Judgement Day for the United Kingdom
As the 300th anniversary of the Union passed without flags and bunting, Cranmer is of the opinion that Mr Cameron is missing a trick. Conservative representation to Westminster from Scotland has become almost as dead as the dodo, and a sure vote-winner would be a Conservative policy (…there’s a rare thing…) to stabilise and equalise the status of England within the Union; to restore a sense of proportion. Mr Salmond’s proposed referendum on secession may herald the end of the Union, but the Scots should not have a unilateral say in a path to divorce; any separation will affect England just as much. But it is one thing to mutter on the back row about the Barnett Formula, the West Lothian Question, or the inappropriateness of having a Scottish Prime Minister legislating on matters that affect England but not his own constituents. It would be quite another, and a sure vote-winner, to bestow upon England a constitutional existence; to recognise that, uniquely in the United Kingdom, the heritage and institutions of this once-great country have been subsumed to the cause of Great Britain, and to acknowledge that to talk now of England is to pander to the BNP, nationalism, and to vainly dream of a bygone ethnicity.
To acknowledge the cause of England would strengthen the Union, not weaken it. The United Kingdom is the sum of its parts, and none is greater than the whole. The status of the nation and its influence in the world resides in its unity; in fragments it is conquered. It is quite possible to be a Conservative and Unionist while supporting the concept of an English Parliament, if only because the policy would be a ‘tidying up exercise’ to endow England with the same powers as those now held by Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
The English will not be prepared to be treated indefinitely with neglect and contempt, and Mr Cameron would be wise to recognise this (presently) latent feeling and harness it. It is time to recognise the flag of St George, April 23rd, and a country called England. An English polity would be perpetually Conservative, for the Conservative heartland lies in England. To revive England would be to renew Conservatism and Unionism, and in that renewal could be a re-assertion of the Union in a 21st-century constitutional settlement based on localism.
Why can Mr Cameron not see this?