The wrong answer

Iain Dale makes a valid point about David Cameron’s so-called “West Lothian answer” announced today. This is essentially a dog’s breakfast of proposed reforms that prevent Scottish MPs from voting in certain circumstances but not others.

The late Eric Forth – someone with whom I rarely agreed but who was nevertheless A Good Egg – was an unapologetic supporter of an English Parliament along the Scottish model.

Now, I’ve seen little evidence of much support for this approach among the English public, but I’m sure if Eric were still with us he would be challenging Dave to follow his logic to its logical conclusion and propose a separate English Parliament. But Dave won’t, because not only do the vast majority of the English not want it, neither do the parliamentary Conservative Party.

Dave’s announcement today is as much about trying to find a compromise within his own party as it is about finding a compromise within the UK constitution.

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7 Comments

Filed under Conservative Party, David Cameron, Parliament, Politics

7 responses to “The wrong answer

  1. Terry

    I am pleased to say however that there is enormous support for an English Parliament (1 & 2) and opposition to regionalism (3). Even Blair admitted it (4).

    This is a phenomenal show of heartfelt, groundswell opinion, especially when one considers that there has been no newspaper campaign, nor political party pushing the agenda. The growth in support for this idea has come about by word of mouth.

    A national campaign would reap great rewards for the party that has the courage to make it their own. Unfortunately this is not to be the Conservatives?

    1 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6264823.stm
    2 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/11/26/nunion26.xml
    3 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3984387.stm
    4 http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/ViewArticle.aspx?SectionID=55&ArticleID=1900767

  2. sioeengland

    Tom – there’s none so blind as those who will not see.

    Even the BBC (second only to Channel4 for being the most anti-English broadcasting organisation) could not get the figure below 61% for those wanting an English Parliament.

  3. I have an excellent solution to the “West Lothian Question” (which I might add is a very valid question on the democracy of the UK).
    Here’s my idea. Stop me if you’ve heard it.

    What we do, is we have an referendum to ask the People of Scotland something that no-one has ever asked them before:
    “Do you wish Scotland to become once again an independent nation?”
    Since no-one bothered to ask 301 years ago, I think it’s only fair we stop and ask now. If (as I suspect) the People say no, we thank the English, Welsh and Northern Irish for 301 years (well, 200-and something for the Irish) of Union, and start discussing trade-rights, although since we’d still be in the EU, I guess the possibility of the English government putting trade embargoes or the like in place as punishment for taking away all those lovely oil revenues would be out of the question….
    What d’ya think? Would a democratic solution to a democratic problem be a good idea?
    That way, the English get to vote in lovely laws like the suspension of habeas corpus, compulsory ID cards and other such Orwellian concepts, and Scotland can go on it’s merry, more content to solve pressing issues like the worst health in Europe (despite being the No1 Oil Producer in Europe) rather than wasting billions on nuclear missiles, CCTV surveillance and useless ID databases.

  4. Richard – I’m guessing you don’t get out much

  5. Honestly, Richard, you’re going to have to try to be a bit less cryptic. In other words: “Huhh?”

  6. Much as I hate to agree with my erstwhile commenting colleague there, he Does have a point, Tom.
    What is the NewLabour™official line on solving the obvious disparity between English MP’s and Scottish matters?
    Or, as I suspect, is there not an official policy other than “don’t talk about the WLQ, I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it”. Is it the simple case that Scotland has usually supplied a nice healthy number of Labour MP’s ready to vote for the Party, and if they weren’t there to vote then there might be a few “sticky” situations. Not to mention the unedifying sight of the Prime Minister and half his cabinet not being able to vote on laws they themselves introduced….

    Honour dictates something be done. Something other than quiet hand-wringing and platitudes about the Tory’s having the wrong answer. If theirs is the wrong answer, what’s the right one??

    Other than, of course, independence for a sovereign Scotland, the only country in the western world to have found oil and been poorer after it, to have areas in it’s largest city where life expectancy is lower than Afghanistan and Iraq. Something doesn’t add up. Methinks all that oil money’s gone somewhere, and it’s not Glasgow East, it’s not Barhill, it’s not Port Glasgow….
    Could it be Westminster, by chance.

  7. Math – I support the Conservative Party’s approach, albeit the Conservative Party when it was still a unionist party. It “tolerated” Northern Ireland MPs voting on all matters before the Commons, despite NI having its own parliament and prime minister for 50 years. Of course, it helped that the NI MPs all took the Tory whip at Westminster. This seemed a price worth paying as far as the Tory Party were concerned. The WLQ is only an issue for the Tories because it has only one MP in Scotland. If it had a decent number of MPs, this wouldn’t even be being discussed.

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