ENGLISH voters in Scotland are assumed to oppose independence. This may well be true of a majority, but I suspect many English-raised Brits who have chosen to make Scotland their home – or who like me have made their way here by some lucky accident – sympathise decidedly with the Yes camp.

From the discussions I’ve had with colleagues since arriving in Glasgow a few weeks ago to work at The Herald, I can’t help but feel that the visions for Scotland’s future – if it is to have one inside the UK – are all a hopeless fantasy. For many undecided Scottish voters this sort of alternative appears to appeal – it avoids the big leap while still rejecting arrangements as they are today.

But federalisation or any form of a significantly re-imagined UK is never going to happen. My experiences as an undergraduate at Oxford taught me at least that much. The English elite simply have no interest in a radical reform. While the discourse along this theme rages on north of the Border, the silence in the south-east of England roars a definitive “no”. Sweeping reform simply isn’t on the radar. And if it weren’t after a heartfelt vow to change was made on the eve of the 2014 poll and 45% still voted Yes, it is never going to be.

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Because in a “precious union of nations”, as the nauseatingly insincere phrase goes, we would have said that given two nations rejected Brexit and the overall result in that referendum was narrow, we should leave but in a very soft form. A Union that respects the views of all its nations would allow for flexible arrangements where Scotland could have a deal tailored to its needs and respecting its anti-Brexit vote. But no such recognition of national differences within the UK came Scotland’s way. On Wednesday we even heard from the Prime Minister that the devolved legislatures have no role whatsoever in consenting to the Brexit deal – a claim as outrageous as it is erroneous.

For most of the southern English who go on to rule the UK roost, Scotland piques interest only for carefully selected performative acts. At Oxford the usual crowd of boys schooled in England with refined English accents and London homes would don their kilts for formal dinners and balls. Burns Night is one such favoured occasion of the Scottish-when-it-suits-me cohort. And then there’s the annual English middle-class pilgrimage to Edinburgh for the Fringe.

Scotland deserves better than the disregard the English demonstrate the rest of the year.

As much as our Westminster leaders profess their deep love of the Union, it feels much more like a love of the cultural prestige Scotland affords England and a fear of the symbolic blow to the UK that would come with independence.

Better to look at what the UK Government does in relation to Scotland than continue to listen to the endless stream of verbal assurances insisting they care.

I do believe the English and Scots have broadly the same values. The talk of Scottish progressiveness has probably been somewhat overdone in a country which in my lifetime had a private postal ballot on whether to continue banning discussion of gay people’s existence from schools. But that is irrelevant. Where the Scottish and English diverge is in voting behaviour. If the UK had not returned a Conservative government driven by English votes in 2015, there never would have been a Brexit referendum that no one outside a rabid fringe was calling for. If the English had voted like the Scottish in that referendum, we would not still potentially be just days away from a catastrophic No-Deal Brexit that no one said was on the cards. But here we are.

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Voting patterns matter more than the values professed in polling. Voting choices have put us in the dire straits the UK is in today. And a voting choice can extract Scotland from this vicious cycle of disappointment with a UK seemingly hell-bent on damaging not just Scots but everyone else in Britain too.

In recent weeks the possibility of border controls between Scotland and England has been raised in the event of independence. Our borders are best when they’re invisible. There is a group which shares that view and has demonstrated its commitment to it through action. It’s the European Union. If controls appear at the Border with an independent Scotland in the EU, it will only be because the English have chosen not to sign up to the European norm, not because Scotland, like the vast majority of Europe, will have chosen to do so.

As an Englishman due to return south of that Border in February, I can only hope the rest of the UK would re-assess the situation in light of the new realities of a post-independence world and join Scotland and Ireland back in the EU. The choice will be for the rest of the UK to make.

I am by no means wedded to the idea of independence. Through serious reform Canada redefined itself after Quebec voted by less than 50.6 per cent against splitting off in 1995. It’s an outcome the Québécois seem happy with, as independence is no longer under serious discussion. Are the British ruling class willing to radically overhaul the UK? They would sooner just grant independence than go to the trouble.