Assuming Scotland votes to stay in our union this September, we will find devolution back on the agenda soon afterwards. All three main parties have promised more powers for Scotland. All three will I am sure wish to honour that pledge.
This time it will not be possible to duck the issue of who governs England? It will be too unfair for Westminster to carry on as if nothing had happened with respect to the government of England, whilst the rest of the UK led by Scotland gets yet more powers for self government in their own Parliament and Assemblies. The SNP agrees with me about this. The SNP does not think their MPs at Westminster should settle matters for England that are settled for Scotland in the Scottish parliament.
I write again about this because recently I was invited onto a 5 Live discussion to tackle the issue of England. My fellow disputants were Jim Murphy for Labour and Menzies Campbell for the Lib Dems. The other two are both Westminster MPs sitting for Scottish seats. Their approach was simply unacceptable to England.
It is true they did preface their remarks by saying this was primarily a matter for England. They could say no less, as they and the whole political establishment have always said Scottish devolution and independence is entirely a matter for Scotland. However, they both went on to accept there will be an English devolution problem, and expressed the view that this could be handled by more devolution of power to regional government or local government in England.
No, No, No. I had to force my way back into the conversation to remind them I was the only one representing England. I spoke for England, and said my country was fed up with attempts from outside to balkanise and split it up. The last Labour government attempted this, and were strongly rebuffed in their own heartland of the North-east where the public said they did not want regional government. If Scotland is going to have control over some of its own taxes, so will England expect no less. We will not need the help of Mr Murphy or Sir Menzies Campbell to impose taxes on England when Scotland is doing her own.