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What I think has shifted the debate in Scotland is the realization that institutions and assets which they had always been told were British, were in fact English.

Thus the Pound Sterling belongs to England (the name: Bank of England should have been a giveaway).  The military bases and manufacturing facilities in Scotland will be moved south - proving that the Army and associated industries belong to England.  And the general sense that the Scots will have to develop all institutions and skills of Governance from scratch - as if Scots have had no hand act or part of the Departments of State in Whitehall.

In other words the implied blackmail of taking all these things away has only confirmed that Scotland was being ruled not just from, but by England in the first place.  

Suddenly an establishment panic has set in - as this approach has been rumbled and has backfired. All the (archetypical English) party leaders are suddenly rushing up north with offers of enhanced devolution which Salmond had requested be on the ballot as a third option in the first place.  They therefore lack all credibility: just as all the promises made before the 1979 devolution referendum were promptly shelved afterwards.

If the much maligned (particularly by the English) Gordon Brown were still the PM, none of this might have been such a big deal today.  But the fact is the Scots now feel as if they have been taken for fools, and don't like the way the English have been putting them down -  more or less implying they are incapable of running a government or a monetary system.

I don't see Scotland being allowed to remain within the EU as being much of an issue - as a successor state - just as East Germany joining the the EU as part of Germany never became much of an issue.  With England possibly leaving, the EU will be more than anxious to ensure Scotland stays - and thus make it much more difficult for England to leave as leaving would then have much greater effects on the v. substantial cross-border trade than Scottish independence ever did. The Scots would be much less disrupted of EU business than the UK ever was, and will, I think be welcomed with open arms - Spanish and Belgian qualms notwithstanding

Of course publicly, at least, the EU has to be supportive of the UK as a member state right up to and including the referendum, but suddenly, if the referendum is passed, all that will change dramatically and previously mooted legal difficulties will become mere technicalities to be resolved sooner rather than later, with the declaration that Scotland is a unique and once off situation, and not a precedent for any other situation...

The price may be, at some point in the future, that Scotland has to join the Euro.  The EU would certainly not be happy to see another new currency joining the Union.  That would be very unpopular if mooted now, but might become the next best option if England were tempted to play silly buggers with the Pound, just as they have played silly buggers with the concept of "Britishness" and all the institutions of state that were supposed to belong to Scotland as well, but which have now been claimed by England.

As for N. Ireland, the Unionists are all in a dither with Orangement marching against independence in the Streets of Scotland: Just what the YES campaign needed to prove that "the Union" is a partisan and sectarian arrangement - Anglicanism being the State religion of England whereas the Church of Scotland is not established and mainly Presbyterian. Many N. Ireland Unionists would, ideally, like their own independent state, but know that just about no one else will agree to that. Geographically, Emotionally and historically they are much closer to Scotland than to England, and yet following Scottish independence, it us to England that they will continue to be tied.

The worry that England will have a permanent Conservative majority is overdone.  Scotland, with 10% of the total population was always little more than a makeweight in Westminster politics. Besides, UKIP may well split the Conservative vote which s fatal in a primitive first past the post system. The Conservatives, having "lost" Scotland, may well become unelectable for many years to come, especially as they are split on the perennial EU question.

UKIP is the classic little Englander, petit bourgeois, Thatcherite English Nationalist party and could displace the Tories as the lead right wing party as it has a clear (and  relatively popular) position in opposition to the EU. Labour also are clearly pro- EU policy and could benefit from the split on the right, if they had the courage to actually offer a left alternative. My view is that Scottish independence would actually lead to a Labour led Government (possibly in coalition with the Lib Dems) keeping the rump UK in the EU more likely, not less.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Sep 9th, 2014 at 12:30:33 PM EST

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