Letter: Scottish vote must lead to British federalism

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The Independent Online
Sir: Let us rejoice at the result of the Scottish referendum. But let us also consider the inevitable and beneficial consequences for all four nations of Great Britain. If there is to be devolution to Scottish, Welsh and ultimately Northern Ireland parliaments then this must surely lead us down the road to British federalism.

Why not? Quite apart from the claims of the Celtic nations to be self- governing, do not the English also have the same right? We must surely have four self-governing assemblies, with a further federal assembly on top.

This is the opportunity to dispense with the House of Lords and replace it with an elected federal parliament exercising whatever overall responsibilities we decide to reserve to it.

We need not abolish the monarchy. But if in the future there was a need for a federal president, there would be nothing to prevent members of the royal family with appropriate skills from standing for the office. As remarked in your article on Mary Robinson ("Farewell to a right royal president", 11 September), the fact of election, not inheritance of an office, gives confidence and a true sense of purpose.

Wake up Britain! A new dawn in Scotland gives all of us the chance to create a democratic constitutional structure, not dominated by any one nation, or archaic and outworn conventions.

It is time to take the best of the old into a new and more flexible system. Who knows, a strong British Federation might one day even feel at ease within the wider world of an enlarged Europe.

JOHN CRAGG

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

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