England as the starting point

In Adaptation

I'm starting from England rather than the UK, not because I'm nationalist, but simply because it is just too complicated to do anything else at this stage. There are the separately governed parts of the British Isles: Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There are Crown Dependencies: The Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey. There are 14 British Overseas Territories1. And there's the City of London. Currently the Houses of Parliament act as both local administration for England, and federal administration for the rest, with many of the English laws doubling up as federal laws according to the conditions of administration arranged with each of these entities.

There are many absurdities in this set-up which largely arise from the piecemeal way the system has been gradually built over centuries with bits added here and there and legislation being partly superseded rather than replaced, and resulting in a Parliament that still reflects the original battles between King and Barons. From my perspective, it is easier to start with the assumption that we live in a simple nation state and build up from there. When, and if, we need to we can all put on our constitutional waders and dig around in the quagmire.

I will be making one exception to this. Part of our discussion will be about financial structures and this will lead us to the City of London. I expect it will be necessary, at some point, to assume that it's special status has been revoked.

Generally, though, when I talk about things like housing markets, credit unions, local authorities and so on I will be assuming an English context. So, let's start with the relationship between citizen and representative government.


  1. Akrotiri and Dhekelia; Anguilla; Bermuda; British Antarctic Territory; British Indian Ocean Territory; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Montserrat; Pitcairn; Henderson; Ducie and Oeno Islands; St. Helena; Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands; and Turks and Caicos Islands.