish independence is like being involved in a slow, bitter break-up – with someone you didn’t even know you were having a relationship with.

At first, I felt pretty indifferent. Scotland was complaining again. So what else was new? But that’s when I assumed that Scotland was just having a tantrum, and would really stay with us no matter what. Then it seemed as though Scotland was over the tantrum, but still just desperate for our attention, moaning on about how it could have been great, if only we hadn’t been holding it back.

Then it started to look a bit more serious. We’d allowed Scotland to vent, but it was still threatening to pack its bags. For a few months more, we ignored it, but did occasionally point out that it would be a lot worse off without us.

Usually, this was enough to bring Scotland to heel and for everything to settle down again. But Scotland wouldn’t settle. It even claimed it would get on much better without us. Threats that England would withdraw its pound, its Queen, even Top Gear from Scotland had no effect (perhaps not at all surprisingly in the case of Top Gear).

I started to feel a bit rattled. Here was Scotland, about to make a huge decision, and I wasn’t allowed to have a say. Democratic? I don’t really think so. Then, last weekend, the polls showed a Scottish majority in favour of independence.

Then it hit home. Scotland was really going to leave us. I felt very sad and rejected. When Cameron, Clegg and Miliband headed off to Scotland on Wednesday, I thought that would be the final straw. A bunch of  Oxbridge toffs pontificating and threatening would be the death knell of our united kingdom for sure.

But now another poll is saying that the No vote is back on top, and Scotland may stay after all. I feel relieved, but a little used. Scotland, don’t play fast and loose with my affections. Stay British. If you leave, we’ll have to redesign the Union Jack flag and frankly, it’ll be a mess.

Flying the flag

Flying the flag

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