An opinion journalist is expected to take a stand on newsy issues, even ones he doesnâ€™t much care about. This is especially so when the issue relates to the British Isles and the journalist podcasts with a British accent; to be precise in my particular case, a mid-20th-century educated-lower-lower-middle-class East Midlands accent.
So, all right, this Scottish independence business. You want an opinion? Iâ€™ll give youse an opinion.
Itâ€™s not a strong opinion, becauseâ€”see aboveâ€”I donâ€™t much care one way or the other. Britainâ€™s the Old Country. Of my life to date, less than half has been spent there. Of my adult (i.e. post-college) life, only a quarter has. â€śAn Englishman is never at home except when heâ€™s abroadâ€ť is an old and true proverb, not the mission statement of the U.K. Transsexual Alliance.
And then, betrayed in that last paragraph, there is the peculiar ramshackle nature of the Old Country. It doesnâ€™t even have a proper name, for crying out loud. Britain? (Or â€śGreat Britainâ€ť to the International Olympic Committeeâ€”who, by the way, allow Northern Irelanders to compete for either the British team or the Irish one.) England? The U.K.?
I suppose I was a Briton before I was an American, but I canâ€™t recall ever referring to myself thus. (Though a scan of my archives turns up a few usages across the years.) â€śBritonâ€ť in any case should strictly refer only to a native of Britannia, the bigger of the two major British Isles named by the Romans. Natives of the lesser island, Roman Hibernia, arenâ€™t true Britons, although they may be subjects of the Crown and vigorous wavers of the Union Jack.
â€śU.K.â€ť is just administrative-bureaucratic blather, used when talking to immigration officials and such. You canâ€™t even form a demonym out of it. (Ukanian?)
When asked about my origins I tell people I was raised English in England, speaking English, of English ancestry for as far back as I know. Writing home to relatives, I put ENGLAND on the envelope. The letters always arrive. In none of the foreign languages I speak, admittedly at low competence in all cases, do I even know a word for â€śBritish.â€ť (I just looked up the Chinese word in a respectable dictionary: Bu-lie-dian-de. I have never heard that spoken.)
This illogical muddleâ€”Iâ€™ll call it â€śthe Kingdomâ€ťâ€”worked pretty well for three hundred years, though the Irish made a nuisance of themselves as opportunity provided, and at last had to be given a territory of their own in which to dig peat, plant potatoes, and practice their Romish superstitions unmolested.
There were factors helping it to work, though. One was the natural in-group bonding forced by powerful, hostile neighbors: France up to 1815, Germany from 1914 to 1945, Russia in the Cold War. Another was sheer success: for most of those 300 years the Kingdom was top dog, or at least in the premier league. Yet another, at least for the first few decades, was Protestant triumphalism: By contrast with France, Spain, Austria, and Russia, the Kingdom was the big European imperial power that was not Catholic or Orthodox.
None of that now applies. Talk of a new Cold War is absurd: Putinâ€™s Russia wants to dominate in its ancient sphere of interest, but the Russians have no ambition to bury capitalism. The Kingdomâ€™s geostrategic eminence is a fading memory; her permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council looks like an anachronism.
The Kingdomâ€™s nationhood has anyway been blurred and diminished by the twin curses of Europeanization and multiculturalism. Laws passed by the peopleâ€™s elected representatives in Parliament are now subordinate to the whims of foreign mountebanks like those on the European Court of Human Rights.
The people themselves have been replaced, in one of the greatest acts of collective folly known to the annals of mankind. Worse yet, they have been replaced not by the garlicky gesticulating continentals their grandfathers scoffed at, but largely by Muslims and blacks, the two most troublesome, least assimilable of all human populations.
(Still worse yet, by Somalis, who are Muslim and black. My hometown is infested with Somalis. A friend who visited the place recently reported that: â€śThere are literally hundreds of [Somalis] just sitting there in the main square. Asking a local bartender what they do for a living, the reply was: â€śNothing. They just sign on and have lots of kids.â€ť)
A mere lifetime ago George Orwell could write of England having â€śa culture as individual as that of Spain.â€ť Todayâ€™s Englandâ€”and the rest of the British Isles is very little betterâ€”has a culture about as individual as that of an airport departure lounge.
That is the context for Scotlandâ€™s independence referendum. To the degree I have an interest, it springs from sentimental fondness for the English people and culture I grew up amongst. If I could help that people and that culture survive through this century, Iâ€™d be happier than otherwise.
In the present state of the West the prospects for survival are not great. In Englandâ€™s case, I believe, those prospects will be somewhat better without the Scots. Only a quarter of Scots want to leave the EU; nearly half of the Kingdom as a whole does (which means over half of non-Scots).
Multiculti-wise, the Scots are wholly invested in cultural Marxism. Of Scotlandâ€™s 59 parliamentary seats, all but one are held by the cultmarx Labour and tree-hugging Liberal and Scottish National parties. South Asian and black settlers form 3 percent of the population and are hot for more immigration. (And yes, Scotland has Somalis.) The signs are that an independent Scotland will vie with Sweden for the title of most multiculti-friendly North European nation.
For England to hold on to Scotland would be like a drowning man holding on to the treasured but solid-marble bust of an old friend, or auld acquaintance. Let it go! If there is hope for England, it lies with the separatists.