We have heard a lot this week about the EU Referendum being a UK wide vote wither Scotland likes it or not, Scotland just has to accept that decision and accept it is coming out of the EU. That is 100% correct in that it was a UK wide vote, but obviously many in Scotland don’t like it, and many in Northern Ireland, and elsewhere. But there is a wider problem and Brexit is just another example of it.
There are 650 MPs in Westminster:
Conservative 330 – 317 in England – 1 in Scotland – 11 in Wales + Speaker
Labour 229 – 205 in England – 25 in Wales – 1 in Scotland
Scottish National Party 54
Liberal Democrat 9 – 7 in England – 1 in Scotland – 1 in Wales
Democratic Unionist Party 8
Independent 4 – 1 in England
Sinn Fein 4
Plaid Cymru 3
Social Democratic and Labour Party 3
Ulster Unionist Party 2
Green Party 1 – 1 in England
UK Independence Party 1 – 1 in England
Total number of seats 650
We are often told that we live in a Union, we even have a flag, but the simple reality is MPs from England make up 532 of the total amount of MPs serving or not at Westminster. And there lies the problem.
We are often told that we are equals in this union, we can lead this union, we can influence this union, but the reality is we are not allowed to. Poor Wales don’t even make it onto to the Union Flag. Now we can debate how much money Scotland contributes to the UK and how much it gets back until we are blue in the face, no one really knows as we don’t gather the figures nation by nation, the best we can do is guess, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that MPs from England hold all the power, in an unfair electoral system, and that we currently have a Conservative Government elected on 36% of the national vote but rejected in Scotland, you could also argue the huge amount of MPs in England from all parties in Parliament make it impossible for us to ever really achieve anything.
So as Holyrood prepares to vote on the issue of another independence referendum, assuming it passes, Scotland will have to wait and see if MPs representing England agree, will have to negotiate terms put forward by MPs representing England, will have to accept the time table put forward by MPs in England and a Government that has been rejected in Scotland. That is not a union, a partnership of equals, it is the larger nation of the so called union being able to dictate to all of the other members what will happen, how it will happen, and when it will happen and if it decides it doesn’t want it to happen, it won’t.
Now there are those in Scotland happy to accept that, and those conditioned to accept that, but it is a democratic deficit that should not and cannot be allowed to continue for one minute longer than it has to. So when the next referendum comes around, which it will, under whatever terms pretty much laid down by others, we have got to remember it’s not about money, it’s not being anti English, Welsh or Northern Irish, it’s about where power lies and where decisions are made and who elects the people who make them because right now what England wants England gets.