I am one-quarter Scot, one-quarter Welsh and half English, counting the ancestries of my four grandparents.

Should I have a say in the independence referendum? A one- quarter vote? The quarter of me that is Scot might give me a right to a view, if not a vote. My mother's maiden name is Burns and her birthday is January 25.

My hope is that Scotland will vote No and will stay in a UK that has given so many Scots the larger arena on which to exercise the many North British talents that historically made an Empire.

Scotland's history on the world stage began with Union in 1707; it is nearly as true to say that its nationalism began with the invention of its traditions by Queen Victoria in the nineteenth century. The idea of a 'Scottish nation' is a recent one and its concomitant nationalism is a child of the ghastly political romanticism of the last two centuries, which has caused so much strife, division and bloodshed in the world.

Today's nationalists might hark back to Robert the Bruce and medieval endeavours to repulse South Britons, but that is as relevant as today's original Britons fighting to repulse the Romans. History moves on, peoples reconcile and mingle and the movement of individuals creates new communities drawing their strength from the merging of once separate pasts.

It is the movement of history that makes the SNP's arguments for independence so phoney. If independence for Scotland meant that its citizens would have to get visas to travel to England and Northern Ireland; pass through passport control at the borders; have to apply to immigrate if they wish to work and live anywhere in the United Kingdom; take a fair share of UK National Debt (Scotland is a net financial gainer from being part of the UK); apply afresh for membership of the EU and the UN; create a new currency; set up an army, air force and navy; and generally acquire all the other appurtenances of being genuinely independent, the Yes vote would be close to 1%. What would the advantages be?

The SNP banks on a currency union with sterling, free movement of people across Hadrian's Wall, unrestricted business activity without the extra costs applicable across genuine national borders; in short, on all the advantages of being stitched at the hip to the rest of the UK but without having to play a part in the UK's efforts and endeavours. This is a plan which is all take and no give, all advantage without making a return contribution. This represents "independence" in name without the reality as, worst of all, while still remaining fully dependent on what happens elsewhere in the UK, Scotland will have no say on the decisions taken in the UK. What price such impotently dependent 'independence'?

Most of the rest of us in the UK like Scots are Scots, likes their country, is proud of the part played by Scotland in the history of the UK which, in its turn, has been a major one in world affairs, and wants them to stay as part of the family. Some of the greatest citizens of the UK have come from Scotland, and yet they would not have been able to exercise that greatness without the breadth of scale that Union has provided. Look at the beautiful city of Edinburgh: it is a child of Union, and the New Town is the emblem of the prosperity and advance that Union brought.

One longer-term consequence of a Yes vote will be encouragement of other separatist and nationalist movements in Europe, in Spain for a prime example, but not there alone. Let us think ahead 50 or 100 years and ask whether we wish to have the fragmented, splintered, jostling, squabbling, small, individually weak and mutually jealous statelets of the pre-Westphalian era, which plunged Europe into the bloodbath of the seventeenth century's Thirty Years War. That is one part of the logic of small-nation separatism. By contrast, the Act of Union represented an advance in the maturation of peoples recognising how much stronger togetherness is than division.

The SNP is in this fundamental sense retrogressive, backward-looking, and divisive. It premises itself on the resentment of the small for the bigger, on historical pieties long past their relevance, and on the petty ambition of a band of current politicians. Scotland and the Scottish are a lot bigger and better than the nationalism of the SNP. I hope they will vote accordingly.

Anthony Grayling is a philosopher and Master of the New College of the Humanities in London.