To satisfy its aspirations, Scotland needs independence

July 7, 2009

paulscott1– Paul Henderson Scott has written numerous books on Scottish history, literature and affairs, including ‘A 20th Century Life’ and its sequel, ‘The New Scotland’. He has been Rector of Dundee University, President of the Saltire Society and of Scottish PEN and a Vice-President of the Scottish National Party (SNP). The opinions expressed are his own –

My most recent book of essays had the title, ‘The Age of Liberation’, because many of them considered the transformation of the world by the recent dissolution of all the empires and most of the multi-national states into their component parts. So far Scotland has been left behind.

This is surprising since Scotland is one of the oldest nations of Europe with a strong cultural and intellectual identity. We have made a remarkable contribution to the world. The American historian, Arthur Herman, in his book, ‘The Scottish Enlightenment’, said: ”As the first modern nation and culture, the Scots have by and large made the world a better place.”

In 1707 England achieved, what it had failed to do in 300 years of military invasion, the suppression of Scottish independence. Even so, this left intact the Scottish church and the legal and educational systems which for centuries had more influence on intellectual and cultural attitudes than any parliament. This meant that Scotland continued to be a distinctive country, in spite of British involvement.

There have been moves towards the recovery of Scottish independence for about two centuries and they took a decisive step forwards with the restoration of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, although with many powers still “reserved” to Westminster. The Labour Government took this step in response to years of campaigning in Scotland and in the hope that it would satisfy Scottish aspirations.

One of their former ministers famously said at the time that it would kill the SNP’s demand for independence “stone dead”. It has, of course, had the opposite effect. The SNP emerged as the party with most votes in the 2007 Scottish election. Since then the SNP government, with Alex Salmond as First Minister, have established a clear lead in Scottish opinion by their abilities and their concern for Scottish interests.

Recent opinion polls have given a confusing impression of current Scottish attitudes. They suggest that a majority are in favour of the SNP’s proposal of a referendum on independence and for the Scottish Parliament to have control of all aspects of policy except foreign affairs and defence. This last point is unlikely to survive the detailed debate which will precede a referendum because it is precisely British control of these two functions which has inflicted serious damage on Scotland.

They have deprived Scotland of the proceeds of the oil in Scottish waters, imposed nuclear submarines on the Clyde, and a share in their huge cost, and involved us in the disaster of the Iraq war. The majority of Scots are opposed to all of these. Westminster control of foreign policy has also deprived us of our own membership of the European Union and of other international organisations.

Another recent event is a powerful additional reason for Scottish independence. The myths surrounding the Westminster Parliament have been exploded by the scandalous revelations of the abuse of the allowances by MPs. This has drawn attention to the absurdities and undemocratic structure of the whole system. A Prime Minister elected by a majority of seats, not of votes (or even, like Gordon Brown, not elected as such at all) becomes a virtual dictator as long as he keeps control of his own party.

There is an unelected second chamber and much medieval play acting like the state opening. The Scottish Parliament in the ten years since it was restored has avoided all the imperfections of Westminster and made itself much more accessible to the public.

There is therefore no case for the continued subjection of Scotland to the Westminster Parliament in which the Scottish members are out-numbered ten to one. Scottish independence will have the additional advantage of improving relations between Scotland and England by removing many of the current problems in our relationship on both sides. Most of the newly independent countries in Europe are smaller than Scotland. None have any desire to return to their previous subjection to external control.


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I think that Scotland would prosper very well through independance.There is no place othis earth that the Scot has proven that we can make things better for mankind.Unlike Canada where Quebec wishes by some for purely language reasons to have their own country.We Scots have the brains & the knowhow to make it where others fail.I say Scotland go for it.

Posted by stewart millar | Report as abusive

Yes – please go for it – we English can immediately make vast savings by withdrawing the sums of money that we continually give Scotland, to fund their healthcare and education system, to our detriment. Reduce the number of MP’s in the commons and Lords in the House. We obviously must not continue to impose elements of our defence forces and industry on Scotland, so will withdraw from the Faslane Base and any other military areas, we must of course close Rosyth shipyard, and withdraw the manufacture of the two new carriers from Glasgow, no doubt Devonport will welcome the chance to stay open.

