Thursday, 18 September 2014

Fear and loathing in West Lothian

Well, the bookies made the right call. But here's another bang-on prediction, this time from somebody who seems to have been in the Yes camp - 'After a No vote, we will see a return to politics as usual as Westminster becomes preoccupied with the next UK General Election.' I reckon this prophecy's been fulfilled in near-record time - in his very first speech after the vote, David Cameron put a 'decisive answer' to the West Lothian question near the top of his to-do list.

Could the fact that 'The Tories are keenly aware that denying Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs the right to vote on English-only legislation could leave future Labour governments in office but not in power, handing the Conservatives an effective veto' have something to do with his sudden desire for a decisive quick fix for an intractable constitutional anomaly that's been baffling better minds than his since the Sex Pistols were in the charts?

It could be pretty frustrating to see an elected Labour government unable to make legislation happen. Although I can remember a time when this might not have been an entirely bad thing...
Without Scottish Labour MPs, English tuition fees wouldn't have been trebled to £3000 and there would have been no Foundation Hospitals. When you consider that these two policies laid the groundwork for £9k fees and the privatisation of the NHS, when you realise that these policies only affect England, the fact that they were passed despite most English MPs voting against them is not just an interesting constitutional quirk. It is an outrage.