Protecting the UK Constitution | Josh McCurdo

I don’t envy the future Prime Minister – they potentially have the most difficult job of any Prime Minister since World War 2 and sadly nobody involved in this leadership contest, or anyone scrutinising it or commenting on it, seem to have the longer term view of the challenges facing our country. Instead we’re hyper focused on asking them what a woman is, or which taxes specifically they’ll shave a few pennies off (while we all know they’ll be added on discretely elsewhere).

 The United Kingdom may conceivably face two of its toughest challenges to date in the term of the next Prime Minister: The first being protecting the constitutional make-up of the country. The SNP have had almost a decade to plot and strategise and they seem confident in being able to demonstrate an avenue for Scotland’s secession from the UK. If Scotland were to leave, the political landscape of the British Isles would drastically change and the entire make-up of the UK would be on a trajectory for disbandment. Scotland and Ireland would unite politically, as well as culturally, in a hatred of all things England and that would jeopardise the future of Northern Ireland. Wales would also start on their path for secession with the outcome only an inevitability.

The second potential challenge, and I hate to write these words, is what happens when Queen Elisabeth II passes on or abdicates. There is a very loud, very influential minority of this country who are republican and unfortunately the majority of our media and political class appear to fit that description (even if not vocally just now, I fear we’ll see a lot more of this when the queen’s reign ends). We will undoubtedly see a “national debate” around the future of the monarchy and whether or not our country should look to a republican path. Again, a very loud and very influential part of the country will lead this debate – Novara media types will sit on panels with soft Conservatives who fit Peter Hitchens’ description of tories who would “guillotine the Queen in Trafalgar Square if it thought it would keep [The Conservative Party] in power” arguing over the future of our monarchy. Maybe they’ll bring out a royalist crank or two for balance.

Do any of the leadership candidates appear to be up to the challenge of both holding the UK together and protecting her future as a constitutional monarchy? I don’t see it. There are impressive candidates for sure – but impressive on current affairs, the economy, “culture war” etc. however I don’t see any of them being competent enough to keep the United Kingdom united, or a kingdom. Tony Blair put the wheels in motion for the end of our country as we know it and our next Prime Minister may be the person required to save it.

Ironically, Boris Johnson saw himself as the person to come side by side with Churchill in all future accounts of British legend and was so desperate for a way to showcase glory and leadership. He could have taken on this challenge and actually done something patriotic and long-lasting at the end of an otherwise pathetic and liberal tenure that would cement him in the history books, or at least future Channel 4 “100 Greatest Brits” polls. But, alas, he never did and now this burden falls to his successor.

All is not lost however, as a Prime Minister is just one person and they do have an entire government they can command and delegate to. I would strongly urge whoever wins the leadership election to instantly create a new department charged with protecting our constitution. The UK doesn’t need a codified constitution, but we do need to understand and respect the array of history and legislation which de facto makes up our constitution. This new department would have a remit to ensure our country remains a strong union of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales (while recognising there are improvements and reforms which can be done to improve the individual members position within said union) and that union, and its institutions, is headed up by our monarch.

This would be the perfect ministerial job for the likes of Jacob Rees Mogg or Michael Gove. Whoever leads this department would need to balance both an appreciation and understanding of our history and what makes us great with bold strategies which can last for a hundred years or more, not just an election cycle or two. And there are bold ways to counter the SNP and their dreams of secession – for example, allowing any region in Scotland who wishes to remain in the UK after a referendum the ability to do so. Therefore unless all regions vote to leave together, then the SNP wouldn’t just be taking Scotland out of the UK, they’d be breaking up Scotland itself. Another example, in the event of a referendum decision on secession, is to bet on the economic reality of Scotland’s journey post-separation. The UK government can allow Scotland to secede, be reasonable and fair in the details of such and then give a simple offer – “You have four years. At any point in those four years you can return to us, no questions asked, we’ll even swallow accrued debt during that time and we’ll carry on as normal. The only condition is if you return you disband your devolved parliament of nationalist charlatans.”

As I say, there are solutions out there to challenge secessionists in our country and the likes of Gove (a Scot with proven ministerial competence and out-the-box thinking) or a Rees Mogg (a patriot who loves our institutions and probably reads 20th century Hansard to his children for a bed-time story) are the exact type of politicians I’d like to see rising to the challenge, rather than squabbling about people’s pronouns or paper straws.

I do like some soundbites from the current leadership candidates – but I am far less interested in them defining the word woman and far more interested in what they will do to help our great nation weather some of the toughest storms ahead and ensure my grandchildren will proudly wave the same flag I do, and appreciate the same royal family I do. I do believe this should be a priority for any future Conservative government and by dedicating resources and political talent to this cause shows they are serious about it. Let the leader deal with the day to day issues facing us in the present, let some of the political heavyweights deal with the future and ensure we still have a Britain to call Great.

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