End of the Union?


According to Mr Brogan, Yes, thanks to the Labour Party…

Here is the scoop:

Labour may have just destroyed the Union – it has nothing to celebrate

By Benedict Brogan Daily TelegraphAlex Salmond - about to destroy the union? (Photo: PA)Alex Salmond – about to destroy the United Kingdom? (Photo: PA)

Forget Nick Clegg’s sufferings for a moment, the shock of the morning is that Scotland is in the Union departure lounge. The most telling phrase from Labour this morning was Andy Burnham’s casual response on Today when asked about the Scotland result. “I’m looking at two things: what happened in England and share of the vote”. It confirms what was already apparent with Ed Miliband’s leadership, that Labour at Westminster has lost interest in Scotland. Since last summer there has been a palpable sense of relief that the party no longer has its top echelons skewed by preoccupations with what happens north of the border. You can find this London indifference elsewhere this morning. Even though we know Scotland has gone SNP and independence is now in play, Nick Robinson on Today is majoring on the Clegg consequentials.

What we are seeing is the consequence of twenty years of Labour opportunism in Scotland. In the 1980s Labour, driven on by a young Gordon Brown, responded to Margaret Thatcher by egging on hatred of her that carried unmistakeably anti-English overtones. They pushed devolution as an alternative to counter the SNP, but assured us it would put the Nats in a box and save the Union. After 1998 as Chancellor Mr Brown focused on extending Scotland’s reliance on public money and Labour munificence. But he encouraged the politics of grievance and a form of fantasy economics that insisted that the pot of English public money was unlimited. If Scotland has said ‘enough’ this morning, it would be nice to think that it is because it wants no more of the sclerotic, public sector clientism of Labour politics that have paralysed huge chunks of Scotland for so long, though I doubt it. Alex Salmond is promising that referendum, and it may be that when it comes to it Scotland will shy away from the brink. But something has changed, an amicable separation is in the air. The Union is suddenly in peril, and it’s Labour’s fault.


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