Something that has been mentioned in numerous places is that one thing that has been raised by the prospect of Scottish independence is Hope. Hope for the major cities, regions and the old kingdoms of Britain that they could gain their own independence as well.
Today I have been listening to spokespeople for Manchester’s incorporation as an independent city with control over its own budget. Manchester. Birmingham, Wales, Cornwall. The north of England, the midlands, an English parliament. Yorkshire is getting in on the act.
They even rolled in Sir Ming Campbell to give his support for the idea.
Regardless of the vote on Thursday Scotland will find itself in command of much of its own destiny. Either they will spend the next few years negotiating independence or they will spend the next few years sorting out all of the new powers that they have been promised as a result of devolution and federalisation.
It is this that gives independence movements across the UK the Hope that they can fight and win, their own freedom.
Not as truly independent states that are somehow no longer part of Britain, but rather as their own states with their own parliaments or elected bodies and the right to spend their own money.
All done under that umbrella of a Federal Britain that Brown and Clegg have been promising.
How far will this go, back to where we were more than a thousand years ago when the old kingdoms ruled themselves and their rulers sat in council with each other?
Map by Imaginary Maps
After all, the welsh have a parliament and control over some of their own tax and spending. Wales as a whole has a total population of a shade over three million and a GDP of roughly £50 billion give or take a few billion.
Manchester on its own has a population of only half a million but has a GDP of more than £80 billion counting the whole city.
So if Wales is allowed its own parliament and control over much of its own spending, why not Manchester which is a wealthier region by far.
Scotland is five and a bit million people voting to determine who they answer to, the Scottish parliament OR London. Yorkshire and the Humber as a single region is a population of Five and a bit million people so what is the argument that they should not have a parliament to represent that region and its people.
Scotland 5.2 million Wales 3 million Northern Ireland 1.8 million London 8.3 million England 45 million
Scotland has its own parliament, so does Wales and so does Northern Ireland. London on its own is the same size as all both Wales and Scotland. Then there is the rest of England, by far the largest of the five regions that make up the UK. Where is the English parliament to focus on its own people rather than play constant second fiddle to London?
The south west of England has a population of 5.3 million, that’s larger than Scotland, where is the south west regional parliament or assembly?
As part of the massive panic that came with that first survey putting the yes campaign in the lead our political leaders have rushed in with the usual short term knee jerk response and promised the world to Scotland if only they stay.
The politicians can hardly refuse to honour the promises they are making, or Scotland will simply vote again and walk away.
But this is not happening in isolation, the whole country may be powerless in this vote but they are watching what happens closely.
I suspect that as soon as Brown made his promises and was then supported by all three party leaders cheers were shouted and glasses raised. Not for Scotland, but instead for everyone else. What Scotland had done was to give everyone else the first hope that their regions or cities could also benefit from devolution of power.
When Brown and Clegg both spoke of Federalisation and the devolution of power that Hope went from a candle flame to a ruddy great beacon of fire.
The prospect of breaking the out of touch and corrupt grip on power of our political classes as they sit in London with their snouts in the trough is tempting, it is one of those things that you dream about but never expected to see and not in this way.
London is a wealthy area and brings a significant amount of this countries income and capabilities, but only because the rest of the country has been all but sacrificed as more and more companies, projects and political will has poured into one small corner of the UK. Go back in history and look at the power, the economic strength and what the great Midlands cities bought to the UK before they were dumped into London’s shadow.
Given the power to do so Manchester or Birmingham or the Southwest can make better deals to attract new jobs and new money. Scotland, even including its share of the oil wealth based on population, has a lower GDP than Manchester and Birmingham and the regions around them. The Scots have been promised the earth and the moon to stay, what will happen if the movement for a regional authority to cover those cities rises and grows in voice.
This is the thinking and the reasoning behind many people who see what is happening and imagine how their dreams of devolution or autonomy can now become a reality.
YES or NO what Scotland has done is give Hope to every group that wants autonomy. The problem from the point of view of the government s that having offered the Scottish autonomy they are likely to be hard pressed to refuse the same to other regions.
After all if keeping Scotland is so important then so is keeping other regions of the UK that are as large or larger, so is keeping other regions that are as rich or richer.
People are noticing this is happening, talking heads are talking but more importantly the regions are talking as well. Those well intentioned but quirky Welsh and Cornish and Mancurian independence groups are suddenly being listened to because, hey, if Scotland can do it why can’t we.
Long after next Thursdays vote the after effect of all of these promises are going to spread like ripples on a pond. They will not be forgotten and you can bet that MPs and parties are going to make the same promises again and again over the next year as they try desperately to remain in power or to gain power.
How will a Federal Britain work, will it be like the American model or will it be something new?
At this time no one can say because we don’t know how many or how few regions will make up the states or what form they will take. It may be years before everything is settled but one thing is sure.
How much power will the regions and states have, enough to curtail the excesses of London based politicians, or will it simply spawn a whole new layer of corruption and greed as each new parliament is filled with career politicians who have taken their lessons from the current mob of self serving cheats, liars and thieves.
This has been building for years and an entire generation of Politicians carry much of the blame, this was not an accident, instead it represents the culmination of many years of an increasingly out of touch political class that has long neglected anywhere that is not the south east and that has sacrificed everything not London in order to advance their personal and political agenda’s.
Well now we seem to have reached the tipping point, the voices have become so loud that the politicians who have ignored them so long now run around like headless chickens as the enormity of the situation finally dawns on them.
Our politicians are bringing down the whole house of cards and in the long term that can only be a good thing.
This is democracy in action, the will of the people made manifest. That the politicians are panicking says a lot about our current system.