Having had personal experience of the referendums held in Québec we feel it is time for us to comment on the question of Scotland separating from the United Kingdom. To be perfectly clear from the outset, let us state that we feel strongly that Scotland should stay in the Union. This is why.
The French peoples of Québec were a conquered nation. They lost the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759, the French army sailed away never to return and by the end of 1763 the people of what had been New France had new English masters ruling over them in the new Province of Québec. Accommodations were made between the two and history moved forward until the separatist Parti Québecois took power in the provincial government with the express platform of separating from Canada. Over the course of 15 years and two referendums they came very close to succeeding (or rather seceding).
What we notice about Scottish politicians is that they seem to act in the same way as the ones in late 20th century Québec. We are bemused by this as the Scots are not a conquered people, at least as far as the act of Union is concerned. Yet Scottish politicians seem very angry, as angry as those in Québec were as a result of their being a conquered people. Does this mean that in order to pursue separatism it is necessary to create a sustained political anger? If this is the case the Scots will have a problem – one that eventually defeated the cause in Québec – which is that anger is difficult to sustain over a long period. Eventually it becomes artificial.
Another thing we should state at this point is that we are pro-Brexit. So how can we be pro-Brexit, separating ourselves from Europe, and yet be against Scottish separation? Some things are visceral and sharing an island with another nation for hundreds of years is definitely visceral.
As we are two nations sharing one small island it was confusing to say the least to hear the politicians of the Scottish Nationalist Party wanting on one hand to leave the United Kingdom and on the other to re-join the EU. As the French say, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – the more things change the more they stay the same. If this part of their argument hasn’t struck you forcefully, it should. They are a supposedly separatist government wanting desperately to re-join one of the most non-separatist organizations in the world. Apparently this was also quite confusing for many Scottish people and it helps to explain the loss of seats suffered by the SNP in the June election. One Scots voter interviewed on TV said precisely that – why leave the UK only to join the EU? His feelings were that if they were going to be independent then they should be truly independent.
It is possible the SNP were using this as a soft-sell approach to separatism – support us and vote to leave the UK and then by re-joining the EU we’ll ensure your standard of living will be maintained, as the euro and the EU will be there as a safety net. The Scots however are not stupid and they saw this for what it really was – just trading one Union for another. True nationalism does not care about things or about money – it is purely and simply the love of a country. This is a difficult concept for Western governments in the 21st century.
We have one more statement to make and no matter how gently we try to express it, it still sounds harsh. In the present Western world the only real independence is economic. If governments want freedom they need to concentrate their efforts on their economies. Interestingly enough since the Parti Québecois realised that concentrating on separatism rather than on providing good government would not work for them Québec has become a stronger, happier and more prosperous province. Our hope is that the Scottish parliament will now recognise and accept the same thing, and that a prosperous and happier Scotland will remain in the United Kingdom, keeping our island whole.