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.
westmijnster with the act of the union the in 1707 told th english people that the only thing that had changed was the name of the country to brittain everything else stayed the same now 300 years later the english have forgotten and are looking about for their english nationality which was never lost now wanting a english referendum for independence from who? themselfs?
I had never looked at it that way and have certainly never considered the history from the English point of view, I need to do that when I get the time, thanks for that.
I agree though, you are right, England never lost England but is now reaserting their Englishness which they never lost in the first place. Is that a good thing or a bad thing for Scottish Independence, I would be interested in what you think about that as I must admit I haven’t given it much thought.
But the fact is people need to consider the make up of Parliament and our place in it. We are at risk of forgetting that and I think too many don’t even think about it or understand it. I just want to remind people of the injustice of our situation but that it is in our hands to change it.
Thanks for commenting.
Speaking of looking at things from an English perspective, consider this.
An English citizen is represented by one MP.
A Scottish citizen is represented by one MP, one constituency MSP and seven to ten list MSPs. Similar for Wales.
NI citizens are represented by one MP and six list MLAs.
London also has an Assembly. I can’t be arsed looking up the details for that.
Representation in the EU parliament actually counts as a negative, because as the third largest member the UK had to give up some of its MEPs, ending up with about 8% of the seats for 12% of the population or something close to that.
With that perspective, it’s quite possible to end up with an understanding that they’ve been undertended to in some ways. I believe that’s one of the things which has irreparable broken the United Kingdom – the failure to provide England with devolution or at least voting reforms. To be fair, England did get offered both of those and twice rejected those.
I see what you mean but that has only really been since 1999 and devolution and the assemblies. Didn’t they also have a vote for regional government and it was rejected as there was no real enthusiasm for one but that doesn’t take away that they are under represented. It would be interesting to find out if the dominance of English MPs has an effect on that and while I accept that the larger country has the most reps it’s a situation that won’t survive in the longer term now that people are starting to wake up.
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“Only since 1999.” That was 18 years ago. Newborn babies have grown up to voting age during this era of devolution.
I’m not sure how to put it, but I think there’s a distinction between a democratic deficit and a sovereignty deficit to be made. All sovereignty in the UK is vested into Westminister and therefore England has no sovereignty deficit, because it theoretically controls that parliament. In reality, the majority of English are excluded because of the majoritarian FPTP system. Most of them either don’t vote because they think it makes not enough difference or they voted for someone other than the victorious candidate – who doesn’t represent their views and so they don’t feel able to go to them for help. ~60% of English voters chose someone other than a Tory. Nearer to ~75% if nonvoters included(I don’t usually like to count nonvoters, but the depressed turnout over time cannot be ignored).
Scotland, Wales and NI of course have no sovereignty under the current arrangements. But in terms of democratic representation, the citizens of our smaller nations come out quite a bit ahead. We have far more input into our education, justice, health, etc., than the English do, at the expense of some weight in Reserved matters. The list system means that aside from about 20,000 people in each region who vote for fringe parties, virtually everyone who votes in Scotland ends up with representation from a party they voted for.
Sovereignty and democracy are easily conflated. I believe that conflation was a major factor in the Brexit referendum. England does not have democracy. Scotland, Wales and NI have democracy, but it is meaningless without sovereignty – as Scotland and NI being dragged out of the EU demonstrates.
I totally get the sovereignty v democratic deficit and they are both very different. I think devolution has brought about a re-awakening in people in England trying to find their Englishness and to differentiate that from their Britishness, won’t be easy but many are trying to find out what that means. English votes for English Laws was supposed to be the answer to the devolution deficit and had/has high levels of support in England, or it did when it was brought in. There hasn’t been any desire for regional government in England as far as I know although I think that would help. I don’t like FPTP and would much prefer proper PR but even the Liberals didn’t fight for that, but then they don’t really fight for anything they believe in. I was sadly a member for 5 months after a friend persuaded me to get involved and was shocked at how little the liberals actually believe in, all talk and no action. I am not really a fan of the list system either, it was designed to keep the SNP at bay, Labour admitted that at the time. It was supposed to ensure that Scotland had perpetual coalition Government. Now I don’t have an issue with coalition Government at all but it should be as a result of a pure PR vote and not a top up system, it’s close but not close enough. BREXIT I think came about for a lot of reasons but I think a large part of it was the disillusionment with our current system of Government, it was about the right wing media feeding those who only access that rubbish for their news and views, it was about MPs expenses and a host of other things. I don’t think many voted on the actual issue of where power lies, I did , but I have not heard any other no voters say the same thing in my area. Brexit will be a mess because of David Cameron and the current Government not being up to the job and I must admit I would differently given the chance as my vote has been hijacked by the right wing empire 2 elements of the Tories and that I find disgusting to be honest.
I think they answer lies in all the four nations that share these islands being independent and having their own EFTA agreement etc, that is the way ahead for me.
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Scotland.Wales, and NI all survive on capped block grants (in reality a return of taxes paid to the London treasury) awarded by the parliament situated in London England which has 650 MPs of which 533 represent constituencies in England.
England on the other hand is funded uncapped as the UK and its overwhelming majority of MPs in Westminster means the idea that it’s hard done by due to the current devolution settlement is not only risible but utterly ludicrous as well.
With such a massive majority which renders the Celtic vote impotent “what England want’s England gets”.
Poor old England…wibble wibble!
I have a lot of sympathy for your point but I think England suffers from incompetent government as much as we do in certain aspects, but they control the decision making structures so are in better position to promote their own agenda. Devolution gives us some control but it will always be based on how much money England decides to give as the tax powers etc are pretty meaningless and there is no way that Westminster will ever allow Scotland free reign over it;s own economy for a lot of reasons so the only option is for us to go. I don’t think it’s really about convincing the soft no voters but more about trying to educate them, the hard no’s like the hard yessers will never change.
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regards english independence if only they would as england always gets what it wants scotland,wales and northern ireland would be ditched and left to their own devices able to grow their economies the way they want no need for referendums we can only hope but they will cling on to the union as long as they can sucking all the resoures of the other home nations hey it is the brittish way
I think the situation is untenable in the longer term so it might come to that. I would rather have an EFTA type agreement for the UK where we are all independent and only have a free trade free movement agreeement to be honest, it would change the relationship to a more equal footing.
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