“Not so much the rise of a new Scottish sentiment, but the gradual decay of what it meant to be British in Scotland”

Thanks to Peter for this acute report on the strange disappearance of British identity in Scotland from Alan Little for last night’s Newsnight…

Here’s the real kicker, in almost the last line: “Independence no longer means separation in any meaningful sense, and that’s the game changer.”

See also Gerry Hassan‘s take on it…

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  • demeceface

    Not to be pendantic-but cant a decay come to pass without something new filling the void.A new scottish sentiment…………what about the older scottish sentiment.The one that is really replacing britishness.

  • Mick Fealty

    Quite so.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Scotland will do well with independence because they’ll be forced to stand on their own two feet and live or die by their own endeavour. No better men for the job than the Scots. .

    What would make independence much harder for Scotland, however, is if it had to plough along through the difficulties of independence whilst stripped of its own second city, Glasgow, and 1.2 million in of its own inhabitants – like 26 Ireland had to do after 1921.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Yes,but less than One Third of the Scottish Electorate actually want independence.

  • According to this poll, more English than Scottish want Scottish independence:


    The kind of “independence” that Salmond envisages (and thinks he might just get away with in a referendum) is the kind that would leave the Ultra-nats almost more raging than the Unionists- retention of the monarchy is just one example.

  • pippakin

    I think the English would be more than happy to see the back of the union but as far as a British identity is concerned that has been downgraded by successive governments and quangos for years, and since the last thing either government or quango want is the end of the union the fruits of their labours must taste a bit sour…

    I do wonder though if the cry for Scottish Independence will outlive Alex Salmond. I can’t think of one SNP politician, other than Salmond, who can carry it.

  • grandimarkey

    I happen to live in Scotland, Glasgow to be precise. I also happen to be in my early-to-mid twenties and as such mainly socialise with Scots of the youngest voting generation.

    I find, amongst said generation, a real respect and intrigue for Scottish Independence, mostly (and I know this is anecdotal) I find the younger generations to be in favour for it. As my discussions deviate up the age range the views are more mixed, from life-long SNP voters who are all for it to those who believe Scotland ‘wouldn’t work’ without the union.

    I think the fact that, “less than One Third of the Scottish Electorate actually want independence” as has been pointed out by HeinzGuderian, is rather irrelevant at this stage. The referendum isn’t happening tomorrow.

    Alex Salmond and the SNP know that the support for independence is at 33%. They are fully aware of all the polls which have been taken and they know that they have to convince enough people to change their mind and vote for independence in 4 or 5 years time.

    As a political movement and a political party they have played an absolute blinder over the last number of years and it doesn’t look like their skill and ability is suddenly going to disappear overnight.

    The SNP have 4 years to convince the Scottish people that independence is in their best interests. For a political machine as capable as the SNP, this is a a tough challenge but not an insurmountable one.

    They managed to convince the Scottish electorate that they were the best party for the job of leading Scotland and now that they have such a massive majority, their next step is to convince people that Scottish independence is the way forward. It’ll take a while but the propaganda war will begin now in ernest.

    Will they do it? I wouldn’t bet against them…

  • Greenflag

    “Independence no longer means separation in any meaningful sense, and that’s the game changer.”

    And the same could be said about Northern Ireland although the game changer there is that a UI would probably not mean ‘separation’ in the way it has been traditionnally envisaged and likewise the current power sharing deal or status just quo no longer means separation of North from South in the say 1920-1970’s sense .

    Game changing all round which is the name of the game .

    Scotland’s challenge is interesting and although the program link above gives the matter of fact numbers and much revoloves around Alex Salmond’s political ability -it at least seems certain that if Scotland ever goes it alone it can’t be by any stretch of the imagination similar to Ireland’s experience which took place in a post World War I atmosphere and the end of 1,000 year imperial rule in Russia , Germany and Austro Hungary .

  • Greenflag


    ‘less than One Third of the Scottish Electorate actually want independence.’

    So about the same numbers as those who wanted to see the USA a separate country from Great Britain in 1776 . American Loyalists made up another third and the fence sitters the other third which is why New York was called the Empire State .

    In the end the ‘independence ‘ seekers won out over the fence sitters and the ‘loyalists ‘ for which the world can be truly grateful . Thanks also to the French navy blockade which cut off the decent Cornwallis from his supplies .

    A belated Happy Independence Day to all Americans 🙂

  • The Duck

    Republic of Connaught, you can’t blame NI for the RoI going tits up!

  • Manfarang

    It was the North sea oil that fueled the independence movement,before that the SNP was a just a joke.
    The world is a much more globalised place with a diminished role for the state.
    The SNP wants Scotland to remain part of the EU,
    so are we looking at a regionalisation of Europe.
    Basque country, Wallonia etc….

  • HeinzGuderian

    Straw grasping at its finest Greenflag………………………;-)

  • JR

    I wonder if Scottish indipendance comes about will Unionists here still fly scottish flags?

  • grandimarkey


    Do you not agree though, that it is entirely possible for the SNP to convince a further 20% of the population that independence should be voted for within the next 4 years?

