I have argued the Scottish corner of the Union debate in a Pro-British fashion for years and now I have given up.
I have come to the conclusion that even if 5 million people in England (about 8% of the UK Population) were to completely understand Scotland's vital role in the UK, that would still leave about 45 Million English people who simply could not care less. Some are anti Scottish, most are probably indifferent.
I live in New Zealand, I moved here in 2003 and as an Expat Scot on the outside looking in, I'd like to think I have a unique perspective on this issue.
All nations seek positive recognition. New Zealand certainly does, and I can assure you that after being out of Scotland for 8 years, I now understand that Scotland is not seen as a significant nation in the world. Many people in New Zealand and Australia genuinely seem to think that Scotland has no real importance, via the UK union or otherwise.
Scotland is seen as a cute 'cultural attachment' to the UK or 'England' and despite hundreds of years of Scottish participation with England/Wales in Empire and Union, this view does not seem likely to change.
I always fight for Scotland's corner in the UK and the world. I tell people that Scotland is a rich, modern wealthy nation. Rich in education, skills, natural resources, all of which have been given to the UK and Empire.
I tell anyone willing to listen that my home country of Scotland has always more than pulled her weight in the UK and for a population of only around 8.6% of the UK with 30% of the UK landmass and Europe's largest EEZ, Scotland contributes more than her fair share of taxes, resources, skills, technology and much more. This can be seen at all levels of British society and British history.
But no-one cares, especially the vast majority of the 50 million people in England.
I have gone round after round, argument after argument with Kiwis, Aussies, Scots, Germans, Italians, Spaniards, Danish, English. You name it. One inescapable conclusion has found me. Scotland is a non country. A cultural anomaly in the 'English' dominated part of the North Atlantic.
When those bombers crashed their vehicle into Glasgow airport a few years ago, some of my Kiwi friends were shocked. I said 'Well, it was only a matter of time'. Because after all, Scotland does participate in the UK and the UK is at war in Iraq. Yet, nobody understood this. 'Poor Scotland' they said, 'it's a lovely little country' they said, 'why would anyone do that to Scotland?'....
Not that I want Scotland to be a terrorist target, but talk like this embarrasses me. The patronising pat on the back makes me cringe.
Scotland is NOT seen as an integral part of the UK or a valuable member. My personal revelation is that I now realise it never has been. As a staunch Unionist I always knew Scotland was and is, a vital contributor to the UK in every way and that despite the disparity and some odd constitutional problems, the UK union was overall, a great thing.
But like I said, I have simply given up.
For many people in the UK, Scotland is seen a as a sponger, a subsidy junkie of England, a mere department of the London Government and the UK media seem quite happy to propagate this myth.
This recent recession has brought this whole topic into the spotlight for me. Cuts are being made all across the board and I understand this. The problem is, Scotland is receiving a disproportional level of cuts being made at the London level, by a government that very few people in Scotland voted for.
One thing that has absolutely infuriated me, is all this nonsense surrounding the so called bail out of the 'Scottish' banks.
I would also like to note, I like all the other UK countries. I also really like England. Many of my friends live there and some of my family moved there too. I think England should also prosper as a free and independent nation, free of Scotland and free of whatever burden many English people seem to have with the nation and the people of Scotland.
My fight for Scottish recognition, unity and respect within the UK is over.
My fight to advance the cause of Independence and to end Scotland's isolation within the UK begins.
Scottish Independence Convention
Scottish National Party