A Brief Argument for English Independence

A Brief Argument for English Independence
by Sean Gabb

The normal English response to Scottish nationalism is to ignore it, or to see it as an irritation, or to try shouting it down with reminders of all that shared history, or to point out the value of English subsidies and to wait for common sense to win the argument. None of these, I suggest, is an appropriate response. None takes into account that England and Scotland are different nations, and that the loudest and most energetic part of the Scottish nation has decided that the current union of the nations is not in Scottish interests. This does not make it inevitable that the union will be dissolved. It does, however, make this desirable. Scotland may or may not have suffered from the union. But the union has done much to bring England to the point of collapse, and it strikes me as reasonable to say that England can never be safe while there are Scottish members in the Westminster Parliament.

Let us take the New Labour revolution as evidence for this. Since 1997, England has been largely remodelled. There are few institutions, or administrative and legal forms, or even assumptions, from before 1997 that now make sense to anyone who has grown up since then. The gutting of the House of Lords, the altered functions of the judges, the laws to regulate political parties, and that allow unelected officials to supervise and even unseat elected representatives, the new criminal laws and new modes of criminal and civil procedure, the appointment of commissar units in every government agencies and most private corporations to impose the totalitarian ideologies of political correctness – these and many others combine to make present life in England very different from anything known before. There is also our continued and even accelerated integration into the European Union. And there has been the state-sponsored settlement of England by millions who are alien in their appearance and their ways. Every thread of continuity between the English present and past that could easily be snapped has been snapped.

Of course, this creeping revolution did not begin in 1997 – it became undeniably evident when Margaret Thatcher was in office. Nor has it been confined to England – every other civilised country has fallen into the hands of a totalitarian elite. There is an attack on bourgeois civilisation in every place where it exists, and the attack is led by those who were young in the 1970s, and has the support of a mass of economic and other interest groups. But, this being said, just think how many of the Labour ministers were Scottish. There was Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, Robin Cook, John Reid, George Robertson, Wendy Alexander, Yvette Cooper, Doug Henderson, and so on and so forth. Below the leadership, an astonishing number of Labour members of parliament or Labour Party officials had Scottish accents. The Labour Party that emerged from its troubles of the 1980s was disproportionately Scottish – and assertively Scottish. Their political ambitions lay in the Labour Party, and not in the Scottish National Party. This did not give them other than a very weak sense of British identity, and gave them no observable understanding of or liking for the English.

Now, the central fact of Scottish history has been English domination. Since the eleventh century, England has been a rich and powerful and unified nation, loyal to a government that, broadly speaking, has been accountable to it. For most of the past thousand years, Scotland has been sparsely populated and without trade. Its people have been divided by language and culture, and by political allegiance, and sometimes by religion. It would be a miracle had Scotland ever managed real independence in these circumstances. It almost never has. The 1707 political union put Scotland under an almost purely English Parliament. The 1603 union of the crowns gave Scotland, after one reign, an English King. Even before then, the most important commoner in Edinburgh had almost always been the English ambassador. Even when there was no English army stationed there, Scotland was subject to varying degrees of rule from London.

In no meaningful sense, therefore, can Scotland be independent so long as it has England as its neighbour. And this is the main significance of the New Labour Revolution, and of the disproportionate Scottish contribution to New Labour. Undeniably, this was part of an overall project to destroy bourgeois civilisation, and understanding it requires a reading of Karl Marx and Antonio Gramsci and Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault, and all the others. At the same time, it was an attempt to make Scottish independence possible by destroying England. Divide England into half a dozen Euro-regions; set these in competition with each other for money and privilege from Brussels; fill the country with ten or twenty million aliens; make it illegal, or at least in poor taste, to refer to an English identity – and the way is cleared for Scotland to be as independent as any other small nation can be.

This would explain the rising levels of Scottish hatred seen by many English visitors. When I visited Glasgow in 1994, there was much good-natured mockery of the English. When I was there again in 1997, I was driven from a coffee bar by the hostility even of the staff. In 2000, a taxi driver had the nerve to claim he was unable to understand my accent. In 2002, when I replied to hatred with hatred, another taxi driver tried to get me arrested for unspecified drug offences. Scottish politicians and administrators cooperate in discriminating against the English. The Scottish lower classes are best avoided.

