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England seems to be holding onto Scotland only because it is the nearest thing we have to an empire. We have lost the colonies and, in the process, our own English identity. Scotland seems desperate to regain their independence so what is stopping us granting it? If this was a dispute between two people rather than two nations it would take the form of an acrimonious and bitter break up between two people who have long since stopped caring about one another but one of frightened of change.
As English people, and I do mean English rather than British, we hold on to a few imperial ideals that are long since extinct. We believe that we are sophisticated and beacons of civilisation for the rest of the planet, when in reality we are thought of as uncouth and yobbish. We believe that we are still in control of most of the world when nothing could be further from the truth. The British Empire has waned to the extent that we can no longer go by the painfully outdated moniker Great Britain, but we are the United Kingdom; a title that also seems useless when we are no longer effectively governed by a monarch. We are holding on to the past more tightly than an infant clings to its mothers leg when it is shy to face the world. This is seen most clearly in our refusal to give independence to Scotland. We believe that if we grant them independence we will finally have to admit that England is not the centre of the world anymore, we do not have an empire, we are merely one the pieces on the chess board.
We are keeping Scotland under our control simply because it is the closest in proximity to us and it was the earliest of English conquests. Just because we conquered the Scots centuries ago does not mean they are now by rights people of our territory, nor does it mean that Scottish land has become is some way Anglified. The fact is that they have their own name, national identity and sports teams, currency and parliament and this is enough for me to recognise them as separate from England. The United Kingdom is little more than an outdated gimmick and doesn’t reflect the national identities of any of its citizens. The only time I would say I’m from the United Kingdom is on forms where I am given no choice. We both need to split off from each other as the relationship has become one where we are only together for the money, and that is never healthy. We can still share trade as separate entities, why not recognise that Scotland is its own country.
The sooner we come to this realisation the better, for me, since we lose a certain identity under the United Kingdom. I say grant independence to our former colonies and concentrate on our own, not inconsiderable, problems closer to home. Create some pride again in being English, sort out the infrastructure and look to the future. Like any relationship that’s coming to its end we should split now to save years of torment and boredom. Concentrate on ourselves for a while. Pick up a hobby, become good at it (perhaps something in manufacturing or any sport, I’m not picky). Get a new outlook on life, enjoy the single life. Get a new modern wardrobe and reinvent ourselves as modern and attractive. And finally replace the national anthem with Land of Hope and Glory, it’s just better.