Author Archive

Vernon Bogdanor

Professor Vernon Bogdanor a research professor at Kings College. He is a Fellow of the British Academy; a Fellow of Brasenose College; and a former Professor of Government at Oxford University. He has been an adviser to a number of governments, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Israel and Slovakia. David Cameron is one of his former students. His books include “Devolution in the United Kingdom”.

I want to consider the constitutional implications for the United Kingdom following September’s referendum on Scottish Independence. If Scotland votes ‘No’ The constitutional consequences are easier to see in the case of a `No’ vote in September. Scotland is then almost certain to be offered more devolution, since all three major UK parties have promised further devolution of taxation powers. That, however, could further unbalance its position in a United Kingdom based on asymmetrical devolution. It is possible that the English Question would be resurrected, and that the Union would come under threat, not from Scotland but from England. England of course is by far the largest and most populous part of the United Kingdom, but the only part of the United Kingdom without a Parliament or assembly of her own. It is therefore the anomaly in the devolution settlement. But her reliability has perhaps been taken for granted, and English nationalism has not, until recently been a political force of any moment. Part of the reason for this no doubt is that, with a characteristic lack of logic, many in England have failed to recognise the distinction between being English and being British, treating the two as interchangeable. This may now be changing as a result of devolution and of euroscepticism, stronger in England than in other parts of the country. Perhaps UKIP is best understood as an English nationalist party, the English equivalent to the SNP. It favours an English parliament.