Friday, July 18, 2008

Should the union between Scotland and England continue?

An article titled, Scotland's hunger for independence proves annoying in England, raises the issue of Scotland versus England and why the English are (quite rightly) annoyed. The current era in Scottish-English relations began in 1997, when Tony Blair's Labour government addressed the persistent irritant of Scottish nationalism by giving the Scots more power to settle their own affairs. Scotland got its own Parliament, with responsibility over areas like health, social services and education. Devolution, as this transfer in power is called, was supposed to "kill Scottish nationalism stone dead," in the saying of the time. But instead, it has only magnified the Scots' differences with the English. and those differences are vastly unfair: Though Scotland is an old Labour stronghold, many Scots are disillusioned with the Labour government - even though the current prime minister, Gordon Brown, is Scottish. Since last year, the Scottish National Party, which favors Scottish independence, has been in power in the Scottish Parliament. Its able leader, Alex Salmond, has confounded Labour by proving that the nationalists can govern plausibly at home. Salmond has used Scotland's budget, which comes mostly in the form of block grants from London, to enact a series of radical social-service measures. In contrast to the residents of the rest of Britain, Scots get free university tuition and free personal and nursing care for the elderly. They also pay less for National Health Service prescriptions and have access to a greater range of medicines and treatments for illnesses like cancer. (link via the International Herald Tribune) Do you think the union between Scotland and England should continue? If so, why? I think it would be a shame if the union breaks up but it seems inevitable. As pointed out in the article, it's not just Scottish nationalism that is pulling apart the union but English nationalism is growing too. And certainly the fact that England doesn't have a parliament of its own is making the whole situation much worse. This is from the Campaign for an English Parliament: In the House of Commons, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs can vote on purely English affairs and affect what happens to England, but English MPs are prohibited from voting on matters purely affecting their countries. This is because England has no Parliament of its own where people of England can decide things for themselves. and regarding England's stance as a political non-entity: In the event of a YES vote on UK entry into the European Monetary Union, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and all the continental nations of Europe would have representation provided by their national parliaments. England has no parliament so it would be represented by the UK Parliament. England will be the only nation of Europe without specific representation for its people.

1 comment:

  1. What annoys this Englishman is Scotland's lack of hunger for independence.

    It looks like Labour will be returned in Glasgow east, so it looks like turkeys don't vote for Christmas after all