Ye cannae ha' yer cake and eat it too, laddie...

I've met the people. They're not too bad... as long as they're drunk.
So Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom- and judging by the poll results, it wasn't even close in most areas. It would appear that the pro-Unionist "No" campaign's arguments were given a bit of lead in the old pencil thanks to political promises from all three parties in Westminster to give almost complete political autonomy to Scotland.

The solution they've concocted is called "devo max", for some idiotic reason, which in plain English- a language that they used to speak over in Great Britain, and which they attempted, in vain, to export here to these 'ere 'eathen lands- simply means "Home Rule". It would be like Washington, D.C., ceding complete control over almost every possible area of civic law to the several states. It would be like Alaska having completely different laws about fisheries, immigration, education, welfare, health care, social services, sports, and tourism, than Nebraska or Wyoming or Texas. The only responsibilities that Scotland would cede to Westminster would be on issues of national defence, Constitutional law (yes, the British do have their own Constitution- it just isn't as clean or quite as brilliant as yours) and foreign affairs.

As far as I'm concerned, it's a brilliant idea.

In fact, it should be extended all the way to ALL of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom. That means that Wales, Northern Ireland, and England itself should be treated exactly the same way. And indeed, Wales and Scotland are now effectively sovereign states bound in loose confederation with the overall government in London, which is how things bloody well ought to be.

However, there is one (rather large) fly in the ointment here.

At present, Welsh and Scottish MPs can vote on British affairs- but English MPs cannot reciprocate. This is very much a part of the reason why Britain has been going into leftist lunacies for the last 40 years- because the left-wing Labour Party's core constituencies are in precisely the ones that get to vote on English policies.

If you actually look at England, as a whole, it's a pretty centrist patch of Earth. The Tories are not exactly "conservatives" by American reckoning- for the most part they're more like slightly right-of-centre Democrats. They largely agree with basic British social compacts like nationalised health care and state-run education and gun control... the bastards... (I imagine that in the current political lexicon they'd be considered a particularly neutered form of "Blue Dog Democrat".) As conservatives go, by American standards they're a bunch of milquetoasts.

But they are conservative about basic social values and, up to a point, about who spends the money paid by their constituents to the tax system.

The problem is that these conservatives keep getting outvoted on issues of economic or social policy simply because the traditional left-wing Labour strongholds tend to be in precisely the old industrial areas that used to be housed in Scotland and Wales, and are now staunchly hard-left.

If the poll for Scottish independence showed us anything (other than the fact that the Scots are by and large a bunch of drunk Communists who are nevertheless rather difficult to dislike- God does love drunks and fools, after all), it showed us that home rule is not only justified but necessary. Liberty flourishes when laws are made and enforced as closely as possible to the people that are affected by them. When laws are passed upon the people of one nation due to the interference and proclivities of people from another, the inevitable end result is war- how do you suppose America came about, after all, eh?

The Scots had their chance to vote for independence. They blew it. They're stuck as part of the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future- I am reminded, incidentally, of a comment left by Canadian reader Spartan on my last post on this subject, talking about how when Quebec voted for independence and lost, the rest of Canada was heard remarking in snide fashion about how they polled the wrong set of people. I suspect that if the English had their way, the Scots would be their own nation by now, and good luck to them.

By far the best test of any English politician's character from now until the next British Parliamentary election is going to be whether or not he supports home rule for England as well. The Welsh, the Irish, and now the Scots have secured home rule- it is high time that the English get what is rightfully theirs as well.
Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget;
For we are the people of England, that never have spoken yet.
There is many a fat farmer that drinks less cheerfully,
There is many a free French peasant who is richer and sadder than we.
There are no folk in the whole world so helpless or so wise.
There is hunger in our bellies, there is laughter in our eyes;
You laugh at us and love us, both mugs and eyes are wet:
Only you do not know us. For we have not spoken yet. 
The fine French kings came over in a flutter of flags and dames.
We liked their smiles and battles, but we never could say their names.
The blood ran red to Bosworth and the high French lords went down;
There was naught but a naked people under a naked crown.
And the eyes of the King's Servants turned terribly every way,
And the gold of the King's Servants rose higher every day.
They burnt the homes of the shaven men, that had been quaint and kind,
Till there was no bed in a monk's house, nor food that man could find.
The inns of God where no man paid, that were the wall of the weak.
The King's Servants ate them all. And still we did not speak. 
And the face of the King's Servants grew greater than the King:
He tricked them, and they trapped him, and stood round him in a ring.
The new grave lords closed round him, that had eaten the abbey's fruits,
And the men of the new religion, with their bibles in their boots,
We saw their shoulders moving, to menace or discuss,
And some were pure and some were vile; but none took heed of us.
We saw the King as they killed him, and his face was proud and pale;
And a few men talked of freedom, while England talked of ale. 
A war that we understood not came over the world and woke
Americans, Frenchmen, Irish; but we knew not the things they spoke.
They talked about rights and nature and peace and the people's reign: 
And the squires, our masters, bade us fight; and scorned us never again.
Weak if we be for ever, could none condemn us then;
Men called us serfs and drudges; men knew that we were men.
In foam and flame at Trafalgar, on Albuera plains,
We did and died like lions, to keep ourselves in chains,
We lay in living ruins; firing and fearing not
The strange fierce face of the Frenchmen who knew for what they fought,
And the man who seemed to be more than a man we strained against and broke;
And we broke our own rights with him. And still we never spoke. 
Our patch of glory ended; we never heard guns again.
But the squire seemed struck in the saddle; he was foolish, as if in pain,
He leaned on a staggering lawyer, he clutched a cringing Jew,
He was stricken; it may be, after all, he was stricken at Waterloo.
Or perhaps the shades of the shaven men, whose spoil is in his house,
Come back in shining shapes at last to spoil his last carouse:
We only know the last sad squires rode slowly towards the sea,
And a new people takes the land: and still it is not we. 
They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords,
Lords without anger or honour, who dare not carry their swords.
They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
Their doors are shut in the evening; and they know no songs. 
We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
Our wrath come after Russia's wrath and our wrath be the worst.
It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
God's scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.
-- "The Secret People", by G.K. Chesterton 


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