The federal diversion put forward by Tory MSP Murdo Fraser is the last throw of the dice for the Better Together campaign. It is a distraction and does nothing for Scotland that independence wouldn’t do much better.
As England is ten times the size of Scotland it can’t work unless Scotland has the same status as Yorkshire, or the West Country, in it. The ancient nation of Scotland reduced to no more than a region of the UK is the logical terminus of the unionist case and those who believe that is the solution are entitled to hold that opinion.
They would have more respect if they just said that Scotland the nation no longer exists in their future.
There is no evidence of any desire for a federal UK reconstruction in England. Even if there was, it would be decades before any plan could be worked out (even supposing majority support could be found).
In short, it is a fantasy of election spin and no sensible Scot will swallow it.
The most significant effect such a plan would have is that it would leave all the major powers in London – power to illegally invade other countries, power to keep the nuclear arsenal in Scotland, power over most of Scotland’s revenue and how much of it would be handed back to us.
If the “proud Scots” who came up with this trap were honest and ambitious for Scotland and not just suggesting a deceit, they could be proposing a British Isles confederalism (sensibly inviting the Republic of Ireland to take part in it) – a system in which independent countries of hugely varying size come together to freely share services and responsibilities of mutual benefit as the Nordic Union of the Scandinavian countries presently does.
Dave McEwan Hill
Has Murdo Fraser produced a brilliant new piece of thinking with a federal parliament for England and regional parliaments for the English regions? No.
John P Mackintosh, the Labour MP for Berwick and East Lothian, propounded such a concept as an integral part of his campaign to create a Scottish Parliament from 1974 to his death in 1978. His efforts resulted in the 1979 referendum.
The Scottish Government was then controlled by a single minister, the Secretary of State for Scotland, Willie Ross, who was apoplectic at the SNP assertion that an independent government for Scotland would be better than his colonial rule.
He frightened his Scottish MPs into dropping support for home rule. But not John Mackintosh.
Willie Ross was brilliant at attracting new companies to Scotland. It was his personal fiefdom. How dare any Scot defy him and vote for the SNP.
Meanwhile, John Mackintosh was purveying his concept of a devolved Assembly for Scotland which, by voter demand, he felt could rightly lead to an independent parliament for Scotland in time.Similarly, a perfectly logical progression to him was to offer the same quality of home rule to the English.
He cited Westmorland, Cumberland, Northumberland, Newcastle and County Durham as a viable area suited to regional devolution.
He foresaw that, if these English assemblies grew in competence, a demand from the electorate could lead to a loose federation of regional parliaments.
As a rustic socialist, I urge the Labour Party to push for an independent parliament for Scotland and regional parliaments for England. And so Murdo Fraser’s miracle could come to pass.