The UK internal market

The government has recently issued a White Paper setting out how the UK’s single market and customs union will work as we leave the EU’s single market and customs union.

The legal powers for our single market stem from the original laws and terms of the Union, and from the removal of the EU powers under the EU Withdrawal Act. The White Paper reminds us of the fundamental principles of the UK market, which rests on the principle that any company can supply goods and services throughout the UK. High standards will be maintained by UK laws and regulations.

The government proposes “enshrining the principle of mutual recognition into law” ensuring regulations are recognised across the UK. It also wishes to repeat in law the principle of non discrimination so companies can trade freely throughout the UK.

These issues will be contested by the SNP. Ever keen to bind us into common rules and laws with the EU in the name of their single market, they will doubtless oppose similar rules and regulations at UK level. Given their belief that they needed the common rules to carry on selling into the EU, they should be more worried about their ability to sell into the rest of the UK and grateful for legal reassurance offered by the Union government. Scotland sells more to the rest of the UK than to the rest of world together and more than to the whole EU of course.

The government needs to ask how much legislation it actually needs to continue these trading practises and principles, that pre dated our membership of the EU.

The government is offering more powers to devolved Administrations as we reclaim powers from the EU. As the White Paper says they will respect devolution, ensuring the devolved administrations “receive powers over many more policy areas than they currently hold as part of the EU, whilst ensuring that all intra UK trade remains frictionless”. There will be transfers of power in 160 policy areas, whilst ensuring common frameworks to keep the single market together.

How much further would you go with devolution? How should the government respond to an SNP that wishes to use these issues to drive a wedge into the Union?

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186 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The question you should be asking Sir John is, “And what benefits are to be gained from all this for England and the English?”

    Currently, I see none.

    • Hope
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      Get rid of the Welsh and Scottish administrations. Either all nations have them or none at all. There is no English representation who is the largest contributor. (Sturgeon ed) still has a say over English matters after Cameron promised to deal with the Lothian question. Fake Tories proven time and again to be all talk and broken promises. Party Dishonest to its core.

      There is no need for Mayors. The public rejected them but Fake Tories still carried on to add another costly layer of bureaucracy without any benefit whatsoever to the public, same with police commissioners. Chinese virus has shown additional layers of Mayors and devolved administrations have caused chaos, confusion and a waste of money.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Oh, the irony…

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      It’s time to let the whingeing Scots go alone. They are heavily subsidised by the English and always want more.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Like the NHS. Time to let that go too.

  2. Nigl
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    As far as Scotland is concerned I believe they have tax raising powers. Let them be totally financially independent. Cancel the Barnett formula and our contribution.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Oh please…

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    “How should the government respond to an SNP that wishes to use these issues to drive a wedge into the Union?” Not easy.

    Blair Unfortunately rather foolishly pushed devolution button and in an appallingly unfair to England structure (in a misguided attempt to protect the Labour Party) . It is difficult to see now how this roller coaster can now be stopped or reversed easily. Quite what the Scots see in that dire, leftwing, misguided, law graduate Nicola Sturgeon I do not know. My theory is that many of the brighter, less left wing Scots have already left the country. It is clear she will use anything she can to drive for independence, regardless of the costs to the Scottish population and economy.

    We should certain kill all the green subsided that subsidise Scotland so much and address the huge disparity that transfers so much money from English tax payers to Scotland.

    • Martin
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      “less left wing Scots have already left the country” – could you explain why Mr Corbyn got (per head of population) more votes and MPs in England than in Scotland?

      As for the SNP being left wing well the roads building program would impress some on here! Doubt if Labour would have built them !

      The SNP froze the council tax for a few years when it was rising elsewhere under the coalition. Very comradely! My income tax rate is lower than some other country I could mention (opposed by the comrades).

      As for tax subsidies why should I fund the EBC? How much is rebuilding the Victorian relic (Westminster) costing? I have withheld a much longer list.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        Could you explain why Mr Corbyn got (per head of population) more votes and MPs in England than in Scotland?

        Easy two (and fact even more) very left wing/socialist or worse parties in Scotland split the lefty votes and seats. In England (in most areas) only one very left wing one (Labour) and one fairly left wing one (the Conservatives) had any real change of winning. The latter clearly a bit preferable to the former for anyone right of centre.

      • JoolsB
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        You’ve got that slightly wrong Martin. The coalition under Cameron and Osborne froze council tax in England until May and then Johnson Allowed it to be increased to pay for social care. It was under the Scots dominated Labour Government when council tax in England doubled whilst English taxes were paying for them to be frozen in Scotland.

  4. Stephen Priest
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Devolution has been a disaster.

    Labour were in favour based on the assumption that the Welsh and the Scots would vote Labour no matter what.

  5. Stred
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Call a referendum on Scottish independence with English voters includes. Problem solved. Get rid and stop subsidizing. They can stick their expensive wind and enjoy what’s left of their oil. England would accept refugees during long weekly blackouts.

    • SM
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      I agree that if the SNP wants genuine independence (which perhaps may also mean becoming a republic?) there should be a UK-wide referendum, with VERY clear terms of disengagement.

      There has been a centuries-long schizophrenic relationship between Scotland and England, with vocal support (but little else) for Scotland from the Continent – it might benefit the SNP to look at the past for some indication of the future.

    • Adam
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Scots need to trade yet the SNP opposes unity with the UK. Those who dislike working for their biggest customer are in the wrong job.

      All UK citizens are represented in UK’s parliament and elect Councils to decide local issues. If any group of citizens wants collective improvement, they can seek allegiance in any combination of MPs or profile, whether city or rural, population age, coastal, industrial, language, historic or whatever they prefer. Having a permanent rigid division by country with different laws entangles added bureaucracy.

      ‘Respecting’ devolution is a synonym for ‘tolerating’ in a Whitepaperwash. Citizens have power and enact it already. Devolved govts mix and match muddle. Those who offer more to such a bunch inveigle to empower wasteful nuisance.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Oh yes – that would ensure Scotland became fully independent. We need a new wall at the border (Hadrians wall ceded most of Northumberland to Scotland).

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      You’d find placed like Northumbria holding referendums on joining them.

      England would end up as Essex and Yorkshire before too long.

      • NickC
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Your hold on history is very tenuous if you think the Northumbrians would vote to be absorbed by Scotland.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 22, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

          Quite history tells us of the constant fighting from both sides of the tenuous border. If the antagonism remains there is no way Northumberland would accept integrating with the Scots.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 22, 2020 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

            And what about ScotLond?

  6. Javelin
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Look at pandemic planning as an example.

    Public Health UK should have been responsible for defining a minimum standard but the responsibility for stockpiling should have been decentralised. Public Health
    for the UK should not be devolved into each region. However the centralised authority should be answerable to every public health authority in a democratic and legal manner directly. A kind of democracy devolved by function rather than region.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 22, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Some of the stockpiling decision makings was decentralised, Manchester had its own ordering system. “Mayor Andy Burnham said: “We are the only place with a devolved healthcare system. It is very integrated with strong relationships between hospitals and social care and local authorities.” GMCA. The North West has had one of the worst outcomes and is still having the most R rate rising. “Greater Manchester has received 3.6m items of PPE from the national pandemic stock and has ordered 14.5m items through direct procurement – 3.1m already delivered with 7.5m due to arrive within the next seven days” 20/04/2020

  7. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    It has to be recognized that the SNP will oppose anything offered up by the UK Government. That is there sole purpose.

    Even as a dissolved government in control and responsible for their own laws, own schooling, own health. The failures of the Scottish Parliament are not failures of the SNP and its management they are the fault of the UK. The contradiction is the SNP wants to be independent but not really in control as they require the EU Commission to be their rulers.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      – just like the Westminster government!

    • NickC
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Ian, Yes, well analysed. Short of various fudges, there are only two straightforward outcomes: either the Scots stop voting SNP (perhaps voting for a Scottish Unionist party instead?); or the Scots accept independence. The current situation where the vestigial ties are used as a weapon by the SNP to bludgeon England suits only an irresponsible SNP.

