Friday, January 11, 2008


UK Soon to be Separate Countries Prediction

Yesterday's article by Iain Macwhirter(no relation to Norris and Ross) was a penetrating analysis of the way Devolution is going. I recall that following the Kilbrandon Report in 1973, devolution was devised as a device to draw the sting of the nationalist threat. The Conservatives opposed it at first but have now changed tack while nominally supporting the union along with Labour and the Lib Dems. However Macwhirter tells us the nationalists-sting very much undrawn- are winning hands down:

1. They control or share control in all three Celtic fringe countries.

2. They are, like Scotland, developing 'distinctive social policies' of their own and are advancing claims to 'repatriate'certain powers as well as a swath of other objectives.

The pace of policy differentiation is increasing dramatically as the subordinate legislatures begin to feel their strength. They are now feeding off each other and joining in tactical alliances.

3. Cardiff is seeking to match the powers granted to Edinburgh's powers of primary legislation. Even Wendy Alexander, Scottish Labour leader, now supports this line, in opposition to that of her countryman in Number 10.

4. Federalism now seems the 'least worst option for Westminster'. Cameron's proposal of an 'English grand committee' composed only of English MPs to decide English matters is a plan for a de facto English parliament. If the Lib Dems do a deal to form a coalition after the next election, 'federalism is inevitable'.

Macwhirter concludes:

There is unstoppable momentum now behind the disaggregation of the UK, and time is running out for the political establishment in Westminster to respond.

I'm not sure if Macwhirter supports or opposes these developments but his analysis is hard to rebut. The key weakness in his reasoning is that he overlooks the fact that a majority resist the notion of separation in Scotland, and, given its lower salience in Wales, there too. But his analysis sort of takes care of this key point by suggesting that Salmond is engaged on a 'salami slicing' strategy whereby Scots-by virtue of their animus against London- support each individual call for more autonomy until separation is achieved virtually by stealth. Get ready to show your passports once you've passed Carlisle.

It's not Separate Countries - although please let that be soon - it's separate planets.

The fact is that those in Government are on a totally different astral plane from the rest of us. Can they seriously expect us to believe a single word that they utter?
I know your last sentence is a joke Skipper but, at the risk of seeming utterly humourless, let's remind ourselves that both countries are within the European Union. Crossing from France to Germany (by bicycle) a year or so ago I didn't need to produce a passport or change currency (all that happended is that the beer dramatically improved). Of course if an independent Scotland entered the Schengen Agreement and the Eurozone, and England stayed out, perhaps we would have to show our passports, but that would be because of English and not Scotish insularity.
I find all this incredibly tedious. Let them all go, I say. How amusing to see Scottish 'nationalists' with little other than a hatred of the English to justify their pathetic yearning for independence. Good night and good bye.
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