Posted 20 Sep 2014 by Walaa Idris
As some might already know, I am British by choice. As a naturalized citizen my pride of my adopted home and nation is founded on admiration and respect of who we are and what Britain represents – fairness, freedom and justice.
First my reverence, as a young girl growing in autocratic Sudan, was from afar. Back then I watched in awe a country ran by consent, and a nation that genuinely respects and accepts opposing opinions. But also cannot deny electing the first female Prime Minister had its own special magic and allure. Years later when I had to choose where to move with my family I was in no doubt Britain was to become our home. I moved to London, and from within I had first-hand experiences of Britishness and British Values.
This pride continued to grow daily, and become cemented by our actions and interactions with other nations close and far away, and harnessed with our relentless fight for justices and others’ freedoms, even when in occasions, these liberties adversely affected us. I say that as someone who travelled a great deal and lived midst many different cultures.
Thursday’s result increased that pride.
In the past few weeks and month, Scotland showed the world that fighting for a republic can be emotional and at times even get personal, but when it comes to democracy we Brits know how to be fair, generous and gracious both in victory and in defeat.
Our union is intact and we are stronger and better for it, plus we can be proud that all it cost us was determination and politicking.
The Scottish referendum did not only settle the question of its own independence, it ignited the debate on a thirty seven year old question, the West Lothian question. And made it more than ever before possible for England to have ‘English Votes for English Laws’.
Thursday, September 18, 2014 will go down in history not only as the day Scotland decided to stay in the union, but as the day the ‘West Lothian question’ finally got a serious look in. It was an all-round good day for all of Britain!
By staying in the United Kingdom, Scotland will get their Devo Max. But with a few months to go, before the 2015 general election, the question political parties and UK politicians need to answer is how much powers they intend to give England and how will they give those powers?
Will it be ‘English Votes for English Laws’ in the UK Parliament – will it be devolving more powers down to local authorities – will there be regional assemblies, or will they go all out and setup an English Parliament? Whichever method they decide on there is no denying the Scottish #Indyref has catalysed and energised the devolution debate for all four nations in the union particularly England.
Personally, I think an English Parliament though might sound fair and appropriate – Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all have their own Assembly – is a costly extra layer of bureaucracy. Using existing resources, the House of Commons, and allowing English MPs only to vote on English issues, is a much more cost effective and sounder method, it will give England the powers it needs and the gravities it deserves.
On this occasion I would also like to add my voice to Ukip and Nigel Farage, and ask Scottish MPs, going forward, to abstain from voting on any English matters as a gesture of solidarity with their brothers and sisters south the border.