UCL News


Self-rule for Sassenachs is a dead duck

12 March 2006

There will not be an English parliament, "not today, not tomorrow", proclaimed Lord Falconer, the lord chancellor, as if he were nipping a dangerous separatist movement in the bud.

Speaking at a conference on devolution on Friday, the Scottish peer, who is also constitutional secretary, stood firm against the forces of federalism. …

Opinion polls indicate that the English tolerate Scottish and Welsh devolution. But they don't want England to be 'compensated' by having their country chopped up into a bunch of bureaucratic, soulless regions. Even the ballot for a regional assembly in the northeast of England where there really is a local identity was overwhelmingly rejected in 2004 by 78% of those who voted, despite (or because of) John Prescott's endeavours.

The affection for the union persists (north and south of the border); south of the Tweed so does an attachment to the status quo. In fact, as befits the bigger country, England lacks a national inferiority complex about its neighbours and, according to another of the speakers at the devolution conference, Professor Robert Hazell [UCL Constitution Unit], is "pretty relaxed and generous towards Scotland and Wales".

Jenny Hjul, 'Sunday Times', 12 March 2006