On various blogs, I have been delighted to see how reasonable people can be when they are used to the monolithically Nationalist (even if not necessarily SNP) Scottish media, and to the astonishing way in which this cause of aristocratic and upper-middle-class cranks has somehow come to define the debate there, but suddenly find themselves confronted with a few political realities.
1. There is simply no way that a secessionist entity could just walk away with most or all of the United Kingdom's oil revenue, and simply no comparison with anything still located in the United Kingdom, such as City revenues, or (SNP take note) gold reserves;
2. It is laughably naive to suggest that any British Government would sign any treaty which compromised its right to station any forces or weapons it liked anywhere in the UK as presently constituted, an insistence which would be backed up to the hilt by the Americans; and
3. The notion that a British Government or Parliament could expel a discernable part of Scotland (and I've listed three types before, to all of which this point applies) - or, indeed, a comparably discernable part of England, Wales or Northern Ireland - from the United Kingdom without the express consent of well over half of its electorate is positively obscene, and mercifully inconceivable politically, so think of it this way: no more Union equals no more Scotland.
To which one might add:
4. If any of the above caused talks to break down, then no country on earth would recognise Scottish UDI (even the African countries with close links to Scotland being heavily dependent on British aid, and one of them being about to get Jack McConnell has its British High Commissioner), whereas, thanks to 2 above, the US would, to say the least, back absolutely any British response to UDI, however "drastic"; and
5. No Spanish or Belgian Prime Minister would ever consider for one moment permitting the accession to the EU of a secession from an existing member-state.
Among many, many other things.
But it's all academic: the SNP has given up. It has been not just brought in, but bought in. And it seems to have recognised its cause as belonging to another age. Even Sinn Fein has realised that it has far more power (and is much better-paid) under the current arrangements than it could possibly dream of in a "United Ireland". The Irish Republic looks set to rejoin the Commonwealth. Australia has explicitly rejected becoming a republic. In Canada, New Zealand, three other Pacific countries and fully eight Caribbean ones, the issue is on the agenda hardly, if at all. None of the remaining British Overseas Territories shows the slightest desire for independence (quite the reverse, in fact). Even American popular, as distinct from traditionally Anglophile elite, opinion is now warming to Britain. And so forth.
Leaving the SNP looking like a throwback to the 1950s and 1960s. As, of course, it is. And as, of course, is Salmond. Though in an entirely different way: arise, Sir Alex!