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Thursday, April 24, 2014

No good expecting us English to beg the Scots to stay - let's make them a mixtape

I don't want Scotland to leave the union but I can see it happening. If it does you'll be able to blame England's twin traditions of superiority and reticence. Taken together these two qualities makes us incapable of pleading with anyone to stay, in any situation, ever. I'm profoundly English. This manifests itself in the fact that I would never want anyone to spend time in my company who didn't want to. I'd hate anyone to come to one of my parties (if I had parties) out of a sense of obligation. The thought of it makes my English soul shrivel. The expression "if that's the way you feel" comes to my lips all too readily. The accompanying shrug comes just as naturally to my shoulders.

There appear to be initiatives to encourage Englishers to band together to persuade the Scots not to do it. I can't see any of them getting much in the way of a following. The English are not going to campaign to persuade somebody else to do something. They're not going to make passionate declarations of their belief in the Union or their respect for the Scots. The English don't go in for big, public gestures. Instead I propose that we choose a Scottish friend who is thinking of voting "yes" and do what the English always do when called upon to express something too deep for words. Make them a mixtape.