Perhaps it would be a century, but I think that it would be just under an hour and a quarter. In that way, when it was noon by Greenwich mean time, it would be about 13.14 in Scotland. Scotland would constantly be on Bannockburn time. I think that the concept of Bannockburn time is what the nationalists are after: “Here’s tae us, wha’s like us. A lot of them are deid now right enough, but we do actually remember them.” This proposal is simply about seeking division for its own sake.
Iain Stewart was very helpful in reminding us that schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998 covers more matters than just time. It also covers the calendar. I am sure that the idea of a public holiday on Alex Salmond’s birthday will be a recommendation from the SNP. We have had the Julian calendar and a variety of different calendars. A nationalist calendar is the logical consequence. Why should an independent country be stuck with the same calendar as England? There are logical arguments for that, but the SNP is not the party of logical arguments; it is the party of passion, of Bannockburn and of “Here’s tae us, let’s be separate.”
I think that there is a real difficulty in all of this. I very much hope that the SNP does not chicken out here. I hope that it puts the new clause to the vote so that we can see just how ludicrous its proposals are, and the extent to which it is treating the Scotland Bill as nothing more than a joke. We are trying to improve the governance of Scotland; the SNP is trying to create divisions. The proposal to have separate time zones is absurd.