Category Archives: Subsidiarity

Enoch Powell on Devolution and Secession

In the following speech excerpts, Enoch Powell clearly states he favours secession if the inhabitants of a part of the UK wish to secede. And he favours devolution if it improves the “control and supervision and execution of administration”. However, Powell rejects a course towards the disunity of the United Kingdom, which he views as a single nationality: British. Powell fears devolution will bring the perception that Scotland and Wales are nations distinct from the English nation. This perception could lead 1. to a transformation of the UK from a unitary state into a federal state or 2. to the break-up of the UK. For if Scotland and Wales are distinct nations with some powers, it’s a small step to view them as rightly sovereign nations as opposed to subservient administrative units under the House of Commons and within a greater unified nation of Britain.

Not quoted here, though you can find it in the speech itself: Powell highlights a fear that under a federal “United States of Europe”, Scotland and Wales will perceive themselves as natural members of this new United States of Europe rather than as members of the UK.

Enoch Powell speaks:

If this were an exercise in administrative devolution, we should not be contemplating Assemblies for Wales and Scotland. No one looking for convenient units for devolved administration would hit upon the Principality of Wales and the former Kingdom of Scotland. All sorts of other combinations and regions might be discovered, but not those two.

We are talking about Assemblies for the Principality and for the former Kingdom of Scotland because these purport to be—are widely believed and claimed to be—nations, and because the proposition of Assemblies in which they would be represented by direct election is an acceptance of that claim, or at least corresponds in the minds of those who put it forward to some notion of a nationhood in Scotland and a nationhood in Wales.

Once we concede that point and say that it is right that Scotland should be represented by a directly elected Assembly, we can hardly say that that Assembly should not have legislative powers, or that it should only be able to administer, like a local authority, within exactly the same framework as the rest of the United Kingdom. The whole argument for establishing it is that it will be able to pursue different policies, implying different laws—and presumably also different taxation—from the rest of the realm.

This is a debate not about administrative devolution, but about the establishment of national, directly elected legislative bodies. Having contemplated that for nearly four days, this House has seen the implicit conflict and contradiction that lies in such a proposal within the unitary state of the United Kingdom, namely that it is not possible for the same electorate to be represented directly in two legislative Assemblies unless one of two things occurs: either the unitary State must become federal, with a pre-determined area within which the one set of elected representatives is sovereign and another area in which the representation of the whole realm is to be sovereign; or there must sooner or later as a consequence be separation and the recognition of separate sovereignties. It is not right that we should underestimate the difficulty, once we have conceded that Scotland as a nation should be represented by a directly elected representative Assembly, of setting any logical bounds to the area within which that Assembly should be conceded, under any constitution, the right to legislate.

We have to face the fact that the establishment of directly elected legislative Assemblies will confront us with the choice of separation, of conversion to a federal State with all its implications, or of an attempt to reverse the process and somehow subordinate the new Assemblies to the sovereignty of this House.

I do not believe that the loyalty of those many who over those 270 years, and particularly in this century, worked together and died together as part of the Union under the Crown, was to the Crown quite simply, even though they 1006 wore the Crown on their uniforms and many of them wore it on their hearts. They were not the mercenaries of a Habsburg empire bound together by personal union and dynastic marriages; they were not the servants of a Hohenzollern empire imposed by military force. It was the Crown of the United Kingdom in Parliament which was the centre of loyalty, as it is the essential unifying element of this realm, in the name of which and under the inspiration of which men and women these 270 years have worked and lived and died together.

For myself I cannot imagine how the history of the United Kingdom can be understood apart from this House and apart from its sovereignty. Nor do I see how it can have a future apart from this House and its sovereignty. So I say to devolution—if it means an improvement in the control and supervision and execution of administration, yes; if they can be improved, let us do it. To separation, I say—if it is the settled and determined and preponderant wish of the inhabitants in any part of the United Kingdom no longer to remain part of the United Kingdom, with regret, so be it. But that this House by its own actions, by its own self-deceptions, should set in train a course of constitutional action which must lead either to the conversion of this country into something totally different and unrecognisable or to the destruction of the unity of whatever this realm is to be, the unity brought to a focus in this House—I say “No” to that, whether that sovereignty be seen from inside or from outside.

Source: Speech in the House of Commons against devolution to Scotland and Wales. 19 January 1976.

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Also see: The Abolition of Britain: From Winston Churchill to Princess Diana by Peter Hitchens (which I have not yet read).

Separately from Powell, I believe Hitchens wants a breakup, though on amicable terms.

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Additionally: “Scotland Should Stay in the Union” by Jared Taylor. AmRen. September 16, 2014.

