It’s a bit late to influence the referendum on Scottish independence, which resulted in a muscular No, but historian Niall Ferguson’s perfectly pitched Telegraph article is a must-read, even after the event: link below.
If you listen carefully to Scottish pro-independence conversations, you can detect a profoundly anti-English sentiment. That is the wrong way of looking at the future of a proud country. As Ferguson puts it:
For most of the early modern period, the Scots kingdom was Europe’s Afghanistan. In the Highlands and the Hebrides, feudal warlords ruled over an utterly impoverished populace in conditions of lawlessness and internecine clan conflict. In the Lowlands, religious zealots who fantasised about a Calvinist theocracy – government by the godly Elect – prohibited dancing, drinking and drama. John Knox and his ilk were the Taliban of the Reformation. Witches were burnt in large numbers in Scotland, not in England.
Most people on the streets of Scotland are ill-informed about the profundity of what a Yes vote will mean to them.
They should also realise that a “free” Scotland is not going to be independent at all. London and the United Kingdom are to be replaced by Brussels and the EU — much harder task masters.
All the opt-outs negotiated by the strength of the United Kingdom will disappear in a puff of smoke. Scotland will have to fall in line with the other smaller nations. It will be ranked with the tiddlers in the Euro area.
You can tell the No vote is being intimidated by the glamour and pseudo-patriotism of this flawed decision. Much of the excitement among Scots has settled around the Yes campaign.
Yet many of the sensible ones realise that while high enthusiasm is good for times of war, in peace prudence has to rule.
The British Lion remains the safest harbour for all of us in these islands.