The National:

A NEW poll for Business for Scotland has found that half of voters in England would prefer their country to divest itself of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Despite the fact that there is no significant political party campaigning for English independence, it's an idea which is becoming increasingly attractive to voters in England.

British nationalists in Scotland really only have themselves to blame for this. For years they have told Scotland that we're a fiscal basket case, utterly dependent upon the English taxpayer in order to function as a society. It's an argument which has been increasingly rejected by people in Scotland, but as the Scots have rejected it, the English have taken it on board. Now there is a large and significant body of opinion in England which is asking itself why it should, in its view, continue to financially support the Celtic nations which are only a drain on English resources when all those Celtic nations do is to complain, moan, and cause trouble. It's not an argument based in truth, but it's the logical consequence of British nationalists in Scotland telling their fellow countrywomen and men that Scotland is dependent upon a fiscal transfer from the British Government. As yer maw would say to the Jackson Carlaws and Ian Murrays of this world, hell mend yese.

Alarmingly for the Scottish Conservatives, a significant majority of Conservative voters in England now support English independence, 52.5% according to this new poll. They've heard the Scottish Government and independence supporters complaining that Scotland is being dragged out of the EU against its will, and fear that Scotland will prove to be road block on the way to a pure Brexit. They're right to be concerned about that, as the Scottish Government has vowed to resist by all lawful means possible the attempts by the Conservatives in Westminster to use Brexit as an excuse to undermine the devolution process.

There's now even majority support amongst Labour voters in England for English independence, although not quite to the same extent as amongst the Conservatives. 51.5% of new Labour leader Keir Starmer's voter base in England would cheerfully see the end of the UK and independence for all of the constituent nations of the UK. This means that Labour has very little to gain by its recent enthusiasm for hard line British nationalism in Scotland. Not only do some 40% of Labour voters in Scotland now back independence, an even greater percentage of its voters in England also support the idea. For the Labour party to transform itself in the British nationalist hardliners of Ian Murray and Jackie Baillie's dreams is not going to prove to be the route to electoral success for the party.

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The findings of this poll are however also extremely important for independence supporters in Scotland, especially those who bewail the supposed impossibility of ever getting a British Government to agree to a Section 30 order which would put another independence referendum beyond legal challenge. It tells us that the Conservatives across the UK as a whole are not the monolithic Unionist bloc which they appear to be from a Scottish perspective. It tells us that Conservative support for Theresa May's preciousssss Union is fragile and hollow.

This is important because Boris Johnson is not a political giant bestriding the British body politic as a colossus. He's a weak leader who is easily influenced and whose sole consideration is whatever happens to bolster his own personal position. He has no devotion to the greater good, no conception of any interests other than his own selfish short-term aims. A Scottish Government which has been re-elected with an increased majority on a platform of demanding another independence vote will have the moral and political authority within Scotland to stand up to any refusal from Johnson to allow Scottish democracy to take its course, but Johnson will also be facing a considerable number of his own supporters in England who are not going to work too hard to save a UK that they no longer believe in and who will be happy to see Scotland going its own way. The determination of Westminster to refuse a Section 30 order is not as solid as the Conservatives, especially the Scottish Conservatives, would have us believe.

The UK is increasingly looking like a state construct which has long passed its usefulness. Ever since Scotland's voting habits began to diverge from those of England from the 1960s onwards, the UK has not worked for Scotland. It's increasingly no longer working for England either. Yet neither of the two main British parties has any credible plan to solve the problem. The Labour idea for radical federalism has no support in England, and the Conservative plan to undermine devolution is anathema in Scotland. To be successful a plan to save the UK needs to be seen to answer the needs of all constituent nations of the UK, there's no sign of that happening.

The irony for British nationalists in Scotland is that their desperate efforts to fend off independence in Scotland which are only increasing antipathy towards the Union in England. All those pretty graphs from Scotland in Union claiming to show how poor Scotland is have only hastened the very thing that they hoped to prevent.