(c) The Times
The above idea was first suggested, to my knowledge in 2012 when the New Statesman suggested the Scottish referendum was ‘win-win for the Tories. If Scotland went solo, Labour would lose 41 seats and the Tories would only lose one. The article went on the make the following points:
- The break-up of the Union and the removal of Scottish MPs for Westminster would dramatically reduce the chances of Labour ever returning to government.
- Continuing to assume the Union is sacrosanct is not an assumption you can make any more. A 2009 ConservativeHome pollof 144 party candidates found that 46 per cent would not be “uncomfortable about Scotland becoming independent”.
- To many Tories, an independent England – economically liberal, fiscally conservative, Eurosceptic, Atlanticist – is an attractive prospect.
What about more recently? See this extract from a letter to the National in 2016 on the same issue:
‘Something smells in the state of Unionism. Theresa May states that the UK is entering a golden era in trade and investment with China, while China cancels a memorandum of understanding with the Scottish Government. Allegedly this was caused by Unionists in the Scottish Parliament, and others, creating a negative climate which dissuaded the Chinese from proceeding with the Scottish Government deal. Although we can’t prove it yet, this is how we probably arrived at this sad state of affairs – Theresa May wanted the decks cleared for London to be seen to be leading on the China deals and relationships with China. It would never do for the Scottish upstarts to be seen to be leading on this. So the order went out from the Unionist parties’ HQs in London to the Unionist parties’ branch offices in Scotland to create as much negativity around the Scottish-China deals as possible, aided and abetted of course by the Unionist media. This was done through back channels. Discreet and sleekit. The blowback eventually surfaced, was deflected, and the SNP got the blame for the Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese, falling through. Ask yourself this question: why would the SNP want to harm Scotland? They have the best interests of Scotland at heart. Then ask yourself another question: who does want to harm Scotland, and who does not have the best interests of Scotland at heart? Answer – the Unionists. I could be mistaken, but I don’t think so. The Unionists were too quick to blame the SNP and fell into their own trap.’
Just because we’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get us?
In more recent times, it’s become clear that protecting the English financial sector, Nissan, the soft Irish border and Gibraltar are the priorities for Theresa May’s Brexit deal and she is prepared to gamble that the Scots are too chicken to fly the coop. See this for more detail on these:
In March this year, a survey of Tory grassroots members conducted by the Centre for English Identity and Politics at Winchester University found:
29% would welcome Scottish Independence
66% believe that a break-away would be either positive, have no real significant impact on England, Wales and Northern Ireland or would be manageable
73% believe that the devolution settlement since 1999 has been harmful for England
93% of Party members in England believed that Tony Blair’s creation of a Scottish government and Parliament has been harmful to England.
66% do not want Teresa May to offer any new financial or policy powers to the Scottish government during any second referendum.
Clearly the Tory elite are determined to hang on to Scotland for various reasons – strategic security, energy security and a general sense of imperial entitlement, but their troops are not with them. Hopefully, to please them, May will push us too far. We can only hope.