A bruising performance last night from His Majesty Queen Alec Salmond, which is causing the chattering pundits to predict a YES vote in the Scottish Independence referendum next month.
There are always two equal and opposite forces at work in geopolitics. On the one hand, the centripetal force towards greater integration of elements: the USSR, the USA, the European Union, for example. And on the other the centrifugal force towards greater fragmentation of elements:
the balkanisation of the former Yugoslavia, Catalan, Galician and Basque separatism, a Kurdish state, for example. And, of course, an independent Scotland.
It is tempting to indulge in a reductio ad absurdum argument here. If Scotland becomes independent, then so should Wales. Then England will be an independent country too. But wait. Yorkshire folk have always seen themselves as different, separate. So why not an independent Yorkshire? But wait. In that case, why not an independent Cornwall, historically part of the Celtic fringe?
We are going Appalachian here. Queen Alec's wish to be independent is partly because he loves Scotland, but it's partly because he dislikes England. Only a matter of time before the Highlands demand to be separated from the Lowlands, which really do feel like two different countries. Soon, every valley will have its clan that wishes to be independent from all the other valley clans, and if there's any argument, they will fight to defend their freedom. Clan feuds r Us.
In fact, if the village of Haddenham where I live makes a UDI, I personally will ask for my particular road to become independent of the rest of the village, because some very weird folk live up there.