The launch of the White Paper on the road to independence for Scotland has set the debate off about sovereignty not only in Scotland but also elsewhere within the Union. Once one part of the Union questions its relationship with the central state other parts will also question what they’re getting out of it, as well.
Not least the English themselves. A prediction – English nationalism will assert itself during the long debate on Scotland’s future. There is already an increasing body of opinion within the ranks of the Tory party that hope that Salmond gets his way and they’re shot of the Scots.
How much longer will it be before they turn their sights on Wales? There is already a feeling that a devolved Wales works to England’s disadvantage. It won’t be long before the English start campaigning to cut Wales adrift if it’s to their advantage.
The more the spotlight is on Scotland the more the English are going to question what they get out of the Union.
Now whatever else one thinks about Carwyn Jones’s little trip to Scotland, he wasn’t wrong to say what happens there has real implications for Wales. It’s not the rise of Scottish nationalism that poses the danger to his Union but the rise in English nationalism that the Scottish referendum will unleash.
So what’s to be done? You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. The Scottish debate about sovereignty is well and truly underway. The rest of the Kingdom may not have a vote on the future direction of the Union, but it sure as hell is part of the debate. Wales should use the months ahead to decide its direction of travel.
There are important questions that the country has to ask itself. What plans does the nation have if the Union is a busted flush? If the Tories try to out UKIP UKIP and follow an anti-immigration, anti-European little Englander agenda, what’s Carwyn Jones response going to be? If neoliberlaism is the language of a rump UK, what of Wales?
The White paper may be Mr Salmond’s government’s vision, when will Carwyn Jones’s publish his vision? Welsh people also have a right to know what the future holds for them.