The Union – what is ‘the union’? Why can’t we have an English Parliament for English Laws?
A historical combination of four countries, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which made up the United Kingdom, but now it’s just that, past history.
Today, the United Kingdom consists of the same four countries but each now has its own ‘devolved governments’ apart from England.
We are constantly reminded by politicians that we ‘live in a fair society’, so, would it not be ‘fair’, that England has a Referendum which asks ‘Do you want an English Parliament for English matters?’
For twenty-two years, England has had to share its law. Both the Senedd Cymru and Scottish Parliament have been in existence since May, 1997.
Scotland incessantly moan we want a ‘second Independent Referendum’ – it might just be that England and the other nations, no longer wish to align themselves with a country that allows 4 year olds to change gender without parents’ consent, that being just one issue people are talking about?
Scotland had a Referendum, where the majority, 55.30% of the population, voted against Independence from the United Kingdom.
The UK government has repeatedly said it would not grant the consent. It argues that the referendum result in 2014 – when voters rejected independence by 55% to 45% – still stands, and points to quotes at the time from both Ms Sturgeon and her predecessor, Alex Salmond, that it was a “once in a generation” event.
At the same time, Wales too chose to have a devolved Government albeit marginally agreed by 0.6%. More recently in 2011, the Welsh were asked ‘do you want the Assembly now to be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 subject areas it has powers for?’ Overall, 63.49% voted ‘yes’. However, the party standing for Independence, Plaid Cymru, only came third in the recent local elections, behind the Conservatives, with 13 seats to Labour’s 30. It would appear that there is mixed feeling in Wales around Independence and what Independence means to the individual. Yet, it must be said, Wales has never been offered a Referendum on Independence. There have been several polls on the question of Wales being an independent country since 2014; the latest in January 2021 showed that 52% would vote to Remain in the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland – north-east of the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and it too has a devolved government, Stormont. In 1973, the majority 98.9% voted in an Independence Referendum to Remain in the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland is a complex situation and the calls for reunification are still ongoing.
However, by the same token, England has never had a referendum on whether it too could devolve and have its own Parliament let alone an Independence Referendum.
Any talk of ‘Scottish Independence’ should be preceded by a Referendum in England as to an “English Parliament for English Laws”.
This is where we are today because in May 1997, under Tony Blair’s Labour Government, the creation of a devolved Welsh Assembly (Senedd Cymru) was created by a Referendum result of a narrow 0.6% margin, 50.3% voting yes. The creation of a devolved Scottish Government was also implemented at the same time after a Referendum was held whereby 74.29% majority voted in favour. Never were the English given their own Parliament. We obviously cannot vote on what happens in the other 3 nations of the ‘Union’, but they can have a vote or say in what happens in England. This is not a ‘fair society’.
As it is reported, the Government will not entertain a second Scottish Independence Referendum. It was agreed by everyone that this was a ‘once in a generation’ event.
It is therefore only right in a ‘fair society’, that before any other referendum can take place, the English should be asked, ‘do you want an English Parliament for English Laws?’
Turning again to Independence Referendums, before any second attempt by Scotland, surely Wales should be given its own Referendum and by the very least, those outside Scotland within the Union, Wales, Northern Ireland and England should be given the chance of a debate regarding any terms in a Second Independence Referendum for Scotland; after all, what is agreed will affect every other Union member.
- How would the remainder of the union feel about losing ‘part of its territory albeit through a democratic process?’
- How would the rest feel of ‘losing part of their image’; everything ‘welsh’, ‘irish’, ‘scottish’, ‘english’ makes up British identity and portrays on the world stage.
- What about security; our armies?
- If Scotland were ever to be able to rejoin the EU – would there not be a border between England and Scotland? According to Scottish Government statistics, England is Scotland’s largest trading partner and an international border, would increase the cost of trade, as checks would no doubt be necessary.
- Would Scotland be able to remain in the Commonwealth?
- Would we allow Scotland to retain the English pound?
- Would they remain under the Monarch?
- Would Scotland repay their debts?
- Would Wales get more under the Barnet Formula? Would it be scrapped?
- Scotland receives a higher percentage of UK public spending per head than the rest of the countries that make up the ‘nation’. Should we not be able to decide how that saving should be shared amongst the remaining countries?
So therefore, can we have a Referendum in England only for an English Parliament for English Laws so that all members of the ‘Union’ can be on the same level footing?
Looking to the future, we now seem to have three options :-
- Do we remain as a ‘union’ with devolved powers for each union member?
- Do we realise that we are in a mess, thanks to Tony Blair taking us towards this unsettled conundrum for the sake of votes for his own party, and move towards a more ‘federal’ type system?
- Do we all break away independently? Creating four independent countries with its borders?
However we feel, would it not be appropriate or fair, in the first instance, to ask the remainder of the United Kingdom –
What do you want? Don’t you want to live within a society that’s fair?
Whatever happens, at least let’s be fair, first England must have its own Parliament.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below,