Freedland on the Conservative and Anti-Unionist Party

At the risk of having my comments filled with swivel-eyed loons with an penchant for calling everyone who doesn’t agree with them a “c***”, I just thought I’d recommend Jonathan Freedland’s article on the Tories’ daft proposals on breaking up the UK.

There are however, the points in this I take exception to:

  1. You don’t need to go back as far as Prussia to find an example; a more contemporary example of what happens when you create an assymmetric union of nation states can be found in the form of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
  2. I don’t actually accept Jonathan Freedland’s view that Scotland and Wales “civilise” the English and that without them we will simply drift to the right, although I accept that most Tories probably think that.

If the latter were true however, I think the case for breakup would be much stronger than it is: if our cultures are so sui generis, why not go our seperate ways?  In fact, what we’ll find quite quickly is that instead of all this moaning about the West Lothian Question, the feeling that the North of England is being subjugated by the South will become even more acute.  Over time, we’ll probably end up federalising England in exactly the way the Tories most fear, but with a lot more unpleasantness and a lot more time and energy wasted.  The Tories haven’t just given up on Scotland and Wales; they have discovered that by simply concentrated on a few voters in the Midlands and the South, they can use the electoral system to orchestrate a coup, and are using the Scots as convenient scapegoats in the hope that the North won’t notice.

The real problem is the massive centralisation of England; the West Lothian Question is a trainspotter’s obsession (coming from me, that’s saying something) and a serious distraction.


  1. Erm…so the price the English pay for retaining the union is…the Welsh and Scots being able to do their own thing and charge us for it?

  2. No, its proper federalism. But you lot don’t want that would you? You’d rather break up the union than have true subsidiarity, regardless of the lip service you pay about decentralisation these days.

  3. Edward, you always do this: read the title and begin commenting without bothering to read my post. And then we go around in circles. Either argue against the substantive of what I actually wrote, or shut up.

  4. So Simon Hughes the Lib Dems constitional spokesman was wrong to raise the inequality of the WLQ?

    So the union is so fragile that it will fall apart if we have English MP’s only voting for English only issues?
    Strange that in opinion polls north of the border 40% agree that there should be votes on English only issues by English MP’s.
    Although the union was strong enough to support a seperate parliament in Scotland with responsibilty for everything except the economy,defence and foreign affairs?

    The real Lib Dem objection is that their current leader is in exactly the same position as Gordon Brown ,agree that we don’t need to go back to Prussia to realise that.

  5. Word of advice: if you want to win an argument, using the argument that Simon Hughes thinks something is a good idea is not a brilliant one.

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