Its no good bleating about oil, North Sea etc.,as its nearly all gone and was’nt Scotlands in the first place, it was Britain that put up the massive investment needed to start it – not Scotland.

I do find it curious that the author of the article should find the need to use such spurious arguments to bang the drum and further his supposed cause.

Posted by Brian – Wiltshire | Report as abusive

If Scotland decides to break away, on their head be it. As an Englishman I am very annoyed that my taxes subsidise the people in Scotland. Lets see how they survive on their own without our handouts. In no time at all, they will be begging to join the
European Community, just for the grant money to bail them out.
The Clydesdale bank, Bank of Scotland and RBS are part owned by the British Goverment and English banks. Apart from the income from oil and gas pipes landing on Scotish shores, the submarine bases at Faslane and branches of major English companies, all of which can be diverted to England, whats left?

Posted by Mike Quinn | Report as abusive

Good Riddance, Hadrian had the right idea in the first place…

Posted by John Bull | Report as abusive

Good riddence

Posted by Neil | Report as abusive

Paul Scott and his fellow ScotNats should campaign for a UK-wide referendum on their independence. They will get it by a landslide.

It is only the Labour MPs in Westminster who want to keep Scotland in the UK as they rely on their Scottish MPs to keep them in power. There will be no independence for Scotland so long as there is a Labour government in Westminster.

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

I fear, this drive for Independance, more about Anti English that actualy about what best for Scotland. I think Scotland is it own county and we should proud to be Scottish, but leaving the UK. in my view is foolish short term agenda by SNP. that will cost Scotland in long term.

we seem to forget that parlement and its history is closely related to our own Kings and queens. I think we have spent 300 years as one county. which has always worked well. we have had a Empire bigger than Romans. to say Indepenence will improve our relationship is one missguided. I think Scotland has its problems with what it see’s as England. but i think alot Scottish people’s view on England is one shaped through Mytholgy and History. If we stopped look at the History and see we are stronger togther. Spliting with UK, would be move that will cost Scotland more than England in long run, and think Scotland will regret this move.

Posted by Kymberley | Report as abusive

Of course an independent Scotland can survive. But it will be poorer than now. Per capita spending of government income on Scotland is approximately £600 per head higher than for the English population and the tax revenue, correspondingly lower. An increase in tax revenue of about £900 per head of population would balance the books. Probably around £2500 per annum extra taxation for each worker. Hmmm! Still keen?

Posted by john | Report as abusive

‘Hear, Hear’

Let us rise and be the proud nation again.


Er, if I may quote: “The SNP emerged as the party with most votes in the 1997 Scottish election.” …do you not mean the 2007 election ?!

Posted by Ross Burnside | Report as abusive

I would have to agree with the author in his intellectual comments. Scotland is a proud nation with a strong cultural identity that must have the opportunity to flourish.

The country was always told our oil is running out,this we have found to the contrary. New techniques have been found to explore deeper and retract oil from wells they never thought possible.

All this aside. Most people agree the SNP party are governing well, despite their lack of experience in governance, they have showed a great willingness to work hard and listen to the people, this can only enhanced with experience and grow from strength to strength.

The problem the country has suffered from is the confidence to go it alone. Hopefully now the SNP can show prudence,diligence and ability to govern, the people of Scotland will grow in confidence and become a great nation in the global world.

My personal observations behind the lack of confidence is down to the terrible governance from the party before.Who could have had confidence in some of there antics in government.

To my fellow Scots. I ask you to spread the word ; Scotland needs Independence and with our individual help we can succeed. Go and spread the word and encourage other to do so, don’t forget,if you can convert one opposition to come on board,the other side require two to fill the gap.