  8. Sea Warrior
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Devolution has already gone too far and the Commons shouldn’t just rubber-stamp a further transfer – even though the SNP will grab everything on offer.
    But I welcome the White Paper, which seems to be a rare case of government working as it should. Now we need politicians like you, Sir John, to take a wander across the non-existent Anglo-Scottish border and remind the Scottish electorate of the essential fact: that Scotland sells more to England, Wales and Norther Ireland than it does to the EU.

  9. agricola
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    The SNP is a running sore of discontent that is intent on infecting the whole of the UK while not realising it is doing little or nothing for the people of Scotland. A child that has been denied a lollipop even by the vender of same, the EU. They think negative, speak negative, and achieve negative. As a party they are the ultimate demanding supplicant for whom there is no limit to their financial demands. They are socialism with a whinging demanding voice emanating from thin richous lips that only result in ennui or derision. The sooner the people of Scotland get rid of them the sooner will Scotland thrive. I find it sad that Scotland that has contributed so much to the World is led by so much negativity.

    • Andy
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      The SNP hates the Tories.

      I sympathise entirely with the SNP.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        The extreme left have a lot of hate for everyone they feel do not conform to their world view.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Andy. Go and live in Scotland or the EU then

    • Nigl
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Very well put

    • IanT
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      An eloquent summery…

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      I’m Scottish, living and working in England with an English wife and children born and brought up in England. I fully endorse what you have expressed and I’ve not been slow to challenge the petty barbs that I have had the misfortune to hear directed at England and the English by SNP supporters and activists. An insatiable and greedy crocodile lurks in the glens.

      • John Hatfield
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        In the lochs.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        Jim Whitehead

        Pyrrhic victory

        In reality, very few English are viscerally anti-Scottish, just viscerally anti-SNP. The Scots can and have contributed much, but are being held back by a devolved Government that is hell bent on destroying both Scotland and England to achieve its political aims.

        Should the SNP gain Independence by committing political and financial suicidal, it will be of little consequence to the SNP, so long as it has achieved its deepest desire.

  10. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Given the MsM hype with regard the on going trade negotiations with the EU. I just hope this Government realizes that anything that gives away the UK resources(fishing), or has us controlled therefore ruled by a foreign power which ever way you spin it isn’t sovereignty.

    An independent sovereign democracy is the one that the People get to create the rules and laws that govern their lives in this Country. It is the people that empower their elected representatives to act on their behalf. Creating, amending, changing repealing of rules and laws belongs to the people. Anything else is a conquered submissive state.

    The MsM talks about redlines, with the EU wanting a greater say in our Fishing and the so-called Level playing field. That is simply the EU saying you are not an independent state, it EU rules, EU laws and EU courts that get to control the UK citizen. That is the EU failure to recognize we have left, failure to treat the UK as they do any other Country

    • Andy
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      What a silly post.

      Cooperating with the people who live next door on matters of mutual interest is not harming your sovereignty. It is common sense.

      By your definition of sovereignty – the country freest of international rules, norms and agreements – the most sovereign country in the world is North Korea.

      Whilst I don’t doubt that Kim Jong Cummings would aspire to that I am sure most of us wouldn’t.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        You can cooperate with nations near and far without being governed by the EU.
        There are 160 individual and independent nations outside the EU.

        We can and do love Europe and Europeans without belonging to the EU.

      • Ian @Barkham
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        Cooperating and getting on with neighbors is always the best option.

        But if your neighbors say their rules are the ones you must obey in your own home, only they can say how you spend your own money, only they say what you can do with your natural resources you nurture. All rules come from them and only they get to judge and define what is right. That’s just having a bully boy dictator next door.

        That is entirely different from the rules and protocols you comply with when playing in someone else’s backyard. You get to choose to go there or not.

        Never forget the EU Citizen and the EU Ruling elite are different classes belonging to different clubs.

        • Andy
          Posted July 21, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

          Incorrect. You are seeking access to their markets on your terms. They say no.

          You want tariff and quota free access to their markets you follow their rules. If you don’t, then don’t.

          But stop whining about it.

          It will be people like you who suffer most anyway.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 22, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

            The markets belong to customers not unelected EU bureaucrats.
            Who are “they” that say no?
            Presumably “they” will want access to UK markets.
            Two can play your blockade game.

          • graham1946
            Posted July 22, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

            And the EU want access to our market which they sell more in to than we do to theirs and for us to pay with fish and laws. We say no. So when do you think they will let us make their laws for them for access and pay 12 billion a year for the privilege?

      • NickC
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Let me and 26 other Leave voters co-operate with you in controlling your bank account, on a majority vote basis. You’ll soon understand the meaning of sovereignty.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Well said.
      Barnier wants us as associate member of the EU. BRINO. Tories will be toast if that happens and Cummings knows it.

    • John Hatfield
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Excellent post Ian.

  11. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    In the end devolution is fine if each devolved administration supports itself. These transfers from wealthy paying to poor regions voting themselves increases in support don’t seem to be heading in the right direction long term.

  12. Dave Andrews
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    The more the Scots vote SNP, the more they seek to drive a wedge into the United Kingdom. Eventually they will have the break up they seek.
    The Scottish Parliament is another expensive talking shop. I hope England isn’t contributing to it, but I bet we are. We’ve got rid of our contribution to the European Parliament expensive talking shop, can the Scots not get rid of theirs? Alternatively, let them have their independence and we can save the cost of Scottish MPs in Westminster.

    • IanT
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      I don’t want to see the Scots leave the Union and I fail to see how this would be in the interests of Scotland.

      Frankly, I cannot understand why the Scots don’t see it either.
      Do they really want a border with England?
      Do they believe the Scottish ‘Pound’ would survive – or is it the Euro instead?
      What would replace the Barnet formula (worth nearly £1900 pa per person?)
      Do they expect the EU to replace it – when they can’t agree to support existing members during Covid? Indeed, how would replacing London with Brussels be such a wonderful improvement?

      Nothing about Scottish Independence makes any financial sense and the Scots have always been so canny with their money. In these strange days – it’s a very odd desire to want to cut your mooring lines and set off into a stormy sea.

      • margaret howard
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

        IanT

        Not having to send billions of whisky tax and oil revenues to London will go a long way towards Scotland financing itself.

        And I bet the EU has invested more money in the Celtic fringe countries during our EU membership in the last few decades than we did over the centuries.

        We toured the Scottish highlands in the 1960’s and the poverty was appalling. Ditto that in large parts of Wales and Ireland.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 22, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          I expect you remember seeing the land clearances as well?

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted July 22, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

          MH. Ha, ha. 1960’s? That was 60 years ago. Tour it now. It certainly not poor anymore unless of course you count spending all your cash on whisky and going to the pub whilst having a wee bet. Look closely around England and you will see the same poverty.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Of course our govt is contributing to it. Our leaders LOVE throwing our taxes away. EU, Foreign Aid, HS2 etc etc.

    • JoolsB
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Not only does the English taxpayer contribute to it but the Scots receive roughly 20% more per head than the English do courtesy of continuous anti-English UK Governments who don’t give a toss about England except as a ca$h cow, this Tory one included.

  13. jerry
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    “The government is offering more powers to devolved Administrations as we reclaim powers from the EU.”

    Why?! With every extra power given to the devolved administrations it is another hammer blow against the wedge that is trying to spilt the Union.

    The powers in question were never devolved previously, they were never on the devolution table back in the later 1990s, if the UK had any control of such areas it was via the UK govt (and thus UK parliament oversight) and its direct dealings with the EC.

    • jerry
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:25 am | Permalink

      If “many more policy areas” are to be devolved then EVEL needs to be revisited, especially at the moment, for example given the SNP at Hollyrood set PHS policy, why when the DHSC is setting PHE policy is the SNP allowed to even be on the floor of the house, in these extraordinary times surely their usual positions on the benches or remote slots could be allocated to more English MPs from both side of House?

      • JoolsB
        Posted July 22, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        Jerry,
        EVEL is a toothless and meaningless SOP which Cameron knew when he suggested it and then appointed William Hague to water it down even further. The only fair and democratic future for England is an English Parliament.

  14. Anthony
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    The only way to address this issue in the long term is for Scottish people to feel British and to want share their country with us as we do with them. Economic issues aren’t enough as Brexit has shown.

