THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Who leaked Labour's programme for Scotland?
Happy Birthday, Will.

Time for the Kingdom to be Untied

Link: newsBlog | Campaign for an English Parliament.

2002_07_28_pictures_112The growing English desire for a Parliament is entirely a reaction to the West Lothian Question. Englishmen have never before shown any desire for more layers of government. Were it not for devolution, we would be quite content to be governed from our historic parliament at Westminster.

Personally I love Scotland. It's a beautiful place and I have friends there. I really wish the Scots could get along with us in the UK, but then I love Ireland too. I see no reason why all of us in these islands can't live together as one nation.

Now there's a long-lost cause!

People who share the same language, teach their children the same nursery rhymes, love the same drama, music and literature and cherish common values should be in the same nation. That the tribal hatreds of prehistoric times have outlasted the long-miscegenated tribes is sad. That modern nations should define themselves by long-dead tribes of a lost race is pathetic. Sad, pathetic or not, the right to self-determination is inalienable and it's not for me to question the reasoning behind any given exercise of that right.

The Scots seem cautiously to be gearing up to go the way of the Irish, no doubt encouraged by their recent example. The SNP is cleverly making it "safe" for voters to elect them, by promising a referendum on full independence in 2010. It will have three years, and the resources of the well-funded Scottish government, to make its case. I think it will succeed. The sight of a nationalist government running the country (and under the leadership of the most impressive politician in these islands it can scarcely do less well than the current lot) will stoke the fires lit by Labour with the establishment of what Billy Connolly calls "the wee pretendy Parliament".

Though we will shed a tear, it is not all bad news. They have never, shall we say, fully embraced the United Kingdom. Only 163,000 of them currently make a net contribution to the UK Treasury. Most Scots are unreconstructed Socialists. An election-deciding proportion of them work for (or are kept in idleness by) the State. I do not say they are no loss, but I am a polite Englishman. Economically, it would not be far wrong. Of course, they will take their share of North Sea oil, but it's not as great as the SNP thinks and becomes less important with every day of delay.

We need to get our act together for the negotiations which may begin in 2010. Few people seem to have thought the consequences through - on either side of the border.

Since Scotland will be leaving the UK, which is the Member State of the EU, an independent Scotland will need to apply to join. It would be irrational for a new nation, with no recent track record of political and economic stability, to walk immediately into membership. The nations of New Europe, very sensibly, had to prove that they were stable democracies with viable economies before they could  join. They were made to jump many hoops of the kind now being held up before Turkey. Scotland should jump them too.

At the time of the Acts of Union it was a bankrupt failed state. Until an independent Scotland generates a fresher, and we all hope better, track record the UK should veto any membership application.

There is much more to be negotiated, not least the status of the 800,000 self-defined Scots nationals living and working in the rest of the UK. The SNP has blithely (and wrongly) assumed an independent Scotland would be an EU member. I don't see that happening (barring treachery) for half a century at least. Scots in the continuing UK should be denied work permits unless they qualify under a sensible points system for non-EU immigrants. It goes without saying that every prisoner and every benefit claimant who proudly wrote "Scottish" on the last census form should be given the bum's rush north. Scotland would likely reciprocate and, naturally, it would only be cricket for the UK to accept English, Welsh and Northern Irish prisoners and claimants in return. Nor should we have any problem in welcoming back any of our 400,000 nationals denied a work permit.

We need to reposition the RN submarine bases and RAF bomber bases which will no longer be needed by the nuclear free Socialist Scotland. The loss of military bases may be the worst of it, since largely wild and empty Scotland is ideal for military training and the Scots themselves are bonnie fighters. However, her economy will be weak enough, at least initially, for the UK to lease bases. SNP policy is clear on being "nuclear-free" however, so we must respect that and relocate our nukes (I suggest Tehran - just kidding).

We need to negotiate a fair allocation of the National Debt. At the time of the  Acts of Union the UK took over then-bankrupt Scotland's debts. This was the main reason Scotland joined the UK. Over the centuries, the UK's borrowed funds have been disproportionately allocated to poorer Scotland in a failed attempt to regenerate her. She must take away her fair share, allocated per capita with an adjustment for the Barnett Formula, of the current debt . The SNP never seems to think of that, assuming they will get away Scot-free, as it were.

