Sunday, January 14, 2007

Has Devolution Strengthened the Union?

I got some flaming the other day for suggesting that Labour's policy of devolution has resulted in a resurgent nationalism in Scotland and Wales. I still believe that to be the case. Labour politicians continue to peddle the fiction that devolution has strengthened the Union (see HERE)Let's put it to the test and see what other readers of this blog think...

Has Devolution Strengthened the Union?
Free polls from


Anonymous said...

It's quite hard to say, because I believe the support for independence in Scotland did in fact go down by quite a sizable amount after the devolution settlement. Of course, recently, we've seen quite a sharp increase in support.

When it comes to the big moment though, I think common sense will prevail and the Union will be maintained. But then, I always was an optimist ...

ConservativeHomo said...

It could strengthen it if it settles down with time, but I fear the West Lothain problem will end up being used by all and sundry to make mischief...

Man in a shed said...

Iain - I think you'll find there a lot of fiction coming out of the mouths of NuLabour ministers. Their mistake is, as always, to believe because they say it that it becomes true.

chris doidge said...

I'm not sure the question you've posed in the poll quite reflects the arguments.

"suggesting that Labour's policy of devolution has resulted in a resurgent nationalism in Scotland and Wales" is a slightly different thing to asking if "devolution has strengthened the Union"?

You'd expect nationalism to have gained a bit more influence. Having Scottish and Welsh assemblies increases the number of seats available to nationalist parties, and obviously will give them a louder voice.

Also, it won't let me vote as I've apparently already voted. I haven't and neither's anyone at my IP address.

Anonymous said...

It is wrong to discriminate against poles, they are part of the EU now.

Scots Wha Hae said...

see the there is a fiction of understanding here

Devolution is partial independence as some powers are now held independnetly at the Scottish Parliament

Other powers belonging to Scotland are still held [captive :-)]at Westminster.

Scots are now realising this and saying well if we can have some independent powers why can't we have the rest back esp the important ones just like smaller Ireland Norway Iceland or even have a parliament to match the Isle of Man. for heavens sake.

Scots are also noticing the that this Arc of Prosperity surrounding Scotland are similar in size and smaller

If you want to interplay with words
devolution is partial independence and
independence is total devolution

Finally the "Union" is just an abstact idea that allows Blair to be Dubya's poodle

Anonymous said...

Come to think of it what does "strengthened the Union" mean?

One sentence answers please.

Anonymous said...

Just goes to show that - at the time of this post - only 6% of your readers live in Scotland. That's tough, given the way you spell your name.

Och aye. So be it.

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

I think that, more precisely, Labour's mismanagement and inconsistent implementation of devolution has weakened the Union.

It's not so much devolution itself that is a problem- I endorse it when implemented appropriately and fairly for all peoples of all British home nations.

Dave said...

Support for the SNP has increased, but the reason for that is that they are seen as the only credible opposition up north. The tories are nowhere, and the lib dems are tarnished from sharing power with labour.

I would say of the people supporting the SNP few of them actually want independence, they just want a change at Hollyrood, and the SNP are the only alternative to labour at the moment.

It think that the support for the SNP will decrease as more is made of Scottish independence, and its true implications on Scotland.

Anonymous said...

If the west lotian quetion is not adressed to the satifaction of the English People, those armchair invsetors may wish to find a company that makes body bags.
Because the English will never except being told what to do from Brusellsgrad, and their jacobite freinds in the EUssr.

Tom Paine said...

I find it hard to believe there are 20 idiots who think the Union is stronger. Are you sure it's not one tech-savvy Brown aide voting 20 times?

I think we should be told.

David Boothroyd said...

The estimable John Curtice went on 'Politics Scotland' on Thursday and observed that there has been no movement in polls about independence for Scotland for the last ten years. The proportion of people who support independence hasn't varied significantly. What has happened at the moment is the SNP as a political party has just popped up as the most popular party for the Scottish Parliament elections, not that its policy has suddenly become popular.

Note some of the questions have been played around with to encourage pro-independence responses. Asking how people would vote in an independence referendum presupposes that there is one.