    I would be inclined to use the British Lions concept. Create institutions that promote themselves as the best of Eng, Sco, Wal and NI combined to show the benefit of being together.

    • margaret howard
      Posted July 22, 2020 at 12:11 am | Permalink

      Anthony

      Oh the irony! The Scottish ARE the original ‘British’ along with the Welsh. It was the invading Anglo Saxons in the 5th/6th centuries who pushed them into the fringes.

      So it should really be up to us to feel more ‘British’ rather than English -:)

  15. Bryan Harris
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Has devolution actually achieved anything except adding layers of red tape and bureaucracy? The evidence available is that it has been a very expensive exercise in establishing more socialism and less democracy.

    Why do we want to give more powers to these parliaments that are doing such a lousy job?

    When is the Westminster parliament planning to review and curtail the devolved parliaments? Indeed, What process is in place to measure their ethics and effectiveness, and how they waste taxpayers money?

  16. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    If we are to live with some form of dissolved powers lets do it properly.

    Yorkshire has a larger population than Scotland, it is a more contiguous entity. Yet the people of Yorkshire have less say in their own affairs than the Scots do in the affairs of Yorkshire, the Scots even have more voting rights than Yorkshire folk. i.e. the SNP have the vote on things that apply to Yorkshire but the people of Yorkshire have no say in what happens in Scotland. That surely cant be right.

    What the recent pandemic has shown is the top down approach of control and rules is quite often misplace at any moment in time when it is applied equally to all. Yet as it is now evolving the local and regional approach gets things done while permitting the rest of the UK to get on.

    That should be applied to everything. Out of the EU central government is no longer a jumped up Local Council, it is now the coordinator of efforts and relationships with the rest of the world. For that to work and be effective what can be done by the local community should be done by them and on balance they always do a better job.

    Central control means we all get to suffer one mistake, while diversified management and control limits the effects on the whole by the few.

    • JoolsB
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Not only do the SNP have more say on things that apply to Yorkshire than the people of Yorkshire but they have more say on Yorkshire than they do for their own constituents who they have no say on for devolved matters. Bizarre isn’t it? Yet 550 plus supine UK MPs squatting in English seats are perfectly happy with the status quo. So much so that they can’t even bring themselves to say the word England let alone stand up for it against this Government’s blatant discrimination against it – don’t want to upset the Scots after all.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 22, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Yorkshire will not be allowed to make any significant laws for itself.

      It might turn out to be a bit left wing.

  17. Iain Gill
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    an independent England would be nice, freed from having to subsidise Scotland, Wales and NI, with our own parliament

    • JoolsB
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Can we identify Scots and send them home too please? Alistair Campbell ….

    • margaret howard
      Posted July 22, 2020 at 12:19 am | Permalink

      Iain Gill

      An independent England would have about as much of a say in world affairs or shaping its future as, say Liechtenstein or Andorra. Is that what you want?

      From a mighty empire into a rump England in just a couple of generations?

      • Edward2
        Posted July 22, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        You keep repeating this complete nonsense Margaret.
        England on its own would still be one of the worlds biggest economies.
        It would be better off not having to generously subsidise other areas of the UK.
        It has over 80% of the UK’s population and wealth.

  18. Old Albion
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    “How much further would you go with devolution?”

    I’m glad you asked;

    It’s long been time for equality and fairness in the ridiculously named ‘UK’ Successive governments have avoided the elephant in the room. The democratic defecit imposed upon England.
    While three countries of the disunited Kingdom are given their own Assembly/Gov. England has been ignored. We’ve been left as the last colony of Britain.
    Under Cameron there was the first tiny acknowledgment that all was not well, but he didn’t have the bottle to see it through.
    More recently the issue has been kicked back into the long grass as Brexit took over every political waking moment. Now of course Covid 19 dominates all political thought.
    England deserves and needs equality. England needs it’s own Gov. If the (dis)UK is to stay together in any form.
    There is a golden opportunity in sight. Create a new UK federation. All four countries largely self funding and governing under a new Federal Senate to replace the out of date House of Lords.
    It’s time for justice for England.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Old Albion,

      How would the Federal Senate be constituted? Four Senators, more?

      I agree with the concept, I am interested in the execution.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      +1,000 And some.

      🙂

    • JoolsB
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Trouble is Old Albion there would be no need for anywhere near 650 UK MPs if that happened and as they have shown us over the last twenty years, the Westminster Gravy train is far more important to them than a little thing like equality and fairness for England.

  19. GilesB
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Subsidiarity, that decisions should be made at the lowest possible level, is an excellent principle.

    But no lower.

    For example, Covid has shown that we need a National Health Service.

    And there is no reason why the authorities and accountabilities should not be identical for the four constituent regions of the United Kingdom. In the same way, each County Council should have the same powers and responsibilities.

    Another reason why the Withdrawal Agreement’s Northern Ireland protocol is a disaster for governance and democratic accountability.

    As Einstein said ‘As simple as possible, but no simpler’.

    We need an assembly for England and a shrunken Westminster focussed on national and international issues.

    Devolution to Scotland, and to Wales, has been a disaster. Are there any benefits?

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      As you say, the closer to the people involved the more effective.

      The counties throughout the UK can do a better job than a centralized monolith we are lumbered with at the moment. The UK Government should be about coordinating not doing, looking after external relationships etc.

      If say Dunbartonshire can’t look after its own schooling, public health and so on and wants to have another tier to help them manage it in the form of the Scottish Government then I am sure the would be happy to fund it directly

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 22, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Giles “For example, Covid has shown that we need a National Health Service.”

      Has it though Giles? Our NHS outcomes have been much worse we are told than other Countries who don’t have an NHS, we have performed much worse than Germany. Our Health Service has in part been devolved back to another layer of regional control as Andy Burnham told us in April.

      We were locked up for sixteen SIXTEEN weeks, only essential key workers allowed out, unable to visit sick and dying relatives in hospital (why?). We were told we had to stay locked up to save the NHS. They still can’t cope, its not reopening properly any time soon and all of our private provision has been stopped but premiums expected to be paid at the same time.

      I would prefer a German model.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 22, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        ‘I would prefer a German model.’
        Swedish or Brazilian are better alternatives.

  20. Pete
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    It shouldn’t be a case of simply moving powers fromBrussels to London but questioning whether those powers should exist at all. The world is suffering from vastly too much unproductive and unnecessary government and it’s central planning. Collectively governments have done more harm to the world economy in 6 months that any combination of natural events short of an asteroid hitting the Earth.

    • DavidJ
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Indeed let’s have a lot less government at a lot less cost to the taxpayer.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree.

  21. Alan Jutson
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Would the Scottish people prefer a single market and freedom of movement with the UK, or one with the EU.
    It would appear the EU will not allow two systems as they want to make the rules.

    If the Scottish people prefer the EU then the UK should cut them adrift, let the EU run them and see what they feel about that sort of independence with very little voice in Brussels..

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 22, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      But we didn’t cut Southern Ireland adrift Alan, we have a common travel area, they get all the perks they used to have as a member of the United Kingdom unless someone can tell me one they don’t have. They don’t contribute to NATO, they don’t have the same harmonised tax rates and take a competitive advantage, the Southern Irish can vote in British elections. Why wouldn’t Scotland think they can just walk all over the UK too?

  22. Richard1
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Of course the SNP will use anything and everything they can to drive a wedge between Scotland and the rest of the U.K. the good & easy thing about that is it doesn’t matter what the policy is, we know the Scottish separatist reaction.

    In the balance of pros and cons of Brexit, one of the pros is Scottish separatism has become less likely – contrary to received opinion. The costs of it have gone up dramatically. An independent Scotland would have to sign an FTA with the U.K. and if it wants to join the EU would have to meet the criteria for and join the euro. Radical austerity would be needed once the U.K. transfers have gone. It’s very unlikely they will vote for that.

    Had the U.K. voted remain, the SNP would have argued that the ever increasing power of the EU means there is no longer a point in an intermediate tier of govt at Westminster and would have said separatism has no risk as both would be in the EU single market and customs union.

