Yesterday in the House of Commons we witnessed the spectacle of Labour MP’s shooting themselves in the foot. This episode of self mutilation was led by non other than the Right Honourable Gordon Brown MP, the Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. That this long serving politician should lead this spectacle is curious as he entered Parliament in 1983 as the MP for Dunfermline East and therefore was “in the thick of it” when Margaret Thatcher and the Tories introduced the Poll Tax – or “Community Charge” as the Tories called it.
Mr Brown must surely remember how “Mrs. T” stupidly introduced it first in Scotland in 1989 before rolling it out in England and Wales a year later. The result of course was the Tory brand has been toxic in Scotland ever since. That Mr Brown must recall this was recently demonstrated by his prominence in the Scottish referendum and his correct insistence that English Tories keep well out of Scotland to avoid handing victory to Mr Salmond on a silver platter. One will recall Mr Salmond cheekily offering to pay Boris Johnson’s travelling expenses to come to Scotland.
Now it appears Labour in its opposition to “English Votes for English Laws” has walked straight into the trap laid for them by David Cameron. This is because Mr Cameron has adroitly been able to manoeuvre “Unfortunate Ed” into a No Win situation.
What Messrs. Brown and Miliband seem not to have noticed is that the ONLY beneficiaries of Labour’s refusal to accept the ONLY democratic answer to the West Lothian question are the TORIES!!!!!!
Let us for the benefit of these poor misguided souls set out possible scenarios after the May 2015 General Election:
First Scenario (which is clearly Mr Miliband’s assumption):
1. UKIP takes more votes from the Tories than they do from Labour leading to a crucial loss of Tory votes in the key marginals resulting in a Labour Victory.
2. Labour retains its Scottish seats.
3. Labour forms a majority government. If its majority is equal to or less than the numbers of its Scottish seats it will seek to deflect the political fallout by setting up it’s so called “Constitutional Convention.”
Clearly, Mr Miliband will seek to rule England via the votes of his Scottish members whilst his “Constitutional Convention” will take its time to produce a programme of English Devolution. It is likely that this “Constitutional Convention” will take the form of a Royal Commission headed by a senior or retired senior judge but importantly empowering what he seems to refer to as a “Citizen Jury” – this to be made up of so called “Community Leaders” being representatives of local communities. These people will of course be nothing of the sort! They will be hand picked self opinionated individuals from the usual sources; “the Gays”, “the Lesbians”, “the transvestites”, “the trans-genders”, representatives from “women’s groups”, Muslim groups, Black Community Leaders and so forth. The “Constitutional Convention” will take evidence from those individuals not selected to sit as jurors. Eventually it will come up with some recommendations. The British Gazette will not enter into idle speculation as to what these will be, suffice it to say the level of devolved competences transferred to any body set up will be set at what the Labour government will view the minimum they can get away with.
British Gazette readers will doubtless be shaking their heads in wonderment that Mr Miliband cannot see the folly of this!
Is he not aware that after a Parliament of having laws foisted upon them, English voters will not be the happiest of bunnies?
Does Mr Miliband not think that the Tory opposition will not make capital out of this?
Does Mr Miliband not think the Tory tabloids will not excoriate him?
Does Mr Miliband realistically think Labour could win a second term?
The net effect of his folly will be to virtually guarantee a comfortable victory to the Tories in 2020 or earlier.
Second Scenario (which Mr Cameron is praying for):
1. UKIP fails to take enough votes from the Tories in the key marginals resulting in a Tory Victory.
2. Labour retains its Scottish seats.
3. The Tories form a majority government. Its majority is not that great. However it is soon increased due to implementation of English Votes for English Laws, that following the dramatic increase in competences devolved to Scotland means that the Tories have no problems getting the most contentious issues relating to England through.
