1,617,989 (45%) votes for YES
2,001,926 (55%) votes for NO
Turnout was 84.5%
This was a GOOD RESULT.
British Gazette readers (many doubtless bleary eyed from their night long TV vigil), will have heard the commentators on the BBC and the establishment politicians talk of the “great difficulties” they encounter when considering the West Lothian question.
The question was first raised by The Right Honourable William Ewart Gladstone FRS FSS in 1886. During his speech on the first Irish Home Rule bill in 1886 he said:
“If Ireland is to have domestic legislation for Irish affairs they cannot come here for English or Scottish affairs”.
On 14th November 1977 Tam Dalyell, Labour MP for the Scottish constituency of West Lothian, asked during a debate over Scottish and Welsh devolution:
“For how long will English constituencies and English Honourable members tolerate … at least 119 Honourable Members from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland exercising an important, and probably often decisive, effect on English politics while they themselves have no say in the same matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?”
He illustrated his point by highlighting the absurdity of he, the member of parliament for West Lothian was able to vote on matters affecting the English town of Blackburn, Lancashire, but not Barbara Castle, the member for Blackburn being able to vote on matters affecting West Lothian. The phrase “The West Lothian Question” was coined by the Ulster Unionist MP Enoch Powell in his response to Dalyell’s speech: “We have finally grasped what the Honourable Member for West Lothian is getting at. Let us call it the West Lothian question.”
Since that time the politicians have and many now continue grapple with this question which they declare is a very difficult one to answer.
It is therefore necessary for the British Gazette to cut to the chase and answer with clarity and conciseness.
It is declared that the West Lothian question is a difficult one to answer. There are many difficult questions in this world that people have difficulty in answering. There are questions about quantum mechanics, negative energy and string theory. Scientists have been trying to answer the question of how to generate sustained nuclear fusion without using a plutonium bomb for decades. So far that answer has eluded them. These are DIFFICULT questions.
The West Lothian Question IS NOT among these!!!!!!
Rather than ask its readers to play a “mind game” on the question of string theory – after all there are only a modest number of physicists reading this organ – this organ asks its readers to play a far simpler mind game.
Readers will see the image above. It is a glass having water poured into it. Now then, imagine the water that is being poured into that glass is being poured in to it from a jug that is out of the picture. That the jug has a finite amount of water in it.
It does not require the genius of an Einstein to realise that the more water that enters the glass from the jug, the less water remains in the jug! This is physics…. But not very advanced physics!!!!!
Surely to goodness this concept can be grasped by such as the unfortunate Ed Miliband!
What then does this mean for the House of Commons?
It means this: That were the voting competences of Scottish members restricted in direct and inverse proportion to the competencies transferred to the Scottish Parliament those powers thus delivered to the Scottish Parliament will be delivered at the same time by the same action to the House of Commons sitting as the English House of Commons and not the United Kingdom House of Commons. Thus the House of Commons sits as two houses and not one. On occasions for England on other occasions for the UK.
What this means is this: Answering the West Lothian Question in the manner specified above will mean is that the more powers that are devolved to Scotland will result in the same powers being devolved to England.
Of course, the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have of course always realised this. They have studiously avoided the issue as in recent times Scotland has sent more Labour and Liberal MPs to Westminster than Conservative MPs. Thus Labour governments have tended to rule by way of their Scottish and Welsh seats. If these Scottish and Welsh members no longer can vote on English issues, then that means that the Labour Party would have difficulty in establishing a government over England. As a result they waffle on about the “grave danger” [to the Union] of having “two classes of MP” a “first class MP” and a “second class MP.”
Of course, the Labour Party has it’s own particular answer to the West Lothian Question. That answer is “English Regional Assemblies.” Doubtless over the next days and weeks various Labour MPs and activists will suggest that English devolution is addressed in this way after May 2015. The idea will be to devolve a minor amount of power from Westminster to newly established elected regional assemblies and top this up by taking power from the local authorities with the bailiwicks of these new bodies – with the aim of burying the issue whilst retaining the ability to govern England by Scottish and Welsh members.
THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.
So, how will the House of Commons work after the West Lothian Question has been answered the way the British Gazette suggests?
It will work thus:
Following a General Election the Queen will ask the leader of the party with the largest number of seats in the Commons to become Her Prime Minister and to form Her Government of the United Kingdom. She will then ask the leader of the party with the largest number of seats in England to become Her Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to form Her Government of England.
Thus it will mean that where the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster used to be a cabinet post in the gift of the Prime Minister, it will no longer be so.
So, if this reform is implemented before May 2015 how could this affect the result of the next General Election?
It is entirely possible that the Queen could invite Ed Miliband to form a government of the UK and then could invite the former Prime Minister, David Cameron to form a government of England. Of course, the degree of competence that David Cameron, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will have will depend upon the degree of competence that is transferred to a certain Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland. For their powers will be equal! It is therefore in Mr Cameron’s interest to give more and not less powers to Mr Salmond! It is also in the interests of the future of the United Kingdom that this will be so. Remember, there are 1,617,989 Scots who wanted to break up the UK.
The above reform will have the advantage of being a lot cheaper than elected English Regional Assemblies. There is however one additional cost. A suitable residence will have to be found for the newly elevated Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Hopefully there is already one lying around currently being used for another purpose. If not, one will have to be bought. Unfortunately given the price of property in SW1, this is not going to be cheap!