THE BLOG

Scottish Referendum - A Very British Revolution

17/09/2014 11:13 BST | Updated 16/11/2014 10:59 GMT

On Friday morning, no matter how Scotland votes, the United Kingdom will never be the same again. Not because we might find ourselves at the beginning of a messy and painful divorce bearing in mind the chippiness of the SNP (Scottish National Party) and its leader, Alex Salmond. Not because a more devolved Scotland within the UK, should it decide to stay, would be an insufferable prospect for those of us living in England. Under the second scenario we'll be subjected to a never-ending barrage of accusations of stunting Scotland's development and preventing it from being wealthy and successful for years to come.

On Friday, the UK will never be the same again because what 's happening in Scotland is a class revolution.

I've got to give it to the Scots - they've managed to use the democratic means of the ballot box to shake up the status quo in a way that only revolutions can.

The SNP and its leader, a former Marxist, have led a successful political rebellion, which culminates with the vote this Thursday. The residents of Scotland will not be voting for national identity. Nor will they be voting for Tartan and bagpipes, Irn-Bru and fried Mars bars, not even for a spurious Mel Gibson vision of Scottish greatness. The vote is all about one in the eye for the political status quo in the UK.

And there's plenty to be dissatisfied with in politics.

Since the Thatcher revolution in the 1980s, which galvanised Britain but also divided it, a lacklustre Conservative party has failed to live up to the idea of 'one nation Tory'. It's seen not only north of the border but also in parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland as arrogant, entitled to govern and run by toffs. It's seen as a party, which looks after big business and the City, and disregards the grievances of the less well off and the poor.

A Labour Party marred by accusations of economic incompetence, failed foreign adventure and oscillating between the free market and state controls has confused the left and robbed it of its identity. Many blame the Labour government for being asleep at the wheel, which led to the financial collapse of 2008. And the name of Tony Blair is enough to put off every well meaning left leaning person from voting Labour.

And of course, there's the Liberal Democrat Party, an entity of illustrious pedigree, which in its present incarnation has only had the sweet taste of power in the last four years. To coin a phrase, it is the Mr Bean of the political establishment. It confused it's own supporters with pantomime policies and reneging on its promises.

All three have offered trite explanations about why we should stay together. Predictably, all three have made a banal vow to protect Scotland's central funding and devolve even more powers to its parliament, including tax and welfare, if it doesn't leave the Union. In effect, in the last minute Scotland has been offered devo max (maximum devolution) before it even voted.

I am frustrated with politics, too. I understand Scotland's desire for change, for building a more equitable society.

What worries me, however, is that the battle for social justice in Scotland has been mixed with petty nationalism. The predominant Scottish grievance has been for a long time that they are getting Conservative governments when they never voted Tory. If only they could run their own affairs away from Westminster there would be roses and shine in the Garden of Eden north of the border. Does that remind you of something?

How about that: "If only Britain could throw off the shackles of the cumbersome rules from Brussels and was able to run its own affairs we would have a never-ending economic prosperity by trading with the rest of the world. We would protect our own borders and prevent uncontrolled immigration. Oh, and it's those European courts that prevent us from deporting undesirable characters. And European legislation places unfair burden on employers by protecting workers' rights."

There's uncanny similarity in the tone of the right-wing rhetoric of the 'little Englanders' of UKIP and the left-wing mantra of the SNP. They both seek to blame external forces for internal problems.

That's why I find the SNP nationalism so dangerous. Imagine a scenario where in an independent Scotland things don't go to plan. Prices rise, public spending is cut and people feel poorer, as some business leaders have dared to predict. Who will be to blame for that? The Westminster bogeyman won't be there to take the blame. Popular anger then could easily push politics into extreme directions. And the revolution will devour its own children.

Back to Friday morning, whether it will be full independence or devo max, the Scots have already got what they wanted through their referendum revolution. What about the rest of Britain?