    The government should implement the right trade policies for the whole of the U.K. and explain in a calm and friendly way what they are. Allow the SNP to shriek and rant, Scots are too canny to actually vote for independence.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 22, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Richard1 the Scottish people are told the UK transfers are for the oil revenues and the fair share of Scottish taxes, the anti-UK sentiment from the SNP whips up frequent anti -English, Anti-Tory resentment in the Cities like Glasgow.

      Why aren’t we told the truth? Is this what the Barnett formula is a calculation of, and are any of the oil rigs in English water?

      The investment in the roads up in Scotland requires lots of funding, just what investments have been made up there in the past 100 years, Margaret above has said that the EU transferred money away from England and into the Celtic regions in large amounts, is that true?

  23. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    You don’t make any case for the Union being a good thing. If you want to maintain it for whatever reason then allow the SNP to hold an independence referendum – once again they will fail once the financial consequences for Scotland become apparent, even more so now that their oil industry has collapsed, I don’t see how they could even afford to pay the necessary large divorce payment.

  24. Andy
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Scottish Independence is an inevitability.

    Scotland rejected any Brexit. Let alone the extreme headbanger one we are getting.

    Scotland overwhelmingly rejected the Tories.

    Scots are having Brexit and Tory rule imposed on them by the pensioners.

    Good for Scotland. Get rid of these fools in Westminster.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Move up there Andy, you would fit in well with the tartan whingers.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      When they leave the UK will they build a border?
      What currency will they use?
      Will they still demand billions every year from Westminster?

    • IanT
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      And replace them with the Fools in Brussels Andy?

      Fools of my choosing or Fools imposed on me? It’s a hard choice to make.

      PS You are going to just love getting old!

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      A majority in Scotland vote In every election yo Westminster thereby confirming our Act if Union. The same cannot be said of UK citizens voting to be represented in the EU. That is the difference.

    • Jock McTavish
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      More Scots voted for Brexit than voted at the last election for the SNP.

    • JoolsB
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      And the Tories have won the popular vote in England since 2001 yet it took until 2015 to get the Government of it’s choosing instead having a Labour Government and then a Coalition Government foist on it instead thanks to the votes of the rest of the UK. At least the devolved nations get a second vote unlike England, to then choose their own parliaments whereas we English have to accept the Government chosen for us by the rest of the UK despite much of what any UK Government does nowadays not applying to them.

    • David Brown
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      Andy 100% agree best statement made here.
      Right now too many old people who live in a rose tinted fantasy world have nothing better but meddle in the affairs of what should be the younger generations decisions.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      Scottish Independence is an inevitability.

      Excellent. Let them stand on their own two feet.

      Scotland rejected any Brexit.

      Excellent. Let them join the EU, adopt the Euro and impose terrible austerity to meet the fiscal entry requirements. Fair play to them!

      Let alone the extreme headbanger one we are getting.

      If only that were true. A proper, headbanger Brexit is what we all voted for. We pensioners, that is.

      Scotland overwhelmingly rejected the Tories.

      Well, they are bound to get something right.

      Scots are having Brexit and Tory rule imposed on them by the pensioners.

      Hurrah! Power to we pesky pensioners.

      Good for Scotland. Get rid of these fools in Westminster.

      Yeah! They have plenty of their own fools in Holyrood. Why do they need ours?

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 22, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Do the Scots have to pay back the debt England took on to absorb their losses? Listening to people on here the Barnett formula gives Scotland much more per head than any region in England gets so why do they?
      I love Scotland and Scottish people one of my children has moved there, the anti-English things I hear concern me, I honestly didn’t realise there was so much hatred for the English, especially English conservatives, and for many people I met the Monarchy.

  25. Colin B
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Devolution, a Blair failure. Immigration without proper planning on integration and infrastructure, another Blair failure. Giving back to the EU a portion of the refund of contributions that Margret Thatcher successfully negotiated on behalf of the UK.

    Squeaky wheels get oiled first. Circa £12 billion annually to each of NI, Scotland and Wales. What about funding for the South West of England and parts of the North who have more ‘rights’ to the English taxes than the other parts of the Union. Nothing would be said about the monies going to the devolved nations if they were good neighbours but they are grasping and despite continuous charitable donations from the English remain essentially anti-English and anti-British. Despite Edinburgh producing many fine writers, poets, engineers, doctors, etc then they would still be a nation of crofters without the support of the English ( which is why there has been a drain on the population totals as Scots move to Enland and elsewhere for jobs ).

    If the devolved nations wish to have more powers they should also have more targets to meet. Their once good educational system is floundering under Salmon / Sturgeon control. More money from Westminister is not the answer but better management. Sturgeon needs to concentrate on improving the schools, etc not being obsessed by the thought of independence, a stillborn strategy if there ever was one.

    Sturgeons approach seems to be the same as that adopted by the Scottish rugby team some years ago ( although I am pleased that their rugby team has improved a lot in recent times ). When asked what the teams strategy was to beat a much better English rugby team the individual team members replied “beat the English” and to the question of a plan B the reply came back “beat the English”. No plan, no detailed strategy just beat the English.

    Would it not be better for the members of the Union to work together to secure a bright future for us all. I know what the English are doing for the other Nations, contributing £12 billion annually to each, but what are the other nations contributing to the Union other than negativity and division. Can someone please explain this incredible failure.

  26. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Why do we need more rules and regulations. If it is not unlawful it must be lawful, therefore just provide a framework against bad practice and let business get on with it.

    Scotland can have its own rules, if the supply of gods becomes limited in Scotland due to their obsession with regulations they will see the consequences of voting in authoritarians who are not reigned in by Westminster.

    It has been written above that Scotland should have its own tax raising powers and Barnett should be scrapped. I concur fully. Gain agreement on distribution of oil revenues directly and let them tax themselves into oblivion with no recourse to additional borrowing on the UK dime.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      goods not gods (although supporters of the deity Nicola may disagree)

  27. Arthur Wrightiss
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Give Scotland the maximum possible revenue raising powers, and then cancel the Barnett payment. They must financially stand on their own two feet.
    Scottish MPs in Westminster must only be able to vote on 100% UK wide issues such as Defence.
    Give the Scottish Government powers over fishing in their seas. If the Scots voters and tax payers want to give away their fishing to the EU then they can vote SNP.

  28. formula57
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    If <i"There will be transfers of power in 160 policy areas…" can business not expect a whole raft of different rules and regulations that provide for differences more apparent than real and which add to compliance burdens and otherwise act to frustrate or hamper trade across the whole UK?

    As for how far to take devolution, no further except in the Scottish case where exit from the Union should be forced (without need for any referendum) – only let us do that properly, without quisling civil servants undermining separation and without heeding SNP demands for special privileges.

    As for dealing with the SNP now, the Government should laugh at them.

  29. Pat
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Does the revelation of Kremlin interference in the Scottish independence referendum call into question it’s outcome?

    Can we afford to ignore this golden opportunity for a re-run, hopefully including the whole UK?

  30. Original Richard
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    The SNP very carefully say that it is “the people who live in Scotland” who should have another independence vote and never “the Scottish people”, which explains why the SNP are so keen on EU membership and EU immigration into Scotland.

    The UK government should make it plain to the SNP that should it grant them another referendum then all Scots will be allowed a vote including ex-pats who have been away from Scotland for 15 years or less and no votes given to nationals of other countries around the world, such as Chinese students.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Nobody knows who ‘Scottish people’ are anymore just as they don’t know who British people are, and the Greens don’t know who ‘women’ are. So it has to be whosoever lives in Scotland.
      No group of people this confused has a hope of surviving.

      • Original Richard
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        People born in Scotland.

        To give votes to everyone who lives in Scotland which includes those who do not have a British passport and cannot vote in our GEs is a nonsense and thought up by the SNP to underhandedly disenfranchise Scottish people in order to gain power.

        BTW I see no connection between the Green’s inability to define a woman with defining who is Scottish.

    • Jock McPoohead
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Next Scottish independence referendum should include all citizens of the UK.

  31. ukretired123
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Scotland cannot be independent in the EU’s drive for ever closer union as Galloway punctured Salmon and Ms Sturgeon’s vociferous romantic lies.

