Does Cameron really think Scotland will stay in the UK because he wants it?

There is absolutely no doubt that Scotland has been a major contributor to British culture. You only have to think of some of the great literary giants from north of the Border: Robert Louis Stephenson, John Buchan, Sir Walter Scott, and a whole host of others less well-known, like A.J. Cronin, and the Scots contribution to British science and engineering is proverbial. The Scots have also made an enormous contribution to political and economic theory, through writers like John Law in the 18th century and that favourite of Tory free-traders, Adam Smith, the author of the ‘Wealth of Nations’. And the Scots too have benefit from the Union, though possibly not in quite the way supporters of the Union, like myself, would always think. One of the explanations historians have offered from the emergence of the Scots Enlightenment is that after the union, a large section of the Scots political establishment moved to London. so lessening the pressure in Scotland to conform to the set intellectual limits. The Scots thus became freer than their new compatriots south of the Border to challenge these boundaries and push forward their intellectual frontiers.
And there is also one other example of Scots good sense. When the NHS was established, it had little effect in Scotland, as many local authorities in Scotland had already set up a publicly owned medical system.
As for the increasing demands for independence, let’s lay the blame for that – or credit, if you prefer, where it’s due: Maggie Thatcher. Her policies, and her cynical use of Scotland as a laboratory for testing policies like the Poll Tax, caused massive dissatisfaction with Conservatism in particular and the union in general. Malcolm Rifkind even wrote to Maggie to tell her she had ‘wiped out’ the Conservative party in Scotland. There was a piece in the ‘I’ yesterday that made it very clear that before Maggie over half of Scots voted Unionist, the Scottish equivalent of the Tories. This support evaporated after she destroyed their industrial base, just as she did so in so much of England as well. During Blair’s administration, the Tory papers blamed him for the demands for secession. He had, after all, given in and granted them devolution, just as he did to a greater or lesser extent to the other nations in the British Isles, Wales and Northern Ireland. Well, devolution does seem to have led to a growth in demands for full independence, but the true origin began long ago. And many of the Scots voting for the SNP don’t want full independence so much as a proper, fully functioning welfare state. China Mieville and the author of the SF ‘Culture’ novels stated over a decade ago under Blair that they voted for the SNP because they felt the SNP had better welfare policies than Labour, not because they wanted an independent Scotland.
If Scotland does become independent, and successfully adopts a series of left-wing economic and social policies, you can bet the Tory press down here whipping up hatred against them, or trying to portray Alex Salmond as a dictator somewhere between Hugo Chavez and Joe Stalin in the depth of his evil, just to stop the English demanding the implementation of such policies down here.
And it goes without saying that they’ll try and turn Wales into their laboratory. After all, it’s only got about 5 per cent of the total population of the British Isles, and largely doesn’t vote Tory, so as far as their concerned, no damage done if they decide they want to go it alone. But their departure, and the disintegration of the last remnants of Britain into its constituent nations, will be yet another legacy bequeathed by Maggie, no matter how the Tories may huff and puff in her defence. She claimed to stand for ‘Britain’, and made patriotism one of the watchwords of the Conservative party. Instead she’s destroyed it.

Mike Sivier's blog

David Cameron gave a speech today in which he made an impassioned plea for Scottish people to vote for staying in the United Kingdom – and if any of them needed an excuse to do the exact opposite, there it is.

He made his comments from the Olympic Park in London – which says everything you need to know about his relationship with Scotland. Was he afraid of the jeers if he travelled up to Edinburgh?

“I passionately believe it is in their interests to stay in the UK – that way Scotland has the space to take decisions while still having the security that comes with being part of something bigger,” Cameron wittered. But he has been shrinking the state. The UK as a whole is much smaller – economically and philosophically – than it was four years ago and that’s his fault.

“In the UK, Scotland is part…

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