Saturday, 2 December 2006

The presumption of the English norm

Recently there's been a great increase in debate on the question of Scottish independence and there'll be a lot more before the Holyrood election next May.

I particularly enjoyed these two posts from Mr Eugenides and Shuggy.

My own position remains as I stated back in July 2003:

The Freedom and Whisky constitutional plan is this:

Withdraw from the EU

Devolve all powers - except defence and foreign affairs - to the various national parliaments

Each parliament to be fiscally independent with contributions being made to the federal government in proportion to population

The federal government should be situated on the Isle of Man, which is not in any of the home countries but is equidistant from all four of them

The Irish Republic should be invited to unite with the North and rejoin the UK with Dublin taking its rightful place in the Anglosphere alongside Cardiff, Edinburgh and London

Mr E and Shuggy are respected members of the blogosphere and show a quality of writing that is often absent from the "mainstream" media.

This morning I noticed a piece on The Times website that was headed One UK legal system? Think again. It was about the creeping introduction of "minority and religious courts" into the UK. But like many Scottish readers my immediate reaction to the headline was: hang on a minute, there isn't "one UK legal system", is there? What's more, there never has been. It's this kind of thing that so antagonises people in Scotland. We can call it "The presumption of the English norm" and it may well destroy the UK.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Naughty boy - go to the back of the class. You are very well aware that what "one leagal system" really means is a system of law based rightly or worngly on a Greco-Roman + Christian system, as has existed in most of Europe for some time (say 1500 or so years.)  
The Times man at no point was digging picking or pummeling the Scottish peoples, who the English after all allowed to keep the Scottish Leagal structure after being allowed to join England in the Union. 
Even, as I am sure that you are aware also, even the Code Napoleon active in much of the European continent recognised that murder is bad , stealing is generally bad, and greed is a bad thing (like it or lump it religious , chritisan ideals). 
What the Times man meant was that Islamofascists want to impose firstly civil and then criminal sharia law. 
This of course returns us,if Sharia comes to pass to corporal punishment, a retrograde step for enlightened liberals (in the old sense oft the word) and should be voilently opposed bu all those who take the name Libertarian. The notion of a bearded Pakistani dragging some third generation Brit into a Sharia court should make all good people vomit.

8 December 2006, 03:12:53 GMT
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Bill (Scotland)
I wrote about the legal diversity which is apparently accepted under English Law earlier this week. Yes, the Times' article is irritating, but that publication has gone so far downhill since it came under its current ownership that it is no longer, in my opinion, a journal of record. 
The link I used was to a pretty-balanced article on the BBC website which pointed out that there is a long-standing acceptance by English Law of the use of alternative legal systems, in England, by specific groups for specific disputes, traditionally involving civil rather than criminal matters, provided both parties agree to this procedure - apparently there is a long history of this within the Jewish community in England and the more recent use of similar procedures by Moslems is therefore not novel in any way. What is new, and controversial, is the creeping attempt at extension of such alternative methods to apply to criminal matters and the suspicion that the acqiescence of one of the parties to these procedures is not always entirely voluntary. 
Does Scots law similarly allow alternative systems to be used within Scotland? I don't know the answer to that, but it interests me. Generally I think it an unwise procedure and I must admit I was surprised to learn how tolerant English Law is in this respect for cases occuring in England itself.

3 December 2006, 01:52:56 GMT
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james higham
Being an avid 'don't break up the UK' advocate, this is the first time I've thought it might just be possible. This is a damn good plan, David.

2 December 2006, 16:07:21 GMT