The price Boris Johnson will need to pay to keep Scotland

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon with prime minister prime minister Boris Johnson outside B

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon with prime minister prime minister Boris Johnson outside Bute House in Edinburgh. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA. - Credit: PA

If Boris Johnson wants to avoid becoming the prime minister who broke the union here is what he must do.

I deeply love Scotland, the country of my birth, and having already been robbed of European citizenship, value my shared British identity. This is now at risk (Ian Dunt, 'The battle for the Union is already half lost', TNE #205).

The integrity of the UK is gravely weakened by an outdated constitution which concentrates power in the south east and increasingly perpetuates, and is perpetuated by, a remote and indifferent Westminster elite. The remedy identified by Paul Stein (in the last issue) of a federal UK government supported by a PR electoral system is eminently sensible.

The current Westminster voting system disenfranchises many of the electorate, and is an outrage, not only against Scotland but all of the UK. With it we have had imposed an 80-seat majority government elected by fewer than one third of the electorate, many forced to vote tactically to keep Jeremy Corbyn out.

We are already looking at an unbroken term of 15 years of damaging, disproportionately Conservative-dominated rule, with the real possibility – able and admirable though Keir Starmer is – of a further five under the inept and duplicitous, but currently electorally successful, Boris Johnson.

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As one who has never in my life been represented at Westminster by anyone I ever voted for, I have every sympathy with those of my fellow Scots who now look to independence as their only recourse. I hope the true UK majority can be persuaded that this would be to everyone's loss and press for urgent change.

Robert Bell

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I agree with much of what Ian Dunt writes but for one thing: why would BoJo & co want to keep Scotland? Fifty fewer seats voting against them in the Commons gives the Conservatives an indefinite majority. Useful, no?

The more important question therefore, for the centre and the left in England (oops, forgot, and Wales), is whether the Scots will accept maximum devolution but with MPs at Westminster to possibly get a centre-left majority in 2024 and so avoid a right-wing government in England and Wales – which would not be a nice situation for the Scots.

Steve Bell


It was good to see a well-deserved mention of Orkney News and its reporter Fiona Grahame in the Michael White column. Orkney News runs not on a shoestring, but on a strand from a shoestring. Given this fact, the quality of journalism delivered by Orkney News puts much of the output from large press organisations to shame.

Jon Southerington

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