Friday, 13 January 2012

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

I am saddened this week to see the devolved Government of my home country setting a date for a vote on National Independence. The Scottish Nationalists may have bottled it and pushed the date out for the planned referendum until 2014, but the game is afoot.

What was slightly more disappointing was to see English Dave scoring an own goal by attempting to put constitutional and bureaucratic barriers in the way and generally alienating some of the Scots he needs to keep onside if the vote is to be defeated when it eventually comes. Alex Salmond has won the first round decisively here and it will be all over well before 2014 unless the UK government gets it's act together. 

The policy should be to quietly ignore Mr Salmond and support the view that the Scottish people are entitled to their vote, whilst continuing to lay the emphasis on the benefits of the Union and not stooping to the levels of who would be better off and who subsidises whom. They should also move quickly to end the embarrassing "West Lothian Question" by preventing Scottish, Irish and Welsh MP's from voting on matters that solely affect England. 

The Scottish Nationalists have been doing a good job north of the border and have proven that Nationalists can rule. The majority of the voting population, however, are not yet in favour of an independent Scotland but they need to be encouraged and kept ready to defeat the insular and short-sighted Nationalists when the time comes. 

We are an island race and for all our regional differences, we have lived and died together under one government for 300 years. That's more than long enough in my book to be as relevant and righteous as any claims to historical differences. If the behaviour of my countrymen forces me to one day relinquish my UK passport, I will take an English one as a matter of principle. Long live the Union!


Bob Miller said...

Dave, I could almost plug "Quebec" into your summary.

Anonymous said...

Dave, i've often toyed with the idea of asking you your views on this subject. But every time i considered it i thought nah! leave it, this is a Charlton blog.
So i find myself interested in your words.
My own opinion is this. The Union is doomed, it's doomed for two reasons. The first quite obviously is the success of the SNP which may lead to Scotland's departure.
The second reason is the democratic defecit and failure to include England in devolution.
For about fourteen years now my country has ceased to exist politically. This is giving rise to anger and resentment in England, particularly when one looks at the social benefits the Scots can have, yet apparently we can't afford.
Like you i used to be a proud Unionist. But now i don't care if it ends. There is however one chance to save the Union. By the creation of a new Federal Kingdom. With all four countries having their own Parliament and a Federal Parliament over the top of them all.
Sadly i don't think our politicians have the intelligence to see the solution.

Dave said...

Daggs - I think the English have been remarkably restrained (apathetic?) over this in recent years but, as you say, resentment is growing. I'm not so sure the Scots have social benefits that the English can't afford, maybe closer to how they choose to spend their money and they raise an extra penny or whatever it is in tax. This is what is giving rise to popular support for SNP politics although I am still confident that excludes independence for most. We are a canny lot and understand the inherent strength of Union (Banking collapses spring to mind). Haven't we already got a Federal Kingdom already - Holyrood, Stormont and the Welsh Assemby?

Anonymous said...

No Dave we haven't already got a Federal Kingdom.
We have Scotland, Wales, N.Ireland and the UK. England doesn't exist.
When you have time to waste, look at Cameron spouting in Westminster on say, the NHS.
He rattles on about what the Government will do with 'the NHS' 'the NHS in this country/our country' but he steadfastly refuses to say England even though that's what he means. Because NHS is devolved. But if he starts pointing that out, the English may actually wake up and see the injustice of asymmetric Devolution.
As for the way money is spent. Don't you think the English would like free prescriptions/eye-tests/dental checks. No tuition fees. assisted care for the elderly. We are denied them. I wrote to my MP and pointed this out. She said we can't afford it (at this time)Well Scotland/Wales and N.I. can. So where's the money coming from?

Any way i've had my say (thanks)I have never met you personally but wouldn't want to fall out with you on this. So that's it from me on this subjest.

Bring on the Wendies today. Our season doesn't hinge on this match, but a draw there would be an excellent result. C.O.Y.R.


Dave said...

Daggs - I get your point, although I guess Westminster is taken for granted as the English parliament, although I guess a separate body from that perspective might be more balanced. I'm not 100% on the finances but do believe it's about priorities and affordability. The relative populations of the member countries other than England are small beer and I guess the issue for England is scale? Rest assured, I don't believe you could upset me! I too would take a point today.

pete said...

can't stand salmond or his sidekick (forgotten her name) who was on question time on Thursday, and I personally don't wish to see the break up of the union, I wonder whether Cameron and the tories have a second agena. If Scotland, and Wales and NI for that matter, gain independence, England will maintain a Conservative government for many years to come. That doesn't bother me unduly, but doesn't do much for democracy.

Anonymous said...

I livein Cataluña, and they've got their own independence movement. A couple of years back, the seperatists began to organise referenda, town by town (not as an end but to galvanise support and arouse awareness): The first one, in Arenys de Mar stirred up everyone, The Madrid Government tried to ban it, the right sent up coachloads of right wing Falangists to intimidate voters, the Mayoress of Madrid, while backing the Falangists as 'healthy Spanish democrats', decried the vote as 'undemocratic'. The result was a 98% turn out with 96% voting for independance. From then on the Spanish sat back in silence, and the rest of the referenda ( they did 'em EVERYWHERE in Cataluña) never raised much more than 15 % turn out, all seperatists.
Just as an aside, maybe the English (and yes I'm one of 'em) should worry about how to achieve all the things the Scots have, rather than bemoan the situation and hope the Scots depart. My view is that if the Scots want Independance, they should have it, but if they go, will we then have free dentists, eye tests and the like?

Spain Addick

Suze said...

I notice whenever Alex Salmond refers to the Westminster government he calls it the English government, conveniently swerving the fact that it really is the UK government and there are more than a few Scottish MPs. It helps with the retoric...

He is pragmatic enough to keep the Bank of England, the pound...etc...

PS...we'll be very happy to have you as a very honourary English passport holder, Dave.

Dave said...

Suze - it would hurt, believe me, but I am serious. If it's Scots sink the Union I would not support the act by taking a Scottish passport. In those circumstances, I would gladly accept an English one assuming I qualified!