Lord Kilclooney, aka former deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist Party John Taylor, has made yet another stirring 'contribution' to our own independence debate in a letter to the Scotsman -
"As an Ulster Scot I am obviously anxious about the possible outcome of the independence referendum next year."
As shall we all be, for as long as one or two of your fellow Ulster Scots are running around demanding an Ulster-style partition of Scotland should the vote go 'the wrong way'. Oh wait - wasn't it you who suggested that, Your Lordship? (And naturally, this would be a get-out-of-jail-free card only available to the No campaign - if Scotland votes No, then Yes-voting regions wouldn't get the consolation prize of their own little statelet.)
"In reply to my parliamentary question this week the Treasury confirmed that some £30 billion of block grant was sent to Scotland in each of the past three years. Of course, an independent Scotland would lose this £30bn with resulting reduction in public funding for education, health, social services and transport. That is unless supporters of independence have a proposal to overcome the loss of this £30bn. I await their answer."
Await no longer, Your Excellency! You see, independence has upsides as well as downsides. On the one hand, we will no longer receive a block grant from Westminster, but on the other hand we will stop sending billions of pounds of tax revenues to Westminster - which is, after all, what the block grant is there to compensate us for at the moment.
Glad we could clear that up so quickly for you, Your Eminence, and please don't hesitate to ask if you have any other nagging doubts (for example, how Scotland will overcome its loss of latitude after independence). Mind you, I do hope you can actually see our answers, what with the Scotsman adopting a Labour Hame-style moderation policy of late.
And I fear that if you seriously think you have a personal stake in these matters (because Northern Ireland would "have to decide" after Scottish independence "whether to remain with England or remain with Scotland"), you may be labouring under something of a misapprehension. You see, we'll be becoming independent from the United Kingdom - and, as you remind us so often, Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom. Not wishing to be unkind, but we'll be becoming independent from you, Your Highness.