SCOTLAND THE GREAT : Scotland Forever


William Wallace

Posted by Allan | Report as abusive

Given that Scots get @ an extra £2,000 per person in subsidies over the English from the English budget just how are they going to pay for their independence – relying on talented Scots such as Gordon Brown, Alastair Darling, Fred the Shred, Tom Killop? Scotland will be bankrupt in 5 minutes.

Submarines on the Clide – we will take them back and you can have even higher unemployment on the Clyde.

As for the oil argument – If you want it you will have to pay the huge, huge cost of its initial development and extraction, a cost paid for in full by the British tax payer i.e not the Scottish tax payer. Also it should be paid up front.

As for the Scottish parliament – cost 4+ times as much as initially budgeted, a number of members investigated for fraud amongst other things (ok, a bit like the UK parliament then) bitter infighting and conniving and presiding over one of Europes most violent, beligerent and least healthy populations.

So go ahead, make every Brits day and seize independence and then suffer the ignominity of crawling back to beg for tax subsidy and realisation that globally, nobody is interested in Scotland.

I assume the author Paul Henderson Scott is still an honourary Rectum of Dundee University and a firm member of Scottish PEN(is).

Posted by nick | Report as abusive

I might be missing something here with this whole debate but I’m not sure anyone in England actually cares less whether Scotland gains independence. As a country it would struggle to survive without England paying it’s bills (e.g. RBS etc) so go for it I say, it would save me a big chunk of tax!

Posted by mark | Report as abusive

Scotland can have its independence and with it the financial shock of losing some £30bn of UK public funding allowing it to become the next Iceland.

Posted by Dave Jones | Report as abusive

i agree – it’s a bit like the teenage son complaining he doesn’t have autonomy from the parents who support him… i suggest we ‘thrust’ independence upon scotland and see how it fairs in today’s world. the way i see it it’s not really up to scotland to decide if it wants independence, it’s up to england to decide whether it wants to keep these hangers-on (and i include wales and NI) for the sake of keeping the union flag or just let them drift away and become the third world contries they surely would if they ran their own shows…

Posted by jim | Report as abusive

Scotland would by no means be assured it could be a member of the EU if it were to become independent

Posted by JAMES MILLER | Report as abusive

The fundamental absurdity of this article is that while writing of Scotland’s future Mr. Scott continues to see the political order as a set of juxtapositions. Submarines are ‘imposed’ on the Clyde and the old themes around the rapaciousness of English kings emerge early (note that we are talking of kings – whatever their exact constitutional status – rather than subjects). The achievements and failures of England, Scotland and Wales are shared equally between all parties. More than a third of British troops throughout the 18th and 20th centuries were not English and hence, the empire itself was formed out of our combined efforts (Mr. Scott is doubtless less interested in the desire of scots to subjugate colonial peoples – no matter what sort of enlightened thinking it might fund). Together we are still Great Britain – although our greatness no longer depends on military muscle and bellicose swaggering – divided we are tourist hotspots for Americans looking for self-identification. A sorry state for all. No matter how much scots have to add to the world, no one will be listening unless they are part of the greater whole. A further point might be that Germany (unified in the 1870s and composed of two very different religious groups) has not split into it’s constituent parts. We might do better to look at the unity of Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria et al than the failed Balkan states when considering our own nations future.

Posted by Stephen Allen | Report as abusive

Let them have there freedom. They will soon see how difficult it is to run their ‘country’ without the English tax money pumped into it each and every year.

Good riddence and good luck to em!

Posted by Elliot | Report as abusive


When the SNP came to power in 2007 I made a promise to myself – to work as hard as I can to match the exuberance and motivation of the SNP. Between then and now I have been; immersing myself in Gaidhlig language; spent 9 months in the Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Houston, Texas (working on advanced cancer diagnostics and therapeutics); been accepted into the International Space University, Strasbourg, France (co-funded by the European Space Agency); and i’m about to write up my PhD (Nanotechnology, Dublin City University, Ireland).

Although this may sound like i’m ‘blowing my own trumpet’ I assure the readers I am not. I am just a country lad who has the fortune of being Scottish. Just imagine what we as a unified, independent nation can achieve.


