|Queen Anne's floral badge of Union|
Over the last three hundred years the people of these British Isles have managed to make an awkward four way marriage work. There have moments of hostility and open conflict (Irish independence) but there has also been peace and prosperity. This marriage of geographic necessity has enriched the world with so many important discoveries and insights; it is barely credible that such a small place could achieve such a creative and important contribution. Together we colonised about 25% of the globe and then handed this empire back. We gave the world it's global language and saved Europe three times from despots and tyrants. Together we have been in the right side of so many important alliances and civilising initiatives. We achieved more together than any of us had the right to expect.
Domestically we have been much more successful than many give us credit for. We have been one of, if not the most, successful economy over the last 200 years. If it had no been for our commitment to the two world wars and a misguided dalliance with socialism for 25 years we would be the richest country on planet by a country mile. In partnership we have built great institutions: the rule of law, the BBC, great universities, GMT, accounting standards, the codification of sport and the Jaffa Cake. We did all of this whilst maintaining a playful contempt for each other, which has been sustained by sporting rivalry. We even married each other and have, with open arms, invited the world to share our small group if Islands - we made multiculturalism work.
Scotland has a great identity and a clearly differentiated role in the world and to throw away the history and joint institutions we have built together would only be a sign of weakness and small mindedness, both if which are not characteristics one associates with the Scots.
Listening to Alex Salmon over the weekend I was very struck by two things. Firstly, he seems to want to keep all the shared institutions that we jointly built (monarchy, the pound, the NHS) but he decries this heritage in the same breath. Secondly he seems only interested in being the captain of the ship and not in the safety of it's course ("we'll sort the currency issue out later on") . It's power he is after not independence and let's hope the Scots are not misled again by some self serving light weight. Based on the current opinion polls my only conclusion is that most Scots with any common sense are now living abroad - many of them go to my local pub!!