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The 51st State

With the inauguration of President elect Biden done and dusted, attention turns to the pantomime of which world leader will receive the first state visit by the newly elected President.

Politicians, commentators and various media outlets across the western world will spend copious amounts of time contemplating this question between now and the inauguration. 

Many here in the UK have already started to express the deep bonds that exist between the USA and the UK, or, to use the over-used term coined by Winston Churchill, the ‘special relationship’. To be fair, that seems like a one way street. 

A former elected representative of the ruling Conservative party and British nationalist supreme Daniel Hannan was at his grovelling best on Twitter:

The whole charade has, of course, added zest this time around because of the UKs desperate desire for a good trade deal with the US following Brexit. It could be said that, as far as the UK’s political class is concerned, the UK left the EU in order to get an improved deal with the US. At least that’s how it seems to many of us, though how the Brexit political class think this can be achieved is beyond me.

A good US Trade deal is their one and only economic justification for Brexit. The relative success or failure of the Brexit project rests on this deal. No pressure then.

In the middle of all of this we are seeing increased demands from Wales and Scotland for independence and calls for the re-unification of Ireland. Scotland has seen twenty consecutive polls showing a clear lead in favour of independence, and Yes Cymru, the Welsh grass roots organisation campaigning for independence, has seen its membership shoot up from 2000 earlier this year to over 17,000 paying members

However, those three Celtic nations are told time and again that the Union – an alleged voluntary Union of equals – is the best settlement that they could wish for.

“With our shared culture and history, Wales has a bright future inside a strong United Kingdom”, so said the former leader of the Welsh branch of the Conservative Party Paul Davies recently. 

Best of both worlds

So, here’s a thought.

Should Wales and Scotland become independent, what’s to hold England back from applying to be the 51st State of the United States of America?

With such a special relationship, common cultural bonds, and a strong history going back three hundred years, England would fit right in to the USA.

With a population of 50m England would be the largest state, in population size, which would mean approximately 60 Representatives in the House of Representatives. There are currently 435 voting members in that house, but I’m sure they would expand it to 495 in order to oblige England. This would give the new state of ‘Old England’ over 12% of the number of representatives. By contrast, Wales has less than 6% of the total number of MPs in the UK’s House of Commons.

This new 51st State of Old England would also have two Senators, representing nearly 2% of all of the senators. This is the same number as every other State, who also have two Senators each. Incidentally, approximately 2.2% of Peers in the UK’s upper house, the House of Lords, reside in Wales, and 47% of them reside in London alone

And, of course, Old England would also get 60 college votes when electing the President, over 10% of the total (assuming that the total electoral college votes are increased to 598 to accommodate the new State of England). Wales, with 40 MPs, soon to be slashed to the low 30s, currently has only 6% of the vote when electing a Prime Minister.

A good deal

The new State of Old England would have powers over health, education, agriculture and other important issues, as well as the ability to vary many different taxes, such as income tax, corporate income tax, sales tax and others.

Wales’ taxation powers, under the current devolved settlement, are severely limited. We’re limited to adjusting our income tax 10p in the pound; a Land Transaction Tax (a tax on the sale of property), and a Landfill Disposal tax.

Old England wouldn’t need to worry about having a trade deal with the US – they’d be right in the middle of it, at the heart of the decision-making process influencing decisions all the while ensuring that the people of England prosper.

Doesn’t this sound like a good deal? England will have the best of both worlds – the security of knowing that they are in a wealthy union, and part of the most powerful country in the world, while also having the flexibility to make changes to policy that impacts on those powers that they retain.

Why let Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland hold England back? Apply to be the 51st State today and reap the rewards.

After all, we’re told that an inferior arrangement to this is what is best for Wales within the UK. 

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