The reason is simple. If you hate someone, you may want to destroy him. But, if you want to destroy someone, it is nearly always necessary to hate him. The Scottish claim to hate us for what we have done to them. In truth, they hate us for what they want to do to us. Bearing in mind that the Labour Party remains a Scottish front, and that the Conservatives might lose the next election, the 1707 union is actually more dangerous for England than membership of the European Union.

I will ask in passing why so many English Conservatives disagree with this analysis. One reason is a sentimental attachment to facts that have ceased to exist. This leads to what I find the most bizarre claims from Conservative supporters– for example, that the European Union wants to dissolve the United Kingdom in order to absorb England, whereas the European Union is simply part of the Scottish attack on England. A less creditable motive is that many of the Conservative leaders are themselves Scottish, and an ending of the union would reveal them as foreigners in England, and confirm them as unelectable in Scotland.

Most importantly, there are the electoral considerations. In the short term, removal of the Scottish members would bring about a Conservative domination of Parliament. In the longer term, however, removal of the Labour threat would mean that English conservatives were no longer locked into voting Conservative. I do not believe that many of those who voted Conservative in 2010 felt the slightest enthusiasm for David Cameron and William Hague and George Osborne. These got into office only because a majority of the English people feared and hated the Labour Party. Take away the Labour threat, and there would be the freedom to vote other than Conservative in general as well as in European election. Obviously, union with Scotland benefits the Labour Party. But it also benefits the Conservatives by keeping alive the Labour bogeyman.

I say, then, that the union between England and Scotland should be wholly severed. I say that there should be no customs union or common currency, no rights of movement or of settlement, no shared head of state, no coordination of foreign policy or defence. Scotland and its citizens should become as alien, under English law, as Uruguay now is. This might not suit the interests of the Scottish people, as reasonably considered. But that is not my concern. It should certainly be English policy to prevent the sort of instability north of the border that might encourage foreign – and therefore hostile – intervention, or that might cause mobs of starving refugees to electrocute themselves on the border fences. But, once the union has been severed, I shall be inflexibly opposed to any structure of shared institutions between England and Scotland.

England requires no less. Perhaps, all things considered, Scotland deserves no less.

27 responses to “A Brief Argument for English Independence

  1. Good post, which I thoroughly agree with. The great mystery to me is why so many people in England still want to cling to this millstone as it drags them down.

    The only thing I would say is could someone please remove the duplication in this post, which seems to have almost doubled itself up.

  2. An important question is public debt. We don’t have to be mean to an independent Scotland – they can take their proportion of the national debt equivalent to their % of the economy, rather than their % of the population. And of course all oil in Scottish waters will be theirs.

    But: the UK’s financial interventions in RBS and the Bank of Scotland – these are headquartered in Scotland and they would have had to be bailed out by Scotland, or let sink, in 2008/09, if Scotland had been independent then. The situation is the same as Iceland, whose banking institutions largely did business outside Iceland. An independent Scotland must take on 100% of the liabilities that relate to RBS and the Bank of Scotland.

    All military equipment must be brought south of the border, as England paid for it, given Scotland’s status as a subsidised satrapy.

  3. Some of us recall the Scottish Enlightenment…


  4. Er, I think the Scottish Enlightenment happened after the Union of Crowns. But of course, as we all know, correlation does not mean causation. People like Adam Smith might have arisen and written what they did whether Scotland was independent of England or not. But we can’t really know, now.

  5. David Davis – history is against the idea of the likes of Hume and Smith flourishing without Scotland being united with England. Sit down and list all the famous Scotchmen you who made a name outside of Scotland before 1707. Precious few. Knox er…er… is about it.

    Being linked to England gave the Scotch entry to the wider world. Even since 1707 very few Scotchmen have made a name for themselves for what they did in Scotland.

  6. Sean Gabb – I agree. If the break is made it has to be complete, not least because if the Scotch are allowed to use the Pound the BoE (the English taxpayer in effect) will be the lender of the last resort for Scotland, something which is very probable (think the Darien fiasco and John Law).

    But there are many other vital issues which arise such as border controls between Scotland and England and the ability of the Scotch to service their proportionate share of all financial obligations taken on by the UK at the point of independence . Anyone who wishes to go into the matter in detail will find a comprehensive series of articles I have written at this url:


  7. The questions I am left pondering are; if Politically Correct ideologies and progressivist political structures are a Scotch Plot to destroy England

    a) Why are they enthusiastically inflicting them on themselves?

    b) Why are they being infilcted across the Western World, and the world in general. How does the imposition of Green Sustainability policies on Africa assist Scottish hegemony over England?

    c) Why are these ideologies and forms an overwhelmingly American construction? Are they being controlled by the Scots too?

  8. Ian B – I will reply to your questions in due course. For the moment, however, I don’t choose to let a few stray facts get in the way what I think is a most compelling theory

  9. Ian, the Scotch People are being led, hysterically and orgasmically, to disaster, by a GreeNazi-Hitlerite figure who understands (like the real one in 1919-1933) by looking at an audience, exactly what it wants to be told at that minute, and thus simply tells it to them. Well, that’s my half-pennyworth anyway.

  10. And the final answer, frankly, is the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress. It may be my Presbyterian background, but I firmly believe that repression can be a great, civilising instrument for good.

    –Andrew Marr, Scotsman in The Grauniad, 1999

  11. Ian B – I foudn that quote last years, and must have used it a dozen times since. Can’t you take it as at least a provisional argument for getting these people off our backs?

  12. Yes, but your emphasis, (rightly, as a libertarian) was on the “coerce and repress” part, whereas my emphasis, as an outsider crank historian of Christendom, is on the “presbyterian” part :)

  13. There’s a strong suspicion Salmond’s emphasis on the the “green power” is largely a method of looting money from the English taxpayer: under EU/UN rules, England will have to show it is using a certain proportion of “green power” which Scotland will sell them it at suitably inflated prices. English Tory MPs are attempting to help him out by stopping wind farms in Englandshire. The easy answer to this is, of course, to resile from all the nonsense treaties being used to loot money from consumers.

  14. This is one of the best arguments for English independence I have ever come across. The sooner it happens, the better. I no longer want an English Parliament inside the UK, I would rather England gets independence first within Europe and then independence from Europe later.

  15. Pingback: A Brief Argument for English Independence (You are welcome to Scotland – Now Piss Off !) « www.EnglishPassport.org

  16. I think the nationalists are right to see the market as indifferent to the nation. I think the conservatives like Roger Scruton or Peter Hitchens are right to see pristine liberalism as non-conservative; though if they would only record their talks and play them back then they might realise that modern liberalism from about 1886 is basically Tory or court party: collectivist. Since 1931, if not quite before, the Labour party has been a one nation Tory party. The welfare state is completely Tory. Many men who see themselves as pristine conservatives, like Peter Hitchens, are largely also Politically Correct [PC].

    Now, is Sean a liberal or a Tory? He might be a Tory-Whig or a libertorian, as Jan Lester calls them. The liberal ideology has hit the Tory Party hard on two occasions but never quite converted it, as the Tory ideology converted the younger members of the Liberal Party in the 1880s.

    John Bright thought that an independent Scotland might soon find its feet in a liberal way but he left the Liberal Party in 1886 over Ireland breaking away from the union with Joseph Chamberlain, the pristine Tory who by then had changed the Liberal Party to collectivism and management that it soon became dominantly so as the older generation died off.

    Is the nation-state a pleonasm or can the nation just be the common people whilst the state is over and above the people? It never was the case that the state was ever very popular as statists and even many LAers think but nationalism has often been popular, especially in time of war.

    However, most people are usually apathetic about both, as they usually are about religion too. The keen enthusiasts for all three are a small minority such that most are only nominally English or nominally in some religion. Only a few normally passionately love their country, though war might soon foster an infatuation with it. .

    With the coming of many immigrants that have a distinct phenotype to the traditionally British, many of the core enthusiasts have become alienated and this has made the welfare state less popular with all in Britain, as they do not feel at one with the immigrants, but the welfare state never was as popular as many in the mass media think.

