Uniting the United Kingdom

Lord Soley

Yesterday we had the second reading of the Scotland Bill. The Government has got into difficulties with the timetabling of business and to criticism from all parts of the House, only gave one day to the debate. The Bill has implications for the whole of the  UK – not just Scotland and there were 36 members hoping to speak. I got to speak at 10.40pm and finally got to bed about 2am. This is just not sensible and an indication of serious timetabling problems for the Government.

The Bill itself is generally desirable in my view. It refines the devolution process. But we really do have to stand up for the concept of the United kingdom and beware of the SNP campaign to break it up. I point out in the debate that when existing political unions break up they often splinter rather than make a clean break.

I also think the UK is the world’s most successful political and economic union – beware the siren voices who try and kid you that it doesn’t matter! Read the debate here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201011/ldhansrd/text/110906-0003.htm  (Roughly 10.40 pm for my contribution.)

14 comments for “Uniting the United Kingdom

  1. Geoff, England
    07/09/2011 at 10:22 pm

    If you’re going to stand up for the concept of the United Kingdom, it has to be a truly equal kingdom, and one that treats all four nations fairly. There has to be a Britishness that includes Englishness, rather than being a very lame substitute for Englishness. At the moment, there is to be blunt, nothing in this ‘union’ for England, except persecution and a far larger bill than we should be paying.
    Cameron once said that an imperfect ‘union’ is better than no ‘union’. Surely a perfect union is a lot better than an imperfect union. Willingness to settle for imperfection is a sign of lazinesss and mediocrity.

  2. Lord Blagger
    07/09/2011 at 10:23 pm

    We can start with the basics.

    Everyone in the UK gets pro rata spending by the government.

    No more Barnet formula

    • Mac
      12/09/2011 at 12:31 pm

      What about pro rata taxation??????

      Scots, 8.4% of the UK population, put into the Treasury 9.4% of total UK taxation and receive 9.2% of UK spending in return.

      Scottish taxpayers are actually subsidising the spend in England, Wales and N Ireland.

  3. Gareth Howell
    08/09/2011 at 4:29 pm

    The only way of making the UK matter in the context is by clarifying the role of the regions in England, all of them.

    Whilst the UK has a unified war machine there is not much point thinking about it, and it always will have. Kinda thing the house of lords discusses at 0200.

    • Geoff, England
      08/09/2011 at 10:59 pm

      Regions of England? No, thank you very much. Would you advocate splitting any of the other nations in the ‘Union’ into regions? No? Didn’t think so. We need to treat all four nations te SAME. The very idea of English Regional governance by the British state is fascistic. It’s probably what Hitler would have done, given half a chance. I’m proud to be an anti-Nazi (and anti any other extremist/bigoted political beliefs). It’s for the people of England, via an English parliament, to decide the governance of England.

      • 09/09/2011 at 11:27 am

        So Geoff, you are saying that anyone who supports regional governance in England is a fascist, Nazi and fan of Hitler, then you go on to say you are anti any extremist or bigoted political beliefs. That would be a hilarious statement if it wasn’t so offensive to people who support regional governance.

        I’ve always been opposed to devolution, but now we are stuck with it. The best way to resolve the problem is to reform the Barnett Formula, and to look at a convention whereby MPs abstain when voting on legislation not affecting their constituencies.

        People in northern England, the Midlands, the Westcountry, etc. would not be any better served by an English parliament than they are by the UK parliament.

  4. Gareth Howell
    09/09/2011 at 3:12 pm

    Would you advocate splitting any of the other nations in the ‘Union’ into regions? No? Didn’t think so. We need to treat all four nations te SAME.

    Geoff, England! Now read my lips!

    Wales is one region.
    Scotland is one region
    Northern Ireland is one Region
    (the republic is a member nations state, with full voting powers)
    England is 9(?)regions

    Wiki answers:

    “There are nine Government Office Regions in England. Their names are East Midlands, East of England, London, North East, North West, South East, South West, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber. If you want to cover the entire United Kingdom, the standard way to do that is just to add three more regions: Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.”

    I hope that helps with Geoff England’s definition of fascism.

