The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain

If No triumphs it will be despite the mainstream parties rather than because of them

The strange death of Labour in Scotland is the principal reason why the country this weekend is looking down the barrel of a prolonged and anguished death. The polls still show a lead for the No camp but uncomfortably close. It’s not just the punter who wagered £800,000 on the preservation of the Union entering squeaky bum time.

David Cameron may lose his premiership over this and Ed Miliband, even if elected, could have office torn from him within 12 months. Nick Clegg never seemed more irrelevant. But the 300-year-old Britain will be the biggest loser of all.

These are three centuries in which, for good and ill, this small island punched way beyond its weight, shaping much of the modern world, through a booming slave trade – the biggest empire the world has ever seen – the Satanic mills of the Industrial Revolution, the birth of socialism, trade unionism, the co-operative movement and the international supremacy of the language.

Scotland never was a colony, but a colonial partner in crime. Indeed, before Britain existed as a state, the Scots parliament, as was, proclaimed two colonies, Nova Scotia and Ulster. The financial catastrophe of the attempt to colonise Panama in the Darien Expedition beggared Scotland’s economy, marking the end of solely Scottish imperial ambitions and ultimately to the 1707 Union itself. Thereafter, the skirl of the pipes and the twirl of kilted soldiers helped terrorise the world into submission.

I’ve been touring Scottish town halls for almost a year and the referendum campaign was already in full swing. But only in the last few days, it seems, have the British political class and the mainstream media woken up to the fact that Britain could be about to change, utterly. Though it won’t be a beauty, terrible or otherwise, that will be born if it does.

The next 18 months will be a nightmare of grudge and division as the divorcing couple squabble over the national CDs, DVDS, house, dog and car. Almost a million Scots living in England will be marooned in a foreign country, a physical border will become an inevitability given the Scottish government’s intention of attracting a million new immigrants, while the British government is seeking to cap immigration. And a flight of capital, first one way then another, as Alex Salmond implements his intention to spark a Dutch auction over Corporation Tax and regulation, a race to the bottom, at least for working people, will ensue.

Shorn of Scotland’s soon-to-be 50 MPs, the Tories will have a head start in all subsequent elections but will have lost half the country. If Ed Miliband emerges as leader of the biggest party in May that could only be for the shortest premiership in modern history, with Scotland departing in the following spring. This could even cause the postponement of the general election.

If No triumphs it will be despite the mainstream parties rather than because of them. All are held in derision, even contempt.

Labour voters switching to Yes have risen from 13 per cent to 35 in a few months. The Blair era of privatisation and war may have fatally undermined them. Scotland has decisively fallen out of love with New Labour. Lord Snooty, aka David Cameron, could be the Prime Minister who presides over the death of Great Britain. All of the opinion polls, even before the two-year campaign, showed an overwhelming majority for greater devolution, the so-called Devo-Max option, but Cameron ruled out a second question about it on the ballot paper.

It didn’t have to come to this; none of the angst and turmoil, the divisions, even among families. Britain’s political class may have achieved what Hitler failed to do. Destroyed Britain. As the late Scottish comedian Duncan Macrae put it. “They didnae ken. They ken noo!”

George Galloway, MP for Bradford West, was born and raised in Scotland

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