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The Devolution Disaster

Summary:
Labour's Scotland Act of 1998 and the succeeding Scotland Acts of 2012 and 2016 provide the Scottish Parliament with a wide range of powers (See note below).There is no party in Scotland agitating to give these powers back to Westminster so we can only expect Scotland to demand further powers culminating in independence.Labour's Belfast Agreement 1998 (known as the Good Friday Agreement) cedes Northern Ireland to the Republic when opinion polls and a subsequent referendum show a reasonable majority for Irish Union.  Demographic changes mean this will probably occur within a decade or so.  It has no clause saying that should the majority in NI wish to return to the UK another referendum will be held.  During the EU Referendum Labour and the Remain Campaign argued volubly about UK

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Labour's Scotland Act of 1998 and the succeeding Scotland Acts of 2012 and 2016 provide the Scottish Parliament with a wide range of powers (See note below).

There is no party in Scotland agitating to give these powers back to Westminster so we can only expect Scotland to demand further powers culminating in independence.

Labour's Belfast Agreement 1998 (known as the Good Friday Agreement) cedes Northern Ireland to the Republic when opinion polls and a subsequent referendum show a reasonable majority for Irish Union.  Demographic changes mean this will probably occur within a decade or so.  It has no clause saying that should the majority in NI wish to return to the UK another referendum will be held.  

During the EU Referendum Labour and the Remain Campaign argued volubly about UK independence resulting in the end of the the Union but the Union was fatally damaged by Labour in 1998. UK independence could do no worse damage.

We are in a period of a "long goodbye" to NI and Scotland.  What preparations should England and Wales be making?  

The most important change should be to create an English National Assembly such as that established for Wales.  The possibility of regional assemblies inside England was tested by Labour in a Referendum in the NE of England, the area then most likely to secede, and it was resoundingly rejected by 80% of the voters.  Although an English Assembly would be a competing centre of power with Westminster and disliked by the Welsh this might produce pressure for the union of the two assemblies as a Westminster government after Scottish and NI independence.

The Act to create the English Assembly would provide the opportunity to include a section that utterly forbids independence referendums within England or Wales and makes campaigning for such referendums or independence illegal.  Such campaigns are, of course, treason and we should take treason seriously if we wish to avoid the steady secession of all parts of the UK.  Any penalties would be financial and very heavy, including the possible removal of all assets from offenders, especially for those who make financial contributions.

The English assembly will insulate the English from the increasingly hostile NI and Scots MPs as they sense that independence is only a few years away.  It would be crazy to have the UK governed by an alliance of SNP and English MPs with the SNP holding the balance of power.  They could damage England and Wales irreparably by setting their own terms of departure.

The government should have full plans for the relationship between the UK and seceded territories.  This might include the careful withdrawal of investment if secession looks highly probable (opinion polls stable at 60% or more pro-independence).  There is no point in throwing money away.

9/2/2021

Note:

Scottish Parliament has such extensive powers that it is already virually independent. It has powers over:

health and social work
education and training
local government and housing
justice and policing
agriculture, forestry and fisheries
the environment
tourism, sport and heritage
economic development and internal transport
Income Tax powers including the power to set rates and bands on earned income
assignment of VAT
devolution of air passenger tax
devolution of aggregate tax
the power to borrow
fines, forfeitures and fixed penalties
extensive welfare powers


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