If at first you don’t secede, try, try again. This might be the motto of Alex Salmond’s Scottish National party, which since 1934 has been advocating the proposition that Scotland should be an independent country, governed not from London but from Edinburgh and able to make its own policy decisions about defense, immigration, taxation, and spending. On September 18, Scots will finally face a referendum about their future. Do they wish to continue to be part of the United Kingdom or to go it alone under their own flag—the blue and white saltire—into a new Caledonian era? The timing of the vote is itself highly political. This year is the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn (1314), a battle at which the Scots famously won a victory over the English. It serves as a reminder of history, and that throughout the period when Scotland and England have had a united government—1707 to the present—there have been those who felt nostalgic for Scotland’s previous 800 years of sovereignty and viewed the union as a shotgun marriage, an uneasy and unequal yoking of nations whose interests and whose cultural and political values are not identical. Now Alex Salmond wants a divorce.