Since the Megahri situation created such a stir and the awareness across the UK that Scotland did things differently and maybe was not in Westminster’s thrall I have followed with interest the pattern of comment on Labour List.
Will Straw’s piece on the need for Labour to ‘go green’ to garner votes in 2010 left me nonplussed but it did cause me to enter into a dialogue with another blogger on what is wrong with the Union and why is it disintegrating.
Now here is the thing; as a Scot, living in Scotland I get that it is not so much Scotland wants independence but that the people of England want their freedom. The Westminster machine and its supporting civil servants were created to run the English Empire of which sociologists such as Carol Craig or William Beveridge before her would argue meant Scotland was seen as just a colony, a vassal state of that empire.
The empire no longer exists yet the structures do. There is still a Secretary of State for Scotland and for Wales yet devolution has made these posts irrelevant, the English Empire at Westminster can no longer dictate what is best for its remaining ‘colonies’ as they are by and large autonomous and this is where the current dysfunction in UK politics lies.
The English do not know what they are or where they stand; Westminster is no longer the centre for UK politics for the Welsh and the Scots, the City is no longer the major driver of the UK economy as the constituent parts become aware what is good for London is not necessarily good for them, the English appear no longer in control of their national destiny as more and more powers they thought were theirs appear to leach to the EU and yet Scottish and Welsh MP’s can influence how their country is run.
So we have the arguments of who subsidises who, should the Scots take all taxation from the Scottish North Sea oil and gas sector, can England survive without the excess of energy in all forms Scotland can generate, just how will the SE survive in twenty years time with out access to Scotland’s surplus of fresh water? People take entrenched views and the politics of division, so long practiced in Westminster, work to take advantage for their own electoral benefit while pretending unity is the key.
Maybe that is why the SNP have such a sustained lead in vote share, they are clear in what they want and that is economic autonomy for Scotland. The Scots have their parliament back, they have their different legal, educational, health and social provision so what is the point of Westminster as currently construed?
That is the question the politics of division, so long practiced at Westminster, has no answer.
I have a possible answer – give Westminster back to the people of England; if the Union is to survive then the House of Lords must be reformed into an elected senate on a proportional or STV basis, funded on a per capita basis per nation and region with an in built majority of English representatives reflecting the population of these islands. This body will have oversight and control of all agreed UK joint interests – Defence, Foreign Relations, The UN and the EU for example.
It’s that or an SNP landslide at Holyrood in 2011, with a Tory or Labour Government at Westminster, and ever increasing strife and division until the SNP succeed in gaining independence by default.