I predict that the UK (minus Scotland) will retain her triple-A credit rating for sovereign debt and her place in the world's top five economies. Alex Salmond, however, should be discussing Scotland's sovereign debt rating with the relevant international rating agencies now, as it will be of critical importance in his economic policy. For comparison, Russia's current (much improved) rating for sovereign debt is BB+ I cannot imagine that Scotland will come anywhere near that, so its debt will be expensive.

I do not write these things maliciously. I really do love Scotland and I believe she can and will succeed as a separate nation. In fact, I think independence would be Scotland's salvation. In order for her to move forward proudly, a lot of "numpties" and "neds" will need to put their shoulders to the wheel in an unaccustomed way. Otherwise, unless her new borders are sealed, I can't imagine those 163,000 net contributors staying very long. Frankly, I can't think of anything better; not least as an example to the UK of how to deal with her own chavs and state-subsidised criminals.

Screen_shotThere is not long to go until May 3rd. Please, all you Scots voters, get out there and vote SNP. I have just made the first political donation of my life. It is £200 - the maximum I can give to the SNP without being registered as a voter in the UK. I urge my fellow-members of the Witanagemot Club, the CEP and all others of goodwill to do the same. As in so many other matters at present, the Scots have a vote on this issue and we don't, so we must be pragmatic and ask them to vote wisely.

Many of we English agree with the SNP; "It's time." Go for it and all the best to you.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Surreptitious Evil

They were made to jump many hoops of the kind now being held up before Turkey. Scotland should jump them too.

Err, no Armenians to slaughter?



You've got me there, YR. It includes all of those things. I don't say you're ignorant but I am curious as to whether you are commenting on the right post! I said they are unreconstructed Socialists. I didn't say they weren't entitled to be. So are the SNP actually, and I am now a donor!


I wasn't aware that classical liberalism included moaning that people don't vote for your party. I thought it was more like accepting the dignity of debate, the eternal truth that freedom of opinion is always freedom to dissent, that freedom and tolerance were indivisible.

Obviously I'm just ignorant.


Why 'start building up its own national debt'? Scotland has been disproportionately responsible for a fair share of the current UK ND. If they took 8% of it, in line with Scotland's share of UK GDP, that would be around £45bn. And that would be generous.

Still, with Salmond's £5bn a year of oil taxes, he'll be able to pay it all off in 9 years, won't he?


I suspect Blair was relying on English apathy to Devolution. A True Statesman would have dealt with Devolution for the whole of the British Isles, not piecemeal to (formerly) Labour supporting Scotland and Wales, and in conjunction with the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland.

One thing is certain is that it would be inequitable that a Scot be it Reid or Brown, leads Englands negotiations with a semi autonomous Scotland. The SNP have thought this through, and are proposing a Council of the Isles,whereas Westminister cannot even begin to allow itself to think that there is the possibility of change from the status quo.

Good Luck to the SNP, I shall watch events north of the Border, more than I will in this part of Somerset where Nu Lab are not even fielding candidates.


In a pipe-dream, of course, Scotland decides not to join the EU and lives happily ever after. Or, the English argue that Scotland is the successor state to the UK and that England is thereby out of the EU and that Scotland can pay the humungous UK contribution.

Man in a Shed

Alex Salmond is playing a blinder of a game North of the Border. His UK-Lite ( share of the sovereign and some other ties ) is going down well.

I can live with it as long as it is made clear that no foreign power can establish bases on Scottish soil with permission from England. ( The US bases can stay - but if they try to put in Russian bases then it will be war ).

Perhaps keep a common Navy and airforce ( who are loyal to the joint sovereign anyway ) and separate Armies. Scotland can waste its time with its own foreign service (who cares ? )and work on building up its own national debt.

They can forget currency Union however - last thing we need is a petro currency .....

I'm still a Unionist - but if the Scots want to go after 300 years then they should expect us to beg to stop them - there is after all an upside. As I've said before on my blog I'm married to a Scot and have lived there for a number of years. But I'm fed up of the Anglophobia.

Welshcakes Limoncello

Great article, TP. Yes, why should they assume continued membership of the EU if they leave the UK? I'm anti-devolution myself as I think it's just a quangofest so I agree with what you say at the beginning of the post.

The comments to this entry are closed.