A united kingdom?

Except it's not united, and it doesn't have a king.

Someone remind me again – why are these four plainly very different things jammed uncomfortably together into one? They seem to have nothing in common. Whose idea was that?


16 Responses to “A united kingdom?”

  1. I'm not sure that's really any different to any other country in the world.There's regional differences everywhere, on every scale.

    • You won’t make many friends round here describing Scotland (or even Wales or Northern Ireland) as “regions”. Kent doesn’t have a parliament.

  2. You could take it to the logical extreme and ask why is everyone in any country forced to accept the choice of the (largest) minority?  Why not split the country up into a section for each party, and we all move to the area which is ruled by the party we prefer?  Okay, it's a bit extreme and has some major logistical problems…

  3. This is pretty much why I used to be staunchly against an independent Scotland before I lived in England for two years (and London for one of them). I see an independent Scotland as a chance to have a more liberal and fairer society.

  4. Tom Camfield Says:

    Well, on that basis, see also: the United States of America. Arguably also: the European Union, China, Russia…
    We're on the same island, so it makes sense some kind of sense that we have one government.

  5. Except the Irish.

  6. All of Eurasia is the same landmass. You could walk or ride from France to Vietnam. Does that mean everyone should have submitted to whatever greedy ruler wanted whatever was beyond the borders – because it's the same landmass? Bizarre reasoning or justification.
    Ancient violence and greedy grabs at personal power and resources long ago. That's why it's all jammed together as it is now. Just like with the Soviet Union or the old empires. Everything since then has been simply wallpapering over the cracks and trying to convince us of or justify it's existence. Sadly the people of today have to sort out the mess of  those ancestors.

  7. Although I support the notions of devolution and far greater local governance (not just for Scotland, Wales and NI but also for England), it all seems a bit academic when we're rushing headlong towards the creation of a Federal Europe.
    I'm still undecided as to whether the EU is a good idea or not. Certainly in its current incarnation it appears to be a bloated, corrupt, undemocratic, unaccountable monolith of an institution. And considering what's happening in Greece now, it seems like membership isn't such a great idea. Five years from now, though, the Greek picture could have completely changed and membership of the EU and the Euro may haven proven itself to be the saviour of Greece.
    It's at times like this I wish I had a crystal ball that actually worked.

  8. CdrJameson Says:

    It certainly shows that there are some very big constituencies.

  9. Using a proportional map, as opposed to a geographical, map does show that England isn't quite as blue as it seems. And also that there is even less blue than the geographical map suggests in Scotland and Wales: http://xs.to/image-F88D_4BE876AA.jpg
    That map really suggests that's it's unfair to call the northern half of England a bunch of Tory voters, and that in a fair country the Lib Dems' 23% of votes would translate to many more amber hectagons.

  10. @Lenny
    The difference is that if you are an independent member of the EU then you can argue what is best for yourself with your own representation that has your interests at heart, rather than leaving it in someone else's hands and hoping it all works out somehow.
    Don't confuse trade agreements with political or joining the Euro either. There are many forms and degrees of integration, from Germany to Swiss level involvement and so on. Again, these things can all be decided and advantages weighed up for yourself once you are free to do so. Many of the problems in Greece and elsewhere were due to both the domino collapse that hit everyone and the poor economic policies and regulation allowing it to rot and weaken. Those houses of cards were going to fall eventually no matter what, just as the bubbles always burst elsewhere. I hope that things simply aren't left to go rotten again, as I've yet to see anything substantial in the way of reform come of this. That goes for the Americas and Europe.

  11. @AJ I'd like to think that the EU is an equitable commit-as-you-see-fit sort of outfit, but I worry about it:
    1) That on European issues I don't seem to have  say. This is a slight nonsense objection, because I don't have much of a say on UK issues – but it stands; back in the early 70's something was voted for and we haven't had a vote since.
    2) Without a unilateral arrangement, Europe can't work. Italy can't import goods at a lower price, than say, Scotland and Scotland can't export them at a higher price than, say, Italy. 
    3) The weaker economies act as a drag on the better performing ones.
    4) Small countries have the ability to derail European legislation – such as the Irish in recent history. Although democracy was undone when they were made to vote again (presumably again and again) until the "correct" vote was offered.
    5) Legislation coming out of Brussels. Now I'm sure most of it is good and everything I hear is media scaremongering – but the bad stuff (such as fire extinguishers) is bad enough to warrant a complaint, but who do I complain to?
    I just get the feeling that the EU is a bloodless war (good) but which does not necessarily reflect what the vast majority of European people want (bad).

  12. @Lenny
    If you have issues with the European Parliament you write to your representatives, just like with the UK Parliament. I've contacted them before and at least I can say some of them are quite nice people and at least cared about what was going on.
    Don't get distracted by all the fearmongering and silly stories that are published about the Euro parliament. Many of the qualms people have with it would be greatly helped if the newspapers did a proper job of informing people and people were encouraged instead to take a more active role in expressing their opinion, reading up on issues and so on, instead of ignoring it outside of stories about bananas in The Sun.
    I'm not sure what you're trying to say with point 2.
    Point 3 – why do you believe that they act as a 'drag'? Does a poorer town twenty miles away 'drag' yours down? If it does is the solution to build city walls and pretend the outside world doesn't exist or to see if you can help your neighbours prosper so you in turn have more prosperous neighbours to trade with? A peaceful and prosperous Europe is good for everyone.
    For issue 4 I think you've been listening to the junk media too much again and have been mislead.  That case with the Irish was a special one and not the norm. The Euro parliament was essentially changing the contract that everyone had signed up to. Would you be happy if someone simply changed a contract that you had already signed when you weren't looking (or despite your objections) and then demanded that you obey the terms? This is why it needed the agreement of everyone involved, just like signing your initials on a change to a contract or similar. Otherwise in normal situations the small countries simply get a vote on issues through their MEPs like everyone else. How is this not fair?
    Issue five again is the double whammy of silly reporting and lack of effort on the media and government to educate people on the running of and current issues of the euro parliament. Again, you complain to your MEP.
    Greater reflection of what the European people want could be achieved through greater education on this (currently mysterious to most) subject and encouraging them to voice their (educated) opinions. The scaremongering, lack of coverage and occasional silliness in the media have a detrimental effect on this development by leaving people ignorant. An ignorant populace can't voice its concerns properly or express their needs to the leaders. I don't blame most people for being confused about it all.

  13. @AJ I'm not sure what I was rambling on about, either – I was pretty drunk when I started waffling that lot out and only have a hazy memory of doing so!
    What I would have said, had I been a bit less legless is: I'd like to see greater accountability in the EU and proper audits carried out, but also, since Britain is a part of it, I'd like to have a greater and more productive British presence in the EU driving forward change.

  14. Then we all need to pay more attention to the EU elections, MEPs and hope that or encourage  the press to do the same (so that they finally do the job of keeping us all informed!). I think this would go a long way.

  15. False consciousness and petty nationalism drive them apart. Geography and the brotherhood of humanity draw them together.
    Of course, the former wins.

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