20 January 2016

Quote of the day (well, a couple of days ago, actually)

Alex Massie of The Spectator channels his inner Clint Eastwood:
Support for the Union – the British Union, that is – has never been more provisional or contractual. The idea of independence cannot be put away or dismissed as unthinkable. It is plainly thinkable and thoughts, once thunk, cannot be unthunked.
So imagine a situation in which, just for the sake of argument, Scotland voted 65-35 (as the latest poll suggests might happen) to stay In but the UK as a whole voted 51-49 to Leave. That would be a clear, unambiguous, declaration of difference between Scotland and England. (A reminder, too, that though the Scots and the English largely think alike on most subjects, europe is a large and, in fact, ever-heftier exception to that general rule.)
Sure, it would be a decision made by Britain for Britain but it would not be universally perceived as such in Scotland. Here it would be seen by many people as though Scotland – at present much more than a region but not quite a state – was being forced to leave the EU despite manifestly preferring not to.
And that would change things. It would leave people here questioning whether Britain was still home, whether there was still a future here. At the very least, it would open space for a fresh discussion on this question. What kind of country is this? What kind of country would it like to be? If one jig is up, another ship can sail too. Perceptions would shift; impressions would change.
I assure Brexiters that a post-Brexit indyref campaign that argued Scotland cannot afford to be independent or in the EU if England is not is an argument that cannot be won with honour even if it were won at all. It would leave many Scots thinking, Well, maybe that’s true. But we’ll no be told that by the likes of you. We’ll make our own decisions, for ourselves, for better or even for worse....In the end it is simple and it comes down to this: Is there a risk Brexit might lead to the break-up of Britain? People who’ve been wrong about everything in the past tell us there isn’t. Other people, including many people who actually live in Scotland, suggest there is a risk.Perhaps it is only a small risk; it remains, I think, a risk. An entirely avoidable one, too.
So this is what it ends as: I know what you’re thinking Brexiters, ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But [being that this is a powerful set of constitutional problems] you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?  


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