So, let’s recap: it’s wrong for Liberal Democrats to point out Four Jobs Bob isn’t local to Bromley because he lives somewhere completely different – which is a statement of fact. But it’s all right for the Conservatives to say the leader of a country that’s a union of different nations can only come from the bit that the Tories have all their votes in, ruling out Scots not because of their ability or their ideas but simply because of where they live. Which is a wholly negative opinion that Scots should be second-class citizens in the Britain made up of all of us, based on their being not ‘local’ to England.Yup, to run for election as an MP while not being local is acceptable, but to run for election as British Prime Minister while living in Britain, being British and married to an English wife isn't if you're not local to most Tory MPs (ie, Southern England).
But, the more important link. Ministry of Truth:
If, by excluding Scottish MPs from voting on English bills, parliament is left with left with a government that lacks a Common’s majority on English issues, how is fair that that government retains control of the legislative programme and timetable for England.This is of course all linked to the Conservatives desire to not appear to be "too radical" and instead implement something that sounds right, and simple. Except of course, it isn't right, it isn't simple, and it's a lot more radical than either of the three other main solutions. Gareth outlined a list of objections and questions back in March. While I disagree with Gareth's proposed solution, his is at least both honest and intellectually coherent. EVOEM is neither.
English Votes on English Matters is so unworkable and prejudiced towards Scotland that it will inevitably lead to a constitutional impasse so great that an English parliament will be the only solution. But at what cost? The alienation of Scotland; the break-up of the Union; an end to the principles of parliamentary democracy? Can we have a union in which MPs are barred from the top-jobs because they represent a non-English constituency?Like I say, I disagree with the solution he proposes. England has to be represented, but given that England and Wales share a law code, you need a Welsh element at times. The Westcountry has different needs to the Home Counties, both are different to Yorkshire.
I'd like to see some sort of Provincial arrangement, each province being approximately 4 counties or so, big enough to have "clout" and to make cross border planning, but small and local enough to reflect local needs (Foot and Mouth and the failure of Whitehall and the absolute need for a Kingskerswell bypass are too issues that Westminster messed up). You'd need a method of having England taken into account, perhaps a monthly meeting in Westminster hall of Provincial AMs, maybe with English MPs in attendance?
Whatever we come up with, it'll be a fudge. The UK constitution, on paper, simply doesn't work, it makes no sense. But in reality, we know it has worked for centuries. Squaring the circle of competing demands is difficult. Trying to brush it under the carpet as the Tories are doing isn't the way to deal with it. Cicero:
Dangerous nonsense!The rest of that post gives a very strong reason for why I'm actually fairly happy within the Lib Dems; they actually address the issues and don't hide from policy or constitutional impact. Y'see, while I've long been convinced the current "settlement" is anything but, I'm pretty sure the Tories are only really coming on board because
Liberals and Liberal Democrats always supported home rule for Scotland and Wales on the basis that the result would be a Federal Britain. Only Federalism answers the so-called West Lothian question. What is now needed is a full constitutional settlement- which means restoring the lost powers of local government and making the current Scottish and Welsh systems self sustaining.
If England chooses a Parliament of its own or chooses regional assemblies, or makes the existing Counties more powerful (after all many of them are larger than several member states of the EU) then that is a matter for them.
What they can NOT do is to minimize or exclude Scottish or Welsh members from the only body that unites us: The national Parliament in Westminster.
- They can see some votes in it
- They haven't got many Scottish MPs
Petty partizanship is all I can really see in the Tories EVOEM proposals. That and the break up of the Union. For the Conservative and Unionist party to come up with a policy that will, inevitably, create a constitutional crisis, means they have utterly forgotten what they're supposed to stand for.
Let's have a real debate, acknowledge what the problem is, and call together a convention to resolve it.