My Country is Britain

‘For me Scottish independence means putting an international border across my country. My country is Britain.

And there, ladies and gentlemen, is the definitive statement of Unionism in this whole campaign.

It comes, not from a BNP online nutter, but from one of the most esteemed Unionist commentators in the debate, the Professor of Public Law at Glasgow University, Adam Tomkins.


Tomkins was hailed by Angus Macleod, Scottish editor of the Times, as the best brain on the subject when he opined against Holyrood having the powers to stage a referendum. He was chosen as the key adviser on the constitution by Ruth Davidson when she set up her devolution commission. He is adviser to the House of Lords Constitution Committee. He is commentator of choice for the BBC on legal issues surrounding independence.


He is the definitive Unionist, happily domiciled in Scotland and totally committed to the retention of the United Kingdom (albeit without a monarchy. Sorry, ma’am)

Tomkins makes his declaration at the very top not of a pro Union production but in the intro to Scotland Yet, a documentary on the referendum story from the Yes perspective featuring many faces from the campaign. Aye…even mine.

I repeat it here because it cuts through the verbiage and the politicking and goes straight to the heart of the matter.

In essence, it answers the question: Which is your country? In September we choose between two options – Scotland or Britain. Tomkins is in no doubt and I respect him for it because he doesn’t fudge and wheedle or do ‘The Proud Scotbut’ routine. My phrase for this is Principled Unionism because it stands on a principle – that he feels deeply that he belongs to Britain and whatever emotion he holds for home or for Scotland, it is subjugated in favour of his premier choice of nation – the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

He acknowledges the real meaning of the independence question: Should Scotland be an independent country? You vote Yes if you regard Scotland as your first choice nation and you vote No if you prefer the alternative – the UK.

As I argue in Generation X (see previous posts) this doesn’t directly affect your identity. You can be whoever you choose – a British Scot, an Asian Scot, a Pakistani-Irish Scot or simply British in whatever settlement is reached and you can remain that in Scotland and you can take citizenship or not. It matters not.

The point of the question is…do you want decisions about your life made in Edinburgh or in London, so that you are choosing which is your government of choice and which country – UK or Scotland – truly represents you.

That’s what the leading Unionist Tomkins is saying. He feels British, prefers the British government, defers to the British state – in old language, he owes his allegiance to London (symbolically). Whatever Scotland means to him – and I’ve read some genuine expressions of affection and commitment from him – it does not represent his idea of his country. It is part of his country and however many powers it has, it will always be secondary to the UK…supplementary, subservient, auxiliary.

I choose Scotland. Tomkins is a Britnat. I am a Scotnat. You can argue the toss on nuclear subs, pensions, the EU, Nordic welfare and border guards until you’re Saltire blue in the face – the real choice is Scotland or Britain. Which do you belong to?

Ultimately I believe that question trumps all others and will lie at the heart of the decision facing Scots in the polling station. For Tomkins and all the many other British Scots, it’s as simple as that. For me and the Yes community, it’s that easy.

You can add in all sorts of aspirations and side allegiances if you like. I believe for example that independence will unleash Scotland’s entrepreneurial spirit and our latent egalitarianism so that independence is a route to that end but my main motivation above all others is that Scotland is my country. And, if you need to hear it – Britain is not my country.

I don’t ‘hate’ it or wish it ill, although I admit to detesting the apparatus of the British state which is designed to feed an elite and which lies when it wishes (to be discussed separately). I want it be my equal neighbour, my friend and ally – not my boss. For those of you who groan at this characterisation, remember the blocking of the currency union – a major mistake engineered by Darling which laid bare the true colonial-lite mentality of even the Labour Party and the supposedly federalist Lib Dems. They behaved like masters as they do over for example shipyard contracts – which must now be built on the Clyde regardless – and pretending not to buy our renewable energy – exposed this very week as tosh

Do as you’re told or you’ll be punished just isn’t the language of the caring friend, at least none I want to know.

I hear from Unionists who ‘Don’t want to make that choice’…well, hard luck. That’s democracy – we voted into government a party with the referendum in their manifesto so now we have a referendum. Grow up and make the choice. Decide if you truly are British first and Scottish second or if it’s the other way round. Either way, you retain your personal identity and both countries will work closely together anyway.

Others laugh at the very idea that they have to choose. But how juvenile is that? We are always choosing and making decisions and the truth about Britain is that we have had this comfortable, if illogical fudge of two countries into one for 300 years and now it’s time to clarify. Nobody else says they are for example a Proud Canadian…but. There are no Proud Frenchmen….mais. Every other nation on earth is sure of itself and so am I. So is Adam Tomkins. Get on board and stop pretending this isn’t happening.