    Just as China finds HK difficult so too has devolution created more problems than it solves. It just creates unnecessary multiple bureaucracy and needs reversing to avoid chaos.

  32. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Devolution has gone too far and it is high time that the SNP were cut down to size. The 19% public expenditure premium of the Barnett formula is far too generous; 10% should be enough to cover the increased costs and hardship in areas with spare population and cold winters. Only 20% of Scotland’s population live in such areas, the remainder living in the central belt. As things stand, Scotland offers free University education to everyone except the English and finances that largesse with taxes paid by the English.

    It’s also high time that tax raising powers for Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont were abolished.

  33. beresford
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Off topic, the Daily Mail reports that the Government are presenting legislation to facilitate the addition of two storeys to existing houses. In my area this will be used to increase multiple occupancy with no corresponding increase in infrastructure such as water supply, sewerage, or car parking space, thus making life more difficult for others in the street.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      the Daily Mail reports that the Government are presenting legislation to facilitate the addition of two storeys to existing houses.

      And you believe this? From the Daily Mail no less! Let’s just think about the work needed on the foundations. Serious underpinning to every house. Then we have the additional weight on the walls to think about. These days the additional two floors would have to be concrete – to create the necessary fire break and sound proofing between habitations.

      It is total bolleaux.

      • NickC
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

        Mike W, I suspect what is meant is two storeys – as in a ground floor and a first floor; but I could be wrong.

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted July 22, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

          Mike W, I suspect what is meant is two storeys – as in a ground floor and a first floor; but I could be wrong.

          How could you add two storeys – as in a ground floor and a first floor – to an existing building? The existing building would presumably, currently have its roof at ground level. I.e. it would be an underground house – like the Telly Tubbies?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      Govt. knows this and just does not care.
      Obviously hasn’t studied “the science” of overcrowding.

  34. a-tracy
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    What is stopping any Company in the UK meeting EU standards with the goods they wish to supply into the EU market and leave our Single Market for ourselves and the Rest of the World out of that agreement? Clear labelling will sort out any problems i.e. Made in Scotland should reassure the EU that part of the UK is fully complying with all their import rules should they choose to do so, but they shouldn’t be able to overrule the RUK should the UK government deem this not sensible or required for the majority of our exports.

    The UK always seems to just sign agreements to the secondary parties benefits, with for example the agreement with Ireland for a Common Travel Area and Freedom of movement and allowance to vote in the UK even though they are a stand-alone Country and not within the Union. We support their exports to our own Countries detrement, i.e. how can Cheddar cheese be made and marketed from Southern Ireland? Do they use the milk from the Somerset cows to enable them to make ‘Cheddar’? We don’t charge tolls or check their vehicles for people movements or what goods are passing through is this going to change if Europe are going to charge British trucks is the UK going to do the same for EU trucks in the UK?

    • beresford
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Not to mention the one-sided extradition treaty with the USA. Blair’s premierships were a long time ago, why have successive governments not rescinded this?

  35. acorn
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    BTW. Yesterday I wrote that the EU Parliament had more powers over trade deals than the UK Parliament ever will. Last evening the UK Parliament voted NOT to have more powers over trade deals. Perhaps JR could tell us why he voted against new clause 4.

    It appears that the UK has become a federal structure, perhaps England should get a devolved government as well to make it tidier; perhaps also with nine regional assemblies similar to Wales, with there own tax bases. Then of the twelve UK regions, ten would be pro-Brexit and two, Scotland and Northern Ireland, would not. Obvious solution there I think.

    We also appear to be adopting EU terms such as “internal market”; “single market” and “customs union”. What’s going on?

    Reply Parliament has the powers. We do not legislate for the powers we already have once out of the EU!

    • acorn
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Nice try JR but; how come neither House of Parliament has yet to vote down any Treaty ratification since the 2010 Act? Accepting that the Act severely limits the opportunities for our Punch & Judy Legislature to do so. All of which has nothing to do with the the voting qualification requirements for member states at EU level.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 22, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        Because previous Parliaments had remain majorities.

  36. William Long
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    One of the things I have found hardest to understand about the EU is why they seem to be so reluctant to hold on to a nation that clearly wishes to leave. Surely it would be in their best interests to let us go with good grace enhancing the prospect of mutual cooperation in the future? Or is it just that they hate to lose our money?
    I feel just the same about our union with Scotland. If the Scotch do not want to be part of it, let them go, and the sooner the better.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      They want our money.

      • turboterrier
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wragg

        Not only do they want it , they bleeding well need it. How else could they afford all their free handouts?

  37. The Prangwizard
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    For as long as the UK has a PM of the empty beliefs and qualities of Appeaser Boris the Scots will get whatever they demand. Their insults against England and the English are being countered by the bending of the knee, yet again.

    England and its people are of no interest to Boris and the Tories. And no-one dare oppose The Queen.

    Our host claims to speak for England, but it hasn’t amounted to much so far, well within controls.

    Now is the time for Sir John to take the opportunity to put England and its people first, but the party and his loyalty to the party and the failing Union comes above all.

    He could use this opportunity to demonstrate leadership powers, there are those who are waiting for someone to break ranks. But I fear he will not put his head above the parapet and cry ‘enough’ and go further.

    I would like to be proved wrong but I will not be holding my breath.

    • JoolsB
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Well said Prangwizard. John, judging by all the comments today, and what I am reading on other blogs, it is blatantly clear we English are not happy with the status quo, ie..the rotten deal we get from your Government and being in this so called union. Will you ignore us like the rest of them or will you inform your ignorant leader and colleagues of our feelings.

  38. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Devolution must be reversed and abandoned totally or the Celtic fringe must be made totally independent with all that entails. No half measures are possible.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      PS loads of people from Scotland shopping for houses in the North of England currently. Perhaps they know something we don’t?

      • Caterpillar
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        LBTT threshold is 250k not 500k?

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        PS loads of people from Scotland shopping for houses in the North of England currently. Perhaps they know something we don’t?

        No-one from Scotland is shopping for houses in Northumberland.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted July 21, 2020 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

          When we lived there during the last independence referendum many Scots said they would leave if the SNP won the vote. Personally the day they win it can’t come too soon. Everyone is talking about racism. Listen to the way many Scots talk about the English. That’s racism.

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 22, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        Possibly buy to let people, Lynn, because the Scottish Buy to Let rules are more onerous on the landlord, you can’t sign a Tenant up for any pre-agreed term length, they only have to give you a months notice, but you virtually have to jump through burning hoops to get them out if they’re not paying or can’t pay.

  39. JimS
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    We need a Tony Blair repeal act, and a bonfire of the quangoes – pretty much the same thing.

    • NickC
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      Repealing Tony Blair – now there’s a thought.

  40. A.Sedgwick
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Resolve SNP situation with much more defined referendum which would be binding for say 50 years and include all UK voters who were born in Scotland or had a Scotland born parent. Residency in Scotland is not a true picture.

    Most of us in England are fed up with the back biting and delusion of Sturgeon, Blackford and Co. The hypocrisy of wanting to leave the UK to join the EU is breathtaking.

    Only then can devolution be better constructed, perpetual ennobling Scotland to live beyond its means has to stop.

  41. BJC
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    May I ask why, having voted for a centre-right Party to govern the United Kingdom, I am required to give preferential funding to a left-wing adminstration over which I have no say? Devolution has done nothing for the unity of this country and is a costly vanity project bearing a remarkable resemblence to the duplicate structures created by the EU. I’m convinced that the SNP consider their funding not only an entitlement, but a source of “compensation” for not being allowed their unaffordable “independence”. Westminster, (aka “the people”) is routinely insulted and demonised by the SNP as though they’re not included as part of a Scottish contingent that probably holds more meaningful powers (at the moment) than the devolved government. Meanwhile, Parliament as a whole appears cowed by their sabre-rattling and embarrassed over policies designed to protect the people of all four countries.

    Quite frankly, I believe the Tories must have lost their collective marbles to hand devolved governments ever more powers at this time, when we know we need to adapt but have no idea what powers will be best exercised from central government. The last thing we need is to stymie ourselves with self-inflicted wounds coming from left-wing ideological devolved governments.

