No doubt the impending dissolution of the UK will be followed by numerous books and articles purporting to chart it just as we have had endless analyses about the origins of the First World War.
Two of the Labour MPs on their ‘Westminster Express’ junket
To my mind, the fatal blows to what is essentially the union of England with Scotland were struck during the last week of the Scottish Independence Referendum campaign when a bevy of largely Labour MPs travelled (at public expense, of course!) on the so called ‘Westminster Express’ to Glasgow to campaign for a ‘NO’ vote. [ SEE: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/11/westminster-express-scotland-labour-mps ]
During this period, Gordon Brown, former prime minister, busied himself offering Parliamentary bribes to Scotland’s voters [naturally!] for which he had no authority. During this period, the three party leaders made their widely reported ‘Vow’ (again without Parliamentary authority) in their desperation to retain the Union and with it their positions.
It should not be forgotten that these same party leaders had presided over arrangements for the Referendum which excluded voters in England and the rest of the UK from even recording a collective opinion on the question of whether Scotland should secede.
Not only were double-standards being operated by taking this panic-stricken action, but it was folly to intervene in what until then had been portrayed by the British Parliament as a Scottish ‘do’ (regardless of its impact on the rest of the UK), a folly compounded by the rash ‘Vow’.
The belated intervention by British MPs and their party leaders was precipitated by a rogue opinion poll [not repeated] which indicated that for the first time in a steadily increasing trend the ‘Yes’ vote was the higher. However, the panic driven promises to yield ever more powers to Scotland whilst retaining the now infamous Barnet Formula rendered the outcome much more complicated and open to question than would otherwise have been the case. Quite simply, those last minute interventions have enabled proponents of Scottish independence to assert with much credibility that the ‘No’ result was achieved solely because of those interventions, solely because of the additional devolved powers promised to Scotland.
The Three British Stooges
As Oliver Hardy would have said to the chief architect of this situation: “This is another fine mess you’ve got me into Stanley!”.
Unfortunately, it is not a laughing matter . . . not yet anyway, but give it time and the pressure will increase for a second referendum ~ I do hope so! So often it seems that, short of massive civil unrest in England, the largely unheeding, unrepresentative and, therefore, undemocratic British political system will not otherwise treat the English and England as a nation in her own right.
Who doubts that a second referendum about Scotland’s secession from the UK will yield a convincing ‘Yes’ result, especially if the 40 million voters in England are permitted by the British Parliament to record a collective opinion!