This is a shrewd observation by Prof. Danny Dorling, especially in the later stages of the referendum as Salmond repeatedly pinpoints the sheer dominance and ultra-wealth of London as a prime reason why Scots should vote for independence. It sucks the lifeblood out of the rest of the country, and so far from the rebalancing of the economy getting under way and wealth and commerce being redistributed the stranglehold of London is continually reinforced because that is where the most profitable investments can be made. Its growth feeds on itself. It has been estimated by IPPR that transport spending per head in London is a staggering 500 times more than in N.E. England. London remains at the centre of ballooning British inequality: while Britain has 9 of the 10 poorest areas anywhere in northern Europe, it also boasts inner London as the single richest region anywhere in the EU. Against that background Salmond’s simple question ‘Do you still want to be ruled from London, squeezing the energy out of the whole country and particularly Scotland?’ is such a devastating one. As George Monbiot has said memorably in the Guardian, would you choose to stay with a government that “spies on its own citizens, uses the planet as its dustbin, governs on behalf of a transnational elite that owes loyalty to no nation, cedes public services to corporations, and forces terminally ill people to work?”
If it were a case of sticking forever with the English Tory obsession with predatory capitalism, cashing out the jewels of the public services to swell even further the wealth and profits of the super-rich, neither would I. The only way to put an end to this and change direction from the market fundamentalism and Tory domination of the last 35 years is the election of a radical Labour government with an overall majority next May. I firmly believe this will happen. But I understand Scottish people not being prepared to take the risk. The best solution, which is now being offered in extremis and would not have been offered but for the shock 51-49% poll in favour of independence, is for a fully-fledged federal system to be granted to the Scottish people with a transfer of powers in the negotiation of which they are fully involved. That is a constitutional settlement that must be extended to the other nations of the UK as well as Scotland, and to the major regions within England itself.
All parties purport to believe in the devolution of power both politically and economically, but it has never happened because of the stranglehold of the tiny self-serving establishment elite cocooned in the over-dominant position of London. That was a power structure that was never long-term tenable, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment to open up the governance of the country to the three-quarters of the population outside the London orbit who have always been largely excluded.