Labour have backed proposals that would bar Scots MPs from some Westminster committees – in a bid to head off David Cameron’s “English votes for English laws” push.
Thanks to a Commons Library Standard note published on 5 December, we know that the votes of MPs from constituencies in Scotland has almost no effect on divisions.
“Of approximately 3,600 divisions to occur between 26th June 2001 and 26 September 2014, 22 (0.6%) would have concluded differently had the votes of Scottish MPs not been counted.” – England, Scotland, Wales: MPs & voting in the House of Commons (http://goo.gl/M42qKb)
It is obvious that “English votes for English laws” (EVEL) is no more than dog-whistle politics of the basest kind. And now we have British Labour following their Tory allies as they pander to anti-Scottish prejudice in England.
But perhaps we should not be too irked by this. Perhaps we should see this as a sign that the British establishment is coming, by its own tortuous route, to the same conclusion that so many people in Scotland reached a long time ago – that the union is unsustainable. The more they seek to exclude Scottish MPs from full and equal participation in the parliamentary process, the more they emphasise the asymmetric nature of the present constitutional lash-up.
The union is broken beyond repair. British politicians’ response is to break it some more. Devolution is dead. British politicians’ response is endless constitutional tinkering which is the equivalent of painting rosy cheeks on the corpse. It’s time to put an end to this nonsense. It’s time to restore Scotland’s rightful constitutional status and build a new union based on arrangements freely negotiated between two independent nations.
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