Sometimes, it might be best not to ask the question… You know you might not like the answer. Be it “do you still love me”, or “should I have that extra pint before I go home”, you know the answer isn’t always going to make you glow inside. And yet sometimes it is time to ask. Stability is a marvellous feeling, but in the end there is a fine divide between it and stagnation.
So, the day after tomorrow (wasn’t that a film title?) Scotland decides… In itself that is a rubbish thing to happen. We (in the nearly doomed UK) all live in the Union that was created more than three hundred years ago. Why is it only a handful of us even get the chance to have a say in it’s future? It’s almost inevitable to my mind that Scotland will vote for independence – it’s what I I would do if I were a resident Scot. Even though in my heart I might wish no-one had asked for my opinion.
Great Britain continues – in case you forgot, it’s the geographic term for our island, not a political creation – but the United Kingdom is now almost laughable. United? I think not. There’s already better health care and schooling in some parts than others – strangely England is the back marker – and all the major outlying parts of the Union have regional control – unlike, strangely (again), England.
Whether or not Scotland seizes it’s one chance this lifetime to stand clear of the London-centric governance of the UK, things will never be the same, so it’s time to consider the upside of this tragedy. The inevitable Constitution.
The UK does not currently have a written Constitution. It has always relied upon a mass of legislation, out of which is pulled some commonality of purpose. Being legislative, any constitution (small c) we have is reliant upon the good offices of Parliament, which has proved time and again it doesn’t have good offices at all, only dingy
smoke whisky filled back rooms full of self and corporate serving characters with dodgy agenda.
If, as has been mooted, Scotland’s independence will be permanent, it cannot rely upon legislation that can be later amended by new Acts of Parliament. The very idea that Parliament might even hold such a power would kill the concept of independence. Only a written Constitution for the remaining state would carry sufficient international weight and hold no power over other countries.
All that ignores Europe, of course, to which we have already ceded so much that it could be argued Parliamentary Sovereignty is already redundant… But let’s roll with the idea of a Constitution for the Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Island… What would such a Constitution hold?
The LSE has had a bash at what a Constitution might look like, but it’s such a massive question it needs far more debate even than the Scotland question has had. Nobody in power yet seems to be asking it, and I fear that’s because it is being debated in those same back rooms, with a primary agenda of retaining the power of those self and corporate serving characters.
There is an opportunity, for those of us not in Scotland, to make something good out of the divorce to come. But there is also a risk we may not even notice the bad until it swamps us. /waffle.