It is appropriate to refer to our poor cousins, the English, as almost completely disenfranchised. At least they should be considered disenfranchised with respect to the Scots in 2011, and arguably with many nations. The mother of Parliaments has quietly transposed into the Mother of Dictatorships, or at least gives every appearance of marching along that weary road.
This was brought forcibly home when reading about Barak Obama’s visit to London recently. Many news outlets in England’s mainstream, both in print and broadcast form spent much of their available time espousing in various forms that “special” relationship that had now become an “essential” relationship between the UK and the USA.
The respective leaders coined the phraseology; the respective media’s duly set about propagandizing it for their respective consumer audiences. In Scotland the general air was indifference, at least in my extended circles which do cover a broad spectrum of the population.
In England that propaganda was expounded upon, setting both countries in some reports on parallel paths since the inception of democracy in Europe with the Magna Carta, and reporting that this is where the US constitution drew its roots. That the US constitution had its own beginnings in the Magna Carta and that laws and customs between the nations were so broadly similar for these historical reasons.
It would be harder to be farther from the truth.
Then we had Michael Moore twittering on about the need for two referendums.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. The UN legal stance and the recent separate international court ruling on the Kosovo case are but two present day precedents – one vote and one vote only is needed.
All Scotland would be doing is annulling a treaty it entered into three hundred and some years ago.
Surprisingly there were no questioning comments or any repudiation of these “facts” in any English journals comment sections, acknowledging these may have been overlooked, but they were certainly searched for.
The US system draws its strength from the rights of the individual, the citizen in whom all power is based: “We, the people” and “No taxation without representation” being two prime examples codified across the Atlantic.
The Magna Carta was founded in the curtailment of rights of the monarch by the barons. Nothing more, nothing less. The Magna Carta was based upon protecting the barons from having their property rights infringed. To the feudal barons in England at least, people [peasantry] were also property.
In Scotland we have a system emanating from the dark ages and potentially earlier, where the power was vested in the people. The monarch was originally an elected position, albeit from amongst an elite company.
This principle was expounded in the Declaration of Arbroath  and reaffirmed on many occasions since.
Many Scots were among the “founding fathers” of the United States, it is acknowledged that they drew upon the 1320 declaration for inspiration, modified, expanded, clarified and created what is known today as the Declaration Of Independence.
Yet the English public accepted the propaganda fed to them almost without question. This is a propaganda outcome Goebbels could only have dreamed of.
In America if the governments wish to increase or reduce taxation it has to be in line with the constitution. In most instances the individual citizen gets to vote on it [there are some federal exceptions]. The individual must approve of the use to which taxes are put. This goes on the ballot at election time.
In between elections the US citizen votes for schools, roads, rubbish, hospitals and local health levies, all types and manner of issues can come before the electorate. There have been smoking bans and library fees, mental health support to building permits balloted there.
Compare that to England’s green and disenfranchised land: They get a couple of votes every decade, each for local and Westminster elections. What happens in between they have no say in.
In England they have a choice of three primary parties, all are vanilla. It’s choice, vanilla with a hint of raspberry, a hint of banana, or a hint of blueberry, primarily it’s vanilla. It’s much more subtle than the old soviet communist system where there was only one party. The reality in today’s England is there is really only one set of core policies on offer – one basic choice. This gives Scot’s an equally basic choice of a two party system, Independence first or Union first.
Between elections the English are so indoctrinated into Queen and Country that they have forgotten what the word “protest” means. Putting 250,000 people into London for one day on a single march is not protest – it’s nothing more than a gentle “oi”. It doesn’t even rate a capital “O”.
Putting 50,000 or even 5,000 outside the houses of Parliament for a year is a protest, except protests outside Westminster have actually been outlawed, and without any protest either.
Arguably then a significant extended protest is blatantly beyond the capacity of the English, and the Scots with their own parliament and different level of enfranchisement are demonstrably relatively uncaring about Westminster in this present day.
