All For One and One For One

The subject of independence from a United Kingdom has been with us all since the day we were born. Even the Cornish have their own flag as a sign of defiance against being a part of our tiny group of sibling states. Today, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland all have assemblies, (though England appears to have been short-changed), that have come about because of their continued and relentless march towards some kind of self determination. Leaders in Scotland were voted in on the back of a promise of a referendum on full independence from the rest of the United Kingdom. Without question, even if such a vote were put to the Scottish people within the next two years, surely the cost would be astronomical. There are Scots living all over the world, which begs several questions, who precisely would be eligible to vote? Would Scots living in England, Ireland or Wales get a say? Would people of Scottish decent be invited to take part? Then there is the question that no one seems to have an answer. If Scotland becomes independent then what possible use is a Scottish independence party? It’s a tad like voting for communism in a democracy: if the communists are elected there will no longer be the opportunity to vote. No one has fully outlined to the rest of Britain the exact nature of an independent Scotland. I have heard it said that they would retain the pound with the Bank of England maintaining control over interest rates and the like. Well, forgive me for being just a wee bit thick on this one, but I’m not sure that’s quite what is meant by independence. A few other questions come to mind. Would passports be issued to Scottish people with border controls put in place? Would we have to go through the same process with the Welsh and Northern Irish? Then, last weekend a less expensive solution popped into my head which may, or may not, have legs, and it’s not something I’ve never heard proposed (possibly for good reason, which at the moment escapes me). Instead of reeling out a repeat Scottish performance for the Welsh and Irish, wouldn’t it be simpler and more cost effective if there was just one referendum: in England. So far, the English have not been invited by anyone to share their opinion on either devolved governments within the Union or potential independence from any of the four countries. Perhaps the English would like to be fully independent from the rest of the United Kingdom, and, if so, surely that would go some way to answering many questions. If England were to vote for full independence with borders and passports, surely the other states would have no other choice than to declare themselves, by default, independent. But first we must ask the question: Why have we not even attempted to resolve the ‘West Lothian Question’ which many see as a major stumbling block in the determination of all our futures.

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