And don’t tell me it’s a decision forever that can never be changed. What do think voting No means? Do you believe after a No Scots will ever have any clout again with the UK? I know many of you Unionists will cheer if it means a win in the short term but I doubt history will be kind to those who rejected the chance to empower themselves – the first people in history to vote away their own independence.

Listen to your own Unionist guru, the professor. This IS Scotland versus Britain. Which do you choose…

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

100 thoughts on “My Country is Britain

  1. Great stuff – thanks. I am an EngNat. You’re a ScotNat. We can both breathe easily. When we’re both BritNats, I don’t know where I stand or where you stand. We can both change our positions tomorrow anyway.

    As it happens, I’ve recently done a critique of articles by Adam Tomkins’ which appear on the Vote No Borders website. I’m thinking of sending it to him but I’m hesitant to do that or publish it anywhere unless and until any pro-indy folk have had a look and given me their feedback. After all, he’s got a vote and I haven’t. If anyone’s interested, please let me know. Else, I’ll let it go.

    PS i am an EngNat that likes Scots. Some of you are sometimes a bit wild and scary but that’s OK!

    • I wouldn’t send it to him, he would just have a tantrum over it. How about sending your critiques to Bella? I would be interested to read them and I’m sure others would too.

      • As would I MBC. Good idea would like to hear this English gentleman/lady’s views.

      • Thanks MBC and Jake. I have sent them to Bella but so far no response. I am sure Mike Small has a lot on his plate and so I’m not taking it personally. I’ll put it on a bit later this evening. Best wishes, James

    • You can have the best brains in the world, but sadly that doesn’t always convert into politics or government. Let’s reflect on where we currently are, and where we’ve been. Hardly anything to write home about. Nations can be united (we have the United Nations after-all), but still make decisions best reflecting their own cultures and issues, not homogenised ‘best of boths’. Time Scotland stood up and took a lead, as we’re perfectly capable of, and perhaps others will follow ir at least take note. Time for a democratic change.

    • Well said, EngNat. My daughters, all English were at the Commonwealth Games and cheered on their teams, which made me proud, while I cheered on the Scots, or in their absence English, Welsh or whomsoever I thought deserved my cheers.

      In the event of a YES up here once the dust settles we will be good neighbours. It is sad sometimes that people or nations make the most of their differences when they are in fact similar and could make the most of these similarities.

      With a YES I do worry though for regions of England such as the Northeast which has much in common with us and seems to be treated even more disdainfully by Westminster, if that is possible.

      • Thanks for your nice comment. I am not from a region of England which has a strong identity. But the people of Yorkshire and NE England do. It’s up to them to make something of it. It’s a shame if they don’t. I think Westminster is a colossus which has squashed the development of English regional identities for so long that we are all mostly apathetic about the idea of regional politics.

  2. Thanks for that Derek. A very powerful statement and you are spot on. Personally I’m Scottish and pleased to be. Confident with it, but certainly not proud.

  3. I know an extended family who are all pro-British and anti Scottish, even to doing down Scotland in sporting events. No, they are not Engish or Northern Irish or Welsh. They are a pot puree of English, mothers or fathers, spent time in England etc, but all born in Scotland.

    It is funny where prejudices against Alicsammin take you, but that basically is the common factor in their loopy world. I rather suspect the Tomkins fellow has similar prejudices which unbalance him. You might say it is his every right and I would agree, but what sane person votes against his own country controlling its own affairs? It is anti-democratic.

  4. Nae messing its exactly how I feel.Britain is not a nation.Tomkin’s is entitled to his choice but he is technically wrong.If you live in Britain your nation has to be one of 4 as Britain is not a unilateral nation.Its a state of nations.

    • There is no country called Britain. Britain is the island. The UK is a union of countries and principalities. Scotland and England merged parliaments. Now we dont want to be in that union anymore. Britain will still exist, Scotland will still exist, England will still exist……the only difference is that we will have real democracy and not be shafted up the oil pipe continually. These No-Hopers are completely deluded as to what Britain is.

  5. I like how you keep returning to this theme that our choice is Scotland or Britain as for me, that is what it boils down to. Who cares about the rest of the fearmongering stuff. Is Scotland your country or NO.

  6. I’m Scottish.

    I come from a country called Scotland. I would like my country to manage its own affairs. A not unreasonable aspiration or premise. I believe that our governance would be best served by those who live and work in Scotland. I believe our system of governance would be best served by having a directly accountable, fully mandated and empowered parliament in our own country.

    Its that simple.

    Scotland is a country and its electorate should be in full control of their own governance and future.

