Monday, June 09, 2008

English Parliament: The Clarke 'Solution' Is a Sop

I could scarcely believe what I was reading in the Telegraph this morning. James Kirkup has got a leaked copy of Ken Clarke's Democracy Task Force report and its proposed solution to the West Lothian Question. According to his article...

Former Tory cabinet minister, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, has argued powerfully that the answer to the imbalance is to effectively create an English parliament at Westminster, an "English Grand Committee" of MPs that would oversee England-only legislation from start to finish.

But Mr Clarke is understood to have rejected such a dramatic move, which would severely limit the work of MPs from Scottish seats. Instead, he is said to have advised allowing all MPs to vote on English legislation at the initial second reading stage of parliamentary scrutiny. But only English MPs would get to vote during the detailed committee stage of the legislative process, where real changes can be effected.

At the third and final reading, all MPs could once again vote, but a new parliamentary undertaking would prevent any party using Scottish votes to block amendments made by English MPs. The report was given final approval by the Shadow Cabinet at a meeting in Kent last week, and is likely to be published on July 1st.

If this is true, it is simply appalling. The phrases 'half baked' and 'dog's breakfast' come to mind. This is not a long term solution to something which even Scottish politicians recognise is a problem and it's not even a half way house. It reeks of a measure designed to placate rather than solve. And as usual with these things it won't even do that.

Those of us - and there a growing number - who believe that England deserves parity in the constitutional settlement will think it decidedly odd (and wrong) that Scottish MPs will retain ANY say in English only legislation. To trumpet the fact that they won't be able to vote on the Committee Stage of a Bill or reverse any amendments on Third Reading is a sop.

UPDATE: James Kirkup thinks I may be "understating the importance of part of the new Tory package: a new parliamentary undertaking that would prevent any party using Scottish votes to block amendments made by English MPs."

Peter Hoskin on the Coffee House also discusses the issue.

91 comments:

Richard Nabavi said...

Iain,

I know the words 'Ken' and 'Clarke' have a remarkable capacity to raise the blood pressure of many of my fellow Conservatives, but aren't you over-reacting somewhat? It sounds as though it could be a balanced approach to a complex question, but of course the devil is in the detail. Why not wait until the document is published and can be soberly assessed in its totality?

Incidentally, the Telegraph piece is headlined "David Cameron backs Tory plan to block Scottish MPs from voting on English laws", which is a bit different from your take!

Anonymous said...

Now the real Ken Clarke solution is for England to e split up into eight regsions and the real decisions being taken in Brussels

Letters From A Tory said...

I agree. This is designed to keep everyone happy, just like Cameron's decision to pull out of the EU Social Chapter if he wins the election was designed to throw a bone to the Eurosceptics without solving the much more fundamental issues.

Anonymous said...

This is a joke but not surprising coming from Clarke,but why the hell is this guy allowed to get involved with policy when he won't even participate in the shadow cabinet?

Anonymous said...

goodness you people are slow

INDEPENDENCE

Anonymous said...

I can't believe this either. I have said this before and now I say it again, Cameron is in awe of the EU, because it is the EU that controls ALL to do with the UK. They have the regional policy, they have the EU citizens, they have every bloody part of the UK under their control. And as for THIS crap on the Conparty website, from Cameron no less when you try to contact him..."Your views are important. Make them count with the Conservatives. Contact us by email..Conservatives are tackling the issues that matter to the mainstream majority. We can do that because we are listening to Britain -- and will never stop listening. Do you know, I am reminded of another Tory liar, Edward Heath, who lied away our fishing industry and our rights. Now we have another liar as leader. I say we, I mean you, because I just couldn't support this party ever again, and I'm 70 and been a Tory all my life.

Alex said...

Anything which relies on somthing as weak as a "parliamentary undertaking" will be overridden by Labour when it suits their purposes. It is unlikely that the Conservatives would ever need to breach the undertaking, so Labour would have nothing to lose.

Newmania said...

