One reason why the devolution debate should not, as the Doc and Martin suggest, be understood in splendid islolation. According to IPPR, the English are distinctly discomfited by the Welsh Assembly:
- 31% of people thought the Welsh assembly had a negative impact on how Britain was governed, compared to 11% in 2007.
- Those who thought devolution to Wales had made no difference fell to 24% from a high of 66% in 2003.
- About a quarter (26%) thought Wales got more than its fair share of UK public spending, with slightly more (28%) saying it got “pretty much” its fair share.
- Only 7% thought England got its fair share, while 40% thought it got less than it deserved.
“Reforming the organs of the UK state to take into account these sentiments in England is actually really quite difficult,” he said. “Much more difficult than devolution for Scotland and Wales.
“If we ever move to a situation, and it could easily happen, whereby the UK government doesn’t have a majority of English MPs – that happened in 1964, 1974 – if that day ever dawns, you’re going to have a full-blown constitutional crisis.
The operative word being if. But it gives a decent sense of how, under the skin, loosely wrapped the United Kingdom has become.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty