The Scottish Referendum is an event with such seismic consequences that it is hard to think of anything else. However, by the time you read this the die will have been cast in one of three ways. A clear ‘Yes’ would be a disaster for the whole of the UK. A clear ‘No’ (let’s say 60/40) must be binding on all parties and put a final end to the Independence for Scotland nonsense. A marginal win for the ‘No’ campaign would be a nightmare, and lead to all kinds of further calls for powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
Now I do NOT agree with the ‘Devo Max’ proposals which the three party leaders seem to be offering. Talk about feeding an addiction. The more you give them, the more they want, and we would be back with calls for independence within a decade or sooner. But if it is deemed that these foolish proposals have to be taken forward because of the strength of feeling demonstrated in the campaign and in the results of the referendum, then I will go along with it only if the imbalance between England and Scotland is at the same time corrected. The West Lothian question, the English Question lies unanswered on the table, and as an MP for an English constituency (albeit personally a Scot by background), I will demand that it must now be addressed.
For too long, Scottish MPs have voted on English matters. That must be ended. Scotland would be massively over-represented at Westminster. Their MPs must be culled appropriately. And the Barnett Formula, under which every Scottish citizen gets £1500 per year more spent on him/her than their English counterpart must be swept away with no delay. We want greater powers for the long-suffering people of England. As G.K. Chesterton said “Smile at us, pass us; but do not quite forget; For we are the people of England, that never have spoken yet.”
The two spitfire pilots we remembered at the unveiling of their handsome memorial in Seagry would have understood. The sheer Englishness of the Archbishop of Canterbury immersing candidates for baptism outside Malmesbury Abbey on Saturday spoke to it. The Supper Club at the outstandingly good Wellesley Arms in Sutton Benger (the Duke of Wellington would have known what to say); the self-help café opening in Purton on Sunday, the sponsored walk round Charlton Park, the hunt ball near Melksham - these are the deeply, deeply English events which have filled up my last weekend.
The Scots have had their say. At the time of writing I have no idea what the outcome will be. But of one thing I am sure. For too long the rights and interests of the 55 million people of England have been subordinated to the shouting of 4.5 million Scots. That must end. Now is the time for the people of England to speak - and to be heeded.