  42. dixie
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I don’t see how the current situation is tenable let alone making it worse by devolving more powers to regional administrations that take all the free money while being abusive towards the English people.

    Either unwind devolution or find a more equitable arrangement, quickly.

  43. JoolsB
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    John, with respect it is not only the SNP that is driving a wedge between the union. Your Government like the anti-English Labour one before it is doing a nice job of that all on it’s own. Johnson brags that 70 new powers on top of the many they already have will be going to Scotland, Wales & NI without one mention of England and the fact it has no powers whatsoever. The irony seems to be lost on him and 650 self serving UK MPs that England is getting sick and tired of constantly being ignored whilst watching the pampered devolved nations, especially Scotland receive more and more autonomy (and money) whilst still having a say on what happens in England.

    England needs it’s own devolved parliament too where only those elected in England get to decide what happens in England and that means standing up for England for a change unlike now and they could start by demanding an end to the Barnett Formula and the West Lothian Question, something the current bunch of UK MPs squatting in English seats refuse to do.

    Give the devolved nations more power, carry on ignoring England, but how much longer do you think the ignored and overlooked cashcow that is England is going to put up with the rotten deal it gets both constitutionally and financially by a Tory Government that would not even exist if it were not for England?

    • M Davis
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      JoolsB, I think, unfortunately, your words are falling on deaf ears!

    • Mark B
      Posted July 22, 2020 at 3:58 am | Permalink

      Jools

      I agree with you, but as things stand it is not, as yet, a front line issue with the electorate. When the employment figures start hitting the roof and people lose their homes they might want to start questioning where all this money that is going to the other nations, and I include overseas aid, is coming from.

      The English are slow to anger and that is our problem. But when we do watch out. Labour might as yet be unelectable but Johnson is doing all he can to scupper the Tories at the next election and leave Labour, for once, to pick up the mess.

  44. DOMINIC
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    It seems Johnson now sees devolving powers as a way of transferring political responsibility and therefore blame should anything go wrong

    Another Tory capitulation along with their capitulation to the extremist left, Labour and the race and gender activists that now have the Tory party firmly by the cojones

    why are the Tories behaving like this? To keep themselves protected from activist harm and a leftist media

    And so the taxpayer and the majority are all sold down the river to protect the cozy Tory-Labour client State

    The UK is finished as a nation if the reform party is not successful at the next GE cos the Tories may as well change their name to something more Marxist

    Your party’s outlived its usefulness

    • steve
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Dominic

      “…and therefore blame should anything go wrong”

      Or so they think.

      “why are the Tories behaving like this?”

      Cause they got no balls mate. There is not a man amongst them.

  45. Everhopeful
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Why are SNP MPs allowed to comment in Parliament and have input on matters that solely concern England? Their devolved responsibilities lie in Scotland.
    We need a proper English Parliament!

    • steve
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Everhopeful

      It is easy. Just assemble all the SNP attending Westminster, ask them a simple question: ‘do you consider the SNP as being the Scottish Government ? ‘

      If the answer is yes, then put them on the first train back North of Hadrian’s wall.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Or – we could send the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs home on Wednesday night, to do their devolved legislature stuff, in place of MSPs and the like.

  46. James Matthews
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Devolution has inserted wedges between all the nations of the Union. The SNP and other nationalists just need to keep tapping them. This they are deftly doing (votes for 16 and 17 year old infants being a noticeable recent example). Sadly this government, like its predecessors, seems to believe that appeasing all nationalists except the English variety is some sort of countermeasure. It is exactly the opposite.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Voting age is a worrying move. The prefrontal cortex, on average, isn’t fully developed until 25.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 22, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

        Worrying? yes it is – judgement and experience is not normally acquired until at least 30, for some never! Therefore making a voting preference over something where little or no experience is available is foolhardy.

  47. NickC
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    JR, I would scrap devolution. We do not need more than two tiers of government within the UK.

    • steve
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      NickC

      “We do not need more than two tiers of government within the UK.”

      Except that there is no such thing as a Scottish Government, it’s the Scottish Assembly.

      They only make out they’re a government because the anti English BBC keep referring to the Scottish ‘government’.

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 22, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        We used to have two tiers of local government a Borough Council and a County Council, our Borough Council was very good, or County Council not so good, we were split into two County Councils and the Borough Councils dissolved, we are much worse of now. Our town is completely overlooked all regular public meetings off, ability to see the spending decisions each year are obfuscated to such a degree that you can’t easily see the breakdowns, I hate it! The spending has all gone to the main City and the Primary town nominated by the main City and we just get all the low value, or social housing creating a bigger divide than ever. Our Town is poorly looked after by street scene, investment is wasted. Bigger single tiers how do they benefit the forgotten?

        • dixie
          Posted July 23, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

          There is a pattern – Wokingham is the same, all spending on Wokingham town centre while we in the sticks get residential over-development, traffic disruption measures and the bills.

  48. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Is the UK weird or what! According to 2 different views on the ONS death figures in the Evening Standard.

    ‘The UK now has 56,000 due to Corvid’ then ‘The total UK death rate(inclusive of Corvid) that is less than the UK experience’s without Corvid’

    On that basis Corvid is stopping the usual amount of people dying.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      ‘The UK now has 56,000 due to Corvid’ then ‘The total UK death rate(inclusive of Corvid) is less than the UK has experience’s without Corvid’

    • Philip P.
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      I see the government website has now stopped publishing death figures because they were not reliably reported.

      Perhaps we should wait till the end of the year, see what the 2020 excess mortality was overall, and not draw conclusions before then.

      And then we may have to draw some very harsh conclusions indeed.

    • hefner
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Time scales! The first number refers to the cumulative number of deaths since beginning of March, the second is the ‘instantaneous’ number for the last week in the statistics. Possibly the ES did not make that clear.

  49. Bailey
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    In the end we will see that brexit was mainly responsible for the breakup of the UK. To introduce transfers of power now in 160 areas of policy is an attempt at appeasement and will only delay the inevitable. It’s in the nature of geo-politics that nothing lasts forever so we should instead be forward looking, pragmatic and confident in outselves looking to an English future- an English future in the sun.

    • steve
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Bailey

      “In the end we will see that brexit was mainly responsible for the breakup of the UK.”

      Not so. It will be down to cowards running the country, and the fact that cowards let Blair scrap the treason laws.

    • forthurst
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      The Scots see two remote centres of power controlling their lives, one in London, the other in Brussels. The Scots see the government in Brussels as the more benign and which they are about to lose leaving them entirely controlled by Westminster.
      Many in England feel the same about the government in Westminster, that it is less than benign, that it is not concerned with their welfare but rather is prepared to sacrifice it to appease every minority as so defined whilst presiding in their gilded palace over a country which daily less resembles the country of their childhoods.
      However, instead of dealing with the real and urgent issues facing the country, the government appears to spend most of its time sabre rattling as though it was still an empire and not a medium ranking country in a world where the big beasts are going to take precisely no notice of it whatsoever.

      Leaving the EU should be about taking stock and trying to halt the decline as not only the Scots but many others who only recently became our neighbours will demand the autonomy to live separate lives, enshrined in law, as has already been achieved by one group, and we will become an unstable patchwork like Yugoslavia.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      I rather blame Blair for this situation. And for the vote to leave the EU as well.

    • Original Richard
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      “In the end we will see that brexit was mainly responsible for the breakup of the UK.”

      Quite the reverse.

      The EU’s long-term goal is to abolish the nation states and replace them with “regions”.

      England was to be broken up into several of these regions (one of which was to be combined with one in France) and the reasons the SNP are so keen on EU membership was because they saw it as a way for Scotland to separate itself from England but still receive subsidies and additional funding from England via the EU budget.

      • Andy
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        What a work of fiction. Full on bonkers.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 22, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

          Try looking this EU policy up on the internet Andy.
          From nation state to member state to EU regions.
          I agree it is bonkers but there are many articles available where EU bureaucrats say this is their long term ambition.
          The Five Presidents Report talks about the move to the United States of Europe.
          Why are you EU fans so uninformed?

