Saturday, 20 September 2014

United Kingdom redux PtII (Scotland starts a debate and some)

After the last few entries here's something a bit different.
As everyone in the UK and a good many other elsewhere may of noticed, the outcome of a long passionate debate over Independence or staying a part of the United Kingdom was finally put to the test by a referendum on Thursday in which 55% of Scottish voters rejected independence.
There are a number of things that I could say about this topic of one is as in our personal lives we are not fully independent so much as interdependent on each other for meeting our needs. 
It's fair to say the United kingdom is one of the closest  if not the closest ally the United States has in Europe in a two way relationship that has benefited us all since WW2 based on shared values and aided by a common language.
For historic reasons going to our former Empire, we have and maintain relations between Ourselves and the many countries of the Commonwealth we established.
While there is much controversy over the European Union, it's undeniable we do co-operate with them in many ways when it comes to know-how, trade links and so on.
In other words while we are a separate sovereign nation with our own policies and politics, we depend upon and gain  from our interdependence  with others in a increasingly global and interconnected World.
Was this a good time to be splitting up?
That was one question Scottish people were wrestling with.
Another was just how Independent would an Independent Scotland be? Although the Scottish National Party had asserted it didn't wish to join the Euro, a currency used by many but not all European Union countries, many observes noted as it would not be legally the successor to the UK, it was likely that the current terms of joining the EU would apply which included working toward adopting the currency whose interest rates and so on are set internationally. Also the so-called opt outs from policies the UK had obtained would not apply.
An Independent Scotland may well of been independent of Westminster but not of the EU and that monetary policy would be set outside of Scotland whereas as of now it's set in London by the Bank of England.
My personal views could be summarized by saying I wasn't persuaded the case for Independence and it's viability was made compared to being given more powers within the UK so the Scottish People could make the changes they felt mattered to them.
But that takes us to the unresolved problem of balancing a system that has a one Scottish Parliament and an assembly each for Wales and Northern Ireland who also return members to the UK Parliament in Westminster with England that has no such body and controversially allows Non English Members to vote on purely English laws at Westminster.
It is that which is regarded in differing degrees desirable to fix alongside the granting of extra powers to Scotland and the understandable clamour for similar powers for Wales and Northern Ireland.
I can see a Federal structure of sorts being adopting simply because increasingly since 1997 the UK constitutionally has changed beyond recognition and we need a system that allows each part of the UK certain areas that it alone sets while keeping others provided for across each.
English Cities are already asking for similar powers to raise taxes and make own spending decisions but to me the offer to people in England has to be comparable with even if not absolutely identical to that offered to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
That could be achieved either by giving such powers to assemblies or I feel better to County and unitary City authorities directly what already exist, cover the whole of England (giving powers to say Birmingham but not Cannock in neighbouring Staffordshire wouldn't be acceptable imho) and are acceptable by locals as their 'patch' that they identify with and wouldn't prove too expensive to set up.
Whatever happens the evolution of the UK's Constitution continues.

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