After the Scottish Referendum - 10 Reasons for Optimism
Like many others my reaction to the news that Scotland had said no to independence was disappointment and the sense that an important opportunity had been missed.
Of course, a yes vote would not have delivered a swift solution to all of the problems that concern us. In fact, by creating a naturally Left-leaning new country, it would have worsened some of those problems in the short term.
But, by removing those Labour voters from UK elections, it would have also strengthened the right in England. Scottish independence would also have represented an important blow to the corrupt political elite in Westminster. The no vote was bad news.
But there is far too much pessimism in our movement, and every new situation presents new opportunities. Therefore I would like to suggest 10 reasons why the situation in Scotland should give us cause for hope.
1. Even though the no campaign won the vote, there will be no continuation of the status quo. A couple of days before the vote the three main party leaders promised to devolve more powers to Scotland. Bizarrely, the vote to remain as part of the union will result in Scotland moving further away from it. Whilst it certainly isn’t the same thing as independence, the so-called “devo-max” model of devolution will give the impression that secessionist movements cannot be ignored. The idea of secession is now very much on the agenda.
2. Giving further powers to Scotland has brought into sharper focus the “West Lothian question.” That is, why should Scottish MPs be allowed to vote on issues that only affect England when English MPs cannot vote on matters that only affect Scotland? Many Conservative MPs are now demanding that Scottish MPs should not be allowed to vote on such legislation. We should support this movement towards an English identity and push it further, linking it to “the ethnonationalist principle that different peoples need independent homelands to express their distinct identities and pursue their unique destinies.”
3. The discussion of English votes for English laws has allowed the notion of English independence to enter mainstream discourse. The possibility of establishing an English Parliament is now being discussed without scare quotes. A Parliament for England does not seem particularly likely but discussion of it does at least remind people that we are a distinct ethnic group. Presumably some English people still have a dim recollection of what it actually means to be English.
4. A vote for independence would have been very bad news for the Labour Party. They are the default political party in Scotland, and independence would have robbed them of a large number of their MPs. Therefore, the no vote was good for them. But with the prospect of English votes for English MPs now being pursued they might end up losing those MPs on many issues anyway. The less power the Labour Party has the less chance they will have of facilitating another Rotherham.
5. Any constitutional shift in power away from the Labour Party will shift England to the Right. This will mean that discussion of issues such as immigration will have to take place with a more Right-orientated constituency in mind. Needless to say, the media will not exactly rush to reflect this shift, but it should nonetheless embolden those on the Right to pull the discourse in their direction. The wind is in our sails.
Continue reading at the excellent counter currents website...
David Cameron on the future of the UK's constitutional legislative power-balance pertaining to the democratic power stolen from England and our folk:
“This moment must not just be about securing Scotland’s future in the UK – and celebrating that fact – but settling other questions whose time has come.
The challenge is to make sure our UK works for all nations.
Millions of people in the rest of the UK have been listening to these debates, watching this campaign and rightly asking: ‘What will change for us? Why can’t we have the same powers and the same rights as those in Scotland?’
These are questions the Conservative Party itself has been asking for a long time.
Why should Scottish MPs be able to vote on what is taught in English schools, to reduce spending on English hospitals, or even vary English or Welsh income taxes, when under the new settlement English or Welsh MPs would have no say in such matters in Scotland?
It is fundamentally unjust to have the views of the people of England and Wales overridden in this way.
If the Scottish Parliament will soon have a range of new powers: powers over income tax rates; to change benefits such as housing benefit; to increase spending, including on the NHS – then there is a crying need to reflect that across the UK.
When we change our constitution – how we are governed – a new settlement has to be fair and lasting.
Forcing English people to accept policies on schools, hospitals and taxes for which they have not voted is not fair and such a settlement could not last.”