THE UK is not a single state but a composite one. Scotland and England joined together under voluntary co-operation. Neither parliament was extinguished. Both were to be mothballed and a new parliament constituted. That never happened. We effectively have the two operating together in the Houses of Parliament.

Wales and Ireland were later accepted as constituent countries in their own rights and in 1928 the UKNI was founded.

As we sit on the cusp of Scottish independence we should look to history to find something similar and compare that to what may happen, but in knowledge that now is not then.

Only now do I think of the very important conversations I didn’t have. My grandfather was born in 1898 in County Longford, in Britain, more specifically the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He was British and Irish, a bit like folk in NI right now. He lived during Ireland’s independence transition, but he moved to Scotland. He would have been 21 in 1919, and could have had a vote. But that’s a conversation that never happened, and it’s a while since he passed, a while even since my father passed, leaving even a second hand account untold.

The events in Ireland start long ago, far too much to retell here, but sticking to the most salient:

1919: Voted in a majority of independence minded MPs.

1922: Started to leave but had a five-year debate on the six counties in the north, still unresolved.

1928-1938: A transition period as powers were transferred to the new institutions being built.

1938: Until the 70s the Irish currency was firmly fixed to sterling, only leaving to move to the euro some 20 years later.

Scotland elected its first majority of independence favouring MPs in 2015. And that after a seven-year national conversation on independence, thwarted by unfulfilled promises and outright lies.

A second majority was found in 2017, those two interleaving 2011 and 2016 independence majorities at Holyrood.

So what faced my grandfather and faces me?

He was a young man, the eldest son. His life in Ireland would have been running the family farm and feeding all who depended upon it. A huge responsibility in the shadow of the Hunger. A life of hard graft, burdened by duty. And doing all of that in a small country alone in a hostile world.

I’m older, my kids already a decade and more into their adult journeys. Safer, in a safer world. Yet the UK seeks to leave its partners, something Scotland is against. The UK will be alone, while an independent Scotland would seek to rejoin 27 of our current partner countries.

I see all the risk in remaining with the UK. Risks, economically, individually and institutionally. Threats to jobs, currency, NHS even. Our security weakened, and at a tìme the US seems to turn inwards, away from Nato.

The biggest threat is to our democracy, where less than 1% of voters pick a PM in order to deliver something nobody voted for. The vote itself on a vague idea, without a plan, held under a PM with a gun to his head. A PM who ran away as the result he didn’t want came home to roost. For three years the next PM tried, and failed, to persuade her own government to accept the deal she had made with the EU.

The lunatics have now taken over the asylum. There is no credible plan. Simply a charge down the road to ruination. All the while shouting, over the shoulder at us: “We don’t want to do this!”

There are those, no doubt, who support this doughty Britnat stance, citing Blitz survival, conveniently ignoring the fact that they are our own bombs this time.

Call me risk averse if you will.

I’m with Chief Bromden, we’re getting out this madhouse.

Scotland, I trust you. I pick you.

Brian Kelly