Is it just me or has anyone else English looked on in dismay, even embarrassment, as the leaders of the Westminster parties chase after Scotland, like old men vying for the attentions a bit of young skirt? For me it has been an unedifying and humiliating spectacle. Have they no dignity; could they not have displayed a measured but convincing authority deserving of the positions they hold? It has all sounded and appeared so desperate, so last minute and so reactionary. Whatever the individual thoughts of ministers might have been on the wisdom and effect of the referendum, the government should have planned for any realistic eventuality because it has known, for two and a half tedious years, that this was coming. How would these politicians act if war threatened this country – would they hug their heads and suck their thumbs, hoping it would go away?
The Scottish issue has prompted debate about devolution elsewhere in the UK. In so many senses England is the major component of that group of nations but it has been routinely overlooked or simply ignored while, yet again, the interests of a minority take precedence. Solving the West Lothian question, where Scottish MPs can vote on English only legislation, has been mentioned many times before but still without action. What is so difficult about this? Its unfairness is obvious but it seems beyond the wit of those pretentious elitists in Westminster to remedy it. As for anything substantial in the way of English devolution, it will be paid lip service but remain firmly on the sidelines. Besides, Wales has yet to put in its bid and that has to come first.
The independence referendum brings to a head a boil that has been festering for years and is one that now needs lancing – but it is not without its dangers. Whatever the Scots decide on 18th September it will be a divided nation. If one side’s hopes are raised, only to be dashed, or the other side’s fears are realised, only to be ignored, there will be a palpable resentment whose effects will endure for years hence and have disruptive consequences.
If Yes wins they will claim a mandate to make considerable demands. Westminster, cowed by its failure will, I suspect, cave in to those demands.
If Yes loses, particularly by a slim margin, they will set about finding any excuse to persist with the nationalist agenda. Salmond will then become the leader of the Bitter Together campaign. However, it will have the UK parties’ devolved powers on offer and thus claim considerable concessions. Westminster, cowed by its impotence will, I suspect, give way on those concessions.
Whatever the upshot of this referendum I believe we will, in different ways and to varying extents, be a diminished people and nation.
I am ashamed of our current batch of incumbent politicians; mired in apathy, paralysed by political correctness, constrained by European diktats, they have no class, no vision, no idea. UKIP will not form the next government – the party itself readily acknowledges that – but if any political group is capable of improving the rotten state of affairs in this country, I believe it is the one to do it.
Seriously, it’s time to vote UKIP.
Photo by stuant63