  7. If roles were reversed would he accept UK being ruled from Edinburgh
    Doubt it

  8. I am Scottish and to be called “British” has always irritated me. However Richard Holloway, in his book “Leaving Alexandria” tells us that the term “Britain” comes from an area close to where he was born. So Scotland not only gave Westminster oil,whisky etc but also a name!!

    • Jan it is from the French, Grande Bretagne, meaning large Brittany. Bretagne in French is Brittany.

      Remember where William the Corncurer came from.

      • Yes BtP, that’s what we were taught in school….. all these years ago. But I prefer Richard Holloway’s explanation!

      • Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

        To be just a tad pedantic, “Britain” is P-Celtic, perhaps meaning “people of the designs”. It is related to a Q-Celtic term which gives us the current Gaelic word for Picts, ie “Cruithnich”.

        And to continue the mischief, we might remember that the “oldest Scottish poem” (The Gododdin) was written in Britonnic in Edinburgh about 600 AD. And that the original “Scotia” was actually Ireland.

        Richard Holloway was presumably referring to Dumbarton, which is from the Gaelic: Dùn Breatann (“Fort of the Britons”), populated by such Brittonic or, if you like, “Welsh” speakers – the name Wallace is of course related to the term “Welsh”. And if we do want some French, I guess we need only look to “De Brus”!

        To return to the Gododdin for a moment, of the hero Breichior it says: “When everyone else fled, you attacked!”

      • actually BTP just to be the pedant, Britain is derived from the Brythonic Welsh. They ruled most of the British Isles up as far as Strathclyde, where they ruled from Dumbarton Rock.
        Over time the Brythons were forced back by the Picts and Scots in the North, the Angles and Saxons from the South, Vikings anywhere they could get a toehold, particularly the Dandlaw, to their range in Wales but leaving their stamp in history by the names Britain, Cymru Cumbria Northumbria

  9. Dr JM Mackintosh

    My country is not Britain.

    The lies, distortions and denigration of the Scottish people used by BT in this campaign have forever tainted my relationship with the UK state.

    I am Scottish and will vote YES.

    P.S. HUGE Oil find off the West of Shetland – you will not hear about it until after the referendum.

    Another example of the Both Worlds – the real world where Scotland should be a prosperous country and the devious, UK world which lies to us all the time to try to keep us in our place.

    • Dr J some of us have heard of the North Atlantic Margin oil reserves. Currently pipe laying ships are installing pipeline around Shetland as quick as the technology permits.

  10. I think you are far too kind to Tomkins. He is an English nationalist of the worst kind – an Englishman who thinks that Scotland is naturally a part of greater England and was subsumed by her in 1707 via an entity called Britain.

    And academically he is not esteemed, he is an embarrassment. His evidence to Holyrood recently at the European and External Relations committee was based on pomposity and posture, not hard facts (for there are none).

    Here he is, about half way through, @ 1.01.

    And as for identity, there are still too many Scots for whom fear and uncertainty are the main issues, and they will vote No, not because they feel more British than Scottish, but because they are not sufficiently informed of the Yes arguments or are as yet unconvinced by them. Naively, they think they are voting for gradual, not sudden, change. Not everybody lives and breathes politics. There is a bell curve: it has still to reach its peak, and posturing by pretended ‘authorities’ like Tomkins does not help.

    • Ok MBC. I’ve put my article on Prof Tomkins’ views up now at I couldn’t get your link to the audio file but from what I have seen I am not impressed by Prof Tomkins either. An English Tory in Glasgow too. I knew there was one!

      • Enjoyed the post.

        A well reasoned response to Mr Tomkin’s claims. Many thanks for the link.

      • Thanks for this. On the subject of English honour, did you see the recent BBC4 programme by Melvin Bragg on John Ball, and the English radical tradition? (On iplayer). Well worth watching, especially as Boris Johnson (oops, nearly mis-typed Boorish Johnstone! Was Providence guiding my hand?) equates what is happening in Scotland to the Peasants Revolt of 1381.

        I have always been of the opinion that English identity was made schizophrenic after 1066, and that in the heart of every decent Englishman the radical tradition still beats, and struggles for self-understanding and realisation, of Anglo-Saxon fairness and egalitarianism, a mentality that is epitomised in wonderful expressions like ‘speak without fear or favour’, ‘a cat may look at a king’, or ‘sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander’, but that this is often confusingly overlaid by the learned false consciousness of instinctive obedience to authority, indeed celebration of authority and in putting over authority on others such as rebels and inferiors like the Scots, that the aristocratic Norman Conquest brought in. I think there has been an unresolved battle going on for over a thousand years for the heart and soul of the English people brought in by the Norman yoke and the Conquest of a free Anglo-Saxon people by a bunch of brutal toffs. The deference for authority and instinct for authoritarian measures and tolerance of the ruling class is all part of that, and this is exactly why the British ruling class (of which Tomkins is a fully paid up member) is so afraid of Scottish independence. It represents liberation of a more fundamental kind, a psychological body blow to the imperialism of the thousand year reich of the Normans over these isles, and then globally via the British Empire.

