NOW FOR HOME RULE
IF NOT INDEPENDENCE THEN GIVE US (AT LEAST) HOME RULE!
The decision of Scotland to vote NO to independence is not the end of the story, for the promised extra powers to the Scottish parliament will bring to a head the existing ‘imbalance’ of decision making for the different nations within the United Kingdom. We will soon have a Scottish Parliament with extensive tax-raising powers (often referred to as Deva-Max), but weaker Assemblies in Northern Ireland & Wales, and nothing for England (or Cornwall). This must change!
The United Kingdom is a state composed of a union with a core of four nations (plus Cornwall, Isle of Man etc.). For 400 years it has attempted to promote itself as a nation but today many of its citizens still prefer to see themselves as members of their nation first or only. For the union to now function fairly and efficiently it must become a Federal state where the constituent nations have all power, beyond Foreign Policy, Defence and Monetary, devolved to their national Parliaments. Such a union must be built on consensus, including the right to secede via referenda, if it is to ultimately survive at all.
The biggest challenge will be the nature of England’s devolution. For years, Westminster has denied that it even existed and has refused to contemplate change, being fundamentally opposed to a Federal UK. Following the EU’s wish to see England split into regions, an attempt to impose Regional Assemblies failed at the ballot box. The latest suggestion is to give more power to cities e.g. Manchester, Leeds etc., similar to but building upon what has already been given to London. However, this is confusing devolution based on identity and shared ‘culture’ i.e. a nation, with the decentralisation of power to its lowest practical governance (subsidiarity) i.e. to Councils.
Equal Home Rule
ALL the nations of the UK must have an equal settlement of Home Rule (an old Liberal concept) and thus England must have a Parliament where English representatives must decide on (English) nationwide matters. Power can (and should) also be decentralised to Cities and Councils. Let us begin to campaign for this twin devolution and decentralisation and get rid of the constitutional fudge that Westminster politicians have created and maintained for their own interests. Besides, we will have, sooner or later, a referendum on our relationship with the EU too!
THANK YOU SCOTLAND!
Thank you Scotland for holding a vote on independence. Although it may not have been the result desired by many, you have led the way in using, and in turn promoting, the use of referenda to settle the most important political questions. You have shown that such a vote and the campaign around it, can inspire people to become ‘re-engaged’ with politics. The unprecedented turnout, after years of decline and disillusionment, proved the point. It has also shown that controversial and emotional issues can be settled without bloodshed (and revisited when necessary). It is also a model for settling questions of national self-determination in those world’s states that presently resort to ignoring or oppressing of minority nations within their (often artificial) borders. Thank you Scotland.
Date: September 19, 2014