The Scottish Referendum: Comments from the Campaign for an English Parliament

Some readers may have heard of an outfit called the “Campaign for an English Parliament” (CEP).

Britain Watch has long supported the idea of an English Parliament as part of a new United Kingdom constitution following the Scots voting No to separation on the 18th September.

However an extraordinary outburst by CEP director, Eddie Bone, posted on the CEP website on 22nd August, seems to suggest that the CEP would welcome Scottish separation, as it would put an end to the “Barnett formula”.  This is a formula for calculating the block payment to Scotland (and in modified form to Wales and Northern Ireland), the result of which has been that public spending per capita in Scotland is about £1,500 greater than in England.  This is a significant sum – about £150 per head spread over the English population, but surely of negligible importance when compared with the consequences for the UK if the Scottish Nationalists were to form the first government of an independent Scotland.

These consequences are, in the defence field as follows:

  1. The SNP would insist on the dismantling and removal of the nuclear installations at Faslane and Coalport on the Clyde.
  2. This would destroy Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent, a system which has been supported by 14 governments since it was first established in the 1950s, and implicitly endorsed by the British electorate in 14 general elections.
  3. By possibly a margin of only 50,000 votes in a referendum campaign, fought in only 8% of the UK and dominated by economic issues, the Campaign for Nuclear disarmament (CND) would have achieved its objective despite never having won so much as a council seat.
  4. The knock-on effects could include:

    • Britain losing its permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
    • As virtually a non-nuclear power, Britain would clearly be inferior militarily to France, which would then move into undisputed first military power position and thus leader in Europe.
    • Britain would lose huge amounts of credibility and influence with the USA, among other powers.
    • Through loss of its air bases at Lossiemouth and Leuchars, Britain would lose control of its airspace north of latitude 56o which would be claimed by Scotland with an airforce unlikely to afford its defence.

English exasperation with the Barnett Formula and the like are trivial compared with these hugely important consequences affecting every man, woman, and child in the United Kingdom.

Apart from a reference to losing jobs at Faslane and Coalport, none of the points 2-4 was even mentioned in the Salmond-Darling debate on BBC TV on Monday night (25th August).  It’s as if the 92% of the UK population which doesn’t have a vote doesn’t exist, even though they have a huge stake in the outcome.

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