The fact that if the English have parity with Scotland the Scottish MP`s will have nothing to do shows how badly the English are treated. They are there to vote Labour no more no less .
We are heading towards a Party civil war on this front. I am not the slightest bit surprised that at this juncture the second class citizen position of the English is going to be shoved under the carpet. Its not as if Ken Clarke has the slightest interest in national loyalties is it? He was a bad choice to steer this ship as he will not be trusted by anyone who cares about the country having plotted to outlaw it for so long
I worry that , as in so many ways Brown has made it too easy for the ruling patricians of the Tory Party .Given Labour’s record of gerrymandering over devolution the Conservative Party are hardly going to lose any votes and none in marginal and centre opinion . Cameron to be fair has been quite clear he would prefer an imperfect Union to none and many would agree . The question is , how imperfect and at whose cost ?

Your idea for an English Parliament, however is an expensive waste of time , in my humble .... What about reducing the number of Scottish MPs so they are unlikely to be crucial to forming the government .This might be ‘imperfectly done by a rough calculation of remaining responsibilities .
That way we retain what there is left of the UK but the Labour subterfuge of giving two votes to their supprtersd is nullified.

Frankly , amendments to Bills are not the point it is the likelihood that the 69 seats imported to rule the English decide the Government that is the point

Simply reduce the Scottish and Welsh seats commensurate with their reduced role after all with a Conservative Government at Westminster the English will not actually lose out so whats the problem .

BrianSJ said...

Agree completely (for what that is worth). As a Welshman living in Scotland, it is important that the English recognise the extent to which Alex Salmond has the keys to the kingdom. Half-baked solutions like this won't work at all.
There was some careful analysis of the next GE result in Scotland on politicalbetting. However, my suspicion is that Scotland now knows all sorts of new things are possible, and Labour could be really cut back.
A more grown-up relationship is needed, and if the Tories can make it work before the election it will be good for all of us.

Tom Harris MP said...

Parity? Iain, the smaller nations of the UK were given devolution to try to rebalance the constitution, not give them an advantage over England. If every MP representing a non-English seat voted one way, they would still need many more English MPs to vote the same way for their vote to win. It is nonsense to say that Scottish MPs can "impose" anything on England.

And another thing, Scottish devolution hasn't affected England in any way in terms of the amount of money that goes either to Scotland or is spent on England. And it hasn't affected a single vote in the House of Commons. In other words, had there been no Scottish Parliament, England would be in exactly the same position as it is today. Scottish devolution was intended as a solution for Scotland; are you saying that because it hasn't affected England either positively or negatively, then it should have its own parliament? And according to your own argument, that English Parliament should comprise English MPs all sitting in the exact same location as the House of Commons... wait for it... at the same time! Talk about a dog's breakfast! If you really want an English Parliament (and there's no evidence that English voters want overwhelmingly demand one) it would have to be on the same model as Holyrood - totally separate from the House of Commons, elected on a different day with (largely) different people than in the House of Commons.

Man in a Shed said...

It is also easily reversible by an incoming Celtic/Labour administration.

Cameron is on thin ice hear. Some of us care more about this than whether he becomes prime minister.

Anonymous said...

Clarke's idea:

"Out of the frying pan and into the fire".

I'm suprised that he did not consider English MPs reciprocal access to Scottish, Welsh and NI matters as a way of evening up matters.

John said...

Why don't we abolish the scottish parliament?

Hertel said...

It does sound crazy to me.
But since I don't understand the present system, I can't really judge this proposed variant. Where can I find a clear account of how readings and amendments work in the present system?

Anonymous said...

Um. What about Welsh and NI MPs? Bills changing the criminal law effect England, Wales & NI so who would vote on them?
Most clauses in bills on Education and Health and some other issues are mainly England only but they often contain some Wales and NI clauses...who would be entitled to vote on those?
What would happen, for instance, to a bill that was primarily England only but contained a clause granting "legislative framework" powers to Cardiff? Who would vote on such a clause? Just English MPs? English and Welsh MPs? Just Welsh MP's?
What system would be adopted for the occasional "Wales only" or "NI only" bills which are still required under the prsent settlement?
A dog's breakfast indeed.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:55

You are 70 and I respect your age and experience but you still need to grow up.

The EU is the source of many problems but it is here to stay and it is better to fight from within than be on the outside.

No one can seriously believe that pulling out of the EU will be beneficial to the UK unless they still think that the Britain role in the world is the same as it was 100 years ago.

