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Published on October 8th, 2011 | by Matthew Howard
Image © [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="201" caption="Is it time to go it alone, or stick with the family? Image (c) Laird of Oldham via Flickr"]Scottish and British flags[/caption] In 1997 the Labour Party were swept into office with a euphoria reserved for Messianic new beginnings, yet were evicted with the urgency of an exorcism. What they left behind has set the agenda, for good or ill, that a Coalition Government have had to contend with. I would like to suggest devolution is a sleeping dragon, soon to rouse and cause havoc as nationalists struggle for outright independence. It's a situation that strikes at the heart of what it is to be English, Welsh, Irish and of course, what it means to be British. The saying suggests 'a house divided cannot stand'. Is it possible for Scotland to stand alone or would they need to cede to the creeping influence of the European Union, and accept the euro and its stringent economic regulations, now even more tightly controlled.

Who or What is to Blame?

It is argued that difference in culture including language, religion (i.e. the Scottish 'Kirk' and the Protestant/Catholic divide in Ireland) and history justify a nation state status for the respective people groups. This is argued by Irish nationalists and the Welsh Plaid Cymru. However, it's true that 'the British State was consolidated by English kings and rulers...who conquered the outlying regions of England from 800-1200, then Wales and Ireland'*. So, technically speaking, in a historical perspective, there's justified reason for a political union. In England alone we have regions that celebrate diverse traditions and dialects, yet we have lived under a single Monarch since the unification of our historic kingdoms. We have been governed for over three hundred years by a sovereign and universal Parliament.

What Did New Labour Do?

You could blame Tony Blair for the circumstances, though is it intellectually honest to do so? In truth, he did not start the 'troubles' or instil generational bias in Scott's against the English - a bias reflected today in University admissions and fiery rhetoric of the SNP. If these regions turn blue (not that kind of blue), then we risk loosing our shared history amid the establishment of an entirely new, euro-centric narrative. We have allowed the EU influence, but are we willing to sacrifice our shared British identity? In helping Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland establish their own Assemblies/Parliaments, I think New Labour have engineered a deeper crisis in the British Isles; that our historic association with one another is at risk from the engrossing European project. *The New British Politics (2004), Chapter 10: Disuniting the Kingdom

4

Restoring A Union: The Fools Dream?

Scottish and British flags

Is it time to go it alone, or stick with the family? Image (c) Laird of Oldham via Flickr

In 1997 the Labour Party were swept into office with a euphoria reserved for Messianic new beginnings, yet were evicted with the urgency of an exorcism. What they left behind has set the agenda, for good or ill, that a Coalition Government have had to contend with.

I would like to suggest devolution is a sleeping dragon, soon to rouse and cause havoc as nationalists struggle for outright independence. It’s a situation that strikes at the heart of what it is to be English, Welsh, Irish and of course, what it means to be British.

The saying suggests ‘a house divided cannot stand’. Is it possible for Scotland to stand alone or would they need to cede to the creeping influence of the European Union, and accept the euro and its stringent economic regulations, now even more tightly controlled.

Who or What is to Blame?

It is argued that difference in culture including language, religion (i.e. the Scottish ‘Kirk’ and the Protestant/Catholic divide in Ireland) and history justify a nation state status for the respective people groups. This is argued by Irish nationalists and the Welsh Plaid Cymru.

However, it’s true that ‘the British State was consolidated by English kings and rulers…who conquered the outlying regions of England from 800-1200, then Wales and Ireland’*. So, technically speaking, in a historical perspective, there’s justified reason for a political union.

In England alone we have regions that celebrate diverse traditions and dialects, yet we have lived under a single Monarch since the unification of our historic kingdoms. We have been governed for over three hundred years by a sovereign and universal Parliament.

What Did New Labour Do?

You could blame Tony Blair for the circumstances, though is it intellectually honest to do so? In truth, he did not start the ‘troubles’ or instil generational bias in Scott’s against the English – a bias reflected today in University admissions and fiery rhetoric of the SNP.

If these regions turn blue (not that kind of blue), then we risk loosing our shared history amid the establishment of an entirely new, euro-centric narrative. We have allowed the EU influence, but are we willing to sacrifice our shared British identity?

In helping Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland establish their own Assemblies/Parliaments, I think New Labour have engineered a deeper crisis in the British Isles; that our historic association with one another is at risk from the engrossing European project.

*The New British Politics (2004), Chapter 10: Disuniting the Kingdom

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About the Author

History and Politics undergraduate at the University of Hull.



  • David Halliday

    "Scott's"? Bizarre.

    Why is it biased for a democratically elected Scottish parliament to choose, as one of its priorities, to provide free tertiary education to those who live here? I could understand your ire if we were somehow stopping you from doing the same in your country. We're not.

  • Matthew Howard

    I suppose its because English tax payers are subsidising Scottish students while their children will now pay up to £9,000 a year. Its one of those technicalities of devolution that not only cost money but also divide us up, as if we are totally different people, which we are not.

  • David Halliday

    Do you not understand that we are given a putative fair share (in fact, we subsidise you) of UK tax income and decide how to spend it? If you don't believe that then surely you should be glad to see the back of the scrounging lot of us?

  • Matthew Howard

    Ah, on the contrary I value Scotland highly, its just devolution that I resent…

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