Sabretache said...

Seems to me that, in suggesting that the present devolution settlement has resulted in a resurgent nationalism in Scotland and Wales, you miss the most salient point - which is that it has awakened the sleeping giant of English Nationalism. There is an assumption on the part of mainstream parties, clearly evident in this whole debate - in fact axiomatic - and which must not, under any circumstances be allowed to be questioned, that 'Union Good'; 'Some other arrangement Bad'.

Increasing numbers of people in Scotland, Wales and ESPECIALLY England, are beginning to seriously question that assunption. Unless and until the gross anti-democratic unfairness of that settlement is seriously addressed and the case for the Union made rather than merely asserted, that questioning is going to grow ever more insistent

javelin said...

Britain will still be Great - it's just the Kingdon will no longer be United.

Anonymous said...

Take Plaid Cymru's performance, for example. In the 1997 General Election they took 161,000 votes. In the 2005 General Election they took 175,000 votes but went down from four to three seats.

In the 1999 Assembly election they got 603,000 votes (albeit under a system where people can vote twice).

Then, in 2003, they were down to 348,000 and lost five seats.

Hardly resurgent. Also, if nationalism were strengthened in Wales, this would surely be reflected in their General election performance too. This hasn't been the case in recent years.

jafo said...

The English are fed up with paying for everything and having no say in their own affairs. Doesn't matter whether or not that is "politically correct" - that's the case.

If democracy is a good idea North of the border, let's have some in England too. What is "the Union" exactly? Scottish MPs voting to impose legislation on the English but not on the Scots? Why would England want that strengthened?

The genie is out of the bottle - and it won't go back in because Gordy learns to sing "Land of Hope and Glory".

Hilary B said...

"The English are fed up with paying for everything and having no say in their own affairs."

That's just the kind of Pavlovian nonsense that so-called Unionists have done the most damage to the Union with.

So the North of England is keeping Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland alfloat too, is it?? Or is it possibly the case that the picture of wealth and poverty across the country is just slightly more sophisticated than that, and that indeed peripheral geography may have a part to play too.

Do something useful to support the Union you are all supposed to live and die for, rather than finding cheap excuses to peddle someone else's stereotypes about work-shy Scottish misers and the benevolent but politically down-trodden English

Rosemountman said...

The glaring problem with the current arrangement is why has England been left out? The powers of the 'regional assemblies' in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were to be in someway to be ofset by the English regional assemblies. When that plan fell to the wayside the whole Union was simply left in an unbalanced estate. Is that the fault of devolution per se or Labour's mismanagement of the whole issue. I tend to favour the latter.

Anonymous said...

Blair's ignorance of history and his"Year Zero"attitude to New Labour's election has caused most of these problems.Joseph Chamberlain suggested "Home Rule all round"(ie a federal system of assemblies for the four countries with a central parliament at Westminster )over 125 years ago to solve the Irish "problem."I doubt if anyone at New Labour have ever heard of him let alone studied how this matter was considered in the past. In fact I would be surprised if any of them knew that it had been debated at length before.So we now have an unbalanced illogical settlement with which everyone can obvious fault because it was made up for short term party political gain and not for principle and stability.

Schoolboy-Error said...

It is an irony,though not a sweet one,isn't it?The Party that through media control via infiltration by supporting journalists ensured its hegemony for ten years of lies and the cruellest crushing of hopes.Should have set in motion the very force that will see it lose power for many years to come (if it maintains even its sham hat tip to 'socialist aspirations').The moral being:If you gerrymander the political process there are only losers.The chief of which may well be yourselves.

jafo said...

Hilary B - I did not accuse the Scots of being "workshy Scottish misers" - in fact, I didn't denigrate the Scots in any way, nor do I wish to.

Neither did I suggest England should be viewed in regions - that's what NuLab want. England is a nation which is 85% of this so-called Union - the 85% that has no representation of her own.

My question was, why should England want to "strengthen the Union" - as it is now?

