Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Do These Guys Understand The Problem ?

When will the Conservatives get it ?

Last autumn Malcolm Rifkind, after months of deliberation, came up with a half-baked plan to deal with the West Lothian Question. At its core was the idea of a Grand Committee (a sub committee of Parliament, more like) to discuss English-only matters. At best it went about halfway to addressing the imbalance created by devolution for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. And then, just when you thought (as I did) that no Tory could conceive anything worse, up pops Kenneth Clarke.

This latest scheme proposes that Parliament votes on second readings, and only England-based MPs should vote in the Committee and Report Stages on legislation affecting only England. Then the whole of Parliament votes on the Third Reading. In other words, Parliament (including MPs from outside England) has the power of veto.

The idea is flawed because it absolutely fails to address the central problem, which is that MPs from outside England can bulldoze through legislation that does not affect them. Clarke's measures would not have prevented Foundation Hospitals being imposed upon us when the majority of English MPs voted against the bill, nor would they have stopped our students being wacked with university tuition fees.

The Conservatives have once again failed lamentably to grasp either the nettle or the fact that there is a fundamental injustice at the root of our parliamentary constitution, and in so doing they have failed the English people. I know it's not their fault that new Labour only did half a job when establishing devolution, but it's up to the Conservatives to create a fair and equitable solution. Instead they have come up with another sop that does not stand up to scrutiny. The English should treat it with the contempt it deserves.

1 comment:

Andrew Allison said...

Well, Ken Clarke certainly doesn't get it, however, this Conservative certainly does get it. Scottish MPs need to be banned from debating and voting on English matters. Nothing less will do.