Most Scots will by now have noticed that English-based commentators' takes on on the prospect of independence can leave something to be desired, what with their insistence that Scotland's is a "romantic nationalism", their quaint belief that England subsidises the country, and their glib acceptance of Unionist politicians' declarations about everything from the desirability of a shared currency to Scotland's continued membership of the EU and NATO. That the above statement can be true of otherwise experienced and thoughtful journalists of course comes as a shock to the many Scots who had hitherto enjoyed their work. But it sums up much of the unequal relationship. Why on earth bother swotting up about 8% of the population?
Not that England's journalists are alone (or even the worst) in that context. After all, England is, still, the same country, so there is a limit to how ignorant one can be. Irish pieces on independence can be spectacularly bad. Thus Aonghus Ó Ceallaigh claims both that the three Unionist parties have all signed up to devo-max and that independence agitation might lead to the emergence of sectarian warfare in the west of Scotland:
"The doomsday scenario of course is that a close referendum result in Scotland leads to violence on the streets and underlying sectarian fault lines in particular in the west of Scotland merge with increasing dissatisfaction with the direction of events in Northern Ireland, unlikely as that may seem at this juncture."Ahem, yes.
Almost as weird, however, are the opinions of Northern Ireland Protestants, people for whom political union is part of their identity and who might be expected to be a little better informed about their near neighbour.
In a BBC website article, East Belfast community worker Gary Lenaghan states that ""If [independence] happened I think an influx of people might move from Scotland to the remaining part of the UK to stay in the union, and their first choice of residence would probably be Northern Ireland".
Meanwhile "fellow Rangers supporter" Jim Wilson can envisage Scots politics beginning to mirror those of the North: "Not in a physical violence way, but I can see it turning into saxonised [sic] politics — voting for pro-union candidates in the future," he says.
Whether he intended to say "polarised", "radicalised" or "balkanised" is anyone's guess, but one could hardly imagine that independent Scots Unionist parties might form along the lines of the DUP and UUP. After all, the integration of Labour and the Lib-Dems into the well-oiled — in both financial and beverage terms — Westminster system is in all likelihood a large part of what is keeping them Unionist.
And we still have a month to go.