        After the Conquest many of the defeated Anglo-Saxon leadership sought and were given refuge in Scotland, and Scotland (southern part) has strong Anglo-Saxon roots, but this was not ‘English’ (i.e., Anglo-Norman) but the old Anglo-Saxon community. Yes, we are a mongrel race in Scotland, part Gael, part Scandinavian, part Welsh, part Anglo-Saxon. But more than that we have been the last refuge of the free in these isles, and that is why our campaign is attracting support from both sides of the border, and why the last of the imperialists like Tomkins oppose it.

        • Thanks very much MBC. There’s a lot to ponder there for me and I will look at the Melvyn Bragg programme. I liked his book about the history of the English language. I run another blog called which aims to generate debate among English people about our national identity. I’ve saved your comments and may use them there at some point, if you don’t mind.

          I think there is a lot to what you say about the conflicting Anglo-Saxon and Norman strands of Englishness. The Anglo-Saxons “won” independence for England against the Danes, who were then assimilated. The Anglo-Saxons didn’t go off conquering other nations as far as I know. It’s only when the Normans took over that that the English started getting involved in foreign wars. I’d love to dialogue one day with French people from Normandy to understand their own sense of identity, so as to help separate out the Norman strand in the English identity.

          Perhaps we’ve digressed too far on a Scottish affairs blog! If you want to continue the conversation, I’m on James


            I hope this is the link I tried to post earlier. Tomkins appears about half way through, @ 1hr 4 mins 15 seconds, in response to a question about the continuing state status if there is a Yes vote.

            I am reading your blog with much interest, thank you.

          • Had to laugh when I read that last reply, the Anglo-Saxons didn’t go off conquering other nations and they defeated the Danes? Just one question: where do you imagine the Angles and the Saxons appeared from and how might they have been welcomed this side of the Channel by the native Britons/ Brythonic Welsh?

        • An interesting and thought provoking piece, but this ethnicity angle is the English Establishment view of nationalism. It is irrelevant to Scottish Civic nationalism of the referendum.
          None of us chose to be born here, that decision was not of our making, but we who choose to live here and make Scotland our shared home are the ones being asked to decide how we want our country governed in future.
          “it matters not a jot where any of us came from, it is where we are all going forward together that matters”
          It appears no matter how often this gets repeated there are going to be some who don’t grasp the concept.

        • I don’t think ‘Southern Scotland has strong Anglo-Saxon roots’ The Saxons were concentrated around London (Middlesex, Essex etc). The old Northumbrian kingdom contributed an Anglo-Danish element to SE Scotland and Angles were among the ethnic groups that founded the Scottish kingdom. I believe there’s a theory by an English academic that the only part of Scotland settled by Saxons may have been Orkney. I say may have been because I think his case is largely based on place name evidence.

          • Plenty of evidence unearthed recently points out the vigourous interaction between all of the neolithic peoples along the coasts of Britain from Scara Brae and Orkney to Stonehenge. Artifacts from both found together. The sea was the motorway of its time, the land was nigh on impassable.

  11. What will happen to my country (Scotland) if HIS country wins on 18th September? He complains of a border, but I will be complaining of something far, far worse if No wins.

  12. lastchancetoshine

    “…and both countries will work closely together anyway.”

    Not so sure about that, The UK appears completely incapable of working closely with anyone outside of tagging along with the US which is something different.

    • lastchancetoshine: completely agree with you. If Scotland becomes independent the English will try and turn us into a client state using whatever muscle they have left.

      • The British state might try bullying an independent Scotland into line (I certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility), but the English people would want nothing to do with such a move, so your use of the word ‘English’ here is a bit out of order.

  13. Derek,
    O / T but I wonder what you think of the “Games” T.V.s coverage?, I got the impression that the heads of the B.B.C. in London informed B.B.C. Scotland “we will take care of ALL contents,”why?, the “games” were awarded to Glasgow and Scotland, and it was funded from within Scotland, so why did B..B.C. Scotland not have more of an input, I’m thinking of the linking folk, O.K. there was Hazel, and Gabby, and one can accept the likes of Steve Cram, Brendan Foster, commenting on a race, but the likes of Garry Lineker, Jasen Mohammond !!, do you think B.B.C. Scotland, even had a say in the planning?,

    • I have complained to the BBC about the lack of Scots presenters or worse still anchors. As someone said, “it’s like you’ve organised the party and your neighbours have snuck in to host the party.”

