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ARTICLES

Devolution and England

Letters represent the views of their senders and may not necessarily accord with the views of 3W.

Sir,

Since about 75 per cent of the Scottish electorate are apparently in favour of having a Scottish Parliament and since both the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats have declared their firm support, it is surely vital that the English electorate should now give urgent consideration to the future of England within the British state.

Irrespective of whether or not they would like to preserve the British state, the English should make it quite clear that they are not prepared to carve up the English nation into a number of largely autonomous regions, merely to form a balance in terms of population with the largely autonomous nations of Scotland and Wales. Such a destructive and retrograde step should not be given any further consideration. It should instead be clearly emphasised that as far as Scottish and Welsh autonomy is concerned the choice must be either the present Union or complete independence.

It should be continually stressed that Britain is made up of three nations: the Scottish nation, the Welsh nation and the English nation. At the moment they are united by Acts of Union dating back to 1535 in the case of Wales and England and to 1707 in the case of Scotland and England. In these Acts of Union it was firmly agreed that there should be one Parliament at Westminster. If the Scottish and Welsh nations now wish to repeal these Act of Union, if they now wish to express their national identities by having their own parliaments in Edinburgh and Cardiff, they are naturally free to do so.

Equally there can be no reason whatsoever why the English nation, by far the largest of the three, should not have its own English national Parliament at Westminster. After all the English nation is one of the greatest nations in human history. The English have every reason to be no less proud of being English than the Scots are to being Scottish and the Welsh to being Welsh. If the Scots and the Welsh no longer wish to be united with the English, then it is surely time for the English to make it quite clear that they no longer wish to be united with them.

Indeed, it would in many ways be a fitting conclusion to over two centuries of world-wide constitutional evolution to nationhood if the English themselves could at last enjoy their own self-government.

Yours sincerely,

Raymond Tong
Bristol

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