I support the Union of the UK. I am happy for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to stay with England as long as they wish. However, as a democrat I support a Union of willing people and accept that some parts of the old UK may not wish to remain part of the future Union. The Irish Free State, now the Republic of Ireland, made that decision early in the twentieth century. I also expect the Union to be constructed on fair principles, which becomes more difficult with the current fashion for lop sided devolution.
The first thing to understand about our Union is that is both very flexible, and that the full union lasted for just 121 years out of the last 1000. Only from 1800 to 1921 did all of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England rest legally in the same country with the same Parliament. During the last 1000 years the most common configuration has been a united England and Wales without Scotland and Ireland. The second most common state has been an independent England.
Several attempts were made to unite the three crowns and the four countries over the centuries, often involving unpleasant wars or civil insurrections. The most brutal was probably that under Cromwell, who united the four countries under the power of the New Model Army and imposed a general Commonwealth. Today I am glad we have no wish to exercise a Union by force.
England has always been an independently minded country, with democratic and self governing leanings that have marked its history out from many on the continent and elsewhere in these islands. Though in name a monarchy throughout the last 1000 years, England has regarded the holder of the Crown as in some ways an elected monarch who has to continue to please the people and powers in the land to retain the orb and sceptre. 12 monarchs have been deposed, murdered or otherwise removed from office since 1066. In other words a monarch had around a one in three chance of premature loss of the crown.This trend continued well into the twentieth century with the deposition of Edward VIII. King John was not deposed but had to sign a charter limiting his power. Charles II had to sign up to substantial limitations on royal power to regain the throne for the House of Stuart. William and Mary accepted further limitations on royal power when they took the throne over from the dismissed James II. George III had to accept a Regency owing to his mental condition. During the Wars of the Roses there were frequent changes of monarch as the rival houses and factions fought to secure the crown.
This flexible approach to the rights and choice of Kings enabled a stronger Parliament to emerge. Even powerful monarchs like Henry VIII turned to Parliament to lend authority to his change of Queen and to the Reformation removal of the powers of the Roman Church and Pope. Most monarchs needed the support of Parliament to secure the money they wanted for their wars and government. Today we fight over these issues with words and Parliamentary motions. The issues raised by devolution are similar to those that lay behind the wars over the Union in the past.
Deposed or assassinated: (29% of the total)
William II, Matilda, Edward II, Richard II, Henry VI, Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, (Jane Grey), Charles I, James II, Edward VIII
Accepted Regent in his place
Accepted substantial limitations on power
John, Charles II, William and Mary,all later monarchs