NEW GSF Publication: ‘Scotland And England: A Better Union – An Essay In Realism’ by the Rt Hon the Lord Howell of Guildford – Wednesday 21st April 2021

Photo credit: House of Lords Official portrait

We are delighted to be publishing today ‘Scotland And England: A Better Union – An Essay in Realism’, a new paper by the Rt Hon. the Lord Howell of Guildford, with a foreword by GSF’s Chairman, Lord Lothian.  Lord Howell was Minister of State at the FCO (2010-2012), Chairman of the House of Lords International Relations & Defence Committee (2016-2019) and he has been a GSF Advisory Board member since 2013.

Lord Howell argues that the overwhelming strength of the Scottish independence case must be ‘fully understood’, so that Scotland can be offered a ‘stronger Union partnership in a dangerous world’. With independence right at the heart of next month’s local elections in Scotland and the future of the Union in real doubt, innovative and practical new solutions such as he proposes have never been more important.

In his foreword, Lord Lothian calls David Howell’s argument a ‘fascinating and challenging’ one, which we would be ‘foolish to ignore and irresponsible not to try’.

The full paper, ‘Scotland And England: A Better Union – An Essay in Realism’, can be downloaded here.

One thought on “NEW GSF Publication: ‘Scotland And England: A Better Union – An Essay In Realism’ by the Rt Hon the Lord Howell of Guildford – Wednesday 21st April 2021

  1. The central issue is, “What is the (geographical) unit of nationhood?” One can look at many nations around the world and see that the size of such a unit is related to the strength of shared cultural values about nationhood in a region, whether or not those are forcibly imposed above and beyond ethnic differences.

    Nationalism tends to be a temporary geo-political tactic. Nationhood is a sense within people’s minds.

    A sense of nationhood is what actually binds agents together in state formation.
    However the UK was formed, the sense of nationhood was kept alive until after WWII. Not long after that it began to be neglected, UK wide.

    Arguably nationhood has an idea like, “No person left behind,” in its fundaments of governance.

    If a nation has policies that effectively consider the poorer members of the working class as expendable chaff for decades there will be inevitable blowback at some point. If one places a substantial number of those people in a single geographic region and aligns that region with a shared ethnic identity, with voting power, then secession is likely. “Realism” need not be a factor in the minds of such voters for a majority to be won.

    I know that decades of attempts to revitalise the “North” through investment have not often succeeded despite lofty intent, and besides North Sea Oil wealth most of Scotland has just been recalcitrantly further “North”.
    But economics cannot override geographic reality at will, especially if “Why are we doing this for the enrichment of some other?” is the question each voter is asking.

    Scotland will only stick with the UK if there are spiritual (in the sense of esprit) reasons for continued binding collaboration.
    Right now the SNP is the party of “We don’t like the English. Here’s why: [Gripe 1, gripe 2, gripe 3…] So we’re better off without them.” Their grounds are not entirely empty from a Scottish spiritual perspective, unfortunately, whatever they might look like from elsewhere.
    So democracy readily becomes a separatist’s weapon.

    What are the Scottish people’s reasons for liking the English more, now and in future? (Not just as a matter of realpolitik, but popular reasons for staying friends with willed binding cultural alignment.)

    Voting happens one living person at a time.

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