    Sean is right that many in England just ignore Scotch nationalism. I don’t see any of the other responses that Sean mentions in relation to it amongst the common people. I have heard a few say they will do better, as John Bright thought.

    The loss of subsidies may well be a long run boon for the Scotch, though the leader of the SNP seems to expect a traditional [i.e. since 1945: this is the real new Labour just as the Liberal Party from the 1880s is the real neo-liberals] government. Most of the moaning reported from the nationalists there was that they had to put up with the Tories under Mrs T, as it was just not one nation Tory enough. They like the BBC, the NHS, state education and the welfare state in general. But when they face a higher bill for all that they might not like it all so very much.

    Sean is not clear on what the dangers to England are from the union. From the EU superstate the danger is that England dies as a nation to become part of the Fourth Reich. Where is the greater danger to the nation from the union with Scotland? Odd how people like daft Heseltine hold that the EU can be for the good of England when it clearly means euthanasia for it. Maybe such people mean it might be better for the common people to be part of a superstate. . But they seem to report that in terms of EU protectionist threats to the UK if ever it was outside the superstate

    Sean says that the Scotch in New Labour threaten England. But there are many not Scotch that have the same ideas. Quite a few of them have been in the Conservative Party and they were so in the 1950s, if not the ‘40s and ‘30s. In what way is Rab Butler not one of them?

    Is mass immigration the fault of the Scotch? It might be easier to blame on the legacy of the liberal ideas of free trade.

    Mrs T did unwittingly hit the Tory party. She did so by introducing liberal ideology into a Party that saw itself as a non-ideological social club. This lead to the truly anti-ideological members ceasing to be members for that sort of thing was a bit too serious for them.

    Like Robert Peel in the 1840s, Mrs T adopted some liberal ideas if never quite becoming a liberal herself but remaining a Tory. Keith Joseph erred utterly when he said that he was not really a Conservative before he discovered the writings of the IEA. What he there discovered there were liberal writings. He was the candidate for completing with Heep for the Conservative leadership [no, it was Heath; I have been reading too much Dickens] when he gave a speech on eugenics in Birmingham. The press thought it Politically Incorrect and Joseph felt the heat in the kitchen was way too hot for him so he told Mrs T to replace him, and she did as she was told. She also adopted those “true Conservative ideas” from the IEA. She beat Heath whom had lost three elections to the Labourites with one surprise equalising goal to level the game with Wilson in 1970 before finally losing 3-1 by 1974, the year Keith Joseph found what h mistook for true Conservatism at the IEA.

    The earlier impact of liberal ideas on the Conservative Party was when Cobden and Bright converted Robert Peel in the 1840s, that soon led to a split in that party, with the Peelites leaving to join the Whigs that later called themselves the Liberal Party. This new Party went Tory in the 1880s, as did the Labour Party in the 1930s.

    Any nation can go independent. No miracle is needed. Indeed, most individuals could. So Scotland has always had this option. Oil was never needed and the English National Party [the beefeater wearing organisation that John Stonehouse joined on being thrown out of the Labour Party {or did he just leave?} when he returned from Australia] held that the oil happened to fall into English waters anyway. To be in the EU is not to be independent, of course.

    Why Sean thinks that Scotland cannot be independent is far from clear. Even the Isle of Man or the Isle of Wight could be independent and if Scotland does go independent within the EU [what a lame aim] then the Shetlands will most likely go free of Scotland soon afterwards. Small nations can be completely independent, just as dwarf adults can. Size does not matter.

    Karl Marx knew next to nothing of nationalism and most Marxists are puzzled by it. But then the “Marxists” Sean cites as Marx’s epigones were puzzled by Marx.

    Scotland can only be free if England is first destroyed is Sean’s thesis. And he thinks that New Labour largely shared it. But it looks like the ones he cites all favour the union. So the thesis seems to be false.

    Mass immigration of alien phenotypes is killing off English nationalism and England as a nation but it will do the same to Scotland too. The EU will do the same to both but the confused Scottish Nationalists welcome that.