MPs representing Scottish seats vote on England-only issues which do not impact on their constituents, so they are accountable to nobody. Large amounts of NuLab legislation would never have got through Parliament without the support of those MPs - foundation hospitals to mention just one - and as none of this was going to apply to Scotland, they need not worry about upsetting their own voters. NuLab's latest idea about raising the School leaving age to 18 only applies to England - will the Scots MPs vote for that too?

Anonymous said...

Live and die for this union Hilary B. as an Englishman who served and with what I know today there is know way I would sign up again.
The sqaddies that I rally feel sorry for are those that died and were injured in Ulster what was no less a war created by the eussr. Just like Cyprus in seventy four, to the Basques through the Balkens up untill and including the spliting of the Ukraine, all done in the name of the EUssr at Brusellsgrad.

alfie said...

Stand by for fatty Falconer's blood pressure to start going through the roof as he tries to pour 'devolution has strengthened the union' oil on troubled English waters.

Brown is terrified, maybe he should concentrate on becoming Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Fife....

BTW, I like the title of your West Ham blog - although maybe 'West Ham till they go down'might be more appropriate..... :-)

Anonymous said...

Where Britain becomes as it should be, a Britain of nations and Regions.

Nations = Scotland and Wales

Regions = The country once known as England, now carved up into "regions" to be ruled from the EU.

If any English fools say anything about that then the McLabour regime will accuse YOU of wanting to "balkanise" or "break up the Union" when in reality they have ALREADY done that and plan to finish the job by carving England out of existence.


Anonymous said...

Over 800 people voted no the union has not been strengthened (whatever that means) only 80 voted it had been. It is obvious what people think.
No fabricated newsnight poll will eradicate that. An obviously unfit "lord" faulkner spouting lie after lie will not eradicate it. SCUMBAG B*STARD BLAIR TALKING SHI*E WONT ERADICATE IT EITHER.
Well done you anti English w*nkers. you messed it up good. You planned to eradicate England and it came back to get yer. HA! HA! HA! HA!

Seriously, who posted this?
"You'd expect nationalism to have gained a bit more influence".

Nationalism has gained more influence pal! We would not even be having this debate it if hadn't.
You can rest assured that the so-called loony left would not have let us have this debate if they had go their way.
I have to give credit where credit is due. Well done to all the people who've kept fighting this scumbag so-called government. We have bought them down. Of course they'll still try to squirm so we need to keep up the presssure.

Neil Craig said...

As one of the "20 idiots" may I point out that without devolution the SNP would still be the only big opposition party in Scotland (& thus without PR heading for an overall majority) & those who only want a bit of home rule would be forced to take the whole hog as the only option.

Thomas Garrod said...


I am an AS politics student and would like to take this opportunity to share my arguably extreme views on this issue. I think that if what the SNP are proposing for Scotland is implemented, which, I have no doubt that it will sooner or later, it's effects have been largely underestimated.

Firstly, the way I see it, Scotland cannot become fully independent without the approval of United Kingdom Parliament. After all, it is Parliament that devolved the power to the Scottish Parliament, and constitutionally the UK Parliament must have the legitimacy to take back that power. If this happens, it raises the question of a civil war?

Secondly, when Scotland is independent (as it should be), it will ignite a debate for an English Parliament. Together with the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly (if they push for independence), it would constitutionally undermine the sovereignty of the UK Parliament. I find it particularly fascinating that this debate comes at a time when we are about to see the beginning of the era of a Prime Minister who represents a Scottish constituency.

This brings me back to my last point, that with a overwhelming Labour majority in the commons, will parliament allow for Scotland to be independent? Personally, I dont think so!

A further point to be considered is that once the four countries are fully independent from the UK politically, how is the UK executive to be formed? Is there any need for one? Once these questions have been answered (which i am not going to), it that questions the UK monarchy an d their role.

Personally, I can see no way but for Scotland to become fully independent. I strongly disagree with Gordon Brown's approach to the issue, as I feel he is supporting a minority feeling. Instead I think that he should lead the devolution of the UK, laying out a carefully considered and timed approach, to avoid a constitutional upset.