Posted by Stuart Corr | Report as abusive

I’m always amazed at how such ancient arguments are hauled up when independence from Britain is discussed. Whatever England did 2, 3, 4 or 500 years ago no bears no relevance to what should happen in the future.

It is important history and lessons should be learnt from it, but it is still history. Old history. And that’s what it should remain when these discussions take place.

Posted by jeff | Report as abusive

To all those ignorant English posters, Scotland is subsidising your country to a surprising degree you will realize this when they leave with all the key assets (renewable energy and oil primarily) leaving rump-UK near pennyless. Enjoy.

Posted by PMK | Report as abusive


I have watched with interest in regards of the debate surrounding north sea oil and gas? I believe the rhetoric with regard to this in all these debates are oversimplfied and general well spun to favour one side of an arguement. Clearly another example of this identified here!

At the end of the day the north sea is shared due the fact that only a united kingdom could claim and enforce the rights here. Interestingly the skills and labour used to extract the oil are not soley scottish, the companies extracting are not soley scottish and with gas coming online from the south of the north sea (english coast)and the proceeds due to be shared I am sure that these funds will not be mentioned. This arguement was not being used by the Scots when they were enjoying the coal from Wales or the metals from Cornwall? Also as a united kingdom we can claim soveriegnty and therefore mineral rights of many areas around the globe with the falklands being one of them. The potential reserves of oil there are huge. How do we divide the future returns here with a completely independent scotland independent scotland?

Where I become frustrated is that for all the blame that is levelled against the English for the perceived woes of the Scots is that history and the modern day are different. There is no suppression of the scots today. They get a a very fair share of the UK tax take even though much of it IE Coorporation, VAT etc is generated from England and due to the recent shift in politics thare are now more public sector decisions and public sector Jobs in favour of Scotland than ever before.

I genuinely hope that that Scotland gets to decide on its independence and should it choose to get it fully it should consider it choices. Miltarly to divide the armed forces would likely see the end of the submarine base, deciding it own tax regime will result in a required border between us. All the public sector jobs supporting English citizens would go as I am sure an English parliament would not accept that. I am not sure it wouldn’t just be easier to try and get along and accept that whilst a partnership has it compromises it also has it benefits.

Posted by James Lee | Report as abusive

All nations should have the option of being independent and should also have the option of joining co-operative groups of free nations, such as membership of NATO or the Commonwealth, provided that the behaviour of any individual nation is acceptable to the larger group.

Trouble arises when governments try to force people to live together and be governed against their will. Two current examples of this are the British Labour government’s determination to take Britain into Europe against the will of the majority and its determination to turn Britain into a multi-ethnic country through mass migration, also against the will of the majority.

No-one however is forcing Scotland to be part of Britain. It has its own government which has stated that it will hold a referendum on the issue and it is inconceivable that a British government would ignore the result. The Scottish people have their future in their own hands and the genuinely majority view will prevail.

So why the debate about Scottish independence? Roll on the referendum and be done with it one way or the other.

Posted by Andrew | Report as abusive


Quebec does not want independence just on the grounds that it speaks a different language, it is well known that for many years, Quebec city and Montreal churned out intellects, doctors, and many important people, and it continues to do so.
Scotland as a state within the EU has the highest murder and suicide rate per sqKm, highest teenage pregnancy, most money spent on drug rehabilitation, largest amount of drug takers per sqKm, and above all, it is funded considerably more by Westminster than any other of the British states.

Posted by Boris Ostertag | Report as abusive

I agree with every word of this. Very well put.

Posted by Grant Hutton | Report as abusive

A few square miles of territory somewhere in the north west of Europe has no more right to be called an independent nation than anyone else, despite its claim of historical relevance and terrible treatment by the bloody English. If Scotland truly wants to be a modern then leave the concept of nation behind and use its resources (not it’s subsidy by the bloody English) to allow its people to prosper. Being part of the UK is far more likely to enable this than being a new nation or being part of something European.

