In one of my recurring nightmares, I am driving into this wonderful city and as I reach the east end of the M8 I see a sign – “Welcome to Edinburgh, capital of Scotregion”.
I know it’s just a nightmare, but my fear, with a little over 17 months to go to the independence referendum, is that Edinburgh and Scotland are about to be somewhat downgraded.
I fervently hope that the people of Scotland will vote Yes in next year’s referendum – as ever I remind you that I am a member of the SNP – but lately my mind has been occupied with thoughts of what happens if the majority of Scotland’s people votes No.
The fact of the matter is that if we vote No, the ramifications will be almost as far-reaching as a Yes vote. Think about it, who will ever take Scotland seriously as a nation again?
We would become the laughing stock of the world, the only nation ever to vote itself out of existence, because if we do not take the once-in-a-lifetime chance to become independent, we will forever have to live with the consequences of just being a region of the UK.
For what would be the point of being Scotland ever again? No doubt people will say that Scotland would continue to be a nation, but I do not know if I personally want to be a citizen of a self-emasculated country – far better just to accept the people’s own verdict, that we cannot be a full-fledged country in our own right, and forget all this “Scotland” nonsense.
Logic dictates that a No vote, which is a vote for eternal submission to Westminster, would effectively mean the end of Scottish nationhood. For while we might all say “we’re still Scotland”, the rest of the world would merely observe that as we did not take the chance of full independence, therefore we really are just a cod country, an ersatz nation, peopled by nobodies.
Edinburgh would have to be downgraded to a regional hub rather than a capital city. The “Welcome to Scotland” signs at the Border would have to come down.
All those tea towels proudly proclaiming the wondrous achievements of our inventors would have to be altered to show “Bonnie Scotregion”. The Royal Regiment of Nowhere would march off into retirement.
Those many countries which run adverts mocking Scots as stingy and mean would have to change their tack and start portraying us as scared fearties.
In the corridors of world football’s governing body Fifa there are plenty of people who resent the very existence of Scotland’s national football team. They have long wanted to force the four home nations to amalgamate into a Team GB, and a No vote might just give them the excuse they need. At least we wouldn’t have the embarrassment of seeing men in dark blue play like Smurfs, and if we have to join a British set-up, it follows that Celtic and Rangers would get their wish to play in England.
All the Scottish Government’s attempts to have Scotland’s proud history taught in schools would have to end, and we would go back to being taught about the kings and queens of England.
Even the limited self-government that we do have could be under threat. You can say that devolution is an established principle, the settled will of the people, but no-one will listen. The powers that be in Westminster and elsewhere will simply point to the outcome of the referendum and say: “They voted No, therefore they are British above all, and the Jocks will just have to do what we tell them.”
There is absolutely no guarantee of any further devolution of powers, and David Cameron is in so much trouble with his backbenchers over Europe that he will not concede for one second that there will be any more transfer of powers from Westminster to Holyrood. After all, the Conservatives want to claw back powers from Brussels, so they are absolutely not going to let any more powers go to Edinburgh.
If we don’t vote Yes, the UK Government in London may actually decide to start clawing back those powers they have given away. You can just imagine the sneer on David Cameron’s face, backed up by the smirk on Nick Clegg’s wan features, as he announces that since the referendum vote indicates that the people of Scotland do not want to be a nation, the process of reintegrating Scotland fully into the Union will now commence.
Bang will go our separate legal system, our distinct education, our control of the NHS, even our national police force, and before anyone knows it, we will be part of Little England. For in many people’s minds, that is what the United Kingdom has become.
You might now be thinking “there’s Hannan being absurd again”. Well, no more absurd than the many false and spurious claims made by the Unionists in recent months.
The Better Together campaign, aided by a one-sided media largely owned by foreigners, has yet to advance a single positive argument as to why Scotland will improve if we vote No. That’s because there aren’t any such arguments.
If they were being honest they would call themselves Stuck Together, because that’s what a No vote really means – we’ll be stuck in a divided, failing, fractious, immoral Britain.