Do the English really want the Union…

Simon Heffer in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph has some interesting ‘anti Union’ thoughts... As a colleague here today pointed out, there is a natural Tory majority in England, float Scotland off, and it could be the coup some Tories are looking for. And as Michael White points out, Alex Salmond is making a better cut at being a statesman than his erstwhile Labour rival Jack McConnell. And Alex Bell wonders why, with a strong showing for the SNP, no major Scottish newspaper will back them?

To be a nationalist is to occupy a strange place in Scottish society. At the vote on Thursday to our devolved parliament, it is likely more people will vote for the main nationalist party than any other single party. Taking a broad sweep over the statistical shrapnel from the opinion polls, it would appear that the Scottish National Party may get about 35% of the vote, with Labour on 30%, while the Tories and Lib Dems tussle amid the high teens.

Despite this possibility, and the significant change of political direction it signals, no newspaper seems capable of reporting this phenomenon with any degree of neutrality. Instead, the press has set itself against nationalism, the SNP and the next likely government of Scotland. Imagine the 1997 UK election with every paper actively hostile to Labour and you have a sense of how strange this is.