So stop seeing red every time Ken Clark is mentioned and try not to turn into Victor Meldrew.

Chris Paul said...

Is there a solution that you do approve of written down?

Clearly at the moment English MPs get to vote on many many many things affecting the home nations which have got varying degrees of delegation.

And are the Tories completely dropping the Unionist idea as part of this power grab?

David Barron said...

I am afraid that both you and Ken Clarke are wrong. The only effective solution is a new constitutional settlement with separate parliaments for England, Wales, Scotland and N Ireland (all with similar powers) and a Union Parliament at Westminster for issues not devolved to the country parliaments. Anything else (including Ken Clarke's idea and your own) is half baked and confusing and , in the long run, unworkable.

Toque said...

It is a sop.

The Tories have moved from "English Votes on English Laws" to "English Pauses for English Clauses".

What a bunch of useless incompetents!

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the "Unionist" part of the Conservative and Unionist Party? If the Tories were sitting with thrity or forty seats in Scotland I doubt very much that this would even be an issue for Tory members/activists. As someone who supports the Conservatives living on the Celtic fringe, I cannot abide this lurch towards English nationalism.

anthonynorth said...

The simple fact is Devolution for Scotland unbalanced the Union, and there is NOT an answer to the question unless England has its own assembly (which would destroy the Union, anyway), or Scotland goes Independent.
I'd prefer neither, so we're stuck with it - which was, I assume, what Labour wanted.
Another coffin nail in the UK.

Anonymous said...

To get a better deal for England we need to be rid of Brown Cameron and Clegg. They all see the English question in how it relates to them and their parties and nothing to do with fair play.

Johnny Norfolk said...

I ahve always thought he was overated. He is a wet of the worse kind. When I saw him sit next to Blair on some Euro platform that was it for me. He is more Labour than Tory.

Victor, NW Kent said...

A camel, not a horse.

Anonymous said...

If I may, here is the latest Campaign English Parliament press release.

http://www.politics.co.uk/opinion-formers/press-releases/cep-a-comment-on-frank-field-speech-on-england-$1226473$479240.htm

judith said...

Now do you see why I think Clarke is a waste of space and should step down at the next GE?

Adam said...

Unfortunately, because of the Barnett formula and various other factors, it's extremely difficult to decide what constitutes English legislation, and what has wider effect.

Any sort of move towards recognition of this problem would give the speaker far too much power in interpretting the delineation.

A dogs dinner is rather what we've got already, and there's no easy way out of it.

Scunner McSporran said...

I see arguments on this blog that dither between the defense of the Union and the creation of an English Parliament. You cannot have both. It'll just lead to more expensive layers of bureaucracy and widen the inevitably widening divide. This thread is about a daft question that was hyped up to its current glory by non other than Enoch Powell (bless) It is the superannuated quip of former Labour pitbull,old Etonian and Baronet, Tam Dalyell. As Lord Irvine said, if the West Lothian question is causing so much trouble, then stop asking it.

Better to go for Scottish Independence and let folk North of the Border run their country, their way.

Wyrdtimes said...

English taxes for England
English law for England
Home rule for England

A real just cause.

Alan Douglas said...

"The Clarke 'Solution' Is a Sop"

What does one expect from such a wet ?

Alan Douglas

strapworld said...

Iain,

Many of your contributors have raised the major problem of the EU.

I was quite concerned about Cameron's intention to hoist the white flag should the Lisbon Constitreaty be accepted.

May I recommend to all that they visit THE TAP BLOG for saturday 7th June. The Post headed 'Labour could still win the next election' where he has reproduced the most excellent speech given by Gisela Stuart MP.

It is a speech that will gain her many friends in the Eurosceptic Community.

As for this Clarke dogs breakfast.
What can you expect from a man who wants to see the end of England as an entity!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous June 09, 2008 10:31 AM

But I AM Victor Meldrew....you said..No one can seriously believe that pulling out of the EU will be beneficial to the UK unless they still think that the Britain role in the world is the same as it was 100 years ago....well, read this for something beneficial to the UK WHEN the people have a say, not a few privileged MPs..The four members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein – can trade with EU members as freely as EU members can trade with each other. But they retain their independence, pay only a token contribution to the EU budget (as against Britain's £13.9 billion per year) and can avoid insane schemes like the CAP. They also don't have to watch their natural resources turned into a "common European resource" – the desire to protect their fish stocks from this fate is one of the main reasons Norway has stayed out of the EU. And they can trade as freely with the rest of the world as they like.

