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Scotland, please don’t go

LONDON — Since Scotland's planned referendum on leaving the UK was announced a year ago, unionists have consoled themselves with poll numbers that have consistently shown independence supporters to be in the minority. Now support for independence has surged to its highest level, coming within reach of success for the first time.

Independence vote divides Scotland

GLASGOW — When Scottish nationalists this week secured a deal to hold a referendum on independence from Britain, they were trading heavily on their country’s historical and cultural identity. But despite their enthusiasm, it appears appeals to history and culture won’t be enough to win independence. Polls indicate most Scots are reluctant to sever ties with London.

Scottish Independence, pt. 5: Burns night politics

Scottish Government begins consultation on independence referendum without asking Parliament's permission

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond chose Burns Night, the national celebration of Scotland's greatest poet, to publish a consultation paper, "Your Scotland, Your Referendum," which is the first step of the legislative process that will lead, ultimately to a vote in autumn 2014 on Scottish independence.

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Scottish Independence, pt. 4

Interesting perspectives on confederations and the meaning of modern nation-hood

No shots will be fired, the only blood that will be spilled is metaphorical, so for those who like history, political science and speculating on the role of government it is interesting (and physically safe) to look closely at the drive for Scottish independence.

Simon Jenkins, a man who sits at the top table of Britain's establishment despite his Celtic origins, has some very interesting ideas in his Guardian column:

"Britain went to war to break up the Yugoslav union," he chides those who fear Scottish independence.  "Many Britons yearn for the break-up of the European one. Why do they fight to sustain the United Kingdom as it manifestly crumbles?"

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Scottish Independence, pt. 3

War of words between London and Edinburgh over Scotland's future heats up
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Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond strikes a Churchillian pose today in Edinburgh. (Jeff J Mitchell/AFP/Getty Images)

As I've mentioned previously, Scottish independence is both a possibility and increasingly an opportunity for political game playing.

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Scottish independence: Cameron steps in

British Prime Minister raises the stakes by demanding Scots hold independence referendum within 18 months.
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They do love their history in Scotland and the Scots want their independence back, although they probably don't want to restore the monarchy of Robert the Bruce (Christopher Furlong/AFP/Getty Images)

In the first stage of a game of call my bluff, David Cameron announced yesterday that a referendum on Scottish independence should be held within 18 months.

The Scottish National Party took over Scotland's devolved parliament after winning a sizeable majority in the elections of May 2010. The main plank in the party's platform was its pledge to offer Scots a referendum on whether to remain in the United Kingdom. 

SNP leader Alex Salmond wanted to hold that referendum in 2014 on the 700th anniversary of Robert the Bruce's victory over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn - they are obsessed by history everywhere on this island.

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Break up of United Kingdom a real possibility

Britain's top civil servant acknowledges Scotland may well leave the union
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Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell who has said the break-up the United Kingdom is a possibility (WPA Pool/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's top civil servant acknowledges Scotland may leave the union in a few years
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