      • lastchancetoshine

        Not only that, you’ve made the sandwiches, bought the booze, served cocktails and then watch eveyone having fun while standing outside looking in through the window.

        • Actually couldn’t the games organisers have specified that Scotland have separate TV coverage in the contract awarding coverage to the BBC?

        • Yes, and that will be just as obvious to the ‘don’t knows’. And irritate the hell out of some of them. An own goal by the Brits IMHO.

    • Steve Cram appeared to be sober. Brendan Foster, well, his speech impediment has not improved.
      One cannot accept them commenting on a race as they are far short of competent.
      Gabby Logan is married to a Scot but that is as far as it goes. As for the rest…

  14. Tompkins is NOT a Unionist. He doesn’t accept that Scotland was ever a country capable of signing an international treaty. He denies that Scotland could ever exist as anything other than a region of england. A genuine Unionist would believe in The Union. He believes that Scotland was exterminated.

    His (alleged) alter egos on the Herald and Guardian expose his (probably) true feelings on the matter.

    • Exactly. He is an English imperialist. That was the point I was trying to make earlier, to distinguish this type of nationalism from what I believe ordinary decent English people have, a simple love of their beautiful country and of their fellow countrymen. That type of nationalism I can relate to, and if I lived in England I would be on board for it too, I would empathise, stand shoulder to shoulder with my neighbours, appreciate their common decency and Anglo-Saxon values of plain speaking and fair play. But Tomkins is an imperialist, and Britain for him simply means English conquest of Scotland; the (for him) natural order of things.

  15. History and story are the same word in French. A nation is a story. A fiction. It’s man-made: Britain, England, Scotland, these are human constructs.

    I believe we have the right to choose our story. If Tomkins chooses Britain I would be interested in his reasons, because it’s not a very edifying story. ‘Buccaneering’ is David Cameron’s description. He actually said it and he sounded pleased. It means being pirates.

    Let’s not be pirates, and let’s not be ruled by pirates. Let’s be a better story than that. Let’s look after each other. Let’s be inspired and let’s be an inspiration.

  16. Doesn’t Tompkins also masquerade under the alias of Jezerna Roza?

  17. Derek has a point, and it’s worth listening to. There are a great many people like Prof Tompkins around. I meet them on the doorsteps every day. They are No voters for whom the UK is a single, indivisible entity. They are immune to any argument about Scotland’s potential, because they just don’t see any point in splitting up what to them is a perfectly successful unitary state. This attitude has nothing to do with whether they see themselves as Scottish or British – they just don’t see that the question has any meaning.

    They are the intransigent many, and no argument from first principles will cut any ice. They are miles away from the fearful Nos who fear the future. – They are just innately against any idea of dividing up the UK and are absolutely confident in that stance. And that attitude cuts across all class/wealth/identity boundaries, so far as I can tell.

    That’s the core No vote, right there – and it’s not small. They despise their own campaign, but they are not for turning. At least, I’ve yet to find a way through….any suggestions?

    • Stand 2 paces back, the ones I have came across for some reason think I’m deaf.

    • lastchancetoshine

      “There are a great many people like Prof Tompkins around.”

      Actually I’d bet most of them have never even considered it before, at least he has based his stance on some kind of reasoning as you rightly say they are against change purely and simply because they don’t like change – they are literally conservative. Yet many of them are core voters because they feel it is their duty. What’s also a bit weird is you’ll probably find that those who aren’t core labour voters have backed SNP without checking policy first.

    • There are many different types of No voter, but living in an affluent part of Edinburgh I recognise the type Kininvie refers to. If you are comfortably off, as they are, successful and financially secure, and you don’t follow Scottish politics, which isn’t difficult to do since the MSM is so s**t, then you are inclined to think, ‘Who are these people who want to turn the world upside down? Things are fine as they are’. These are people who feel as much British as Scottish, and who don’t feel marginalised, as most Scots do. For them, Britain is not broken, it is a successful enterprise that is working fine. Bar a few recent hiccups. The complacent middle class.

      Whilst most of the posters and badges I see around my area are for Yes, I am not kidding myself that in this basically affluent area a silent majority lurks of comfortably off middle class people who are for No, in an automatic way, because nothing is hurting them and they have not got the curiosity or open mindedness to explore it further.

      Fortunately the Scottish middle class has always been numerically weak. It holds institutional power, but not voting power.

      • Squirrel Towers

        “Fortunately the Scottish middle class has always been numerically weak. It holds institutional power, but not voting power.”

        Excellent point and one that cheers me when I mix with my No voting middle class friends in Edinburgh….. It will be Glasgow where the dye will be cast…. thank god as most people I meet there are intending to vote Yes

      • MBC – totally agree.