Clearly, Mr Cameron will then seek to introduce some additional reforms to the House of Commons. These will likely include an overall reduction of the numbers of MPs. There are 650 Members of Parliament. In 2012, Tory plans to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 by equalising the size of constituencies ran into trouble when Nick Clegg withdrew Liberal Democrat support after the failure of the Tories to back Lords reform. With a Tory majority government this will be an early reform. This, combined with the redrawing of constituency boundaries will further hinder Labour’s chances of getting a majority of English seats.
Then of course there is a Third Scenario:
1. UKIP takes more votes from the Tories than they do from Labour leading to a crucial loss of Tory votes in the key marginals resulting in Labour being the largest party but without an outright majority.
2. Labour looses many of it’s Scottish seats to the SNP.
3. Labour forms a minority government dependent on SNP support. However, the SNP refuses to vote on English only issues. This means that Labour cannot get most of its programme through. This means that Mr Miliband will be the lamest of lame ducks. It means that the Labour dog will end up being wagged by the SNP tail as the SNP chooses the issues it wishes to vote on.
Clearly, the result of the General Election in 2020 (likely earlier) is inevitable as there are two things that the British People are certain to vote against: weak governments and weak leaders. The late Enoch Powell – a very wise man – once commentated that the British and Russian people both preferred strong leaders and strong governments and that they do not like coalitions. As Mr Nick “Calamity” Clegg has found out to his cost.
So the results of the above analysis are clear: the opportunity of a majority through the use of Scottish Votes to impose English Laws is a poison chalice.
Mr Miliband should remember that satirical saying; “Humans are the only creatures on the planet with the intelligence to construct the Empire State Building – And the only creatures on the planet dumb enough to jump off the top of it!”
So, how should a sensible Mr Miliband react to Mr Cameron’s gambit?
Sadly, Mr. Miliband seems incapable of acting so. However, given that when Pandora opened the box that Zeus had given her, Hope remained inside and that Hope does indeed spring eternal, the British Gazette hopes that Mr Miliband will soon come to his senses.
What Mr. Miliband NEEDS to do is to ACT CONSTUTIONALLY.
What is perfectly clear is that what Mr Cameron is hoping to do is to put English Votes for English Laws into effect without the contingent consequences. Mr Cameron clearly hopes to have a situation that benefiting from EVEL he can secure a Tory government more easily in future.
It appears that Mr Cameron is refusing to accept that the combination of what will likely be “Devo Max” for Scotland and EVEL for England effectively SPLITS the government of England and the UK in EXACTLY the same way as it SPLITS the government of Scotland and the UK. The difference between England and Scotland would be this: That Scotland’s government and legislature is based in Edinburgh and that England’s government and legislature would SHARE the House of Commons.
What Mr Miliband SHOULD do is to offer Labour’s acceptance of EVEL but based on the following condition:
That following a General election, the Queen will call upon TWO PERSONS to form TWO GOVERNMENTS. She will call upon the leader of the party with the largest number of seats across the whole of the Commons to form a Government of the United Kingdom and to become her Prime Minister of same. That she will then call upon the leader of the party with the largest number of seats in England (if different from the leader of the largest party in the UK) OR another person (should this be the same party) to form a Government of England and to become her Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
This of course is Mr Cameron’s WORST NIGHTMARE and something he desperately wants to avoid. You see, Mr Cameron wants to continue using the Royal Prerogative as Prime Minister and wishes to hire and fire Cabinet ministers at will. That the government of England will be governed alongside the government of the UK exactly as it is presently done. You see, if the Tories were the largest party in England as well as the UK, and the Queen was to call upon another Tory politician to become Her Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Cameron as Prime Minister COULD NOT sack them! And who in those circumstances would most likely be called by the Queen? None other than Mr Cameron’s nemesis: Boris Johnson!
So you see, if Mr Miliband would only come to his senses he might well be able to gain immense Schadenfreude from handing the very dagger to Mr Johnson which Mr Johnson would then subsequently insert into Mr Cameron’s back!