At last, it is over. Scotland voted to stay in the UK by a clear majority. Only two major cities, Glasgow and Dundee, voted to leave. Having visited both cites a number of times I can’t say I’m surprised as I found them to be very dour, inhospitable places.
Be that as it may, they’re staying but at a price. Somehow, the Caledonian Cyclops, Gordon Brown, committed us to giving Scotland greater devolution and, no doubt, more money. As previous history informs us, Gordon is no moron at spending our money. In fact, I have a sneaking admiration for him as he’s not in government, or barely in the HoC, but still got the bribe through.
Cameron has gone further as he promised greater devolution for us all. Predictably, NI can’t handle anymore power while Wales has already started the gimme rhetoric. Meanwhile, England just wants an end to the West Lothian question.
But there is a bigger question. If we keep devolving then what is the point of a United Kingdom when laws, taxes, health, social services and welfare are all different? We fret about a post code lottery now but the future will be worse. Greed and envy of the other places will be the drivers rather than a shared vision.
Then there’s talk of devolving power to the regions and big cities. Already the Lord Mayor of Leicester wants the power to raise taxes. Presumably he has never heard of Council Tax. By the logic of local accountability we may as well declare every town, village and hamlet independent.
Great Britain is changing irrevocably. Parliamentary sovereignty has been given away to the EU as has the primacy of British law and now we seem to be intent on turning the Union into a loose amalgam of small nation states fighting over scraps and minutia.
Great Britain pioneered the Industrial Revolution. Our trading and commerce maintained the Empire and gave the people in it a common rule of law, values and language. Pax Britannica was by no means perfect (far from it) but it achieved many good things for us and the rest of the world. Even a century or so ago we faced the world with a confident, united front. In 1939 we stood alone against the evil that was Nazism while the land of the free, America, sat back and collectively wrung hands and did nothing. A balkanised Britain will never be able to achieve great things, or stand up for liberty, ever again because there will be no common identity or sense of purpose. Is that what we really want?