The English - a view from Scotland part 1
.. opinion polls indicate that the English tolerate Scottish and Welsh devolution. But they don't want England to be "compensated" by having their country chopped up into a bunch of bureaucratic, soulless regions.
However, apart from the Campaign for an English Parliament, a pressure group which regards Scots as foreigners, there is no clamour for a devolved England. Unless the place has undergone a dramatic transformation since I was last there, the English are as bored by talk of constitutional change as they were in the run-up to devolution in Scotland and Wales.
Nor does the resurgence in English self-identification and awareness in the wake of devolution to Scotland and Wales strike me, in my Scottish fastness, as overbearing. The flag-waving of the St George’s Cross has only been slightly more vigorous. Love of England by the English has not been noticeably strengthened or weakened by devolution. In categorically ruling out an English parliament “in any kind of future”, Falconer has shot a paper tiger.
Blair will not ban Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland MPs from voting on matters that don’t directly concern them, saying that creating “two classes of MPs” will get parliament “into all sorts of problems”. He forgets that problems exist: they need to be addressed. The simplest solution would be for Scottish MPs to withdraw during English-only debates.
Is it conceivable that Scotland’s Labour group would quietly do the same, perhaps in a few months after the education bill has passed on to the statute books, and thereby resolve the West Lothian question once and for all, by convention rather than law?
Not a chance! Soon there will be a new, unmistakeably Scottish, prime minister’s majority to uphold. Stand by for more blather about Britishness, not self-rule for the Sassanachs.
Aye, from across the border, love, to you and all your media lovey friends everything looks rosy. The only options for England are the regional breakup or putting up with Gordon's Gang running roughshod. Let me give you a hint, think Braveheart, but instead of the knicker-dampening brave Celts with Australian accents think those horrible white-van-driving beer-swilling football-supporting Englanders who you never met when you swanned about in Soho Square - they are coming to get you!