PERFIDIOUS ALBION?

PERFIDIOUS ALBION?

I’ve been reflecting from time to time on issues arising over Scottish independence.     As readers of my blog will know, my view is that it would be better to remain together, the  four nations, but under a radically overhauled federal system under the crown.   The Scots should however I think vote YES because there is no hope of matters moving so radically without some mighty push to start things off.

I’ve been puzzling over the apparent stupidity of David Cameron who seems, in every move he makes, to damage his own case and irritate the Scots (a grumpy and volatile people, many of whom are easily offended and all of whom are of long memory).   Can he really be this stupid, I ask myself?   We all know  Alex Salmond is very clever, but prejudiced though I may be against an English, upper class Tory leader, I certainly don’t think him a fool.

When we were in America we had some interesting conversations on this topic with our hosts (themselves New Zealanders and therefore understanding of the difficulties of small countries standing as it were on the rim of the world).    They asked us some penetrating questions causing us to think again over some of the issues.

It has surprised us that these matters – which are highly significant for everyone living in the United Kingdom – are hardly being discussed in England at all.   What we are possibly facing is the dissolution of a union which has lasted for centuries.   Of course the Scots may vote NO, but who would put serious money on that?   The vote is an unknown quantity.

Now whereas the term Perfidious Albion may well apply to successive Westminster governments, the English nation themselves are a fine people – tolerant, fair minded, humorous, competent, decent.     They deserve an honest discussion of this issue.   And it’s not that the English people are uninterested either.   We get asked about the subject wherever we go (and we never introduce the topic).   The English listen with courtesy, and almost invariably respond with surprise – and wonder why no explanation of these issues and their implications is being offered them.    So we asked ourselves, well, why aren’t they?   And in discussion with our hosts a rather horrifying (to me anyway) possibility emerged.

Suppose, just suppose, that the Scots vote YES, and in due course they depart.   What would that mean for English politics?   There are 41 Labour Westminster MPs representing Scottish constituencies, and a solitary Tory.   It seems to be the view of pundits that under the present conditions we face endless years of coalition governments.    Neither Tory not Labour parties are comfortable in coalition.    The Lib Dems have profited in the sense that they have an influence on government, but it remains to be seen whether they are supported at future general elections by the Lib Dem voters.   But without those Scottish MPs?   The Tories, on present standing, would have a comfortable, workable majority, and without some sea change in English voting habits would probably continue to be in power for the foreseeable future.

Now Cameron is head of the Unionist party, and therefore he cannot come out and say, Be gone and good riddance to you – the Scots were ever troublesome.         So he has to say, Vote NO.   But maybe when he agrees younger Scots can vote;  when he insults the Scots and makes bullying remarks, and tries to intimidate them; when he provocatively brings the British army to within 20 miles of Bannockburn on the very day the Scots are celebrating the anniversary of their victory over the English; when he treats the issue with contempt as a parochial matter of little account, maybe he’s not so stupid.    If he manages to stick to a position of saying Vote NO, while doing everything he can to induce a YES vote, then either way he wins.   If the Scots vote YES, he’s looking at being in power in Westminster for as long as he can ride his turbulent party as its leader.   If they vote  NO, he’s the Prime Minister who saved the Union.

As for Labour, they must hope for a NO vote.   With a YES vote, they’d be facing perpetual opposition in England, and they’ve not done well in Scotland since devolution either.   But they are insecure in Scotland – it has come as a tremendous shock to them that they’ve lost out to the SNP and other parties.  Labour still has that air of disgruntled entitlement in Scotland that the Tories have in England.    Since potential Labour voters must be found in both the Yes and No camps, they may be nervous of coming out strongly for one or the other, but just hope that if they keep quiet the day of the vote will come and the Scots will lose their nerve.   There will be a No vote, and they can let it all slip by without too much attention.   They are also greatly handicapped by their present leader – as an Englishman, and a London Englishman as well, Milliband is not a figure calculated to appeal to Scots.

I can completely understand why the English would find the Scots position irritating.   But England should certainly be considering the implications for itself, and what would be in its best interests.   I don’t personally think unopposed Tory rule would be for the good of most of the English.

Finally, if the above speculation were true, (and there is no present proof whatsoever) I find myself quite distressed to think that a British Prime Minister would cynically make no genuine effort to save the union but be content to allow it to be dissolved, merely for the benefit of party politics.   I thought, if this were true, he would have abandoned his trust and be impeachable.   So I looked up what he swore, when he became prime minister to see, if these allegations were ever proven, could he be held to account?   But all he swore was to be a servant of the queen.   (And I had naively supposed he was there to act in our interests.)    He took no oath to defend the Union.   We need an overhaul of our system of government.

England, wake up!    This is not, as Cameron would have us believe, a provincial and parochial  matter of no great account.   Nor is it a trivial issue.

And in conclusion, you know how the Scots complain that Westminster is only concerned about England and English issues?   Well, if I’m right, turns out our suspicions were well founded.

The defence rests.

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About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

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