    • Geoff, England
      09/09/2011 at 5:35 pm

      The nine regions of England were not voted by the people of England. The people in the north-east, canny folk that they are, voted against a regional assembly for their part of England, but the government foisted them on us anyway. That is, if not fascism, anti-democratic. Why are people in England not given a say? Are we less deserving of democracy than our neighbours and ‘fellow citizens’ in Scotland, Wales and Nortern Ireland? Yes, there are twelve regions of the ‘Union’, in the legal/political sense, but nine of them are phoney constructs. The four NATURAL regions are England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (and the six counties belong naturally with the rest of Ireland, in my opinion).

  5. ladytizzy
    09/09/2011 at 5:27 pm

    The Guardian) has serialised Simon Jenkin’s new book on the impact history has had on England:


    Well, maybe, according to Jeremy Paxman:


    (Dear Mr Rusbridger, I know you’re a bit skint – as are we all – but could you see to it that relevant product placement is rewarded. You know my address)

  6. Gareth Howell
    09/09/2011 at 8:41 pm

    Geoff England,
    Good; this is rather a similar problem that we have with the tuition fees question, on the other subject thread. A question of definition of regions in England by UK government, and possibly a different definition of nine regions by the EU

    They certainly are not “phoney constructs”
    according to European law, but since the referendum for the North east chucked it out,
    there has been no progress with the prototype
    regional governments which were in place until then.

    We certainly had one in the South West of which my good union friend, Mr Costley, was an enthusiastic member. I fear that their many meetings per year until that referendum, have dwindled to one ,or even none, and for that I am sorry.

    The question seems to be a micro/macro question, on which detailed research is needed, but what with the Euro falling about round our ears, will probably not be done, for a good many years.

    Do the English regions not get grant favours from the EU in the same way as the other three regions(W/Sc/NI)?

  7. Twm O'r Nant
    09/09/2011 at 8:58 pm


    Not Fascistic but NUTS! Read on!

    I very much regret the history as related by the wikipedia page above.


  8. MilesJSD
    10/09/2011 at 9:50 am

    Pre-definingly, Devils lurk in Details.


  9. MilesJSD
    10/09/2011 at 10:30 am

    (1) Since Lord Soley believes that Britain has long been a Full Democracy, a argumentative statement that has no legs to stand on,
    Lord Soley’s further conviction here, that “Britain is the world’s most successful political and economic union”, must attract grave doubts. (“No confidence” looming).

    (2) Geoff, England’s Englishness is, like most of ours, still up for improvement: try “At the moment there is, to be blunt, nothing for England in this ‘union’ except…” .

    (3) Lord Blagger, meaning “every (-) one” ?
    (your term “everyone” connotes “aggregation”:

    the UN is still stuck in this mistake by formulating that “Human Development” has to be measured at aggregate levels between whole nation-states (using the equation Human-Development = Longevity + Knowledge + Wealth –
    There is no formulation for Individual Human Development, so unless you are a centenarian + have a string of PhDs + are worth at least £1 billion a year, then you may find you yet do not even have one foot upon the Human Development ladder (mate);
    The egalitarianly democratic intended workbook of the Conflict Resolution Network (wordlwide) by Cornelius & Faire carries the same front-cover error “Everyone Can Win” (the whole Bunch of “us”) –
    No ! we EACH need to get our needs detailed, planned, and effectively, sustainworthily met.

    (4)Gareth “The only way …” ??? .

    (5)Jonathan appears to have forgotten most of us, who are already, and still trying to improve as, a Democracy.
    (If devolution is not complete, such that each citizen’s serious need has to be, and always is, both “on the table” and constructively considered and publicly responded to, then we are NOT yet (fully) Democratised. Innit ?)

    (5) ladytizzy’s “democracy” clearly has a strong “for my personal monetary gain” definiens in it.

    (CBC > could be continued)

  10. Gar
    16/09/2011 at 9:55 am

    ladytizzy’s “democracy” clearly has a strong “for my personal monetary gain” definiens in it.

    (CBC > could be continued)

    How could Miles sjd treat a poor Lady so?
    apart from being forgiven by way of writing his shortest and best comment yet, as follows:

    Pre-definingly, Devils lurk in Details.


    Which would have been a one liner but for the 1), would have been excellent but for the
    hyphen, and goof English but for the adverbial suffix.

    Well done miles SJD. Short and to the point!

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