Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou comest in such a questionable shape ??????
As British Gazette readers will know, the above is the entrance of the Ghost in part of Act 1, Scene 4 and Hamlet’s reaction to its presence.
Gordon Brown’s criticism of Cameron’s pressing of the West Lothian when he wrote:
“……Certainly the promise of a stronger Parliament has been made, led by the prime Minister with The Vow on the Tuesday before the referendum, to deliver the draft clauses of a bill for further Scottish devolution as early as January……” “…..But certainly too [Mr Cameron] made an unstatesmanlike error when, three mornings later, he tried to rewrite his vow with a proposal for restricting the rights of Scottish MPs to vote at Westminster…..” “…..So the morning after the referendum, allegations of foul play, broken promises and bad faith began, with a wedge being driven between Scotland and England. Countries can be lost by accident…..”
British Gazette comment: It is a pity that Mr Brown did not follow this organ’s advice set our in our article An open letter to The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, M. of 20th September 2014 (http://www.british-gazette.co.uk/2014/09/20/an-open-letter-to-the-rt-hon-gordon-brown-mp/) by responding to Nigel Farage’s letter to advise his successor to answer the West Lothian question.
Instead he has chosen to pursue the same foolish course as his successor.
Mr Bronw’s fears about a wedge being driven between England and Scotland and that the Union may be lost by accident are real and present dangers. However these dangers are made manifest by the refusal for purely short term party political advantage.
British Gazette readers will have spotted our use of the words “short term” and by that we mean one Parliament. The plain simple fact of the matter is this: were Mr Miliband to find himself in a position on Friday 8th May 2015 being summoned to Buckingham Palace to form a government but possessing fewer seats in England than the defeated Conservatives, a majority equal to or less than the number of Scottish seats and a smaller share of the English popular vote, he will be virtually a “lame duck Prime Minister” leading a lame duck government in a lame duck Parliament. “Lame Duck” is certainly how the Tory supporting tabloid press would describe this situation.
Messrs. Brown and Miliband should study the calamitous mistakes made by the late Mrs Thatcher in the imposition of the Poll Tax (aka the Community Charge) in Scotland. This “did it” for the Tories in Scotland and explains why their brand is so toxic even today so many years afterwards.
Notwithstanding the fact that the results of such foolishness is so obvious, the British Gazette will needlessly set them out:
A Labour government having ruled England without a democratic mandate for five years will be very unpopular in England. This will be a gift for the Tories who will more than likely be able to form a majority government. The danger – and it is a real one – is that such a government will not only address the West Lothian issue with English Votes for English Laws but to institute the equalling of constituency numbers throughout the UK and reassess the Barnet formula.
To ensure the continuance of the Union, there must be fair treatment of England and Scotland. This means English Votes for English Laws PLUS a certain over representation in numbers of seats in relation to overall population for Scotland as well as continuance of the Barnet formula.
Such will still benefit Labour but in such a way as to preserve the Union.
What Messrs. Brown and Miliband are doing is to put the Union at risk for the want of forming a Labour government for one term starting in May 2015.
British politics has rightly been criticised for its short term attitudes.
How short term is that?