Columnists > In England we already possess one city state: it is London and the South East

31 March 2016 | by Peter Hennessy

In England we already possess one city state: it is London and the South East


You may be aching for the European referendum campaign to be over. Wherever you stand on the big question of leave or remain, the chances are that you are already jaded with the tone and pitch of a debate thin on poetry, heavy on personalities, with its acrimony index high and threatening to rise still further.

Whatever the outcome on Friday 24 June, that day, in my judgement, should be the moment for the country to rise to the level of events however they have played out in the ballot box the day before.
For we shall need to stand back and take at least two seriously hard looks at ourselves. First, on the UK’s place in the wider world. Last year’s National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review could not do this comprehensively with so much geopolitical uncertainty hovering over our islands.

Secondly, with the Scotland Act receiving royal assent and fulfilling the undertakings made by the coalition Government in the last days of the referendum campaign on Scottish independence in September 2014, we need to look at our internal constitutional arrangements. English votes for English laws in the House of Commons by no means put an end to the English question.


Subscribe to The Tablet from just £19.99 quarterly
3 options available

Share this story

Article List

Post a Comment

You can post as a subscriber user...

User Comments (0)


Sign up for our newsletter

Sign Up

Latest Issue
Digital/PDF Version

PDF version (iPad-friendly)

Previous Issues
Tablet Subscription

Manage my subcription here