Friday, May 23, 2008

Save the Union - balance it out

David Cameron is potentially making a serious mistake in Ayr today.

Amongst the rhetoric on wanting to govern the whole UK is the implied offering up of English interests to be sacrificed to buy off other parts of the UK.

This won't work on two levels:

1) Justice for England: He is reported by the BBC as follows:

    Mr Cameron said he was confident of bringing in a system where English MPs had a decisive say when the Commons was voting on an issue affecting English constituencies.

    But he argued: "Better an imperfect Union than a broken one. Better an imperfect Union than a perfect divorce. My answer is simple. I choose the United Kingdom."

This just won't do for the English. The imperfect bit - is the bit where English interests get sold out ( that's what an imperfect Union means). I'm afraid his choice of words on English issues just doesn't wash.

2) Equality of respect and self worth for all the UK

In the end the lack of balance will eat away at the self respect of the Welsh and Scots. They will have semi-detached status, which is just the waiting room for full separation. ( I suspect the Northern Irish case is different ).

A lack of symmetry between the parts of the UK is just going to put the Union in a permanent game of Russian roulette with nationalism in the same way that Canada can never resolve its Quebec problem. The SNP and maybe Plaid will always seek referendums (regardless of the results of previous ones ) until they achieve their ends - and the semi detached nature of Scotland and Wales will just encourage the idea its inevitable.

Why not a perfect Union Mr Cameron, with an English Executive and Parliament ? In the end it is the only way to save the Union - everything else just delays its destruction.

We need a stable and just Union based on equality of respect for the home nations, fairness and friendship.


Anonymous said...

Cameron does not want to be Prime Minister of just England. Those words could well come back to haunt him. Scottish and Welsh MP's will always claim an interest in English affairs whilst they pay taxes to Westminster. We will find that the tories will lose interest in Enlish votes on English laws if they have a big majority.It will be kicked into the long grass for another decade or so.

killemallletgodsortemout said...

It's stuff like this that reduces my faith in Cameron and the Conservatives, and pushes me towards the English democrats.

At the moment, I get the impression that Cameron is simply power-hungry, and as for "an imperfect union is better than a divorce" - the bloke has much to learn.

England is doomed, I tell ya - doomed!!

Man in a Shed said...

k - This issue gives me the same dilema.

I'm in Scotland right now staying with my inlaws, and that means reading the Glasgow Herald.

People who come up with the prefering an imperfect Union rot need to get a subscription to the Galsgow Herald because they would finally realise why that idea is a complete non starter.

If I get time I may blog an a Herald article from Sat that makes the point wonderfully.

I'm actually more worried in the long term for the Union.

When there was one parliamnet things were stable ( with a few anomolies to keep the Scots quiet ), but now things are most definately unstable.

David Cameron will get one chance at fixing this, and only one. Right now its looks like he will blow it.

wildgoose said...

I think that half of the problem are Scottish Unionists. I have had this argument before, they think that the continuance of the Union or otherwise is exclusively Scotland's concern and that England can be ignored whilst they come to some resolution by themselves.

Per-devolution they were probably right. But not now. They seem incapable of understanding that Devolution really did change everything.

For example, standard forms are having to be altered because we English are no longer prepared to describe ourselves as "British" and have been switching en masse to "White Other", writing in "English".

What gets me is the speed with which this change of attitude is sweeping through the population. The politicians meanwhile are either staring transfixed like a rabbit in headlights or just blithely continuing in complete denial of the reality unfolding around them.

The Today programme this Bank Holiday Monday morning ended with a piece on political voting in the Eurovision Song Contest. It was suggested that we might do better if the UK broke up into its constituent countries and started voting for each other, only for John Humphries to comment that England still wouldn't get any votes...

Before Devolution, this would have been shrugged off. Afterwards it is yet another slap in the face.

You're right, there will only be one more chance to fix this. If it isn't resolved at the next General Election then it will be resolved by the inevitable complete breakup of the Union a few years further down the line.