      • Mark B
        Posted July 22, 2020 at 5:20 am | Permalink

        BINGO. !!

  50. Tony Sharp
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,
    I would be quite happy to offer the SNP another IndyRef.
    The alternative to Independence on the Ballot would be
    “I agree that Scotland shall Leave the United Kingdom.”
    “I agree that the Scotland Act 1998 shall be repealed.”

    They can have one or the other but not this continuous attempt of trying to have both; the devolution arrangment being constantly used to get independence by stealth – having UK subsidies but not being responsible for raising the revenue.
    Wales would happily drop its devolution on a Yes or No question without independence even being canvassed.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      I agree with this, but I think another option is to also have English devolution. Under your suggestion, I think the same offer would have to be made to NI and I would not be confident of a peaceful outcome.

  51. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    One to show the current insanity of shopping.
    I have ordered and paid for by phone today, some items. I offered to collect them from their place. “We don’t allow collections” said the young lady. I pointed out that their way involved handing the items to a collection driver who then took them ?? miles to their depot, where they would be unloaded and then sorted out for tomorrows delivery, which I have to wait in for ( no time slot given) and upon arrival, my items will be delivered to me. My items will have gone miles for no valid reason, wasted more fuel and could easily arrive broken due to the mountains we call speed humps that plague the roads and been handled by ??? people and increasing the possibility of virus passing on – – where I could have been there within 2 minutes to have them put in my car boot. I tried to explain the logic in my argument but I was talking to someone who could only say what she’d been told to.
    Where is the difference from a driver collecting them ( who will have been in MANY more contacts than me ) – – and ME collecting them by opening the car boot for the items to be put in. Absolute insanity. Both time and fuel wasted.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the Orwellian state aka Tory government. No masks for 4 months now mandatory from Friday.
      Control brother thats what it’s all about.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        No.

        The half heartedness of it indicates a cave in to various loud lobbies.

        Political rather than scientific.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 22, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Perhaps your goods aren’t at the store you ordered them from and they are coming to you from a Centralised large warehouse without ever then needing to go to the store on calculated delivery runs with about 80 other addresses in your local postcode area.

  52. Sam Duncan
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    “How much further would you go with devolution?”<

    I would abolish the devolved assemblies and distribute many of their powers to local authorites, across the entire UK. Devolution, per se, isn’t a bad thing. But the way it was implemented by the Blair government has proved an absolute disaster.

    This is amply demonstrated by the fact that a Conservative and Unionist government can talk of the UK’s “single market” and “customs union” as if our long-standing unitary state was even comparable to the EU’s imperfect federation. Our constituent nations are not member states. The UK is one, single, united, state, and the devolved assemblies are not equal in status to its Parliament, in which every one of us, as UK citizens, is represented. Devolution has eaten away at these truths to an extent that I don’t think is fully appreciated by those who purport to defend them. And something has to be done soon, because although the seperatists were defeated before, they’re in power, spreading their falsehoods about our great country from positions of authority.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      The closer to the action the better the response, the better the management or more in control the people are. That frightens the political class, people getting things better than over arching rule machine.

  53. ChrisS
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Blair’s pandering to Nationalist tendencies in Scotland and Wales has proved disastrous for the Country and, ironically, especially for the Labour Party !

    Labour now has almost no chance of forming a UK government, the best they can hope for is a Labour/SNP coalition. Their problem is that Miliband’s 2015 campaign demonstrated that English voters will not vote for anything that gives Sturgeon or the SNP any power over England. The long-delayed boundary changes should be introduced rapidly to further secure the position.

    English politicians have been so frightened of the SNP that they have failed to either take on Sturgeon over her failed and expensive policies, or to abolish the Barnett Formula which ensures English taxpayers have to pay for Scottish largess to the tune of £11bn a year. This is a disgrace.

    I would grant a second independence referendum in 2021 or 2022, before the next General election, but make it clear to Scotland that there will be changes, whatever the outcome. One way or another, an end has to be brought to the current situation where Sturgeon is allowed to operate extravagant and failing socialist policies with the tab being picked up by English taxpayers.

    For a start, when the UK government offers further devolution of repatriated powers following our leaving the EU, it must be accompanied by an end to Barnett. Responsibility for all taxation and spending within Scotland must be given to Holyrood.

    If this results in a vote for Scottish Independence, then so be it. English voters are thoroughly fed up and if we were given a vote on Scottish Independence, there would be no doubt Scotland would be going it alone. This is the fault of Westminster politicians being too cowardly to tackle the problem for fear of Scotland leaving the UK. Why ?

  54. steve
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    JR

    Re your last paragraph.

    Since you invite opinion:

    Firstly government should scrap devolution or all subsidies provided by the English taxpayer. There cannot be both.

    Secondly:
    “How should the government respond to an SNP that wishes to use these issues to drive a wedge into the Union?”

    Quite simple – call Ms Sturgeon’s bluff. Let’s have IndyRef 2, now. Only this time include the English vote, which is fair because it also directly affects us.

    I think the ………. of the SNP would be in for a shock, having first been reminded that all subsidies and quite a few jobs would be lost, and the SNP would have to apply to join the EU since Scotland would be left without a currency.

    If they want to break the union with us nasty “English too-er-ees” then fine let’s bring it because frankly I’m sick and tired of the whinging moaning and down right ungratefulness shown by these Holyrood bigots who’s real agenda is to milk England for everything they can get.

    They either accept the union & shut up, or they’re not in a union with us and don’t need our money, simple as that.

    Well, you did ask.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      +1

      And let the English have a vote in their referendum next time.

      They’ll be out for sure.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Steve – you just voiced the view of millions of UK citizens and probably EU ones too!

      We would be rid of the bitter abusing money grabbers, and the EU would like to strengthen possible new slaves (members) ‘down the line’.

      We could bring back into England the tens of thousands of civil service jobs, or even scrap many. Military bases could be closed, and others established to meet the new threats to our future defence. Flights and trains timetables could be reviewed in the light of much less travel, particularly that of tourism starting out fom England.

      Bring it on!

  55. Alastair McIntyre
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    It’s always amazed me as to why England hasn’t got a devolved government and also allows the devolved governments a say in English only matters.

    Also… you need to consider the stories of the SNP in Scotland. The SNP have lost the arguments on the financial affairs of an Independent Scotland. If you are really interested in the financial arguments then take the time to read Kevin Hague’s ChokkaBlog site as he shows how Scotland would be some £10 billion worse of if they became independent. Yet those arguments while factual don’t seem to sway the SNP supporters.

    Like Nicola Sturgeon is very good at making a case for EU membership on the back of the fact that Scotland trades more with the EU than any other market. Of course what she doesn’t tell you is that in this calculation is that England is part of the EU so doesn’t mention that exports from Scotland to England alone is some 60%.

    That’s the kind of response you get from the SNP and problem is that SNP members believe everything she tells them.

    It’s time that England raises a voice against the SNP and does its part in showing how Scotland is better of in the Union. Kevin Hague is chairman of These Islands which is a voice in favour of remaining in the Union. He’s more or less admitted that financial logic is ignored by many Scots and that’s a real problem.

    Frankly I believe that Scotland has a lot to offer the UK but only if we can get rid of the SNP who have made a disaster in Scotland. Our Education system was the best in the world but now is below average and Scotland has full control of Education. Likewise our Justice system is going downhill rapidly. The Supreme Court in Scotland didn’t even know the EU legislation would affect Scotland when the SNP tried to get their “Named Persons” Scheme into law. It had to go to the UK Supreme Court where it pointed out that EU legislation wouldn’t allow it. That shows the quality issues of our legal system which is also failing.

    The Tories in Scotland do nothing to argue the case for remaining in the UK and to my mind we need to get rid of many of them and find better educated people to replace them.

    I do think it would be a real mistake to ditch Scotland as they will become self sufficient in energy and fresh water which can then be exported to England. However Scots seem to be perfectly happy to accept mediocre governance from the SNP and that’s dangerous. And where are the MPs that are willing to expose the SNP to the scruinity they need? The local MSP’s certainly do nothing for Scotland.