Posted by James Jones | Report as abusive

I am entirely mystified as to why Scots should want independence, since we’ve all rubbed along together quite well on this relatively small group of islands. I am more annoyed by the idea that they have had great suffering imposed upon them by being part of the Union – it’s always easy to blame someone else for anything negative, I suppose, but the promise of nirvana and jam tomorrow from poiticians should always be treated with a large pinch of salt – even if it is the SNP making the promises. Entirely laughable, however, is the implication in the article that Scotland is a victim of the British Empire. It was a joint perpetrator. Pre-Union, it was even looking at establishing colonies itself.

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

The Scots must be the luckiest people in the world.

They are subsidised on a daily basis by English taxpayers. They can drive their banks and building societies into the ground and be bailed out by those taxpayers. They have their own government paid for by those same taxpayers so that they can play at governing themselves,knowing that if things go wrong they can rely on, yes, those same long-suffering taxpayers to clean up the mess. Best of all they have the privilege of blaming someone else (yes, it’s those taxpayers again) for anything and everything that goes wrong in their lives.

They will shortly be offered a referendum on whether to be fully independent or not. No-one will stand in the way of their decision, so they will have the free choice of staying on board the existing gravy train or jumping off and climbing on board another called the EU.

Tell all of that to the people of Singapore, Zimbabwe, Honduras or any other country of similar size and they will shake their heads in disbelief. For heaven’s sake, get on with the referendum and be done with all the self-pitying carping.

Posted by Jason | Report as abusive

How much does this have to do with Scotland’s well being? How much does this have to do with generous English subsidies? And how much does this have to do with the self-aggrandisement of a few SNPs who would much prefer to be a bigger fish – even at the expense of the pond?

For the record, the British political system is not broken – it is the most successful model of democracy ever developed (and the foundation of many others). Successful in the sense that we have a been a stable and prosperous nation for longer than most others have existed. The current dilemma is highly complex (bred primarily out of the public’s desire to pay MPs relatively little) but one factor abides; we do not have sufficient capable individuals in Westminster to form a credible political class. Scotland, with a much smaller population will struggle to spread the talent around for the same reasons.

Central to the credibility of a political class is that it takes responsibility for the interests of an entire nation. From Mr. Scott’s inflamatory language, and hollywood mythologies (inexcusable in a man who calls himself an historian) it is clear that SNPs are no more credible and trustworthy than their cousins south of the border – I’m thinking specifically of Brown/Darling.

Posted by steve | Report as abusive

It is interesting that the writer says:

“My most recent book of essays had the title, ‘The Age of Liberation’, because many of them considered the transformation of the world by the recent dissolution of all the empires and most of the multi-national states into their component parts. So far Scotland has been left behind.”

Nevertheless he wants an “independent” Scotland to be a part of the EU, which is fast becoming a multi-national state if not an (evil) empire, in which small nations currently have virtually no control over their own affairs, and in a few years will have absolutely none.

This is a major flaw in the whole premise of the article. The reality is that Scotland would achieve vastly more “independence” within a United Kingdom that was not a member of the EU.

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive

It’s sad, this deforming sense of grievance to which many Scots cling. The English never oppressed Scotland. The fiction that did sustains the more insidious fabrications of ethnic nationalism. Correctly speaking, kings of England, many of them French speaking, asserted a feudal right over Scotland and sent armies to impose their claim. Most certainly, they oppressed Scotland. They oppressed their English subjects too, as Walter Scott showed at length in his ‘Ivanhoe’. Royal oppression is what feudal kings did like nothing else, and royal oppression was impartial in terms of region or ethnicity. Ironically, a king of Scotland was finally to takeover the throne of England. Writing as someone with Scots ancestors on one side – there’s even a tartan – I find this piquant. Yet the English have never prattled about ‘Scots oppression’, even at the present time, when Scots take up a disproportionate ministerial role in the British government. When in Scotland, I am taken for English, because of my accent. So I experience from time to time the warm welcome for Sassenachs that the SN movement has been helping to encourage, ranging from chilliness to open, snarling hostility. It makes me wonder sometimes: In the Brave New Scotland, will visitors be required to wear yellow stars? is the proud boast of Scots education to be, that in no Scottish playground will any English child go unbullied? Because what’s finally being used to power up this movement is something as raw and nasty as that: playground ethnic hatred. The irony is, the ‘English’ at which SN bravehearts spit their venom do not exist, never existed, as a stable, unmistakable socio-cultural reality. England is a territory with sharp traditional differences between its regions. Phone-books south of the border are crammed with Irish, Welsh, and Scots surnames. There is no movement with widespread support among people defining themselves as English to bait and harass ‘outsiders’, even non-white ones. Modern Britain is a remarkable post-national experiment, offering an inclusive sense of identity to those lucky enough to live in it. Many Scots recognise that too. Following any Scottish act of disunion, those Scots who wish to perpetuate their inclusive, outward-looking British identity should surely be encouraged to do so. In particular, British passports should be available to Scots British on demand. A United British Kingdom – becoming perhaps one day a United British Republic? – might replace the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but would not need to assert any rights over territory to the north of Hadrian’s Wall.

