Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Good Time for England to Ditch Scotland?

In David Cameron’s mind, the LibDem demands for proportional representation as the price for forming a government must surely be balanced by the knowledge that his refusal to do so would force them into coalition with the Labour Party, who would then be obliged to clean up the financial mess they helped create.

This would have a number of consequences. First, Cameron would avoid having to bear any of the inevitable popular backlash against the government that has to make the essential cuts.

Second, the Labour-LibDem coalition would be massively unpopular. Labour would of course seize the chance to stay in power, but its lack of electoral or moral authority would create huge hostility in England against (1) the Labour Party, and (2) Scotland and Wales, both for their Labour MPs, and the SNP and Plaid Cymru MPs needed to prop up the coalition, if only on a vote-by-vote basis.

Due to the diversity of this coalition it would only be a matter of time before it fell on some pretext or other. It would almost certainly fail to pass a PR bill before its dithering demise - in a two party FPTP system, Labour stands to lose as much as the Tories if a PR bill were to succeed.

The subsequent election would return a Conservative government. Whether it had a majority or not is irrelevant. What is important is that this Conservative government would be under intense popular pressure to either pass a PR bill (very unlikely) or do something about Scotland so that England gets the governments it elects.

In other words, it would have an English mandate for Scotland to become independent.

Cutting Scotland loose would be a relatively simple matter. One way would be for Cameron to instruct the Conservative MSPs in the Scottish Parliament to vote with the SNP Government to pass the proposed referendum on Scottish independence. This would not need the support of his Westminster coalition partner(s). The Scottish Greens are already on board to achieve the numbers. With the Conservatives in power in Westminster (and some orchestrated support from the Scottish media) the referendum would stand a good chance of success.

Another way would be to hold a UK-wide referendum on Scottish independence. This would be hard to pass in Westminster via a coalition, but with a narrow Tory majority government would pass easily and be likely to succeed given the anticipated rise in English antagonism to Scotland, and could be pursued if the Scottish attempt failed.

Either way, the result would be England waving farewell forever to 50-odd Scottish Labour and LibDem MPs, Scots voting on English issues, and Scottish Prime Ministers.

The Conservatives could then easily form a government without any need for the wishy-washy compromise of a coalition. Strong uncompromising government - the current system of elected dictatorship that routinely shuts out minority voices - would be preserved, and the banks, City and industry would be happy.

And David Cameron would be the foundational leader of a newly independent England. An immortal name for schoolchildren to remember in the centuries to come.

The real question then, Mr Cameron, is how do you want to be remembered? One of the last leaders of a withered imperial state, clinging on to the bitter end in a cobbled-together series of toothless coalition governments, or the architect of the great English nation reborn?

Decisions, decisions…


In the recent UK first past the post (FPTP) General Election, without Scotland or Wales, out of a total of 533 seats, the English result would have been:

298 Conservative (last seat to vote on May 27th)
191 Labour
43 LibDem
1 Green

A massive Conservative majority of 107 with 56% of the vote.

And for England and Wales, without Scotland, out of 572 seats:
306 Conservative (298+8)
217 Labour (191+26)
46 LibDem
3 Plaid Cymru

Still a strong Conservative majority of 89 with 53.5% of the vote.


Iain Martin, Union Between England and Scotland May Soon Be Toast, Wall Street Journal, May 8th, 2010

Minette Marrin, Cut Scotland loose – then we’ll have a fair voting system, Sunday Times, May 9th, 2010

Iain Dale, Celtic Fringes Wot Lost It Iain Dale's Diary, May 9th, 2010

Benedict Brogan, How do you solve a problem like Scotland?, Daily Telegraph, May 10th, 2010
(Labels Scotland 'a troublesome province', and believes 'England has had its fill of Scottish politicians.'

The LibLab Con Cannot Claim a Mandate, Campaign for an English Parliament, May 10th, 2010


Richard T said...

This of course founders on one tiny point. The Scots may not vote for independence. Although we had the temerity to vote in a different pattern from England in the general election, 75+% of the vote was for the unionist parties.

OutLander said...

Hi Richard,

You say "The Scots may not vote for independence."

Too true, but unless we ask them, how on earth do we know?

You cannot simply extrapolate tactical votes within the continuing Union framework to projected voting intentions in an independence referendum that has never happened.

The same goes for any single issue. For example, the Scottish election result could be used to argue that Scots want to keep Trident in Scotland, which we know is not true.

And if we are going to second guess referendum results, why bother with one on proportional representation?

Allan said...


True, but since when have we heard the FULL arguments for and against full independence. For example the extent to which Scottish oil props up the UK ecconomy is disputed on all sides, but we do know that Scottish oil does prop up the UK ecconomy.

I did argue for the SNP to campaign on an anti union ticket for this election, i think that they would have got some more milage out of it than with the "Scotland's Champions" slogan.

