The party looking for a divorce is usually the one who will get over it quicker and suffer less heartache, desiring to move on and make a fresh start. In the case of the impending vote on Scottish Independence, it could be the jilted party, the rump UK, who shrug their shoulders and say ‘we’re better off without you’.
Divorces are charged with emotion, often boiling over into bitterness and name calling. History is dragged through the mud, often interpreted differently by each party. There has been hurt on both sides, but what about the good times? Surly there was a time when things were going well, when we laughed together, cried together, had a united front against all comers.
We come from different cultures, ones that have frequently fought bitterly, and our union may have been forced on us through a joining together of the two thrones of England and Scotland by the boy king James. Son of Mary Queen of Scots, held prisoner for many years and never visited by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth of England. A royal embarrassment, finally executed. A Union born in bitterness and hatred.
But the Act of Union held strong, and the combined power of both kingdoms led to industrial revolution, an age of enlightenment, invention, trade and military conquest. Half the population of New Zealand have Scottish surnames! And now there are many words earnestly spoken, much soul-searching and hand-wringing, as the Scots face the vote to end more than three hundred years of union.
Should the Scots vote for Independence, their path is uncertain, and they must be prepared to negotiate afresh with the international community. A new nation an the northern edge of Europe. As for the English, it will be business as usual. A minor dip in the stock market, a few jokes at their neighbour’s expenses, and back to work. The political map will change significantly south of the border, and there will be shifts and posturing, but ultimately the same relentless shoring up of the status quo. For the rich to get richer, the poor must pay. And this is the cornerstone of English politics, packaged in a number of different ways. I wish the Scots would stay to help us fight for social justice and a more egalitarian society.
As an English man of Scots descent, via Northern Ireland, I see myself as British – A British Islander. I would feel sad if the Scots break away. We will all lose something in the process and feel lesser in some way. Politics brought us together and now threatens to divide us. We are not strangers, more like cousins constantly arguing. But ultimately we are better off together.