I can understand why Englishmen might support Scottish independence, but not why a Scotsman would do so. Scotland has been a dead weight on the English economy, and increasingly on the English psyche. It has a population overwhelmingly dependent upon government employment, contracts, and hand-outs. It has had, and may corner, the diminishing revenue of North Sea oilfields, but unearned wealth is a destructive force. It has much deeper “attitude problems,” for as everywhere Left politics have triumphed (and Scottish politics have long been a contest between Left, and more-Left), public spirit chokes in the collectivist sludge. Scotland has become a cultural as well as economic basket case, in which subsidies have reduced the arts to the service of tedious agitprop campaigns. It is a spiritual desert, in which even the driest Presbyterian traditions have been desiccated. England, too, is a miserable country, but the loss of Scotland would make it a little lighter.

The independent and enterprising spirit once associated with Scotsmen had nothing to do with politics; unless it had something to do with freedom from politics in the Scottish national order, since decision-making migrated from Edinburgh to Westminster, more than three centuries ago. Scotsmen were left with better things to think about, than how to appropriate each other’s incomes. In general I would recommend government by foreigners, who will almost invariably interfere less in local affairs, customs and traditions. Foreigners, especially those with imperial experience, can provide a more chaste and disinterested approach to the problems of governance that are unavoidable; and will be less apt to champion the envies of one group or class against another. The ideal, to my mind, is an hereditary monarchy far, far away — as indifferent as possible to the fate of “the people,” and answerable only to God. But even government by a distant republic is preferable to the settled mendacities of home rule, and the nauseating poison of nationalism.

From a view to strict and immediate self-interest, the Scots should see where independence will take them. Note the flight of capital out of their country as the polls have shifted to “Yes.” The idea that continental European taxpayers will be eager to pick up the tab for another Greece, is not a sound one. A cannier Scottish electorate would be careful to leave the English on the hook. They would not dream of depriving the Scottish National Party of rivals. They would not play with the idea of outwardly defaulting on debts, when they live on the goodwill of creditors.

But therein lies, to my mind, the strength of the argument for independence. The smaller the country, and less it can rely on bail-outs, the better for the population at large. As with the Slovaks, upon their “velvet divorce” from Czechia, they are left with no choice, after generations of whining, but to get their act together. The prospect of starvation is a fine goad, and the ability to recall what is required to avoid it seems innate to the human condition. There is, as ever, a new generation arising, with the frustrated energy associated with youth, and every reason to find the habits and worldview of their parents contemptible. Even in Greece, I gather from reports, the young are researching topics such as how to grow food, start businesses, and so forth. Many have proved surprisingly amenable to the notion of working for a living.

The constitutional argument against Scottish independence — which must necessarily involve the breach of state tradition and continuity after so many centuries — has been shown by the politicians of “No” to be much weaker than they supposed. In Britain, as in Canada when the threat of Quebec secession has become palpable, they scurry to vandalize the same constitution, by way of buying the voters off. The truth, on that side of the sea, is that Scottish “devolution” in 1999 wrecked what remained of a national constitution which had already been toyed with from many other angles. “Hope and change” are the norm today of politics throughout the Western world, and even where the letter of a constitutional order is retained, the principles are systematically betrayed for short-term party purposes — in the name of “democracy,” “freedom,” “equality,” and other cant terms, designed to baffle the innocent. The Dictatorship of Relativism demands no less, than constant change and the vacation of substance. The very structure of our laws and social order has come to depend on the kind of “consumer confidence” that underpins our essentially worthless paper currencies. Sooner or later there is a crisis, and the confidence evaporates. Hyperinflation follows.

So that again, it makes sense to leave people to their own resources in the smallest practicable territorial units. For the larger the unit, the easier to mesmerize public observation of cause and effect; the easier to confuse the perception of local realities, and give the appearance of solving problems by transferring them to those not responsible for their creation.

Opponents of Scottish independence are naturally a closed camp among the functionaries at Westminster. The bureaucratic mind cannot bear to contemplate the possibility of bureaucratic contraction. It is like thinking of death, for the modern, fully secularized mind. There is no upside to it, until the pain becomes excruciating. If the entire political class are convinced that Scottish independence will be a disaster, then I think we can be reasonably certain it will prove a boon — for England now, in a small way, but for Scotland in a larger, over time.