Thursday, 5 July 2007

The Union (if I have asked you to look at my blog for an explanation, this is the post)

I have finally found some English people (more of that in another blog) and it has been an enriching and enlightening experience. However when someone raises the topic of Scottish devolution, I tend to feel like the only gay in a room full of politically correct homophobes.

Therefore I am writing this as a solution to avoid having to repeat myself ad nauseum for the rest of my London life. When I ask you to look at my blog at a dinner table in the middle of a discussion on this topic, this is the one I mean.

We now have a parliament in Edinburgh. We didn’t have one for 292 years. We have always had different laws to that of England and Wales. When a law was passed in parliament in Westminster previous to 1999 it only ever covered England and Wales. Another law had to be rushed through to apply to Scotland. They were then put in to place in Scotland via the Scottish Office in Edinburgh which was where people living in Scotland were effectively governed from. So we got badly thought out laws that were passed double quick given the constraints of Westminster time. It also gave all Scots a wonderful opportunity to blame the English for everything that went wrong.

The creation of the parliament in Edinburgh took our ability to moan away – something that is lamented every time we get another badly thought out law that has just had more parliamentary time to mess up. However it didn’t give us very much real power, in fact all the Parliament got was the powers that the old Scottish Office had.

It is very true that a Scottish Minister of Health in Westminster would have powers over England and Wales and not Scotland but to an extent this has always been the case. The NHS in Scotland has a slightly different system than the English and Welsh one and any Health Minister in the cabinet wouldn’t really have had much to do with the Scottish NHS. Likewise an Education Minister (again our system is different). Our laws are different, we print our own money and we drink a lot more alcohol.

Yes devolution isn’t fair as Scottish MPs in Westminster can vote on issues in England that English MPs can’t do for Scotland.
Yes devolution has its problems and no is hasn’t been done very well.
But the Union hasn’t been ‘done’ very well for 300 years.
It’s just that the English haven’t noticed for 292 of them.

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