  • Michael Gillespie

    Scotland and Ireland within a Federal Kingdom.
    It is clear from comments in Slugger that British Identity is being re-examined and questioned. But if Britishness is to fade away what will replace it? British Identity underpins and unifies UK constitution but with the devolution of governments to Scotland Wales and N. Ireland and the resurgence of Scottish nationalism the question now is to what extent is the United Kingdom still united? Devolution may prove to be the endgame for the UK and British Identity.
    The key player in this is the SNP. A referendum for Scottish independence is now on the cards but the issue of a referendum is muddled by commentators. Alex Salmond is clear on the meaning of independence when h e said on a TV interview that he envisaged the Crown as Head of State in an independent Scotland like many other independent nations in the modern world. In this Alex is steering in the direction of Federal Kingdom and away from a United Kingdom. This would be a radical change in British constitution, a change to a federation which has been canvassed by Rodney Frazier in the book –Constitutional Reform – Reshaping the British political System–. To have Scotland part of a Federal Kingdom would require The Scotland Act similar in nature to the Australia Act 1986 and Trudeau’s Canada Act (patriation) 1982 which made these countries sovereign independent nations but with the Crown as Head of State. The Governments o f these countries are now in control of the police, the army, the navy, the air force and the civil service and have a distinct flag, anthem and Identity defined in Australian and Canadian passports. Since Australia and Canada now control their own constitutions they are in control of their own destinies. Scotland and Ireland should follow suit and take constitutional control of their own destinies within a Federal Kingdom with the Crown as Head of State the Irish being reconciled to a Crown reformed in the National Government of Ireland Act.
    The Canada Act was pioneered by Pierre Trudeau but was opposed by eight provinces including Quebec led by Rene Levesque. These provinces feared a loss of provincial legislative power but they acquiesced to the Act after the supreme Canadian Court ruled against them (Quebec the exception). Prior to the Act the UK government at Westminster held the constitutional whip hand in the enactment of legislation for Canada. The Act removed the whip hand from Westminster and placed the whip in the hands of the central government in Ottawa. Legislation passed at Westminster in relation to Canada even with the Royal Assent is now as meaningless as legislation passed by Portugal. On signing the Act into law in Canada the Queen expressed regret at Quebec’s non-inclusion in the Act.
    The notion of a federal Kingdom has profound implications for all Ireland. To have a Federal Kingdom of Great Britain and the Sovereign Nation of Ireland would require the passing at Westminster of the National Government of Ireland Act giving Ireland a written constitution making the country an independent sovereign nation within a Federal Kingdom with an elected Crown as Head of State in all Ireland the Irish being reconciled to an elected reformed Crown. The full nuts and bolts of a suggested National Government of Ireland Act can be found at http://www.authorhouse.co.uk What Scotland and N. Ireland needs is a Campaign for Constitutional Change CCC. The campaign should work to wards the removal of the constitutional whip hand from Westminster in enacting legislation for Scotland and Ireland so that Scotland and Ireland can be in control of their own destinies within a Federal Kingdom with the Crown as Head of State as is the case in the Sovereign Nations of Australia and Canada. Michael Gillespie

  • Greenflag

    Federal Kingdom ?

    Going backwards again . I think we’ll wait until England becomes a Republic and gets rid of their outdated monarchy .

    The vast majority of us have moved on from moved on from Kings , Kaisers , Tsars and Queen Emperors even if slightly less than half the British peoples remain loyal to Queenie and the Hanoverian usurpers 🙁

  • Michael Gillespie

    You’re in a Republican cloud-cuckoo-land again. The reality is that there are over one million loyalists in Ireland who are loyal to the Crown in varying degrees of intensity. In Scotland the vast majority are loyal to the Crown and the same is true of England and Wales. It is not good enough to have an irrational detestation of monarchs as Irish Republicans do. You probably have a knee-jerk reaction to such things as Sirs, Lords, Ladies and Knights but a monarchy in Ireland as defined in the suggested National Government of Ireland Act mentioned previously, can b e like the Scandinavian constitutional monarchies which are the most egalitarian countries in the world. Republican extremist attitudes weren’t apparent in the Queen’s visit to the Republic of Ireland except with the hand full of extremist Republican black Balloon brigade. Republican extremism put a border in Ireland and keeps it here. England may become a Republic in the very dim and distant future. Until that time comes the only realistic option for Irish unity is within the context of a Federal Kingdom because Loyalists exists even though Republicans behave and think as though they didn’t and as long as they do the Crown will have to be part o f Ireland.
    Michael Gillespie

  • How is “English independence” supposed to work? Separating Scotland from the rest of the UK is one thing but how would England separate itself from Northern Ireland and Wales?

  • Michael Gillespie

    Seymour Major

    IN an ideal Federal Kingdom there would be four independent sovereign nations, England. Ireland, Scotland and Wales each one with a written constitution making the Crown as Head of State for each one, this constitutional arrangement being arrived at democratically.

    Michael Gillespie