As an Englishman who called Scotland home for most of my life, and with a sincere interest in Scottish politics and history, I was no stranger to the issues that the Scottish people hold close to their hearts. As a young activist for a local Tory candidate, now a prominent member of the Conservative Party, I was for a short time vested in leafletting, canvassing, attending election counts and party conferences. The case for Scotland remaining in the Union was, for me, something precious and of urgent importance. I wanted the union to remain together. Time, however, has been no friend to my beliefs, and the views I once held resolutely have now been washed away with the wisdom of age and time. But that’s another story.
Living in Scotland was unusual for me in my youth – I was a naive English city boy, moved five hundred miles away from my place of birth, into a deeply rural, agricultural community, whom I did not fully understand, culturally and occasionally, linguistically. Eventually I would come to love, and now miss dearly, the place I would call my new home. But at the time I had found myself completely out of place amongst a deeply patriotic people. You see, I had been raised with a very liberal, international mindset, having gone to a big school in a big place with big communities, to a little place, a very little school, in a little, mostly native community. In the former, I was taught about Ancient Egypt, Greece, Mexico, and Rome, the latter; Rabbie Burns, the Highland Clearances, country dancing and songs with strange words. But despite knowing I was English, I had no real sense of an English identity, while everyone else certainly had an identity of their own, and of me.
Not everyone would have had the same experience I had. I had maintained this liberal, internationalist mindset through my later teenage years when I had developed an interest in politics – in particular, the case of Scottish Independence, to which I had a deep opposition to what I then viewed as a petty and backwards nationalist idea, hundreds of years past its expiry date. On a trip to the Scottish Parliament, inside a committee room, I made a feeble attempt to corner the MSP Richard Lockhead with a question on the financial cost of independence. Despite being naive enough to think I was a match for a career politician, I had started a short but fiery debate amongst the visiting Members of Parliament, and I was noticed by a senior Tory MSP, who got me in touch with my local candidate.
From this time, I had paid a close interest in the referendum campaign, as a local Tory activist. I remember my heart sinking at an election count, watching the SNP gain a historic majority in the Scottish Parliament. For me, this represented a victory for those who held backwards ideas. It later became apparent to me however, that what the SNP wanted was not independence, and not really separation. They wanted to keep the pound, sharing a monetary union with the ‘rUK’, so that they could re-assure their voters things would be easy, yet leaving Scotland’s national budgets; it’s fiscal and monetary policy up to the Bank of England. They claimed in 2014 to have legal advice supporting their claim Scotland wouldn’t have to rejoin the European Union (and thereby adopt the Euro). This legal advice later turned out to be non-existant, after the SNP blocked its release after successive freedom of information requests. So why would the SNP be so hell-bent on ‘independence’ from England, when independence was never what they had to offer?
I never wrapped my head around this complex issue in the run up to the last referendum. But this is still the case with most mainstream centre-right types even today – they are always at a loss to explain things that do not conform to the moderate politics of twenty years ago. So here we have a largely patriotic, socially conservative people with a large rural population, and Scots, for the most part, have a sense of an ancient national identity that they feel in their bones; sowed into their hearts when they were children and frequently celebrated without shame all throughout their lives. A yawning gulf of difference compared to the English experience, which regularly demonizes and discourages any form of English identity. There is an adverserial nature to what is often perceived as anti-English sentiment, and often justified historical reasons for a not uncommon sense of distrust. Yet Scottish Nationalists are prepared to vote for a party who pander to the Scottish national identity on the one hand, while on the other, use their progressive ideology to deconstruct the very idea of the nation state and national identity itself. The Scottish Government have regularly advertised that being Scottish is not about who you are or where you are from, and a deeply insulting and arrogant propaganda piece produced in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, and commissioned by the Scottish Government, shows an African man named Alloysius Massaquoi tearing into Scotland’s native ‘white’ heritage. This not the product of a patriotic or well meaning party. Indeed, Nicola Sturgeon herself admitted she isn’t happy even with the word ‘National’ in the party name.
I have met a growing number of genuine Scottish nationalists who are recognising the SNP for what they really are. They see it too, and it is sickening, the worst possible deception for anyone who really gives a damn about Scotlands prosperity, security and cultural preservation.
It is when you boil their ideas right down, you find the same, hollow and rootless progressivist ideology that exists amongst all globalist thralls. They are not nationalists. They are not patriots. The definitive difference to your regular globalist is their view that England, and by extension the United Kingdom, is an obstacle in the path to the globalist idea, rooted in inflated lies of what the Union represents: the servitude of Scotland and rape of its resources. I have asked in the past, what would William Wallace have made of the SNPs desired mass-immigration policy? What would Robert the Bruce have thought about being members of a European superstate? It is today that we need men like William Wallace more than ever before. So I look to Enoch Powell, who defined what a patriot believes in the finest words: a patriot believes in the nation state as, “who’s people acknowledge no external human authority and owe no higher secular allegiance.”
My sense of English identity was truly moulded and shaped by the Scots – to whom I have the utmost love and respect for. I crave, always, to live in an England where my heritage is celebrated in the way Scottish identity is North of the border, but I despair that this is fast being taken away. So the idea has crossed my mind again, is there an argument for Scottish independence? Perhaps there is: to leave a union which is doing its damndest to replace its existing population, destroying and deconstructing its own heritage and culture, and truly go it alone for the sake of future generations of Scots. But that will never be delivered by the SNP, nor any party currently in Holyrood.
And with the SNP promising another “once in a life time” referendum, the prospect of a second defeat would be earth shattering to those who truly dream of independence, if they even get another vote at all. In that case, the Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle (a favourite of mine) once wrote, “When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with its fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze.” Perhaps one of those acorns would yield an oak with real nationalist foundations, and what goes unnoticed is the nature of every Scot to source strength from their ancient roots.