Part Of The Union
What did the British ever do for the English? | The Times (£)
The argument for the Union, ...., is thus exactly parallel to the usual defence of Britain’s presence in the European Union. There is no European identity and even if there were, it would never attract the cussed dissidents across the Channel. But it does makes sense to be part of a trading alliance. It may even make sense to co-operate on security, crime, immigration and climate change. As long as the European Union is a service provider, the British will stomach it. But this rational case will never have any emotional resonance because there is no European identity. So, as soon as the British are asked for allegiance to an entity that looks and sounds like a government, their consent will be withdrawn.
For the same reason, I am not sure that Mr Miliband’s rational case for the Union can be made. There is, in truth, no great loss to the self-image of the English if Scotland departs the Union. Mr Miliband’s argument may even be self-defeating. It is possible that, the more he celebrates England, the more he undermines the case for the Union. The English may well conclude, flattered by his definition of them as stoical and quietly determined, that they are perfectly capable of remaining for ever England even if the Act of Union is repealed.