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10 february 2014, less than chinese pandas

Monday, February 10th, 2014

At last, a decent article about the scottish independence referendum coming up later this year (15 dec 2012, scotland the knave; 8 may 2011, scotland the brave), from andrew rawnsley. He makes the point that the real risk of the result is less that it is a yes, which is highly unlikely, but rather that it is close, opening the way to holding another one in some years time, the "neverendum" situation that canada found itself in for decades as quebec tried to leave, though never did. The nationalists only need to win one. What finally did for the quebecois, he says, was lovebombing by the rest of canada, so david cameron, rather mocked for asking the english and welsh to phone a friend north of the border, may be on to something; as he may by wading in to set sights not just on a no but on a clear no. Whether a conservative (one mp in scotland, less than its panda population) and old etonian to boot shouting up from london (indeed from a monument of taxpayer money spent in the capital) will help the cause is a moot point. Like most brits and indeed, the polls suggest, most scots, I would rather the scots didn't go independent and don't think they will. I fear more a referendum legacy of more rights, devolution, freedoms and flexibilities for scotland's 4 million voters from an exceptionally centralised state, while the 3 million people of manchester, like the rest of england's great cities, find themselves at a further disadvantage, impotent between london's fierce economic dynamism and scotland's ever greater ability to box clever.