      • as pointed out to me elsewhere: if No are doing so well and are leading in the opinion polls why don’t I see them in the streets and knocking on my door? I never get invited to any of their hustings, this will be because they have enough votes already and don’t want mine aswell?

  18. Perhaps Mr Tomkins before constructing his imaginary border needs to deconstruct the border already present in his Britain of today.
    How many people does he know , we’re required to move house because they had a spare room?
    How many of his colleagues have to choose between eating or attending ‘ meetings’
    How many working people does he know , have to choose which prescription is the most vital( £8.20 I believe per script in England)
    How many children does he know will not be able to attend certain schools and ultimately his Uni, because their parents can’t afford a house in the correct catchment area?
    All of the above is about choice. The Westminster parties have chosen this path for Britain. Well I choose another. I choose the way, Scotland strives for education for all, the NHS accessible to all, social housing etc. these systems are not perfect by any means but are a good basis at the heart of all our communities and after all , what is a country if it’s not about people and a community.

  19. I agree with MBC above. You are far to kind to Tomkins and you do that infuriating thing that the BBC does all the time and afford credibility where it is not justified. The man’s an imperialist and we are extinguished in his opinion. Obnoxious man.

  20. That poster was apparently banned from the Herald a fair old while ago.

    As far as I am aware the poster then moved to the Guardian & is now Abiesalba – a totally delusional Slovenian (living in Slovenia), or at least the poster keeps claiming they are Slovenian.

    Not sure anyone is still dumb enough to believe that now. Consensus seems to be that the poster is a native English speaker posting from central Scotland.

    Whether the posters in question are Tomkins or not – I haven’t seen any evidence one way or another.

  21. I’ve read through most of the comments here and watched some of the video recommended by MBC. Particularly like upholdingenglishhonour article.

    To me Prof Tomkins is a typical example of the sort of ‘expert’ to whom lots of people listen because it is easier than having to think or find out for yourself. He comes across (again, to me) as a person who presents the Law almost as something that is God-given and considers that he, as one of the wise people who has pored over the ‘divine’ writings, is able to understand what ordinary people cannot and is therefore able to act a bit like a high priest and decree what is the ‘absolute truth’. Sadly, there are lots of similar people in the legal / political world today, most of whom seem to delight in putting obstacles in the way of anyone wanting to make the world a better place.

    Rather than being something divine and immutable (and myself being of somewhat lesser intellect than experts like Prof Tomkins) I picture the law as being more akin to Billy Connolly’s ‘Jobbie Wheecha’. It has been created by humans and, as such, is not guaranteed to work perfectly all the time. Obviously, however, it can be adjusted, redesigned or changed completely in order to work better depending on the situation in the real world.

  22. If it is ‘NO’, I will try not to be, but I will find it very, very hard, not to become an ‘ashamed Scot’. Bit I will not ‘lay down and die’ much as Ian (bayonet the wounded) Davidson demands I must. When ‘Better Together’s unholy union falls apart, and reneges on all ‘assurances’, (they never actually commit to any ‘promises’), there will be a second Referendum and a YES win. To quote the late, great John Wayne, it is ‘Just as sure as the turnin’ o’ the earth’. I will be, justifiably, angry at what will be a very costly delay, to Scotland. We will be independent, and it will happen in my lifetime. Scotland has been shown ‘the promised land’, by both sides in the Referendum debate. When ‘NO’ results in: NO NHS, NO Barnett, NO bus-passes, NO Council Tax Freeze, NO more devolved powers, NO Scottish Parliament, etc… in short; NO ‘Better Together’, there will be a second referendum. The new political parties born out of this debate crucible (e.g. ‘Scottish Labour For Independence’), along with the SNP will insist. When Westminster refuses, (which it will) Scotland must declare UDI. That process will take about 10-20 years, Years of Westminster exploiting our natural resources to the maximum. I am desperately hoping we can avoid this delay, on the 18th of next month. [Footnote: On 18 September 1997, Wales voted ‘yes’ (by 50.3%) to a referendum on Welsh autonomy].

  23. When I come across Proud Scots who want to stay British, I have one question for them.

    Was Scotland British before the Union of the Crowns when James VI of Scotland became King of England?

    Does Britishness come from being part of the British Isles or does it only come from being ruled from Westminster?

  24. Dr JM Mackintosh

    There was a time when Scotland was British and was recognised and appreciated as such.

    ‘Of all the small nations of this earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind.’ – Sir Winston Churchill.

    I now find it ironic that we are now denigrated as too poor, too wee and too stupid to run our own affairs by the British politicians of the day.