    Some 750,000 locally born Scots live and work in England and that’s larger than the population of Edinburgh or Glasgow. Back in the early days of the Union Scots were MP’s for some 130 English and Welsh constituencies. The Scots have had British Prime Ministers and have had many important seats in the Cabinet over a long period.

    The reason Nicola Sturgeon want to be in the EU is that she knows that an Independent Scotland could never deal with the global market as we have no trade representatives and the cost to put in place a diplomatic core would be almost impossible and so she needs the EU to represent Scotland in the world.

    That of course is why Scotland could never be an Independent country while being in the EU and some SNP members do recognise that. So perhaps it’s time for English companies to stop trading with Scottish companies to demonstrate just what it would mean to be an Independent Scotland outside the UK?

    Alastair

    • Mark B
      Posted July 23, 2020 at 4:15 am | Permalink

      A good read. Thank you Alister.

  56. David Brown
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    SNP have a very good point. I have total trust and confidence in EU regulations. Big problem with the whole EU debate is people who have more years behind them than in front making the comments. Every comment seems to be about money and not people.
    May be its time to shake the tree and be radical abolish the UK it has out lived its usefulness.
    End the term British in respect to nationality. England is multicultural so use Englander when referring to people from England.
    Christianity is on with way out as the older generation die out.
    A report suggests that most EU countries will have a big population reduction as a result to Covid and projected birth rate, except England with a massive projected increase in population. Hope the new young population finally break the traditions.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 22, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Why ‘Englander’? A term I’ve never heard of? You don’t say Scottisher or Welsher?

  57. DavidJ
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    The best way to resolve the many problems with the SNP is to reverse the devolution, one of Blair’s silly ideas I believe.
    That would remove any possibility of their leaving the UK and/or developing any form of separate relationship with the EU which would be to our disadvantage. The last thing we need is another land border with the EU.
    This is after all the United Kingdom which should be restored and maintained as such. We can deal with the other two devolved assemblies once the Scottish Parliament is gone.

  58. The Prangwizard
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    The devolution debate is pointless. What has been done can’t be undone.

    The only answer now is to dissolve the UK Union but it will never happen while the Queen is alive and maybe not after that if we don’t get a change in leadership.

    In the meantime we go through this horrible charade, with the SNP in parliament shouting at the ‘Westminster government’ playing victim the whole time, insulting everything English and being allowed to. They demand a voice in England’s affairs and get it, they demand more money and more powers and get them.

    And what does the government do for England and the English? Kick us in the teeth, that’s what.

    Where are England’s champions in parliament? There aren’t any. We get a few gestures from some but none have guts to say enough is enough and demand the true sovereignty and true identity for England.

    There must be change.

  59. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    When the Scots leave, the first thing they will do is build a rocket and go to the moon. With EU funding.

  60. Anonymous
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Why is BBC News at Ten now a history lesson ?

    I thought it was meant to be news. Now they are giving history lectures during the news on Britain’s wicked colonial past.

    It’s as though the BBC is trying to stoke up rioting in the Summer heat.

    Fine. Do a separate program on it – but WHY is it on the BBC news ???

  61. turboterrier
    Posted July 21, 2020 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    The one thing the Scottish assembly did not reckon on was on the night of the independence referendum literally billions went out of Scotland electronically. If the vote had gone the other way I do wonder if it would have come back. Too many big financial institutions have openly said they will move to England in the event of an independence vote.

    Never forget that the first word in their dictionary and alphabet begins with F. FUNDING..If it doesn’t get funded it don’t happen.

  62. ian
    Posted July 22, 2020 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    The palace of Westminster will do whatever it takes to keep Scotland, without Scotland the mugs will not have any seat on the G7, people do not understand the thinking behind MPs Lords and others on the matter and huge important they put on having a seat on the G7 they think they are running an empire still and act accordingly as if they are, they are now going to all the commonwealth countries offending them new deals, why do you think you have high immigration and loads of money wasted, well it’s all to keep GDP up, they love all the protests on minority issues in the UK to show the commonwealth countries that they are with them and will look after them with free vaccines and take care of their needs to gain favour with them.

    Scottish people just play the game with Westminster of threatening to leave the UK to be independent so as to gain more money, I would simply say that if you were on the G20 instead of the G7 your taxes would be a lot lower.

  63. ChrisS
    Posted July 22, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    The only extension necessary to Devolution is for English MPs to sit in judgement of all issues that relate only to England. We don’t need a separate English parliament, we just need this small change to right a very serious omission. The time is rapidly approaching when our host and like-minded PMs should return to this issue and again speak for England.

    The biggest risk to our Country is the hidden agenda of many Labour politicians who want regional devolution, especially for Northern areas where they have a chance of taking power.
    Their ultimate objective is to divide England into regions about the size of Scotland and turn the UK into a federal structure where England would effectively disappear. This was also the ultimate objective of the EU in its desire to abolish the Nation State and rule Europe from Brussels.

    This must be resisted at all costs. Not just for political reasons but because of our long and proud history as a unified, sovereign country.

    • JoolsB
      Posted July 22, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      There’s no such thing as English MPs, only UK ones sitting in English constituencies. These particular MPs have a problem with devolution for England and unfortunately what you propose is neither devolution for England nor equality. In fact it just sounds like the toothless EVEL. Anyway, constituency MPs tend to vote along party lines and heaven forbid they should be asked to vote along National lines. Neither would your proposal stop England having a Labour or Labour/SNP Government foist on it against it’s will. If a dedicated self governing parliament is good enough for the rest of the UK then why should England be denied the same?

      • ChrisS
        Posted July 22, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        “If a dedicated self governing parliament is good enough for the rest of the UK then why should England be denied the same?”

        Why ?

        Because English taxpayers will certainly not want to have to vote in any additional elections or to waste millions a year on an extra lot of politicians, especially if they are as useless as those the SNP select to represent their party at Westminster.

        MPs in England already do the whole job compared with the part-time Welsh and Scottish MPs who have members of the devolved administrations to do most of their constituency work.

        Whatever devolved settlement was proposed for England, the UK Parliament could, in theory, elect a Labour/SNP coalition to administer laws retained at UK level. All I suggested was that that is extremely unlikely while the SNP holds sway North of the border.

        It’s also a reasonable assumption that Labour would find it extremely difficult to gain enough seats to govern England alone, whether MPs from English constituencies sit as an English Parliament or there was a whole additional lot of politicians taking away a large proportion of their job.

        • Mark B
          Posted July 23, 2020 at 4:07 am | Permalink

          I disagree.

          We are currently in the process of getting rid of a layer of government and if we get rid of the in wanted city mayors we would rid ourselves of another. As I and others suggested here, we can convert the Commons into an English parliament and turn the HoL into a UK Senate. All doable but this lacks any political will and support.

  64. Treacle
    Posted July 22, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    There is one way to be rid of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP. The SNP are a minority government at Holyrood, but they always win because there are three unionist parties but only one nationalist one. All that has to be one is for the Conservatives to field no candidates in half the Holyrood seats and urge their supporters to vote Labour, and for Labour to field no candidates in the other half of the seats and urge their supporters to vote Conservative. For us unionists in Scotland (the majority), it really does not matter whether we have a Conservative or a Labour government in Holyrood. It’s only a local assembly. But with an SNP government, we find ourselves wondering every day whether our UK citizenship will eventually be taken away and at what point we will be forced to sell what we have and move to another, safer part of the UK.

  65. XYXY
    Posted July 23, 2020 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    I would actually reverse devolution. It is a divisive element of a union that worked perfectly well before the EU and Blair’s devolution. And these devolved assemblies are not very good, as we see repeatedly.

    If we were to see a fully independent Scotland that would be preferable economically, but the geopolitical case may render that undesirable.

    I hear the Conservative party saying that they are pro-Union, but I don’t ever seem to hear why. The Barnett formula favours Scotland, so there’s a case for ending that. NI is a net drain and will probably secede by 2030 given the demographics (Catholic majority due to faster rate of reproduction). So if there is a geopolitical aspect (it may be that the UK would wield less influence due to the loss of one of its parts?)… please enlighten us on Conservative Party thinking on this? A future piece perhaps?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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