I’ve just received a thoughtful and thought-provoking e-mail from a lady taking issue with my recent article in which I predicted that the success of the Scottish National Party in the British General Election could lead to the dissolution of the United Kingdom, which I implied would not be a bad thing.
I’m publishing the pertinent part of the lady’s e-mail here. My response follows.
I recently read through your article on the recent British election results, and I wanted to make a comment, if I may. As one who has been actively involved with British people on both sides of the Tweed, before, during, and after the Scottish Independence Referendum, I have gotten to know quite a lot of Scots. Many of them are ordinary people, not political junkies, but they still cared deeply enough about the idea of Britain and what she stood for as a united entity to put blood, sweat, and tears into winning the referendum for her. Even with these recent SNP achievements in the parliament, the situation cannot be summed up as “the Scots obviously want independence”. It is so much more complicated than that, and many of my friends are struggling to cope in a deeply divided society. They need support to keep going, especially from their fellow Brits, not to be viewed as nuisances always causing trouble, but as beloved countrymen.
Here’s my response:
This is indeed a complicated issue. As a former British Nationalist (see my book Race with the Devil), I am well-versed in the whole concept of Unionism and was an ardent Unionist for years. Indeed I could be said to have imbibed it with my mother’s milk or, at any rate, to have learned it at my father’s knee. I now understand things more fully and more deeply and can distinguish between the England of the Faith and the British Empire, which are emphatically not synonymous but at enmity with each other. As for Scotland, the only true thing for a Scot to be is a Jacobite, awaiting the return of the king who was forced into exile by the anti-Catholic British Ascendency. I am an English Jacobite and this is what unites me to my brothers north of the border.