If you really want to understand why the Union is so ‘precious’ to the ruling elites of the British state then you’ll have to look much deeper than money. It is about their concept of ‘Great Britain’. With the emphasis on the ‘Great’. It is about the geopolitical importance of Scotland that the British propaganda machine works so hard to downplay. It is about status and influence at least as much as it is about resources and economic power.
Without the Union, the pretence of the British state as a major player on the world stage becomes unsustainable. Without the Union the reality of ‘Great Britain’ as nothing more than the structures of power, privilege and patronage which serve the few at the expense of the many becomes undeniably evident.
It is also important to understand that it is not just the Union that matters to British Nationalists, it is the nature of the Union. Not just any political union will suffice for the purposes of British Nationalist conceit. A modern form of political union such as the EU is, as we have seen, anathema to British Nationalists. It must be a massively asymmetrical political union. The British don’t want partners. They want possessions. They don’t want mutuality. They want dominance. They don’t want equality. They want affirmation of the superiority they believe to be innate.
This is why devolution could never work. Because it was never embarked upon as an attempt to modernise the political union between Scotland and England-as-Britain. It was always intended as a means of preserving the anachronist Union and the grotesque disparity of power which it entrenches.
If it was only – or even mainly – about Scotland’s wealth then the British would not be fighting so desperately to preserve their ‘precious’ Union. If it was just a matter of access to Scotland’s resources then a modern and more equitable form of association would suffice. If it was all about money then the British would surely be content with the kind of political union that might be freely negotiated between neighbouring independent nations on the basis of equal status and in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
In British Nationalist ideology the fight to preserve the Union is existential. We must understand that the fight to restore Scotland’s independence is also and equally existential. Because in the name of preserving their ‘precious’ Union the British ruling elites will happily destroy everything that we think of as Scotland.