Posted by MICHAEL ROSE | Report as abusive

What tremendous levels of hate and ignorance directed against Scotland amongst the majority of these comments.

What lovely people.

I’m sure they’re not really typical of most English people’s attitudes.

Posted by ratzo | Report as abusive

England needs independence too. The UK is in a terrible mess, and we need national renewal. But national renewal is hardly possible with a split identity, so we need to separate first. Hopefully relations between England and Scotland will be better when we are both free of the UK. Indeed relations between England and southern Ireland are better than relations between England and Scotland, despite a far greater and more recent burden of strife, and that is because we gave up the attempt to sustain a misguided union. We should do the same thing again, but England should drive the deal, instead of putting up with continuing financial and political exploitation from the Celtic fringe. That exploitation is also bad for Scotland etc as it stifles their vigour and initiative.

Posted by Oliver Chettle | Report as abusive

If you all think that Scotland is reliant on ‘English’ money,just ask yourself why will Labour and the Tories fight to keep Scotland in the Union?

Posted by Bill Kilgour | Report as abusive

Labour and the Tories, want to keep scotland within the Union, so that Westminster does not get blamed for giving independence to a state that will become corrupt, defunct and in a very bad state. There might even be a REunion if scotland fails on its own, which is very likely.

Posted by Boris Ostertag | Report as abusive

To satisfy its aspirations, England needs independence.

Posted by Stephen Gash | Report as abusive

The article seems terribly one sided. So the Scots were suppressed by the English? And yet Scotland had all sorts of things post-union, including a Secretary of State and higher public spending, whilst England was submerged as “Britain”.

I’m sorry, but I feel that this article takes a bigoted, anti-English view from the outset.

The Scots as poor, put-upon innocents, the English as out-and-out swines.

Just how many bigots are there rewriting history in Scotland? And how many of them are academics?

Posted by Chris Abbott | Report as abusive

“There might even be a REunion if scotland fails on its own, which is very likely”

Well I hope the ordinary people of England actually get a proper say on the matter next time.

Posted by J.R.Funtley | Report as abusive

Nobody is stopping Scotland from declaring independence. Most English people would welcome it. All that needs to be done is for Scotland to return a majority of SNP MP’s at the next general election! Easy. Then hold a referendum and vote YES to independence.

Posted by Home Rule for England | Report as abusive

Is Scotland a nation ? YES – so we want to govern our own nation – what’s so complicated about that ?
History is just that, but look at the present, we have a different culture, we pay more tax to the UK than we get back from the UK, we don’t want nuclear weapons or power, we don’t support intervention in foreign lands, we have our own separate languages ( as well as English), we have our own laws ( different from the English law).
For the English whiners – like the English we just dont want to be ruled by a parliament that is 85% English, 10% Scottish and 5% Welsh.
We want our country back – PLEASE !

Posted by McFeagle | Report as abusive

Why is it that whenever the future of Britain and England is under consideration the only voice I hear is the grating whine of the Northern Region of Britain. It is strange that other 50,000,000 have no say, or is it just to be expected when the rulers of Britain have all signed the Scottish Claim of Right.

