Tuesday, 1 July 2008

The long kiss goodbye?

English votes for English laws.
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The Conservative and Unionist Party, is proposing, arguably, the fairest reform to wipe its nose on Westminster's democratic hanky since women gained the right to vote.
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To be honest, I've never really known exactly how I felt about the 'English votes' idea as I'm unsure where and what it will lead to in the fllowing 5-10 years. Negativity towards all things Scottish has long been on the increase south of the border, whether it be politically on the West Lothian Question, Brown's inadequate Scottish Cabinet, or Andy Murray.
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In the past, any anti-Scottish sentiment from Westminster MPs would have been met with my defensive, "fuck the English, what a bunch of racists, I don't give a hoot what they think cos as long they're angry about something, then I support the 'something'" stance. But now, noting a sense of maturity/old fart-ism about my person, I've started to see what the English have been moaning about.
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Foundation Hospitals won through because of 'undemocratic outside help'. Scottish MPs won the day for Labour's English policy.
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Student tuition fees the same.
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Imagine David Cameron suddenly announcing that his Southern English MPs should be allowed to join in the voting at the Scottish Parliament and we could very well have a war on our hands (and even though the UK Army is directed by Westminster, 90% of the SAS are 'Scotch', so I wouldn't be worrying). We just wouldn't have it. It's just not cricket.
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But the 'English votes' idea could take a lot of the hostility away. The Barnett Formula will continue to harness most of the racism that's left and thunder on it shall until independence, a Tory government or Scotland gets its oil. But even regardless of constitutional concerns, it is culturally a good idea purely based on harmony. Scotland, like myself, appears to be growing up and having a less childish hatred of the English than it used to. For the first time in goodness knows how long, as a nation we are focusing on 'How do we feel' rather than trying to piss on the English.
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Arguments that this would create two classes of MPs is one of the most stupid I'll ever hear, as under the current setup, we already have this problem. Scottish MPs can vote on some issues and not have to worry about how if will affect their constituents. Not so for the English.
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Bottom line, the clincher for me, is that this 'English votes' idea WILL essentially create an English Parliament. And why the hell shouldn't they have one? The main reason though that I'm behind having it as a 'two-tier MP' system within the Westminster setup (as some would call it), is that if they had an actual, separate English Parliament, with it's own House, chambers, staff etc, then this would be a ridiculous, spectacular waste of, what is for now, all of our money.
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Let's face it, the Dome, Wembley, the Scottish Parliament, the Olympics. Do we really want to entrust another £xxbn to folk who will, undoubtedly fuck it up and waste bucket loads of cash? We can have the same end product (English representatives voting on English matters) for practically no extra cost, no extra national embarrassment.
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So I'm all for it.
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And so are, I presume, all independence loving SNP people.
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Yet again the SNP have impressed me by their not voting on English only issues. They chose to do it not through pressure, not through bargaining, but through integrity. They are there to serve their Scottish constituents and by spending no time in debates/votes/negoiations on English only issues, they devote more time to Scottish stuff. Well done to you.
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But to me, this proposal will increase the prospect of Independence. It will further the distance between the MPs and their countries by having a constitutional dividing line labelling Scotland and England as separate, which will make the prospect of full independence closer to the status quo of the time, and in turn, less of a big shift, less daunting to the daunted and more achievable to those who desire it.
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So why are the Conservative and UNIONIST party pushing a less unified style of governance? More and more I think that the Tories are in no way Unionist, they are just 'the unnofficial English Party'. This legislation, though I strongly agree is fair, is also divisive across national lines. The arguments against a Scottish or Welsh Prime Minister when he/she wouldn't be able to vote on their own policy proposals, are too compelling to be swept aside. And if it becomes realistically impossible to become Prime Minister solely because you're Scottish, then there will be more agreeable thoughts behind independence, across all parties. You know, that in the end, some of the more eccentric hardcore Scottish MPs will begin to describe us, in this case, as an oppressed colony of the English with no chance of meaningful power or control...unless we gain independence.
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The Tories, without knowing it, may have begun to nibble the ear in the long kiss goodbye.
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They may just wake up in the morning, regretting that kiss going too far, spawning a child they simply didn't want, or plan for - how unConservative of them!
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2 comments:

tally said...

The SNP have recently voted on the proposed London Cross rail bill. They voted against for some reason as a yes vote would have brought scotland a windfall due to the consequentials of the barnett formula. They must have just not wanted the English to have it.
This info was on the blog of Tom Harris MP glasgow south.

Terry Heath said...

"fuck the English, what a bunch of racists..."

You can't see this is what American psychiatrists call "projecting"?

I'm pleased to see you've grown up (or at least stopped being racist), well done.