Glen Ruffle: Time to end the Scottish problem

Why is conservatism wise? Just look at Scotland. Blair’s fiddling with something that was not broken has unleashed forces few predicted that stand a great chance of destroying the country the United Kingdom, without allowing anyone in England, Wales or Northern Ireland a say.

Fuelled by the myths propagated by Sturgeon and Salmond, Scotland could well viciously bite the hand that feeds it. It’s time London took the initiative.

Labour’s legacy

Labour began Scotland’s separation by fostering resentment with the idea of a democratic deficit: Scotland votes Left, but gets a Right-wing government because of England. And yes, there were real failings by Conservative governments to keen on globalisation and GDP statistics instead of the real lives of real voters.

But this oppression narrative was hijacked by the SNP, and, combined with Labour’s laziness and Tony Blair, served to allow the SNP the time and power to propagate ideas and promises divorced from any connection to reality. Government policy also failed: instead of reminding people of the blood ties, history and shared culture, a resentment narrative of ancient suppression came to the fore.

Things worsened as, down in England, few understood why this false resentment was building up. Was not England subsidising Scotland? Did the Scots not also want everyone to succeed? Why are people who have intermarried with the rest of the Isles for centuries suddenly claiming to be different? The sense of betrayal is becoming palpable.

Take the initiative

As such, Westminster needs to take control. If Scotland will leave, how can it be done in a way that protects the UK from the consequences of an SNP government?

Defence is the key problem. Scotland provides key strategic military capabilities and opportunities, and London needs to continue to provide security for everyone. How can this be done?

One way may be to invoke Her Majesty's powers. The armed forces swear allegiance to Her Majesty, and as such, in theory, they take orders from her. If HM the Queen remains monarch of Scotland, as the SNP have accepted, then the armed forces shall remain legally loyal to her, not to the SNP. Thus Scotland can be an independent country, but remain in the UK as part of a Kingdom for defence purposes.

Run a professional campaign

It is of course best if the second referendum is won outright. The travesty of the first referendum, allowing the SNP to run a nasty campaign with little opposition being shown, must be avoided. The Scottish people are only just seeing the first fruits of SNP rule – some of the worst child health results in Europe, some of the worst educational results in Europe, etc, – so these must be driven home.

It is essential a better campaign is organised, with the consequences clearly spelled out. Independence in Scotland will make all Scots poorer. It will reduce Scotland to the humility of dependence on her larger English neighbour, only without any say in government. Scotland will be dependent either on the Bank of England or the European Central Bank. If the latter, Scotland will be sucked into the Eurozone debt problems. Scots may lose access to the rest of the UK; and all the powers Sturgeon promises to reclaim, she hopes to simply hand over to the EU (after a long period waiting).

YouEU are not wanted

The SNP’s hope has been that the EU would welcome it with open arms and money. That won’t happen. An independent Scotland is a precedence for other regions in the EU to secede, breaking the EU into smaller units, weakening it politically and fostering more strife.

An independent Scotland will be poorer and start to qualify for EU funds that at present are going to Eastern Europe. This will stir anger in the East and ensure Scotland’s arrival is not welcomed: the EU needs budget contributors, especially given its debt problems, not more drains on funds.

And an independent Scotland may itself fall apart. Why shouldn’t the Highlands take up their historic division against the Lowlands? Why shouldn’t the Shetlands and Orkneys leave the SNP’s socialist mire for a better future elsewhere?

Be prepared

As such, Westminster needs to act. Why are we not offering an alternative EU actually based on trade, without all the politics? Why are politicians not offering a vision of what Britain is, and actually leading the country?

We can’t foretell the future: but there are key lessons to learn. When the political parties back away from providing a national story and vision for the country, other forces take over. When the politicians throw open the doors without looking after those already in the house, division emerges. When the people have seen their institutions and culture eroded while the elite seem unconcerned, revolt is fostered. It’s not too late for Scotland, but London had better start acting soon.

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