Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Rifkind's Grand Sell-Out

Sir Malcolm Rifkind claims that his proposals for a "Grand Committee" of English MPs voting on English matters represent "the unfinished business of devolution". I bloody hope not.

The Grand Committee is a half-baked contrivance, a gimmick and a sop. If this is the best we can come up with as an answer to the flagrant injustice that currently assials our consitution, then God help us. The very least we could hope for in implementing it would be that it were a halfway house, a staging post to the Real McCoy. Better still would be to have nothing whatever to do with it, and hold out for what the English Question really merits, which is either a devolved parliament or, as an apparently increasing number appear to desire, full-blown indepedence.

There is so much wrong with the idea of a Grand Committee in its abject failure to provide equality within the Union that it is difficult to write succintly about it. But to put it briefly: creates yet another different tier of government, when what is needed is simply a mirror image of the Scottish Parliament; would be left to the UK government to implement laws passed by the Grand Committee, and there is huge potential for mischief on behalf of the former when expected to implement legislation passed by the latter which it doesn't like;
..there are vast difficulties in defining what constitutes "English-only matters", not least of all because the under the Barnett Formula bills that alter English spending influence the amount of money that received by the devolved governments; completely fails to deal with the unfairness within the Barnett Formula anyway; doesn't stop a Scottish MP having ministerial responsibility over England despite the fact that - the almost redundant Scottish Office apart, the reverse could not apply.

I suppose you could see it a progression that at least one of the main parties has been forced to take the English Question seriously enough at least to put forward a serious proposal (if that's what they end up doing). But the reality is that this is a timid response to an issue which requires boldness and radicalism. It is a fudge, and the English should treat it as such.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rifkind is as bent as they come.
I draw your attention to this.
If it's good enough for Scotland it is good enough for England.

The success of the Labour party in the two 1974 elections and the emergence of Margaret Thatcher as leader of the Conservative Party in 1976 signalled another change in the Conservative Party's position towards Scottish devolution. The policy of the Thatcher government towards Scottish devolution was clearly opposed to any level of Scottish self-government. The change of policy did have repercussions, with the resignation from the shadow cabinet of Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland Alick Buchanan-Smith and his junior and future Secretary of State, Malcolm Rifkind.