It is clear that your contribution in the recent referendum in Scotland played a significant part in securing the continuation of the United Kingdom.
The phrase, “Cometh the hour, cometh the man” applies to your recent oratory. The newspapers report that you intend to remain a back bench MP. Retirement is something most of us at some point desire.
We would ask however to do one more thing; Having saved Scotland from itself, it is time to save your unfortunate successor, Mr Miliband from a folly of his own making.
As a Labour politician of many years standing, you will know and have doubtless called upon your comrades to “Never underestimate the Tories at election time.”
You will spotted as has the British Gazette, the Tories hired election strategist Mr Lynton Crosby’s fingerprints all over Mr Cameron’s announcement of “English Votes for English Laws” commonly abbreviated amongst the cognoscenti as “EVEL.”
You of course will have immediately known as Cameron spoke the words, that this was a trap laid by Cameron and Crosby to ensnare your unfortunate successor.
They were hoping that Mr Miliband would oppose EVEL and avoid answering the West Lothian Question, or “WLQ” as commonly abbreviated.
They of course realise that given the current extent of devolved competence to Edinburgh whilst WLQ presents an awkward situation to Labour, the significant extension pledged by yourself, which they signed up to – literally – causes Mr Miliband’s wish to maintain Scotland’s MPs to vote on English issues to be politically untenable – at significant electoral cost to Labour.
Whilst we are political opponents, we at the British Gazette cannot but feel sympathy for you as you have been forced to witness your successor being played by first the willy Mr Salmond and now by Messrs. Cameron and Crosby.
So we urge you to step in and save Mr Miliband from making the hole he is digging for himself and Labour any deeper – for the sake of the UK.
Your successor has of late declared that the franchise should be extended to 16 year olds. Many are perturbed at this, but since Mr Salmond has already let this particular genie out of the bottle, it will be difficult to put it back in.
You will also be aware that a letter from Mr Niglel Farage of UKIP will shortly be dropping through you letterbox urging you and your fellow Scottish MP’s to cease voting on English only issues. Mr Farage of course is seeking to make capital for UKIP out of this situation.
By now you will of course know where the British Gazette is going with this, but we would ask you to bear with us as this is an open letter and our readers will want to know.
There is now an opportunity for you to rescue your successor from his folly and at the same time, cause Cameron and Crosby some damage. Two birds with one stone, if you will.
If when you receive Mr Farage’s letter you openly declare that following the extension of competences to Scotland, you will not as the Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath vote on English only issues, you will cause Mr Cameron further travails as Mr Farage will be handed another coup. Following this, urge your successor to step out Cameron’s trap by regaining the initiative and putting the ball squarely back in Cameron’s court by offering Labour’s support for EVEL but conditional on the Tories agreeing to extending the franchise to 16 year olds. This way your young friend will have stepped out of the trap laid by Messrs. Cameron and Crosby and will have placed Cameron in yet another difficult position with his back benchers.
Please advise your successor that Cameron is already in difficulty with his back benchers vis-a-vis the costs associated with “the vow” to Scotland and that acquiescing to an extension of the franchise to 16 year olds will cause him even more pain. Please advise your successor that in making this offer it will put Cameron in a very difficult position as his coalition partners the Lib-Dems will of course endorse the offer completely.
Thus at one bound, young Miliband will be free and out of his hole, and Cameron’s life made yet more difficult!
The British Gazette.