Saturday, March 11, 2006
The Break Up of the Union? Don't Make Me Laugh
Lord Falconer said yesterday that the creation of an English Parliament would lead to the break up of the Union. Is it not a bit late for that? Surely the creation of a Scottish Parliament did just that? After all, the Scottish Parliament imposes tuition fees on English students studying at Scottish universities, but not on their own students. It's their prerogative to do that, but let's not pretend that measures like this enhance the wellbeing of the Union. The simple truth is that Scots like Falconer are wondering where they would get the £8 billion a year which they get as subsidies from the English taxpayer. The original devolution measures lit the fuse and it's too late for Labour to put it out. There is now a real opportunity for the Conservatives to develop a coherant policy on English devolution. On the face of it, English Votes for English Measures is just that. But when you dig deeper into it, it doesn't quite stand up. I'll return to this subject later.