But rather than bewail its aggression or pick at its obvious inconsistencies, we Conservatives should consider the possibility that separatist politics in Scotland appeals to something real and deep in the electorate: a need that cannot be answered by scorn, or wished away.
If we sense this, we must ask ourselves a second question: can Conservatives, consistently with our own principles, try to answer this need in a way that reconciles it with our own hopes for Britain? I think the answer to both questions is “yes”. A Conservative vision of the Union could be of a deep and permanent alliance of equal nations within a common economy, each with the dignity of self-government, each raising taxes for what they did alone, and sharing taxes for what they did together. The disparities in population between England and Scotland will be fatal to this structure only if we want them to be. Other federations and unions take such problems in their stride.
Disparities in wealth will only prove a stumbling block it we want the Scots to stumble; there is otherwise no reason why the richer parts of the Union should not voluntarily help the poorer parts, as they always have, as makes sense in any common market.
Well OK, Mr P, but don't just blather on; tell us what you want the Tories to do precisely. Ms Goldie and her chums have accepted the fact of devolution; even Mr Cameron (after some initial swithering about the West Lothian Question) seems to have set his face against the more radical forms of English nationalism. Mr P, you now appear to be advocating fiscal autonomy, supplemented by English subsidies to maintain the financial status quo in terms of relative shares. Is this the case? Have you thought it through? After all, if the transfers of resources from the UK Exchequer are to continue, then what is the point?
And what is this talk of doing things together? Are you really suggesting that the Scottish Executive/Parliament (representing one of the 'equal nations') should have a role in determining a joint foreign or defence policy? And how would that work when a Scottish government wanted to scrap nuclear weapons?
Perhaps the lesson from Catalonia is that centre right parties in a devolutionary context are doomed to a minimalist existence? In which case, it really doesn't matter what either Mr Cameron or Ms Goldie does. But it does not really help when London/Catalonian journalists pontificate vaguely.