Thursday, 13 May 2010

English votes issue will not be extinguished

Scottish Secretary Danny Alexander also has responsibility for dampening what could become one of the most inflammable issues of the Lib-Con coalition.

Alexander has to set up a commission to consider the West Lothian Question - the old chestnut on why Scottish MPs should continue to vote on English legislation not affecting their constituents while English MPs have no say on devolved Scottish parliament policy.

A commission is usually code for kicking an issue into the long grass but the West Lothian Question is now more contentiously referred to as "English votes for English laws" and will be one of the angry flashpoints of the new parliament.

When Tory right-wingers want to radically reform education and public service provision in England, when they want to overturn the ban on fox hunting and when they argue for the construction of more nuclear power stations, they will wonder out loud why they are straddled with Scottish MPs who are so obstinately opposed to them.

These will be Scottish Lib Dem MPs on their own side and the ranks of Scottish MPs who make up a sixth of the Labour opposition. Some little Englander is bound to ask, wouldn't we be better shot of the lot of them and rule the roost in our own country.

Not that England voted Tory, look at the local government results or look at the regional share of the vote.

The Tory manifesto promised, in very mangled language, an investigation into the English votes issue but high command really want nothing to do with it. The Lib Dems think the whole idea of separating voting on geographical lines is a non-starter but many Tory backbenchers won't hold that opinion. One to watch, one more small headache for the red-haired Highlander.

1 comment:

  1. Your own prejudice is apparent in every line of this post.

    'Some little Englander'. It is interesting how this phrase is used as a term of abuse when actually it dates from the imperial age to describe English people who were against the joint Anglo-Scottish project of Empire.