The UK feels failing at the moment. I don’t base this perception on increasing opinion polls for Scottish independence, or on YesCymru doubling its membership in two weeks
No, what convinced me that the UK would now almost inevitably dismantle was that those responsible for it were proving, time and time again, that they had no idea how to keep it together
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent intervention, in which he described the transition of power as a “catastrophe” and “Tony Blair’s biggest mistake”, made this very clear
The UK government was extremely cautious in denying that it was trying to undo the transfer of power, even if it was clear to anyone who wished that the Home Market Act did exactly that.
But there was always some reasonable denial, the feeling at least that if the transition was weakened it would be a side effect of Brexit rather than a deliberate ploy
The Welsh and Scottish Conservatives were very eager to support the transfer of power, and spoke of reform rather than complete abolition
To their misfortune, Boris Johnson came in now and said the quiet part out loud despite Number 10’s denials and his claims that “the mandate is great,” it is clear that what the prime minister said to a group of Nordic representatives was his honest opinion
His comments are an absolute godsend for SNP in Scotland and YesCymru in Wales as they allow them to frame the choice facing voters as a binary choice:
Either you vote for independence and secure the entire nation as an independent unit, or the Conservatives will get you kicking and screaming under Westminster’s complete rule
This argument would be effective because all polls indicate that while they have reservations about independence, people in Wales and Scotland prefer their governments over the government of the United Kingdom.
The most dangerous thing to the UK’s future is that Boris Johnson’s comments also confirm the view that the Conservatives believe the best way to stop independence is to revoke the delegation of power.
A complete misunderstanding of the situation has been the engine that has encouraged the Welsh and Scottish independence movements since their parliaments were established 20 years ago.
The vicious circle at work here is that the Conservatives believe that the transfer of power dismantles the United Kingdom when it is in reality their threat to transfer power that divides the United Kingdom
Many other countries around the world, including the United States, Australia, India, Germany and many more have survived untouched with their own independent parliaments
The difference between it and the United Kingdom? That there is no constant threat that Mississippi, Bavaria, or even New South Wales will take over their powers from the central state.
Boris Johnson’s second misunderstanding is illustrated in his claim that the transfer of power was a “mistake” by Tony Blair. This ignores the fact that Blair was not a fan of the transfer of power but was simply responding to the demand for the transfer of power.
This pent-up demand was not due to the sense that Wales and Scotland had been unfairly neglected or targeted over the past 18 years by the Conservative government
The mandate is not something Westminster can choose and it can also choose to take it away, suggesting that it is, completely betraying the very centralized thinking that drove the UK over the edge
In the end, there is only one way to save the United Kingdom: by giving Wales and Scotland three things – strength, safety and concern
Instead of dictating what the people of Wales and Scotland need, ask them what they want
They give them what they want and put in place a set of iron rules that make it clear that, under no circumstances will Westminster put a finger on those powers
If Scotland were granted a devo-max and a constitutional guarantee that these powers would never be taken away, independence would be extremely difficult
If the UK government shows for five minutes it cares about what is going on outside the southeast of England, independence will be difficult.
But they won’t do any of these things, because they never did, which is why we are in the position we are in
Forget the hard sell – in his totally wrong writing of position, it looks like Boris Johnson wants to make things so easy on SNP and YesCymru, not hard
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World News – GB – Boris Johnson’s comments that “the transfer of power was a mistake” show that he has no idea how to save the UK