7 May 2010

Ex unum pluribus

An election where the two main parties firmly managed expectations down has gone as managed. Pointless to speculate how it might have gone if the electorate had been offered a choice on any issue that really matters.

No clear winner, and even the shattering of Lib Dem hopes has still left them with considerable leverage - in Westminster. What is to come may be a foretaste of a political future under some kind of proportional representation.

There is another possibility, however. 'One Nation' Toryism seems to have been dealt a death blow, with the Soviet Bloc in the north clinging to the hope that the state will continue to milk the prosperous, solidly Tory south in order to keep it in the stagnant, corrupt style to which it is accustomed.

The unarguable winner is the permanent civil service, because in the absence of a clear political mandate the response to the financial crisis will be crafted by Whitehall. Which in turn means a very big win indeed for the EU. Regional government now looks not only inevitable, but democratically desirable. I have believed for some time that the imperial construct known as 'Great Britain' has lost all vitality. The election seems to confirm that it has also lost the veneer of political legitimacy.

Scotland joined Great Britain for economic reasons that can now be satisfied by autonomy within the EU. The same consideration applies to long-conquered Wales, and the two parts of Ireland deserve each other. For an historian it is fascinating to note that the economically backward areas of England that rebelled against Henry VIII's brutal centralisation remain not only economically backward but also dissident from the rest of England.

It seems to me that the key to the whole issue is whether there remains sufficient will in the English heartland to remain tied to a bunch of dependent and resentful regions. For my part, I think it would be best - for all concerned - to end the association.


  1. There are similar feelings in the American heartland and old colonies about letting the Confederate States of the south go stew in their own overripe juices.

    After all the snide and superior southern comments about 'nawthern' socialism, one need only consult the statistics on divorce and wife abuse, plus alcohol and driving offenses, to gain some sense of reality about the difference between Alabama and Mississippi and the much maligned state of Massachusetts. Not to mention the little matter of public education.

    In America the North pays for the South, taxwise. In the UK, it's the other way around, I gather. Naturally, gratitude is not to be expected from the recipients of official largesse. Meanwhile, here goes 'Loosiannuh' down the drain again. How would the 'reel Ahmurricans' in the deep south like to pay for
    its regeneration out of their tax dollars. Not much, thank you.

  2. Gordon is still hanging in there, betting his one set of tens against two pair. He's bluffing with the wall at his back but not much else. Not to worry, Gordon, Brussels awaits you, or at least Brussels Sprouts.

  3. They're all a bunch of Celts