If Scotland did leave, it would be a disaster for the rump UK that would be left behind, I argue in the magazine this week. We would go from Great Britain to little Britain. Every time the Prime Minister of the rUK raised his voice on the world stage, he would be met by a mocking chorus of ‘you couldn’t even keep your own country together’.
Beyond this, there are the slew of practical problems that Scottish independence would raise. Where would Trident be based? In the best case scenario you would end up with the submarines in Devon while the actual nuclear weapons were stored three hours’ drive away in Berskhire. In the worst case scenario, the successor state would either have to unilaterally disarm or ask the French to store the weapons for it.
The danger is that Britain is being lost in the same way as it gained the Empire: in a fit of absence of mind. If Scottish independence is defeated this September, then we are going to have to learn how to talk about Britishness again; how to foster a sense of national identity. If this isn’t done, then the Scottish referendum will be the start of the matter not the end of it.
The Union is the most successful marriage of nations in history. It is beyond time to start making the case for it and the benefits it brings to all its constituent parts.