Boris Johnson's real reason for denying a second referendum has just been revealed by George Osborne

The Better Together band’s reforming with Michael Gove and Gordon Brown once again singing the Union song.

Boris Johnson's real reason for denying a second referendum has just been revealed by George Osborne
Photo courtesy of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Flickr

But the tune’ll be slightly different, as though George Osborne won’t have a starring role this time, he’s certainly intimated a change of tone. The crooning of “Scotland we love you, please don’t go” by David Cameron, not just David Bowie, in 2014 will be replaced by a far harsher edge in word, as well as in actions.

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer’s comments inan Evening Standard articleindicate not only a willingness to ignore Scottish democracy but equally disclose the contempt that he and his ilk have for Scotland and the other nations beyond England. So much for a respect agenda and a blessed Union of the Four Nations.

The inevitability of a united Ireland post-Brexit is accepted with little regret by Osborne, and he can’t even resist barbed comments towards Ulster Unionists who he obviously holds partly responsible for the Brexit debacle. But there’s certainly no Irish lament being sung for their departure. They’re going and it’s almost “Je ne regrette rien”.

Wales doesn’t even rate a mention from him, other than to acknowledge how limited the impact would be if they too departed. There’s no Welsh lullaby being struck and he treats it almost with the same contempt as the Plantagenets, albeit without the violence perpetrated by Edward 1. Good for water and coal and the odd visit but beyond that who cares. Wales may be the land of song but the band won’t play much there, as they just don’t rate it.

But, in his candour, Osborne also exposed the real reasons for their opposition to Scottish independence. It’s got little to do with love or affection for either the land or people.

Instead it’s all to do with how they think it would affect their Greater England, as they see the United Kingdom. There’s certainly no recognition of a union of equals or even of two different countries with different political, legal, religious and educational pillars. Instead its ownership or at least assimilation.

“Its history is our history. Its contribution to the world through its literature and philosophy, exploration and art, is our contribution,” he wrote.

Really, from the Declaration of Arbroath to Rabbie Burns, Scots think different and indeed so do the English. Shakespeare is English, not British, all would concur. Of course, there’s shared times and common aspects but still the two are different and indeed once again diverging.

But Osborne reminded us that the real reason for opposing Scottish independence is that “the rest of the world would instantly see that we were no longer a front-rank power or even in the second row”.

Well many would say that’s now the case, but Scottish independence would certainly highlight it. Questions would be asked about why the rump UK has a seat on the UN security council and so on. Theresa May has also expressed those views.

The Better Together band’s back but it’s a harsher tone and the insincerity has been exposed.