In 1999 I wrote a book called “The Death of Britain?”. It argued that Labour’s devolution policy was likely to split the country up. It also said that Labour’s passion to put us under EU control would destroy our democracy. Boris reminded me of it yesterday in his article which referred to it.
The first of these arguments is coming home to roost this week in the Scottish vote over independence. Whichever way now it turns out, devolution has damaged the union. Devolution has split Scotland in two, with half the public wanting to leave the UK as soon as possible and the other half wanting to stay in only on more favourable terms with less commitment to common government.
The second argument about the EU destroying our democracy is still not fully understood by enough people. It was good yesterday morning to awaken again to voices on the Today programme threatening us with unspecified adverse economic consequences – and the loss of car manufacturing – if we vote to leave the EU. In the light of what negative campaigning has done in Scotland, can we please have more of these lies and pro EU propaganda BBC? Clearly some see the read across from a vote for Scottish independence to a vote for UK independence from the EU even though the two cases are somewhat different.
Only if enough people understand the damage done to our democracy will we secure a vote to leave the EU as currently constituted.
In my book I argued:
“The end result of Labour’s constitutional reforms will be a nation in tatters… Will Scotland now seek to shatter the Union by demanding full independence?”
“devolution Labour style will devolve more power not to people but to politicians and administrators. Far from cementing the UK, it will pull it apart”
“Undoubtedly the government’s devolution plans will create more tension and conflict rather than less. ….It is helping to fuel nationalist movements in Scotland and Wales.”
Labour’s approach is to “offer more devolved power to that part of the country where they are most worried about the strength of separatist as well as devolutionary tendencies. Usually the granting of more and more powers for separate development and separate government within a once unified state leads inexorably to stronger nationalist movements and often to eventual separation”
The crowning irony of Labour’s devolution policy and its failure is its impact 0n Labour. They are the UK political party with far the most to lose, as they often rely on Scottish votes in the Commons to have their way, and on Scottish MPs to act as Ministers. Conservatives won the General Election outright outside Scotland in 2010. It is curious that Labour could not see the obvious in 1999 when I warned them of the consequences of their policy.