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.
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.
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.
As for myself: I want all perspectives heard and for the British to then decide.