i Editor's Letter: Britain survives, but change is afoot

Even though the union has remained intact, there's still great uncertainty about what the future holds

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Where next for the United Kingdom? That’s the theme of the latest Saturday edition of the i. We have all read, and said, so much about the referendum by now. But where does this result leave England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

Replying to my question “Where next…?”, one of our Edinburgh readers, Aaron Millar, messaged me last night: “A drink is the top of my list, hopefully with some of my friends on the opposing team!” Well said.

Whether you voted Yes or No, or (like many) didn’t have a say in this at all, our pledge to you, i’s readers, is to hold our leaders to account as they begin what they say will be a radical transformation of our islands’ politics.

They plan to devolve new powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the PM yesterday pledged to change Parliament to restrict voting on English laws to English MPs.

David Cameron proposes to solve this 40-year controversy (where MPs from outside England can vote on laws that affect only England) in just two months, while at the same time managing the biggest single transfer of powers away from Westminster in British political history.

In trying to solve the West Lothian question, Mr Cameron has logic on his side, even if his advisers’ motives may be nakedly political: blindsiding Labour; placating backbenchers and those English who’ve felt marginalised and disenfranchised by the referendum. (Such irony is not lost on the Scottish.)

But his decision to hitch together “Devo-Max” and the West Lothian solution is dangerous. It risks breaking the vow to transfer power away from London. That would be an act of outrageous dishonesty that would see Scotland come back for another shot at independence – and destroy Westminster’s reputation for a generation.

We at i wish Mr Cameron and his fellow leaders the best of British. (We can still say that.) The clock is ticking.

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