LesleY Riddoch (“Intolerance is referendum’s enemy”, Perspective, 19 May) reports the Queen’s concerns about “healing divisions” after the referendum.
In the Isle of Man, like Scotland, we have a very strong local identity. Some feel more Manx than British. Some regard themselves as mainly British while identifying very much with the local community. We have the best of both worlds as regards identity. Perhaps this is why the Isle of Man has little interest in full independence which, like Scotland, is available to us via a referendum.
The clue to cohesion appears to be a useful level of independent power with a, default, British identity. The same applies, I guess, to all the British overseas territories, crown dependencies and devolved administrations.
So the Queen’s concern about post-referendum “divisions” highlights the very real possibility of nationalist Scots being marginalised after a No vote and unionist Scots being marginalised after a Yes vote.
Nationalist Scots can always push for more devolved powers or even another referendum after a No vote. But if Scotland votes Yes, that will have to be regarded as an irrevocable separation. Unionist Scots who find Scotland stripped of its British identity are not going to feel more Scottish because of that. The rupture would cut right through the community, dividing even husband and wife.
Of all the many changes arising from a Yes vote, it’s the lack of community cohesion that would surely be most noticeable and most concerning. Judging by how other British jurisdictions are surviving and thriving, the key to long-term stability would appear to be the right amount of locally-devolved power, while retaining the monarchy to assure British identity.
A Yes vote comes with no guarantees. A No vote ensures the long-term stability and cohesion of the community
Tristram C Llewellyn Jones
Ramsey, Isle of Man