So Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom. While the SNP will undoubtedly make brave noises about continuing the fight the reality is that the dream of Scottish independence was never much more than that – a dream.
It could be objected that other European countries with comparable populations, like Norway and Denmark, manage to be independent nations. But how independent are they? They remain independent for precisely as long as their more powerful neighbours choose to allow them to do so. What happened in 1940 when Germany decided that Norwegian and Danish neutrality was no longer in Germany’s interests? Denmark resisted invasion for six hours. Six hours. Norway put up a tougher fight but in that case the Germans, with negligible sea power, had to invade by sea. Norway lasted 62 days.
The lesson is that independence for very small countries is largely an illusion. If you lack the capacity to defend yourself independence will always be an illusion. An independent Scotland would be entirely reliant on the UK for its defence.
When you are economically dependent as well then independence is even more of an illusion. The reality is that an independent Scotland would be ruled from Brussels rather than London.
Part of me is sad that Scotland will never again be a sovereign nation but living a dream can be a dangerous thing. I’m more sad that the United Kingdom itself is no longer a free nation but merely a province of the EU empire. A United Kingdom free of the chains of the EU would offer Scotland a great deal more freedom than a make-believe Scotland subservient to Brussels.
A referendum on British independence from the EU would be a great deal more meaingful than Alex Salmond’s pipe-dreams.