Grant does not assert that all Scots hate the English. She maintains that "much of the desire for self-government derives from deep-seated antipathy to the English". Would Ascherson deny that there is a strong element of "Braveheartism" in Scotland, often played on by the Scottish National Party which commands around a quarter of the vote? As worrying, the manifesto of the Scottish Constitutional Convention, the driving force behind demands for a parliament, claims "as of right" that Scots should determine their own form of government. This is the language not of a "multi-ethnic kingdom" nor pragmatic decentralisation, but of late-19th century nationalism which has led to such disastrous results in former Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland and elsewhere.
Grant makes another sensible point. Labour's plan for a London-wide authority, recognising a sense of identity based on common needs, is another method of decentralisation. A Britain of cities and their regions could make an awful lot of sense for the cross-migration we inherit - 5 per cent of Ireland's population lives in London - and would fit us well for a future decentralised "city region" Europe.
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