Posted by Phoenix | Report as abusive

75% of legislation passed for Scotland is by the Scots Parliament.

No UK politicians represent England – there is no nationally representative English Parliament. England is simply the rump of the UK in Gordon Brown’s scheme of “nations and regions”.

Scotland contributes more to the UK than it gets back? Let’s look at that. Are we talking about North Sea oil? Because if so, some of that oil and gas is in English waters, plus the maritime border was altered to Scotland’s benefit under the 1960s Continental Shelf Act and the English were not consulted. Furthermore, if ALL the North Sea oil revenue was awarded to Scotland, including England’s share, Scotland would STILL be in deficit!

Let’s sort out the maritime border, look at the Shetland Isles’ claims on the oil and their own sovereignty, and then go our separate ways.

Scotland can then drop its evil colonial experiments in England and go back to having what is RIGHTFULLY its own.

For a change.

Posted by Chris Abbott | Report as abusive

“In 1707 England achieved, what it had failed to do in 300 years of military invasion, the suppression of Scottish independence.”

Typical warped, self pitying and historically untrue Scottish tripe.It was England which was invaded by Scotland mostly, a lot more often than the other way round.
Scotland mounted major invasions of England in 1513, in 1542 and again in 1641. Also in 1652 under cover of the civil war. Nothing comparable from England to Scotland since the middle ages.

The British union was mainly the result of pressure from a small band of Unionists who were largely Scottish. The English turned down the idea repeatedly. In 1707 the Scottish parliament voted by a majority of 2:1 for the Union. The English were never consulted.

Its England that needs independence from Scotland.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

Stewart Millar, you are completely correct in your assertion which I will reprint below:

“There is no place on this earth that the Scot has proven that we can make things better for mankind”

RBS is a very good example of Scots not making anything better.

Posted by nick | Report as abusive

Stewart Millar, you are completely correct in your assertion which I will reprint below:

“There is no place on this earth that the Scot has proven that we can make things better for mankind”

RBS is a very good example of Scots not making anything better for mankind at all.

Posted by nick | Report as abusive

The British are the common enemy of the Scottish and the English!

Posted by Home Rulef for England | Report as abusive

As a non-UK observer, who has lived in the UK for a total of 4 years on 2 occasions, and who is a great fan of England, Scotland, Wales (and Ireland), I find this whole Scottish grievance thing incredible.

The Scottish Parliament has total control over many things Scottish, with no member of Westminster having a say. Yet those same things in England are controlled by the Westminster Parliament which does have Scottish members. So Scots can vote on matters affecting English school, but no Englishman can vote on matters affecting Scottish schools (and numberous other aspects of life). And the Scots feel slighted?? I can’t believe the English put up with this state of affairs.

Posted by Rocky63 | Report as abusive

Who shall be King of Scots?

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

It was King James VI of Scotland who became James I of the Union of British Crowns in 1607!
Of course the civil war (which started in Ireland) and parliament changed all that, but a simplistic view of Scotland being the victim of history just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
Surely there are better things to worry about in an increasingly interconnected Europe and world than Scottish national naval gazing and re-inventing history?
I’m always amazed at how much effort goes into diverting attention away from the historical fact that most of Britain’s population is of German heritage anyway.

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

The no more Oil left in the north sea, give me some idea’s of how would scots fund public services? Britain pays over Nine Billion a year, where would that sort of money come from when independent?

Posted by Siddiq | Report as abusive

Since my ancestors came from all parts of the United Kingdom and managed to intermarry in the United States, I’m not really sure how all of the various UK tribes have managed to keep themselves apart over the same time period. Your country is very small, you know. Too small to devolve into various squabbling tribes who are related to each other anyway.

I can understand there’s some regional charm, and history is interesting, but to put any more weight– or to call it nationalism — is absurd.

