Douglas Murray Douglas Murray

Vote for Britain to be a force for good in the world. Vote to keep the Union

I have been almost silent about the Scottish independence campaign. Not just because, like a lot of British people, I had assumed that this terrible matter would never have been opened unless people who know more than me were certain that the union would continue. But also because there has been a stifling of debate which has even carried me along.

Since the start of this campaign there has been a whittling down of who is and who is not a suitable person to speak about it. Anybody who doesn’t live in Scotland at the moment – even if we have in the past, or were born and brought up there – has been encouraged not to take part in the debate. ‘Who are you?’ the Nats say with that familiar mixture of contempt, chip and menace. ‘This is only a matter for Scots currently living in Scotland.’ That’s rubbish, of course. A vote for independence for Scotland will not only affect people living in Scotland. It will affect all of us – and make some of us foreigners in our own country.

Likewise it seems to have been decided that you can’t really contribute to the debate unless you have a Scottish accent. Anybody who was in any way identifiably a ‘conservative’ was also encouraged to see that they would do more harm than good. Some months ago Theresa May said something about Scottish independence and the furious nationalist response was heard again: ‘Who is Theresa May to think she can…?’. The only real answer was, ‘She’s the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom, you ****.’ But non-Nats are too polite to play the Nats on their own terms. At any rate, at some point it was concluded that your presence would not be helpful in this debate unless you were a pure-blooded ethnic Scot, with a Scottish accent, currently living in Scotland, of the political left and preferably a Scottish National Party supporter.

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