Monday, July 11, 2011

Only an English Parliament and English Government can save the Union

Last week I was at a Conservative political meeting and made the point of just how far English political opinion has moved against the Union being preserved.

It seems that one more round of appeasement may be being planned to solve the problem. Full autonomy for the Scottish government ( a sort of dominion I guess ).

Lets be clear - this will result in just one thing - Scottish independence in a generation, with England left paying for the Welsh and Irish.

There are only two ways to preserve the Union.

  1. Reverse Labour's anti-English devolution settlement.
  2. Set up an equivalent English parliament and government, with a Union government handling some macro economic issues, defence and foreign policy.
Anything less will mean the end of the Union. Its time for David Cameron to wake up and grasp this. We need to be lead to a new stable constitutional settlement that is just for everyone, or else the Union will just become history.


Wyrdtimes said...


A BBC survey released last week put support for English independence at 36% already (47% among the skilled working class).

The UK governments contempt for the English has gone too far for me. I no longer even want the Union to last - it doesn't deserve to last.

Home rule for England.

Toque said...

Well said. Because, in John Major's words, "the present quasi-federalist settlement with Scotland is unsustainable", they're contemplating increasing the asymmetry, increasing the quasi-federal nature of the UK State (but trying to mitigate it by reducing Scottish representation in the UK Parliament).


Man in a Shed said...

@Wrydtimes - I saw the BBC survey at the time, and thought it represented a shocking shift in English public opinion, much more than I would have thought.

As @Torque says our professional politicians just cannot grasp what is driving this and see it just in terms of party advantage.

James Higham said...

More than wishful thinking?

Anonymous said...

So you think that fiscal autonomy for Scotland would cause Scotland to leave the union within a generation, but not if accompanied by a Parliament with equivalent fiscal autonomy for England?

I can understand the first part of this, but I can't see how given similar autonomy to England would make the Scots any less likely to leave.

Perhaps more explanation is required.

Anonymous said...

Well said, MIAS. I think the last comment contains a valid question, though: why fiscal autonomy for all the UK's nations might save the Union, while fiscal autonomy for Scotland alone wouldn't prevent Scottish independence.

As I said in my own post on the subject earlier today, I think the form of federalism you're positing here (essentially, devo max for all the UK's nations) presents a very slim chance of saving the Union, and in my view, it's too late for federalism (but not perhaps for confederalism).

At the very least, you'd have to have a written constitution that enshrined the rights and responsibilities of all the nations. This could write in the principle that the people of each nation are sovereign, and can decide at any time to leave the federation and become independent. So this would be a form of in-principle independence combined with in-practice federal Union.

That might work - but really, this is eleventh-hour stuff.

Man in a Shed said...

@Anon - good question, here's my answer:

Part of the problem that created the strain in the Union and makes Devolution flawed is the lack of equality of respect between the home nations. Even though Scotland gets the sort of deal a rich teenager with parents who want to just bribe them gets - they still resent it as it lacks respect.

That lack of respect is shown by the fact the English have a different deal - and its one that show no one respects us.

Its hard to stay in a Union with someone who doesn't respect themselves.

BilloTheWisp said...

Well said.

Peter Hain is already trying to revive Prescotts old English regionalism plan and has been busy talking up "benefits" of regionalism for England.

As you remember, this was
rightly veto'ed in a referendum by the people in the North East some years back.

There are many in parliament from all major parties who will bitterly oppose any form of English self governence. After all, their power base is based on the profligate use of English taxes to subsidise the rest of the union along with their pet projects. Any form of self goverence in England is going to massively curtail their control.

Don't be surprised when regionalism starts getting promoted again, as they desperately try and put the English genie back in the box.

William Gruff said...

Nothing can save the 'united' kingdom, and the sooner it is ended the better for the people of England.

Only an English Parliament can properly represent the interests and affairs of the people of England.

Edward Spalton said...

This all goes back to the Foreign Office document of 1971 ref FCO 30/1048

"The transfer of major executive responsibilities to the bureaucratic Commission in Brussels will exacerbate popular feelings of alienation from government. To counter this feeling, strengthened local and regional democratic procedures within member states and effective Community economic and social policies will be essential....there would be a major responsibility on HM Government AND ON ALL POLITICAL PARTIES (my emphasis) not to exacerbate public concern by attributing unpopular policies to the remote and unmanageable workings of the Community...."

So there we have it.
1. Regionalisation and devolution are mechanisms of distraction from what the EU is up to. ("Independence" within the EU would not be significantly different. There would be a few more places on the gravy train)

2. Apparently democratic, they are there to enforce effective "Community" (i.e. EU) policies.

3. All parties will keep quiet about the main aim of the policy - to disguise the ultimate ruler which is admitted to be "remote and unmanageable")

Thus, by subtle treachery, the main aim of every would-be dominant European power since 1707 is achieved - the break-up of the UK and its disassembly into individually indefensible statelets - just like Yugoslavia.

I knew the Conservatives were going in this direction around 30 years ago when the words "and Unionist" disappeared from their membership cards.

I can well understand why people in Wales and Scotland might be disgusted with Westminster and why people in England are angry about "asymetric" devolution. The authorities intend that they should be so. People are being herded like sheep by very clever manipulators, to weaken and break up the country in the interests of other people who have no regard whatsoever for the wellbeing of any of the inhabitants of these islands.
The BBC, of course, is amongst the most active of the "change agents" trying to bring this about.
I am surprised that so many people only see the symptoms and not the cause.

subrosa said...

The Union will never be saved. It's too late and it's out-dated.

I'm as much for England having it's own parliament as I support Scotland's independence.

As Edward mentions the lack of Westminster politicians addressing the 'England' problem is to do with EU policy. Nobody here in Scotland (or very few) believe that independence these days is really interdependence, but every country should have the right to raise its own money - not rely on handouts from another country.