I read an interesting op-ed from Ian Martin in The Guardian today. Martin makes a humorous but thought provoking argument in support of Scottish Independence. Arguing that the concept of modern England has taken on an identity synonymous with central London’s wealth, and that the notion of England has effectively abandoned the rest of the country, he attempts to discredit the ‘Dad-like’ argument to keep Scotland in the UK.
“I really want Scotland to go for it. Those of us who live in the north of England look south and see the same thing. An England effectively shrunk to the Greater London area. It exists within the invisible forcefield of the M25, and these days is a cruel and surreal place. Much of it is owned and managed remotely by billionaires on the other side of the planet. The greed of absentee landlords crushing the life out of it. Centrifugal “market forces” flinging the poor out. Meanwhile, capitalism’s own ruthless geology creates archipelagos of conspicuous wealth for the world’s idle rich.”
While I’m probably inclined to agree that London is, yes, a ridiculously expensive and often surreal place, I believe England, including its northern cities, has a strong, unanimous identity that can’t be divided by heading south.
As soon as I cross that Scottish border, however, I sense an entirely new cultural identity and pride. And believe me, I must have crossed it over 50 times by now…oh how I miss those many train journeys down to Kings Cross! After living in Scotland for four years, I’m of the firm belief that the UK is better and stronger with Scotland than without. But that’s a post for another time!