As an English Jacobite whose fundamental political concern is the dissolution of the United Kingdom and the restoration of Scotland and a united Ireland to their rightful positions as nation states, I find myself peculiarly disenfranchised when it comes to the political scene in England. No major political party in England supports the break-up of the United Kingdom. Those minor parties that do (such as the English Democrats) are very much on the right of the political spectrum: they are anti-Europe, anti-immigration and apparently attract former members of the British National Party. Furthermore, they are in favour of the establishment of an English Parliament separate from the Westminster Parliament. I can agree with none of these aims or aspirations, and feel most comfortable with the social democratic, pro-European agenda of the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru. Yet I cannot vote for the SNP or Plaid because I live in England.
There is no political party in England (with the exception of Mebyon Kernow, which is obviously confined to Cornwall) that shares the SNP and Plaid’s political agenda, although it is reassuring that some English people who live in Wales are prepared to support Plaid. This can be explained away, I suppose, by a difference of political culture; Scotland has always felt closer to Europe and Wales has a strong socialist tradition. It is pleasing to note that the Scottish Labour Party is fracturing over independence, with a pro-independence faction that could form an opposition to the SNP in an independent Scotland – but why is no-one in the English Labour Party speaking up for Scottish independence as the best future for England? As I have suggested before, the political culture in England seems so brittle and politicians so insecure about British identity that no-one in England is prepared to advocate Scottish independence without the fear of being considered disloyal to the ‘United Kingdom’. Sadly this leaves the political ground open to extremists with no interest in the mutual co-operation of England, Scotland and Wales – after all, the English Democrats support England’s annexation of Monmouthshire!
England desperately needs a pro-European, social democratic party prepared to advocate radical reform of the ‘United Kingdom’ by unreservedly supporting Scottish and Welsh independence. I wish this would be the Labour Party, or at least individual elements within it. Calls for an ‘English Parliament’ are a red herring; by demanding this, so-called ‘English Nationalists’ are insulting the independence movements of Scotland and Wales by assuming that the Westminster Parliament will continue to claim jurisdiction over nations other than England. There is no need for an English Parliament because we already have one; unfortunately it is an English Parliament that, for centuries, has extended its jurisdiction beyond its just limits. I believe there are many people in England who are not so much ‘English Nationalists’ – a phrase that conjures up the worst of little Englandry – as ‘British Dissolutionists’; in other words, they are in favour of a more loosely constituted Britain that is a family of nations rather than a unitary state. To reject the unitary state is very edgy and modern, but it is also a profoundly Jacobite desire – that the monarch should form a centre of unity beyond politics rather than intrusive structures compelling unity.