Talk about a cleft stick!
It has been a brilliant time for a political wonk such as myself to be in Scotland. I was here during the independence referendum and saw how the political temperature was being whipped up to heights not seen here since the Jacvobite unpleasantness on the 1700s.
I have never been anywhere - apart from the USA - where flags have been so much in evidence. Even I fly a Saltire because it makes life easier with the separtists. - and almost 50 per cent of scots are separartists.
Now Scotland has voted to stay in the European Union while the UK as a whole (in effect the English) voted to leave. However, it was the English who voted as a block. Us English were deeply split. It was an unholy alliance between the home counties where I live and the workingclass areas of the UK. Strangely enough Londoners and the scottish voted the same way - to stick with the european union.
Now the poltical heat is being raised even more following the Brexit vote. Scottish nationalists face the possibility of being dragged out of one union of 500 million people from which they have been major subsidy beneficiaries by a referendum held in another Union of 60 million people - who also subsidise the scottish way of life. Who is more likely to keep the subsidies flowing - the English or the European Union.
Who can blame them for being angry and confused.
Some people here are very, very angry. Frighteningly angry if the phone ins are anything to go by.
I can understand why the Scottish people are in favour of being a member of the European Union - you can see the infrastructure benefits all over the place. The roads up here are better than anything we have to offer in Buckinghamshire. the public buildings are brilliant, they still have libraries, bridges are all free, the ferries subsidised. I live in a very conservative part of the country who mostly voted out. However, the home counties alone did not have the power to remove the Uk from Europe. The Home counties were in an unholy alliance with places in England which suffer the same problems as Scotland but have got nowhere near the amount of public spending splashed all over them.. My journey up the NE coast from the Humber to Scotland is a journey past mile after mile of urban decay - poverty is everywhere. I do not see the same levels of poverty here in Scotland.
One of the things that made some scots stick with England in the independence referndum was a fear of having to abandon the £1 and start using the Euro - which is a currency designed and controlled by Germans for the benfit of Geremany.. It is then inflicted on the weaker economies of Greeks/Spanish/Portugese
That is good for Germans and v bad for many none german working class europeans. Many scots recognise that financial union with Germany would be a really tough gig. They would be worse off and have to raise taxes to pay for many of the good things they currently take for granted.
The unhappy and confused locals should be confused and angry. I don't blamer them - but they do occasionally blame the English. Life is so much easier to blame the English. Simple knee jerk crypto politics. These are difficult times. They have my sympathy, but just balming all the english for all their problems is not really a solution.
The SNP are a one trick pony - all they want is for Scotland to be independent so when they should be talking to London they are shoutung from the fringes and talking about things that are unnaceptable - a word I have heard many, many times since being up here. Unnaceptable is a big unhelpful wordthat leaves little room for ableness. The SNP are currently playing the angry blame the english card - but the leadership is pragmatic enough not to call a second independence referendum unless they can guarantee that they will win. To do that they would have to peruade the majority of scotas to abandon the Union with England and embrace the German designed bag of mess that is the Euro - interesting times.
I will now spend the coming rainy afternoon working on the boat electrics while listening to the endless radio phoine-ins dedicated to the Scottish Dilemma