Just like the majority of British people around the world I woke up yesterday with a massive feeling of relief, the Scots had voted to stay on as part of the United Kingdom, however they did not vote for the status quo. Over the last couple of weeks it has become clear that there is very great disillusionment with our current system of government. Not just the Government, but the system. Scotland has been promised and will expect more decentralised powers, in turn Wales and Northern Ireland will no want to be left behind, as second class members of teh Union. As ever the main constitutional problem will be England.
A simple glance at a map or population figures will show that this is not a union of equals, England is larger, more populous and on the whole richer than the other nations, the Government is based in England, the Monarch's main residences are in England, yet England is the only part of the UK without any devolved powers. We have the Scottish Parliament the Northern Ireland Assembly and the National Assemble for Wales, and the UK Parliament made up of the Houses of Lords and Commons. There is no assembly for England or english regions, and this may well be the nub of the constitutional problem now facing our leaders.
I am already hearing MPs and others saying that more power devolved from Westminster to National assemblies will not be acceptable unless it is even handed throughout the UK, but the problem seems to be how to organise this for England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are pretty much identifiable homogeneous political and cultural entities, the same doesn't seem to be quite the same for England, but maybe it could be. Certainly there is just as much antipathy towards Westminster in England as there is in the other Countries.
My thoughts at the moment would favour a separation of powers some like foreign policy, defence and maybe some budgetary controls would stay with Westminster, but with other aspects of government being down to the individual Nationals, certainly things like Education, Policing, and the National Health Service are already separated and could easily become the sole responsibility of National Assemblies. We should have a separate assembly for England with different members elected by proportional representation and meeting outside of London, in Manchester, Birmingham, or even Coventry or Oxford, but certainly not London.
My worry is that we will lurch into some compromise lash up solution for the whole of the UK in order to try and stick to the time table for Scotland, lets take our time and come up with a sensible, thought out constitution for the whole of the UK.