Posted by Heather | Report as abusive

I have never read so much nonsense in my life in reading all of your comments. Having studied Politics and economics for years I have a better understanding than most of Scotland’s situation and it’s absolutely absurd some of the claims.

Can I firstly point to the comment regarding Scotland driving its banks and building societies to the ground only to be bailed out by the English taxpayers, I’m glad someone raised that issue, considering the banks and building societies are regulated by the FSA and the Bank of England, I would consider it a major failure of the UK not Scotland, an independent Scotland would have regulated its own banks and building societies, if the UK hadn’t squandered our oil money on Nuclear weapons and illegal wars we’d probably be in a great position to bail out our own banks. And in regards to RBS, this is the largest bank in the world in terms of assets, worth more than the entire GDP of Britain, it returned billions to the UK exchequer every year, none of which Scotland ever seen or benefitted from.

The country also has the best renewable energy capability in Europe, has well established financial services even with the recession, whisky industry amongst other things contributes to a strong economy, the only problem Scotland has its a large public sector which would prove costly and needs to be trimmed down.

I am sick to death of hearing the uneducated slander regarding Scotland, people should really study the actual facts, and yes Scotland was never conquered by England and can therefore opt out of the union as it so pleases, which hopefully will be sooner than later. I read some of the comments from accross the water and I don’t think people actually understand the unique situation of being a nation without having a state. I hope to god the Scottish people see sense and stop this ridiculous rule from London, it will be better for England and Scotland.

Posted by Nathan Stewart | Report as abusive

“the only problem Scotland has [is] a large public sector” states Nathan Stewart! I laughed so hard I nearly fell off my chair. I’m still laughing now! Next you’ll be listing all the things the Scots claim to have invented!
It might be time for one of your whiskies? One more minor detail… the FSA was set up by Gordon Brown who IS Scottish!

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

Nathan Stewart, interesting comment about RBS:

“this is the largest bank in the world in terms of assets, worth more than the entire GDP of Britain, it returned billions to the UK exchequer every year”

I find this hard to reconcile with your earlier comment:

“Having studied Politics and economics for years I have a better understanding than most of Scotland’s situation and it’s absolutely absurd some of the claims.”

Are you sure you know what you’re writing about? best not to refer to the comments of other users as absurd before revealing your ignorance of an area you claim to understand. Certainly, you’re not an accountant/businessman/analyst/economist  /politician/expert/conscientious student.

If Scotland wanted independence it would return more SNP members to parliament(s) and could get it. Some of the Scottish voices here presume to speak for the entire nation, while this is manifestly not the case.

In any event, Scotland will probably opt for independence at some point in the next twenty years – and will do very well to! English taxpayers will simply be made to redirect their Scottish subsidies via the EU. Don’t worry, you guys will get the cash – minus a couple of billion quid in extra paper shuffling – and can carry on as before.

One of the most important cultural connections between Scotland and England is a belief in our own common sense – unfortunately, this seems to be in terminal decline.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

I used to be in favour of the devolution of central government power even down to a regional level… until a very astute great-aunt of mine (who’s sadly since passed away) pointed out the problem:

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

Surely independence from England is irrelevant, is a red herring? Brussels makes the laws that matter.

Posted by Michael Grazebrook | Report as abusive

Things change all the time look at the map of the world
countries today were not their 50 years or 100 years ago.
Scotland might get independance and be a great success then again maybe not. All this argument of past woes and current situations is irrelivent this is all about the future. My point maybe one day we will have the republic of Canada and Scotland whatever peoples of different countries and regions want may happen its not a problem
dont worry about it as long as your healthy and happy thats what life is about is’nt it or am I wrong.

From a true Scot ( sorry about showing my colours but silly passions run deep)

Posted by peter mitchell | Report as abusive

There is a groundswell on the streets folks moving towards independence in Scotland.
remember the 1st bank to go down was English (northern rock)!.most of the oil lies north of 55th parallel(scotland),So we english must ask ourselves WHY does london seem hell bent on holding onto Scotland!Is SCOTTISH OIL saving all our necks right now as it did thatchers!.

Posted by Eric | Report as abusive