Not surprisingly this has led to their being more prosperous than EU members, even if one only compares them to the 15 Western European countries that belonged to the EU before the 2004 enlargement. What's more, these four countries export twice as much per capita to the EU from outside it as Britain does from within. So much for membership being essential for our trade interests.

Anonymous said...

The Sun reported the sad fate of the British political class. David Cameron says voters may not like it but they will have to lump it.

Mr Cameron admitted it would be "almost impossible" to have a referendum if it was already law in the UK and the rest of the EU.

He told an audience in Harlow, Essex: "We may have to say, well look, we’re not happy with this situation, here are some of the powers we’d like to have back.

"But we can’t give you that referendum on the Lisbon Treaty because it’s already been put in place across the rest of Europe."

I think this is a very significant admission, one that will be made all the more humiliating if the Irish vote "No" and put the whole process back into the pot. For everyone understand that this was Tory strategy all along - to trade on opposition knowing it would be futile. The alternative being simple, popular but as unspeakable as supporting an English parliament, namely having a referendum on whether we should stay in or not.

Dave B said...

I prefer the Direct Democracy solution. Devolution of powers, equivalent to those exercised by the Scottish Parliament/Welsh Assembly, to local government in England - town/county councils.

Anonymous said...

long term dc's subservience to eurocracy is far more damaging. further abdicating our rights of nationhood to the european banking elite cannot be good for this nation. not least for the lack of accountability

i see georgie osbourne is with the bilderbergers again this year

Phil Taylor said...

Iain,

Don't you remember seeing the phrase English Votes for English Laws in Cameron's leadership manifesto? It was there in black and white. I wish I could find a copy now.

Clarke's proposals fall way short.

wildgoose said...

If this truly ends up being the Tory "solution" then the Union is finished.

It was Tory political maneuvering that destroyed the Union with Ireland in the early years of the 20th Century and it looks like they are determined for History to repeat itself by driving England out of the Union in the 21st Century.

Does Cameron really want to take on the role of a modern day Bonar Law?

Ken said...

This proposal has been predicated for so long that it feels as stale even before publication as its inadequate principle.

When are we going to get a positive solution to the problem from any major party. Perhaps they're too busy working out how to organise an EU referendum? Yeah right!

English Parliament now!
- and Frank Field as first PM

Fluffy said...

Parity? Iain, the smaller nations of the UK were given devolution to try to rebalance the constitution, not give them an advantage over England. If every MP representing a non-English seat voted one way, they would still need many more English MPs to vote the same way for their vote to win.

Twat. I live in South London, ruled by one of Blair's Scottish Parachute regime, and voted by illegal immigrants (from the Commonwealth) and Prescott's "electoral-reform[n]ation". Don't patronise the English, knut!

Rohan said...

An English Parliament is unworkable. It offers merely a mini version of Westminster. The arguments against it have been rehearsed ad nauseam and not properly answered by those who want an English 'assembly'.

So long as the English see regional government as an EU ramp they will get nowhere. Meanwhile London, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are getting on with it. Are they bother by the EU? Are they heck!

Anonymous said...

This is completely unacceptable.

Rifkind had the best idea.

Ken Clarke is lethal to England and the English. What damage he has caused our country.

machiavelli said...

Why not abolish the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly then?

Anonymous said...

For those that say it is hard to define English only legislation why not ask English cancer sufferers? They are being discriminated against on the grounds of them being English. It's quite easy really.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"why the hell is this guy allowed to get involved with policy when he won't even participate in the shadow cabinet?"

Nonsense. IDS is not in the shadow cabinet and he is a key policy maker.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10:31

No one can seriously believe that pulling out of the EU will be beneficial to the UK unless they still think that the Britain role in the world is the same as it was 100 years ago.

You talk old talk. The world has moved on. Global Vision have explained how the renegotiation could take place and something along the Swiss model would be good. It would be VERY good for us.