    Another irony is the Simon Schama is one of the foremost supporters of the Rory the Tory Great Patio for the Union at Gretna. Shame that he forgot to mention any of Scotland’s great achievements in his History of Britain.

    It is the English who still cling on to their imperialist past and are therefore clinging onto Scotland to support their old views. Perhaps, if they still appreciated our great and continuing contribution they would get more support.
    Remember – we are all Subsidy Junkies!

  25. dennis mclaughlin

    I have a recording from BBC Scotland by Richard Holloway entitled ‘a Scots History of Britishness’….a very interesting wee tale in 5 episodes.
    We can all remember that the description once meant something to aspire to ,or heaven forbid to be proud of….
    When this episode closes on the 19th of September us Scots will be shutting the door behind us on the very ethos that once was ‘British’…..
    that We were the last and best of the British is something that England will never understand.

  26. Great Britian is not a country and never was, it is a political state designed to facilitate the needs of the political elite, Establishment, Royals, and latterly big business. This is why they want NO change, too many troughing in London at the expense of millions suffering elsewhere. Take away Scotland and the foundations of this rotten artificial state begin to crumble fast.

  27. always had a problem with these esteemed well read academics for the most part its just a good memory for the written word of other esteemed academics this particular one totally disregards scotland existed before the union of the crowns then of the parliaments this union was forced on the scottish people by a who burns described as a parcel of rogues and i have always found it strange our history was deliberately and by slight of hand withheld from generations of scots school pupils a kind of mass amnesia and in this persons case it has worked particularly well, my own view is just like a lot of our labour and the others i wont bother naming the parties there is no point for now they vote against our independence as one it is the lure of the greasy pole the whole elitist establishment that is and has been rejected by most normal people who live and work in this land we call scotland Once we return to a normal country then we can cast our gaze on our own elitist establishment who seem to always be just out of view in the background pulling the strings yes we have our own house to put in order before we sneer at the people south of the border a lot of work to do lets not be distracted by the nay sayers they can and will be left behind i just hope there is enough time to cut through all the lies it seems like we have a bloody big hill to climb oh well onwards and upwards glad i cheered you up ha ha have a nice day now as the yanks say, another country who stuck two fingers up to westminster seems to have worked for them oh and Australia & Canada and oops all the commonwealth countries

  28. When you cut through all the reams of wordage and rhetoric that have been written on this issue over the years it comes down to this very simple premise and principle. Everything else is smokescreen.

    Simplify it even further. Take Scotland’s name out of the question altogether.

    Do you believe in the principle of independence? That either an individual or populace should be responsible for their own governance, their own decisions and their own future? Making the best of their resources, talent and intelligence to become the best they can possibly be in life both for themselves and others?

    A complex issue to be sure, but the premise, principle and choice have always been simple.

    • Yes, I agree with what you have written. The world has gone through many phases when different ethnic groups have joined together for whatever reason, creating alliances and Unions, and as long as there is equality between the groups everything works just fine. It seems that in time human nature takes over and the more populous and stronger exerts it’s more powerful influence over the it’s weaker sibling and then the ‘family’ becomes unbalanced, dominated by the bigger brother and eventually the cracks begin to show. Well, rUK and Scotland have got to that point. Will the smaller sibling be able to make it on there own? Is it possible for Scotland to leave the Union on good terms and still be good friends and neighbours? We are almost there, September 18th 2014 will be a time of choices and whichever way it goes, either way, we must not sulk like children and hold resentment. It will be a time of new beginnings or continuing with same of the same. Come on Scotland, make the right choices for country, kith and kin.

      • I believe we can and must choose to govern ourselves. If we choose to pass up this chance I believe the relationship will sour irrevocably as the imbalance in the partnership widens due to the continuance of ever more aggressive austerity measures and the lies brought to bear in this campaign by Westminster and BT are uncovered.

        Ironically I think the one thing that will save the future relationship between the nations of these islands will be a positive YES vote. This vote could act as a catalyst for redrawing partnerships and politics across the board. Westminster passed on the chance of federalism through shear self interest, but a confederal future, a form of beefed up council of the British Isles? Partnership based on mutual goals between governments could be a likely route of travel.

  29. Scottish, never British.

  30. Those that are so mad about the corrupt BRIT SYSTEM fail to acknowledge that neither ENGLAND SCOTLAND or WALES have full NATIONAL status. THEY ARE REGIONS

  31. Britain is, to paraphrase Salman Rushdie, is a country insufficiently imagined. It’s a chimera, not real. Scotland is my country and I recognise no other. Saor Alba!

