Foreign visitors to London who admire the surroundings might be baffled as to why the Scots would want to break up the UK after 300 years of highly successful co-operation. Why? How?
If you need an instant explanation take a ten minute walk west from the magnificent newly rebuilt edifices of Kings Cross and St Pancras stations over to Euston station.
Euston has a sad history, the last causality of post war architectural vandalism before preservation became the norm in London. Today, as it awaits the inevitable redevelopment to bring it up to the standard of the rest of London, Euston is an overcrowded, crumbling, urine streaked tomb inhabited by the homeless and disaffected.
As such, Euston is a perfect example of what the Scots are voting to escape from tomorrow, as Euston is quite representative of the state of the rest of the UK while London has bathed in the adoration of the international tax exile 1%.
If you've been reading the Thomas Picketty's Capital in The Twenty First Century, you'll know the future that awaits us and what the Scot's are trying to escape from - that future being the 18th Century, or at least 18thC levels of inequality and social mobility. What is wrong with that you might say? The rich know what they are doing, according to Boris Johnson, likely the next English Prime Minister, as they are born with a a genetic advantage.
Unfortunately the record is that the opposite is true, and the rich are not only complacent and devolved from reality, they are also famously incompetent. History, British history especially, is so full of examples rich toff bumbling idiots I'm not even going to being to list them, but this latest Scottish independence vote is a wonderful current example of the blind, clumsy rule of the privileged few.
Westminster's current Etonian clique, in a feat of astonishing stupidity that will amuse historians until for the rest of time, has engineered a situation where the votes of 2 million - from a population of 60 million - could break up arguably the most successful nation state in human history.
Perhaps the British media should have been warning us of this?
Unfortunately "54% of the top 100 newspaper editors, columnists, broadcasters and executives were educated privately, despite fee-paying schools catering for 7% of the school population."
This was highlighted in a report which also concluded "elitism so stark that it could be called social engineering".
What the British media was talking about leading up to Scottish vote :
A new London airport
A new London Garden Bridge
The Great British (!) Bake Off
little Toby and Cassandra don't like the queues at Heathrow
The vote was so off the radar the first live debate (actually won by the Unionists) wasn't even shown live in the UK. Interestingly the Scottish Internet feed of said debate was a fiasco, suggesting perhaps that there may be levels of privileged bungling up in Scotland every bit as damaging as those in England.
The saga over the Scottish Parliament building hardly suggests that some form of Scottish exceptional-ism exists on the privileged bungling, but up there it may be hidden beneath a new flag of national self delusion.
I posted earlier that somehow in the last 30 years the British Empire had become somehow the ENGLISH EMPIRE - perhaps via several Mel Gibson movies (and thank god we have Mel's fine sense of history and social cohesion to contribute to the debate). What we do know is that that the Scots have quietly crossed the line from being co-perpetrators to victims. The co-colonisers who gave Great Britain it's first monarch have re-invented themselves as victims fighting the cruel Imperial overlords from London.
This clever abandonment of responsibility seems to be a pattern, as the serious powers already given to the Scottish parliament have remained for the most part unused by the Scottish government. Even with considerable tax raising powers already handed over, it seems much easier not to use them and continue to point the finger south.
Alex Salmond is a brilliant politician and in any other era of British politics would be leading the Labour party right now. If the astonishing naivete and lack of engagement shown by Westminster is now mirrored in Scotland it is less with their domestic politics and far more with their future foreign policy, in particular relations with the newly broken nation to the south that they think will be providing them with financial and military security.
To the Scottish, the hybrid English/British (or whatever they thought themselves to be before now) have always seemed pragmatic and boring. We might soon see if that presumption was just a happy result of the Union along with the long dormancy of English identity.
I was broadly sympathetic of the cause of Scottish independence until the subject of future Royal Navy shipyard orders was mentioned. I mean - the Scots wouldn't still expect to get orders of ships from Westminster post independence, surely?
This has obviously concerned those on the Clyde. "Don't worry" say the Scottish nationalists, - "the English have no ship building capacity anymore - they will have to order ships from the Clyde".
I live near the remains of Devonport and have seen the sad state of Portsmouth. We all know down here that ship building capacity in England has been run down and transferred north to Scotland precisely to support Scottish jobs and loyalty within the Union (one of the few things that had been done).
There is ALREADY significant bitterness over this even within the UK as it is. I would expect serious, militant, fallout in England if another penny of UK defense money is spent north of the border post independence.
Those in Scotland hoping for an amicable divorce might ask how would it play in Edinburgh or Glasgow if the voters of Shetland and Orkney Islands voted them out of the EU.
There is the threat of UKIP voting the UK, including Scotland, out of the EU but Scottish independence would make an English exit from the EU a virtual certainty. Perhaps that is the intention of the Scots Nats, an isolated England losing euro trade to a resurgent Scotland. If so it is again astonishingly naive to think sliding a close neighbour from great power status into also-ran poverty will go well in the long term.
Another virtual certainty is that some years down the line any vote out of the EU will be blamed on this Scottish vote. This is real threat of nationalism - the "measels of the human race" according to Einstein. Now the SNP have opened this Pandora's box, the Elitism obvious to all throughout Britain will be forgotten, and every problem can now be conveniently blamed on those across the border.