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My essay two weeks ago on the challenge of preserving the UK produced a bigger postbag than any of my articles for at least the last five years. And strikingly, they were almost all on the theme not so much of “What will it take to keep the Union together?”, as I had positioned my essay a fortnight ago, as “What is the reason for trying to preserve the Union at all?” It is a question that needs to be answered.
Having just returned from a week’s holiday in Scotland, and seen the degree to which the country is increasingly diverging from England, I am more convinced than ever that the Union of the United Kingdom is at risk, and that Unionists in London have little idea of the seriousness of the threat or how to counter it. A debate on the governance of the UK, and how the four nations relate to each other and to the Union, is urgently needed.
It is very seldom that President Xi of China admits that he may have made a mistake. But last week, in remarks made to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 25-strong leadership group, he came close to it, as he called for a major reassessment of China’s international profile and how it presents itself to the rest of the world.
Despite the focus – south of the Border at least – on the travails of the Labour Party, in our view the biggest issue after the UK’s recent regional and local elections remains the ongoing question of Scottish Independence. Despite the SNP falling just short of an overall majority at Holyrood, this will we think be the dominant political issue facing the UK in the coming decade, and those in London who wish to preserve the Union need to realise both that it is at serious risk and that their tactics need to change if they are to succeed.