Over the last few days I have heard a number of people on the Yes side in Scotland argue their case on the grounds of improving democracy. I find this ironic, to say the least. England believes in the union: most people, if they think about it at all, consider themselves British and want to stay that way. A Yes vote would take that away and change the constitution and nature of our nation – the one that is left – irrevocably, in profound ways, without our consent.
All those on the Yes side who argue that things have been happening to their nation without their consent because of decisions in remote Westminster have a very good point – and one that is shared by all who feel their vote has never counted. That needs to be addressed by a change in the voting system and greater devolution. The Labour Party had a chance to do that in 1997 but blew it. The Liberal Democrats campaigned hard for it but have lost their soul now. But if there is a Yes vote then we in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (including many Scots) will have had something huge, serious and permanent done to our nation without our consent, without our involvement in the debate at all, by a minority of the UK population.
Those arguing Yes for the sake of democracy seem to have forgotten that from this side of the border, as current partners in the kingdom, It’s a divorce that only one side wants. They seem to think this can happen without hard feelings. But as Niall Ferguson said on Newsnight last night, anyone who thinks that has never been divorced.