Along with the people of Wales and Northern Ireland, we have seen the benefit of health devolution. A certain de facto health federalism has established itself. Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham must be eating their hearts out - when there is no countervailing power in the English regions!
It is difficult for the SNP to explain why it wants to stay in the EU Club but does not want to stay in the UK Club. Would it not be better to develop policies for a better Britain for us all?
The SNP seem to forget that the 30 million English voters are not some undifferentiated mass of anti-Scottish sentiment but are fully fledged human beings, most of whom have the benefit of sharing our language. Moreover, there are amongst them some Scots who have gone “doon sooth”.
Corvid19 is a game changer. As the UK enters the mother of all recessions, the government will usher in a no deal Brexit (ditching the EU) just as the US economy is devastated by Trumpian neglect and China imposes sanctions over Hong Kong! You can hardly imagine a worse economic scenario!
Mass unemployment creates the danger that people become susceptible to the easy answers of national chauvinism and racism. Already, some right-wingers are demanding reparations from China for the infection. Of course, if it is the fault of the Chinese, Boris and his Pals can’t be blamed.
Scottish Labour is ground down between Unionism and Nationalism - hoping that these issues will somehow “go away”. Its own policy of Federalism or “Home Rule” does not get a hearing. Of course, you can’t have Federalism unless the other UK nations and English regions also want it.
You would think that all of us could agree that we should:
- Abolish the House of Lords
- Establish a new second chamber, elected by proportional representation from the UK Nations and regions.
- The first task of this new assembly is to draw up a written constitution for a federal Britain that maximises devolution to the nations and regions.
But Labour’s leaders in Wales, Labour’s English Mayors and Council Leaders together with the SDLP in Northern Ireland could make common cause with Scottish Labour for a Federal solution that includes abolishing the House of Lords. Such an alliance might force the SNP to “lend support” to Federalism and it might make Labour’s front bench in Westminster wake up to the need for a constitutional settlement for the UK as a whole.
We need a progressive alliance to ensure that we never go back to a new normal that reproduces the injustices and inequalities of the old. We need to rebuild Britain. I realise that the very concept of “Britain” can be threatening for those who have set their hearts on Scottish independence and have come to believe that it is the answer to every problem. There is a little psychological trick that will help wean you from such delusions. Think of the “Rest of the UK” as "Greater Scotland".
I have every confidence that it is not simply the population of Scotland who are beginning to realise that the UK Government is led by braggarts, buffoons and second-rate chancers!
Let’s make some progress.
Take back control and get FEDERALISM done.
Mick Rice, Secretary, Glasgow Retired Members branch Unite