Whatever the Scots decide to do there is a winner. England.
I always thought of myself as British. My country was the UK. I now also think of myself as English, and my country is England. Years of listening to devolutionists and nationalists from other parts of the UK have persuaded me to change my approach. I now feel English as well as British. My British identity is being threatened and undermined from elsewhere in the Union. My English identity is the future.
If Scotland votes to leave, England is the winner. My fellow countrymen and women will become English as well, divorced by the Scots from our old country. We will soon see what a great future England can enjoy.
The 8% of UK output accounted for by Scotland will be replaced by just three years economic growth in the rest of the UK after they have gone. More contentiously, the 5 million people will be replaced by new people from inwards migration in just 20 years if we carry on at past rates, though many would like us to change that.
If Scotland votes to stay they will do so with beefed up devolution. It will be different. We will know for sure that around half the Scots want to leave us immediately and many of the other half want to sup with us only with a very long spoon. The very least we should insist on is the same devolution of government to England within the residual union that Scotland will enjoy.
If they do vote to stay, as many of us hope and expect, it will be on new terms. Anything that Scotland wants England should be given as well. I welcome the new spirit in Scotland for an equal partnership. That means an English Parliament for us. That means fair burden sharing when it comes to taxes and benefits from the Union.We must make sure this time England’s voice is heard. England expects….
Scotland wants to have the government they voted for. In the Scottish Parliament for devolved matters they do. England voted Conservative in 2010 but got a Coalition government. It’s high time England also got the government it voted for, at least for all devolved matters.