This article is taken from ForArgyll (an email newsletter).
The contents are not necessarily the views of the CEP or its members.
SNP’s Ian Blackford nails the issue at the heart of the EVEL fudge
In the House of Commons yesterday, 15th July 2015, when the continuing debate provoked by the SNP’s stunt of opposing a move to bring fox-hunting in England into line with the less reformed position of the bloodsport here in Scotland, Ian Blackford, the SNP’s MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, put the key challenge to the UK Government.
Mr Blackford said, directed at the Prime Minister, David Cameron: ‘If English votes for English laws are so important, let him bring forward a constitutional change to establish an English Parliament’.
This is a serious issue. England is indefensibly discriminated against in the current union by, alone, having absolutely no independent determination of its own affairs.
The EVEL proposal and particular the current attempt to patch the problem by the quickest and messiest possible method – doctoring the procedures of the house, is shamefully irresponsible in the unwillingness of the government to take the time to get this hotch-potch of a union into a collegiate constitutional order which is fair to everyone.
These days, Scotland is romping away with pretty well all it wants – which is great if you live on this side of the border but which is insupportably unfair to England. We are 10% of the population of England – yet England is at the mercy of the vested interests of Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all, where we have a huge measure of self determination with much more to come.
The trouble is it’s complex to fix – not at all impossible, just complex; and this is a Prime Minister who prefers a jerry built, quick and easy, throw-it-up-and-move-on solution for the time being, than to build seriously for the future.
As we said during the Scottish referendum, it is the Union’s tragedy that in its time of arguably greatest need, it is led by political pygmies and opportunists across the parties.
It would be good to live in a part of the country that had the largeness of spirit to campaign from the heart for redress to the injustice under which a fellow partner in the union labours – rather than, in triumphalism, grabbing what it can for itself at the cost of all comers.
It is not hard to imagine that if it were Wales that was so disadvantaged, the SNP would construct and man the barricades on its behalf. But it’s England that is the victim and, for the SNP, that is a different matter. A recent poll showed that there is indeed a strongly anti-English bias in the SNP, with 31% of SNP supporters allowing that they felt anti-English.
Mr Blackford’s point, however, may have been made in the House for political capital in exposing what the Prime Minister cares so little for that he will not address – but it remains the single and clear imperative that the United Kingdom must respect, if it is to reinvigorate and take pride in its own re-vision.
Bring forward legislation for an English Parliament.