By the way, where did you get the idea for renaming the Daily Retard?

Junius said...

Given the increasing hostility in England, it might not be left up to the Scottish people to decide.

People like me, would vote independence for you right now; so why not ask US to help you get what you want, and we can get what we want;

Such benefits might included the return of our maritime resources be reversing the 1968 act, being able to spend English taxes in England; while you get fiscal automony, independence and the ability to exist as an nation in your own right.

Seems like a good deal to me.

OutLander said...

Hi Allen,

Since when have we heard the FULL arguments for and against full independence?

Good point. We have, of course, heard the full arguments against independence in the mainstream media, but you won't find much balanced commentary, never mind many in favour of it. In fact, Joan McAlpine of the Times is the only one I can think of.

I would like to hear a discussion our projected relationship with Europe, how the future fund would work, our proposed currency, etc, but with the MSM shouting ‘la-la-la can’t hear you’ with their hands over their ears whenever even the concept of independence is raised, it's not about to happen soon. In depth public discussion tends only to happen in the blogosphere.

On the Daily Record thing, can't remember where I heard it. It was a toss-up between Daily Retard, Daily Rectum, Daily Rabid, Daily Ribbentrop, Daily Pravda, Daily Derail, Daily Reckit or the Daily Delirium.

OutLander said...

Hi Junius,

Given the increasing hostility in England, it might not be left up to the Scottish people to decide.

I think that's what I was trying to say in my post. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Scottish independence isn't about being anti-English. It's about getting rid of the superfluous superstructure of political parasites who call themselves British.

By the return of our maritime resources by reversing the 1968 act...

To be honest, I really don't care where the maritime border between Scotland and England lies. I would just like there to be one, so that we can all get on with rebuilding our nations, without people who call themselves 'British' wasting our respective countries' resources on foreign wars, Trident, propping up rotten banks, and lining their own pockets.

The sooner England and Scotland wake up the better.

Anonymous said...

Given that we are supposed to be, I repeat, supposed to be, equal members of this union, wouldn't it be better for England to leave it.

It's the one out of step. Ireland, Scotland and Wales didn't vote for the Conservatives.

Nah, I'm joking. England is the boss. It has all the treasures, it holds the key to everything and we aren't and never were equal.

England is the colonial master and we are the slaves. So yeah, kick us out. Brilliant. We'd love that.

OutLander said...


England is the colonial master and we are the slaves. So yeah, kick us out. Brilliant. We'd love that.

Indeed. The way it's going, feelings about the end of the Union are becoming mutual.

Anonymous said...

I have come to the conclusion that the only way to get independence is to p!ss off the English so much of that they will have to give it to us.

I'm afraid the only way to do that is to vote tactically at UK elections to continually keep the Tories out and now to keep the Liberals out. It also means having to vote Labour to avoid splitting the anti Tory/Liberal vote.

If we can continually stop the Tories from getting majority government, mark my words, Murdoch and the Tory press will focus everything on the meme that the Scots are benefiting proportionality from the union to soften the public up and allow the Tories to break it.

I think this is the only way as I think even if the SNP got a large number of seats, London would do everything everything to dilly dally and drag their feat in order to sap the morale of the Scottish public in the hope that it will persuade them of the futility of voting SNP.

I don't know if this is just pessimism brought on by another UK election without a SNP breakthrough but I'm afraid I can't see there being any other alternative.

OutLander said...

Hi Anon,

Like you say, I think one thing that came out of the recent election is that, despite all the pundits' predictions, everyone forgot to give the Scots credit for being canny and thinking for themselves.

This may well be the pattern until independence - Scots voting Labour in UK elections to keep out the Tories, and voting SNP at Holyrood because the SNP seem to be doing a good job, they stand up for Scotland and, well, quite frankly, the other parties are a joke.

What good would 20, 30 or even 59 SNP MPs have been anyway? Sure, they could all have boycotted Westminster and claimed to have a legitimate government at home (like Sinn Fein did in 1918), but it would have been no more than symbolism with the Scottish parliament already sitting in Edinburgh and without any resulting increase in powers. All it would have done is create some interesting desk-sharing arrangements.

Maybe you're right. We spend so much time harping on about Labour and Scottish Unionists that everyone seems to forget about the English in all of this. Scottish independence could end up being a lot simpler and faster than many of us expected. It might end up being nothing more than a by-product of the English political reawakening.

And if pissing them off is how we achieve this, so be it.

OutLander said...


Something just occurred to me.

What a total mindfuck it would have been in the election if Salmond had called on all Scots to vote Labour to keep the Tories out, instead of all that Scottish rope stuff.

I think Curren & Murphy's heads would have imploded, just trying to argue against it.

The more I think about it, the more sense it makes.

Why are the SNP in Westminster again?