John Harris

Journalist & Author

My England is in a mess. Scotland’s case for splitting away is stronger than ever | John Harris

The country I call home is dysfunctional. But north of the border, there’s the chance of something better

The day of the Scottish independence referendum of 2014, I was in Hallglen, a large housing estate on the edge of Falkirk. As it turned out, the town would vote to remain in the UK by 54% to 46%, but where I was, droves of people were turning out to support the end of the union, and the creation of a new country.

I had spent time on the estate over the previous weeks, and observed a remarkable upsurge of both interest in politics, and optimism – not least at a Sunday evening public meeting at which hundreds had gathered to talk about how badly their area had fared since the Thatcher years, and how breaking from the rotten Westminster consensus might serve it better. Now, as people went in and out of the polling station, I fell into conversation with a thirtysomething man, who had a vision of what an independent Scotland might mean for the rest of the UK. “If we start this, we could make a big, proper movement for the rest of the country,” he said. “And I think we should. The poverty in this country – us, and England, and everywhere else – shouldn’t be happening in 2014.”

Related: Nicola Sturgeon’s strike for independence should not let the SNP off the hook | Kevin McKenna

If the three-year saga of Brexit tells us anything, it is that the United Kingdom is irretrievably breaking apart

Related: England’s sorry delusions are Scotland’s best argument for independence | Kevin McKenna

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