On Tuesday I am giving the McWhirter Memorial lecture at 7.30pm on HMS President, moored on the Victoria Embankment in London.
I will use the opportunity to make the case for England. If we assume Scotland votes to stay in the Union, the three main Westminster parties have promised more powers including powers over parts of taxation will be passed to the Scottish Parliament. This will be the time to recognise that England too wants and deserves devolved government, enjoying the same powers of self determination of laws, spending and taxes as our Scottish neighbours and friends.
I will ask Who currently speaks for England? Why do the EU and many senior politicians in the UK want to break England up into regions that we do not seek or recognise? Why can’t English MPs at Westminster make the decisions for England, and speak for England, in the way the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh does for Scotland?
If we are revisiting Scotland’s settlement, we need to consider England’s at the same time. Many English people will not accept Scottish members of the Westminster Parliament voting through taxes on England that they do not have the power to impose on Scotland.
Should against all the odds Scotland vote for independence then the rest of the UK will need a new constitutional settlement, which will emerge from the negotiations over separation. It would also accelerate the need for the renegotiation of our EU relationship. One of the reasons why many English people are Eurosceptic, is they have the feeling the EU wants to remove their country from the map of Europe through strokes of the legislative pen and through administrative decisions which ignore, counter order or bypass or country.