There's an interesting piece in today's Scotsman from David Torrence:
The political scientist Michael Billig identified a phenomenon he called "banal nationalism", where nationhood is so deeply and subconsciously taken for granted that it does not require coherent articulation. But the same critique can be applied to the contrary constitutional position. Indeed, it is "banal unionism" which now pervades British political discourse, from Gordon Brown's woolly push for "Britishness", to David Cameron's bland assurances that he is Prime Minister "of the whole United Kingdom".
This is surely inadequate, and simply betrays the incoherence of Mr Cameron's constitutional narrative, or indeed the lack of any narrative at all. Despite a degree of legwork in opposition he has, in common with most UK governments, adopted a suck-it-and-see approach in office. So now the coalition takes one position on Wales (parity with Scotland), another on Northern Ireland (a consultation on corporation tax), and yet another for Scotland (some new powers). Such inconsistency allows Alex Salmond to challenge and exploit, not least over corporation tax. But if Mr Cameron is serious about campaigning "to keep our United Kingdom together with every single fibre I have", as he said in the wake of the election, then he and others need to start thinking holistically, strategically and, in the short term, tactically. The response from the Scotland Office over last week demonstrates that none of these things is presently the case.
If I was being unfair I would point out that David Torrence himself is guilty of non-holistic thinking because he fails to mention England in his list of inconsistencies. The real glaring constitutional inconsistency is the status (or non-status) of England in our multi-national union. If Cameron wants to take on Salmond he needs to articulate a new understanding of Britishness that allows the different nations of Britain to sit comfortably in Union.
To address the lack of holistic thinking, David Torrence suggests a UK-wide constitutional convention. This is something that I would support, but not if it is simply a means for Westminster to silence "what Iain McLean called the "two mad men in the attic", the West Lothian Question and the Barnett Formula." The people of England must be consulted over their answer to the wider English Question, we should not be denied what was offered to Scotland, namely a national parliament and government that is accountable solely to us and governs in our name.