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It’s been reported today that the ‘Yes’ campaign has taken the lead in the referendum on Scottish independence, overturning a clear advantage for Better Together that has persisted for over three months.

Reactions to this poll on newspaper forums has been predictably (if lamentably) sectarian.

“Kick out Scots from the British military!” read one.

“Deploy the army on the border. No refugees!.” read another.

One particularly unbalanced observer went so far as to suggest the expulsion of ethnic Scots from the English north.

This is quite unnecessary. Though it would undoubtedly be a great shame to decapitate the UK after so much shared history (including two World Wars), we must realise that Scotland is a very proud country with an independent spirit that cannot be long suppressed. If the No campaign wins on September the 18th, it won’t be long before the calls go up for a rerun.

And I hope, if Scotland does choose separation, that we can co-exist in a spirit of friendship and mutual respect. Chauvinism demeans us all and Scotland is a magnificent country, with just as much to be said for it as England.

The greatest British prose writer of the last 500 years, Thomas Carlyle, was a son of the North. Another Scot, Adam Smith laid the groundwork for the age of capitalism. Scottish inventors gave the world steam engines, televisions, telephones, penicillin, tarmac and general anaesthetic.

As Winston Churchill famously put it – “Of all the small nations of this earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind.”

Whatever happens, I hope the Scots continue to enlighten the world with their genius and industry.

D, LDN.

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