    Sean seems to like Scotland, as he visits it so often. The hostility he found might be not just based on his accent but on the way the people he met might have treated him even if he was Scotch. “Pal” in Scotland seems to be the opposite of what it means in England. Or is it that they truly think that aggression that so often follows their use of the word “pal” is, in some way, friendly? Sean says the lower classes of the Scotch are best avoided but it looks as if he has failed to dodge them.

    We do not seriously want to destroy those we hate as a norm. The Labour Party does not look like a “Scottish front”. The attack on England is not from the Scotch so much as from Political Correctness [PC], which is hostile to all nationalism. PC has aided the EU in being anti-nationalist, despite the clear fact that the EU has all the faults that nationalism ever had. PC has had the success it has had as it seems like radical thinking to the thoughtless. Many have said that religion is philosophy without thought and similarly PC is criticism of society without thought. It is radicalism on the cheap for the PC propagandist but utterly destructive for society.

    Facts never cease to exist. The world changes but no fact ever does. All facts are eternal. But no access to the facts ever can be,

    It never was a fact that the EU was mainly from the Scotch. Was Heath Scotch?

    The Labour Party would do what was needed to win in England if Scotland went independent and New Labour shows how far they went in the recent past. It would not be the end for Labour. But it would be an immediate boon for the Conservatives.

    It is largely indifferent to the cause of classical liberalism or anarcho-liberalism whether Scotland goes nationalist, even though it might thereby go foolishly protectionist in the short run. .

  17. On the comments above my own:

    David Davis saying that Adam Smith might not have written as he did if it was not for the union; or at least we do not know if he could have, reminds me of the old joke that when they re-drew the borderline between Russia and Poland they found that one house was in the middle of their line so they offered the owners the choice of which side they wanted to be. They preferred Poland. So they put the house inside Poland.

    A little later one man on the team wondered why and he went back to ask them. “We do not want to face another of those Russian winters,” they told him.

    Ian B seems to ask the right questions. It seems clear that Sean will not be able to muster up an adequate reply.

  18. And Cornwall? We too want greater self-determination. Another parliament in London (or elsewhere) would do nothing for Cornwall, its identity or economy: http://mebyonkernow.blogspot.com/2012/02/peter-hain-and-labour-ten-years-late.html

  19. I haven’t said a word about self-determination as a universal principle. All I say is that England needs to cast Scotland into the void.

  20. Pingback: Eye on Britain (2)

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  22. We are all fated to live on the same island, and so there is no “casting” of anyone “into the void”. The fact that Gabb had a nasty run in with a Glasgow taxi driver makes him equivalent to about everyone (Scottish) I know who uses Glasgow taxis on a regular basis. It tells you no more than that some Glasgow taxis drivers can be a rum bunch (and that’s the Hackney drivers). I have a friend (Scottish) who ended up in a punch-fight with a Hackney driver, and another (also Scottish) who got locked in the (Hackney) cab and basically abducted until he coughed up another £30. I saw a Hackney driver threaten a customer with a tire iron in the street, one evening, out my window here in the centre of Glasgow! Judging Scots by the attitudes of Glasgow taxis drivers is unrepresentative, it must be said.

  23. shaunthebrummie

    its obvious….we drive those of scottish extraction out of england.repeal all anti english laws brought in by the scots led labour party…and then continue the deceltification process…bye bye wales…happy birthday eire..n.ireland is yours…..

  24. George English

    Yes, that’s it, get rid of them, raise the english flag again, reclaim by birth
    right that which is ours, yes, bye, bye, wales bye, bye, haggis. Indeed they hate the true blooded english
    anyway, espeically those bastards at the DVLA, and then the other lot. It
    will be just like old times again, Remember Longshanks.

  25. George English

    Bye the way, he sorted wales out, yes he indeed did, they have got to big for
    their boots again, to this there can be no argument.

  26. George English

    Anyway, the conservatives are already getting rid of N.I. they removed all
    the UU joint C club signs from their venues some time ago, it’s no longer the C & UU signs on the wall,
    they took them all down and made it just the C Club in E of E.

  27. George English

    The english have got to stick together now we have to many enimies, including the state as well, these state spies and grasses are not doing us
    any favours either, be on your guard against them, they are everywhere
    now. They want to destroy all remians of england this is true.