  32. I am a proud, patriotic Scot, passionate about my heritage and my country. and I am very much a nationalist.

  33. The shadow over the party is not being mentioned. A NO vote will be a vote to dissolve Scotland. No Scottish legal system, no separate representation anywhere e.g. SFA will be assimilated by FA. Foreigners will not accept the existence of Scotland, you see. How will anyone understand that we voted NO but we still want to be treated separately. They won’t.
    It really will be the end of an auld sang.

    • I fear you are right, Scotland as a country will be diminished, if not destroyed if it is a no. The Scottish parliament will be end up a white elephant, it wont take long.

    • Have to say that is our thoughts on this subject both my Husband and I feel the same. I hope all the folk I have seen crawling out of the woodwork this weekend realise that.

  34. Do you agree that countries should rule themselves?

  35. roddymacdonald2014

    I have to disagree, Derek. A choice between Scotland and Britain is not, even by implication, on the ballot. I look forward to remaining both Scottish and British after the Yes vote, just as Norwegians remained both Norwegian and Scandinavian after 1905. Geology and geography will decide when we Scots stop being British, not politics.

    The choice implied on the ballot will be between Scotland and the non-national construct that is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    • What you are saying is that a Yes vote will act to redefine Britishness, as something not pertaining to the United Kingdom but the British Isles.

      • roddymacdonald2014

        A Yes vote needn’t redefine anything to do with Britishness. We shall remain residents on the Island of Britain whichever way the vote goes until such time as tectonic shift moves Scotland away and splits the ancient island of Alba / Albion apart. The political entity called Great Britain only lasted 94 years from 1707 to 1801.

        • Dr JM Mackintosh

          Yes – I suppose in the long run we will still remain as British – in much as the Norse countries are Scandinavian.

          We just need the Welsh, especially the ones on the eastern side of the country to realise the benefits of self determination.

          Then we can be three, free independent British Nations.

        • Sometimes Roddy I am all for digging a canal along the border. That way England can be the island they have always wanted to be. Maybe the Welsh can do the same along Offa’s dyke.

  36. I think its not just Scotland versus Britain. Its also England versus Britain and Wales versus Britain. A vote for no is a recognition that your country is Britain and that the constituent countries do not exist. Its recognition that there is no such thing as Scottishness, or Englishness, or Welshness. In effect you are voting for the existence of a sole British identity.

    On the other hand, a vote for yes is a vote that confirms the existence of those nationalities and Keeps “British” and “Britain” within its historical confines of geography. It allows you to be Scottish and British, or English and British, or Welsh and British with absolutely no conflict of interest.

  37. I have pointed this out before. The people of Niue in the South Pacific voted under the auspices of the UN Decolonisation Program not become independent from New Zealand. Despite many inducements by NZ to get them to vote Yes. Quite a different situation from Scotland. But if we vote No in September (hopefully not) we will not be first country to vote against independence. More Niueans live and work in NZ than live in Niue which is populated by the old, the young and the infirm. They fear that like other NZ possessions in the Pacific that have gained their independence over time their right to live and work in NZ would be curtailed.

    BTW NZ inherited possession of Niue from the UK.

    Also I bet if the UK offered the people of far Pitcairn, another rock in the South Pacific, a referendum on their independence they too would vote No, so dependent on outside largess are they for the basics of civilised life and communication. The UK, after the NZ based trials of Pitcairn residents for paedophilia etc offered the place to NZ to administer. They were turned down.

  38. […] would be me, apparently: “the definitive Unionist”. So says ex BBC journalist and Nationalist blogger Derek Bateman. He and I appear in the same (thankfully unreleased) film, a tedious documentary about how […]

  39. Oh Dear, I have been entirely disrespectful to Professor Tomkins. I have told him quite firmly on the pages of the Guardian where he chooses not use his own name, mark you neither do I, that he talks the most unmitigated tripe.I suppose I with my own little and I do mean little academic achievements, should hold my head in shame. Trouble is that over my sixty something years I have come to regard these people as lower than the people they look down on.
    I am a Scot, Professor, you know someone born and reared in Scotland, and I have never acknowledged any other Nationality, It drives me nuts that I still have what I heard described as an English Passport and that by Irish Republican Nationals. So if you do not mind I will still go and make my mark on a bit of paper 18th September and get a proper Scottish one along with a proper country.

  40. England is a country; Scotland is a country; Wales is a country; Northern Ireland is !?! let’ssay part of a country BUT Britain is NOT a country – it is a state which contains countries.

  41. […] He is the definitive Unionist, happily domiciled in Scotland and totally committed to the retention of the United Kingdom. He makes his declaration at the very top not of a pro Union production but in the intro to Scotland Yet, a documentary on the referendum story from the Yes perspective featuring many faces from the campaign. […]

Leave a Reply