Letter: No constitution

Discussing the prospects for a referendum on independence for Scotland, Alan Trench ("We need ceasefire in Scots cold war", Perspective, 29 June) is surely understating the British state's difficulties in dealing with matters constitutional, when he opines that "this sort of constitutional politics comes awkwardly to British politicians".

Because England outweighs all the other parts of the United Kingdom of Great Britain by several times, Westminster politicians (and civil servants) forget that they are governing a multi-national, not a unitary (basically English), state.

Such ignorance is worsened by their belief in the mystic benefits of operating under an "unwritten" constitution. Of course, the UK constitution comprises not just "conventions" but also vast tracts of legislation, not least the Acts of Union whereby the Scottish and English Parliaments were united in 1707.

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However, because there is no single document labelled "the UK constitution", politicians can get away with ignoring or concealing defects in the way that government is run. Instead, they adopt the good old British practice of "muddling through" or, in many cases, simply muddling.

Scottish independence may be the only solution to the constitutional problems suffered by England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Robin MacCormick

Dalkeith Road


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