“Why I Support Scottish Independence” by Greg Johnson. Counter-Currents. September 17, 2014.

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As for myself: I want all perspectives heard and for the British to then decide.
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Conservative or libertarian? Round III

The energetic discussion generated by the question of what organizing principle best advances liberty has been a pleasant surprise to me. Check out the various arguments raised here, here, and here.

Another worthy contribution to the debate is posted at The Classic Liberal. It’s definitely worth reading in its entirety.

Here’s as brief a summary as I can offer of the difference between conservatism and all the other little isms: Conservatism was first described in reaction to the advent of leftism in the Western world, the French Revolution. The Jacobins saw reason as sovereign, and desired to sweep away all the imperfections and irrational practices that they imagined had held mankind back. Burke vigorously rejected that notion, and countered that custom and tradition are sovereign. The accumulated wisdom of an organic society is priceless and irreplaceable.

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America: Too Big To (Not) Fail

The Abbeville Institute has begun a video series addressing the question of whether America is simply too big. 

Remember the 10-foot tall mutant ants from campy old 1950′s sci-fi films – the ones your high school biology teacher explained couldn’t actually exist?  OK, so that’s not exactly how Emory University philosophy professor emeritus Don Livingston explains it – but it does give you a general idea.  Citing Aristotle, Livingston finds bizarre claims that a real republic can contain over 300 million people.

Rick Perry Won’t Implement Obamacare

I suggested state nullification here. I had more in mind state legislative nullification, but perhaps this state executive foot dragging is a start.

“If anyone was in doubt, we in Texas have no intention to implement so-called state exchanges or to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, I will not be party to socializing healthcare and bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government,” Perry said in a statement Monday. He sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announcing his opposition to the law.

Perry joins a growing list of GOP governors who say they won’t implement the two provisions, including Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Rick Scott of Florida and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

The federal government, however, will implement the health insurance exchanges for the states if they don’t do so.

See more…

No Rally ‘Round the Flag Effect on Libya Airstrikes

We, the People, are fed up with the Feds. We’ve had enough of their lying, their cynical manipulation, and their outright theft. In the past, when our temperatures started to rise, a nice little war would distract us from our REAL enemies, and we’d aim our outrage at the scapegoats our handlers had selected for us.

But it’s not working anymore. This Gallup poll reveals there’s little of the usual “rally ’round the flag” effect in reaction to Obomba’s Obama’s unconstitutional and cowardly attack on Libya:

The 47% of Americans approving of the action against Libya is lower than what Gallup has found when asking about approval of other U.S. military campaigns in the past four decades.

Americans showed the highest level of support for the 2001 military action in Afghanistan that was a response to the 9/11 terror attacks. Americans also widely supported U.S. airstrikes against Iraq in 1993 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Support for the current involvement in Libya is also much lower than support for U.S. airstrikes against Libya in 1986 in response to the Libyan bombing of a German nightclub that killed two American servicemen.

The “rally ’round the flag” strategem is an old trick that once worked like a charm. For example, look how successful George W. Bush was in his use of 9/11. He picked Saddam Hussein as the target for the Empire’s collective two-minute hate. The new authority and prestige that resulted were quickly translated into the USA Patriot Act, which gave DC wonderful new powers to police and subdue its citizens, as well as other Federal power grabs, including the Prescription Drug Plan. And Bush came dangerously close to ramming through his beloved amnesty for illegal aliens.

As Steve Walt has warned, the neocon-liberal alliance is powerful. But this latest poll shouts loud and clear that more Americans have seen that that power is based on pure fraud. The party is just about over. Good riddance.

Missouri, Obamacare and Nullification

From the NY Times:

Missouri voters on Tuesday easily approved a measure aimed at nullifying the new federal health care law, becoming the first state in the nation where ordinary people made known their dismay over the issue at the ballot box.

…“This really wasn’t an effort to poke the president in the eye,” said State Senator Jim Lembke, a Republican. “First and foremost, this was about defining the role of state government and the role of federal government. Whether it’s here in Missouri with health care or in Arizona with illegal immigration, the states are going to get together on this now.”

This is a perfect microcosm for how the right and left view how a constitutional republic should work. Opponents of Obamacare took to the appropriate venue and spoke at the ballot box. And what instrument do proponents of Obamacare hope to utilize to thwart the will of the good people of Missouri? Where will they wage their battle?

Where else:

“While we’re disappointed that Missourians didn’t vote against this, we think the courts will ultimately decide it,” said David M. Dillon, a spokesman for the Missouri Hospital Association.