Independence-lite for Scotland recognises the pull of the Union

In the SNP’s 75-year history, we have never been closer to our objective of independence for our nation.”
So boasts Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond at the SNP party conference. But what kind of independence has this become? One which remains a “social union” with the rest of the UK, sharing embassies abroad, even currency, and even armed forces, minus nuclear bases on the Clyde. Magnus Linklater, doyen Scots columnist, rates this as a sign of growing maturity with a Scots electorate that stubbornly refuses to support Braveheart-style independence above the mid thirties level. Independence-lite just might seduce more of them. Or else the new lite version might just slide back into devolution or quasi-federalism without anybody noticing too much and allow the SNP to climb more or less gracefully off the independence hook altogether. At the same time, Salmond is whipping up hopes of the next Parliament at Westminster “hanging by a Scottish rope.” But as Brian Taylor points out, that’s more aspiration than strategy. A Bel Tel piece, inspired perhaps by its former Scotsman editor, suggests that independence-lite might have ripple effects for Stormont. But Old Bel Tel contributors and others remember that even though its possible for a minority parties to have a major share in the balance of power in a hung parliament as unionists did in 1974 and after 1995, it may not get them very far if the two main parties are determined to deny them what they want.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Good strategy drag a few more undecideds into the independence tent, after all they have settled for devolution and once you get one thing in place you can then often move to the next level without causing much of stir – like Ireland did becoming a Republic in 1949.

    On balance, pocketing what you can get is the best policy, although it can be fraught with danger, as the boul Michael Collins case illustrates.

  • Home Rule, we would have called it 100 years ago. And look at the unfortunate results of the foot-dragging on that in Ireland. If Irish Home Rule had been granted without opposition, imagine how much unpleasantness would have been avoided. Is Scotland to be forced to re-live our history? (Though, luckily for them, they don’t appear to have an ‘East Ulster’ problem)

  • Dewi

    Sharing “even currency, and even armed forces” – a bit like Europe then:
    Battle Group of the European Union
    Common currency

  • kensei

    Brian

    Utter cack. Try harder.

    <>So boasts Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond at the SNP party conference. But what kind of independence has this become? One which remains a “social union” with the rest of the UK, sharing embassies abroad, even currency, and even armed forces, minus nuclear bases on the Clyde.

    Transitional steps; the SNP has stated its desire to move toward the Euro in the medium term, wtf is a “social union” anyway – how does it differ from the EU? What are the legal ramifications?, eventually you’ll find an indpeendent governemnt having a look at getting some of its own embassies in major places – and of course, people will have to appoint ambassadors to Scotland, not just the UK. The one place I’ll give you si armed forces.

    UIt is quite clear the SNP and Salmond what Inepedence-lite to reduce scare factors, after which they will push for, um, more complete independence. What evidence do you have the the SNP have any desire to “get off the independence hook”?

    Any? No? Why is it there then?

  • joe

    utter non fact balls, lolol at this crap

  • Alex Salmond, in his own words.

  • Also, Brian Walker, your title is very leading, and far from neutral. One might think that you were trying to give a fairly overtly unionist message.

    The “pull of the union” is not mentioned in the article to which you link. That appears to be only your interpretation.

    Interest is an ‘independence-lite’ may come equally from factors like the initial costs of complete independence on one day, or a recognition of the benfits of international cooperation (other have menioned the EU – the big elephant in the sitting room that you, and Magnus Linklater, seem not to be able to see).

    Or, as has also been pointed out, some people may find a complete rupture difficult psychologically, so a staged rupture may be easier for them to cope with (here NI is a good example to look at too – you hardly think that SF see Stormont as the ultimate outcome? Do you think that they are succumbing to the “pull of the union”? Wise up!).

    I can understand a unionist seeing everything through his own prism, but here you seem to be deliberately distorting a story.

  • Unionism is all about not moving, staying the same. All groups who try to stay the same and move not an inch will eventually wither away and die off. Stagnation is a sign of a complete lack of new ideas. Will the English and the Welsh taxpayers bankroll the north of Ireland leech economy if the Scots do leave the UK?

    Roll on independence, flower of Scotland. Interesting times ahead.