Most Scots, it could be said, would be rid of the Commons and Lords altogether, based upon the fact that substantially less than 50% of 2011 votes cast actually went to one of the main Union parties.
In England the chosen political party does what it’s elected to do. Between elections there is little voice or impact the common Citizen of England has, and what they care to use is most often ignored by Westminster. Westminster can do this for many reasons.
Westminster is sovereign over the people of England, unlike Holyrood which owes its sovereignty to the people of Scotland. Scotland has a reconvened parliament. When the parliament was placed in session in 1999 it was stated clearly by Winnie Ewing in her opening remarks that it was “Reconvened”.
It was not a new parliament under new rules, it was the original Scots parliament under its original rules. These rules can be modified or changed by the Scots, but not by Westminster without Scots consent.
England remained voiceless. The English parliament suspended in 1707 was not reconvened. A new substitute was not offered to the English. The English therefore have no independent voice. The English and to some extent Welsh must suffer what the UK dictates.
The UK has dictated foundation hospitals. The UK has dictated rising university fees. The UK has dictated end of life care fees. The UK has dictated prescription fees. The UK has cleared increased council fees. The English must simply put up with this. England has no parliament; the English have no independent voice.
Westminster could not reconvene the English parliament without making clear to all citizens of the UK and the global community that the United Kingdom was simply a political construct of the 1707 treaty. The ramifications internal and external to the United Kingdom did not bear contemplation.
The Scots would largely realise they had been living under a lie, it [the UK] is and was not a single nation. The English could clamour for their own parliament, realizing they were almost utterly disenfranchised. At best a “federal UK” would climb from the ashes, for it was exceedingly unlikely the Scots would vote for the ridiculous terms of the 1707 treaty again, even with the BBC promoting it.
With the knowledge that the Scots would be unlikely ever again to devolve their administration to Westminster as they did in 1707 the house of cards would collapse.
The global banking community would re-assess the UK, quickly understanding its debts are not quite as solid as it had believed. The UK has no oil to back these debts. If the constituent nations so choose, the UK can quickly become a penniless, worthless, deceased political construct.
It is not beyond credence that rather than pay the debt shares of the old “UK”, England realizing its position was untenable would default. Scotland may opt to the take the view that as she was a net contributor, the debts should not devolve onto her resources. The creditors would call in their marks. The sham of a “single” United Kingdom being one nation would again be fatally exposed.
The only possibility for Westminster then was to call what was happening in Scotland “Devolution”, not “Resumption” or “Restoration” which in actuality it is. As long as the “Devolution” lie could be propagandised and expounded, the English would never realise that they remained disenfranchised. A tame media is often a prime asset.
The “West Lothian Question” must also stay on the back burner as it is a thorny issue, but was incorporated de-facto into the treaty of Union. The simple way to address the “West Lothian Question” is with a federal UK, but that would require a separate English parliament, resuming its original or a limited version of its powers, with both nations at some point voting on the powers they would devolve to Westminster.
We’re back again to the Scots re-affirming the 1707 treaty, not likely to happen.
The only other way to resolve “The West Lothian Question” is to ban Scots MP’s from voting on English only issues, and vice versa. With two completely separate legal systems and separate laws required (in most cases) to be enacted for each the “disunity” of the United Kingdom would again be highlighted.
English MP’s voting on purely English laws and Scots MP’s voting on purely Scots laws – very quickly one nation or the other would question, and question very seriously “Why the extra layer of government?”.
This question has no logical answer excepting “Why indeed”.
In the future of any “United Kingdom” it is therefore exceptionally unlikely that any variant of “The West Lothian Question” will be answered, as to do so would in all likelihood lead to the rapid demise of UK – plc itself.
While the vested interest at Westminster states it must survive, the individual citizens of Scotland/England/Wales and Northern Ireland would probably declare otherwise in a fair, free and open debate. Westminster cannot allow a fair free and open debate to challenge its authority.
The English it appears will therefore remain disenfranchised until the Scots choose otherwise.