To pretend that we have any serious control over ANY EU rules and legislation now is so ridiculous - so let us have a separate treaty with them that suits us. They will negotiate as they cannot ignore an economy our size.

Things have changed so much that only hopeless romantics, EU loopies, traitors and trolls want us to stay in EU when they hear the arguments from anyone other than the BBC.

Renegotiation is the way forward.

ChrisD said...

Nation speaking unto nation
Does the media create cultural distance between England and Scotland?


Well worth a read Iain......?

Aardvark said...

Hertel said...
"Where can I find a clear account of how readings and amendments work in the present system?"

Try reading THIS

Anonymous said...

@ Toque June 09, 2008 10:37 AM


The Tories have moved from "English Votes on English Laws" to "English Pauses for English Clauses".

What a bunch of useless incompetents!



Exactly

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why it is a surprise. Cameron gave speeches in Scotland ages ago, saying he was prepared to "sacrifice" democracy for the English, in return for the SNP's co-operation.
He also said he would not stop Scots voting on English issues, because he didn't want to upset the Scots.

You can find these interviews on the web. Along with him saying that the English who complain about the West Lothian Question and the barnett formula, are nothing but "sour little Englanders who don't show enough respect to Scotland and need to re-educate themselves."

Still, what did we expect from Dave "there's a lot of Scottish blood in these veins" Cameron?

Remember, no one will vote FOR Cameron, they only voting against Labour and it is inevitable that we will get our own Parliament. Its not if, but when. And when we do, we will campaign against English MPs who treated us this way and regurgitate ALL the the nast speeches they've made. It will reflect on their Party as well.

Beware the backlash, Cameron. It's coming.

Stephen Gash said...

Look there is only one reason Westminster MPs oppose an English Parliament and that is it would make them redundant.

The Scottish Parliament has mede Scootish MPs pwerless in Scotland. They can now only meddle in England's affairs like privatising the NHS.

An English Parliament would make all MPs powerless everywhere.

Labour MPs have the additional concern that an EP would be dominated by Tories. Of course the voting system in Scotland made sure Tories attained seats, but obviously such a system is unworthy of for the English, as is democracy itself.

Newmania said...

anon 10.31 agreed .If the Germans want to stop selling us BMWs I`ll eat my chapeau.

Chris (I defend the indefensible) Paul said

Is there a solution that you do approve of written down?

Ian supports an English Parliament you will probably object on the grounds that this would destroy the Union be costly and add another layers of mendicant Politicians to the over burdened tax payer. I agree, why then did the Labour Party support exactly this Policy in Scotland and Wales ?
We know why of course, because they wished to reward Labour areas with double votes and head off Nationalism .


Clearly at the moment English MPs get to vote on many many many things affecting the home nations which have got varying degrees of delegation.

What are you suggesting, that English MPs are excluded from decisions about England ? Its is not what they are allowed to vote on that is the issue it is what Scottish and Welsh MP`s are allowed to vote on that is the point. Clown

And are the Tories completely dropping the Unionist idea as part of this power grab?


How is it a power grab to restore democratic equality to the Union ? It was a power grab to set up the advantageous position of voters in Labour areas outside England . It is a power grab to build eco slums only in Conservative areas when the housing market is dropping and will do by 50% . It is a power grab to flood the English South with immigrants and a power grab to engineer AV voting whenever possible in London for example ( and even then you lost). It is a power grab to artificially inflate the public sector and a power grab to spread dependency up the social strata through the wasteful tax credit scheme.

This is putting right the rickety collapsing structure in which this whole Labour fraud has balanced. If you don't like it you should not have done it.

Do you think anyone is fooled by Brown`s new found enthusiasm for Britain. When are you going to stop hoping people are far far more stupid than they are?

Anonymous said...

"The four members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein ....."

Not a realistic example. All four of these countries are faring well as satellites of the EU but they are very small and have unique advantages, e.g. Norway has vast quantities of oil and natural gas.

dozzy said...

People forget about Wales. The Welsh assembly does not make laws, so an English Parliament or an English Grand Assembly would actually have to be an English-and-Welsh Parliament or an English-and-Welsh Grand Assembly.

One solution to the West Lothian question would be to downgrade the Scottish Parliament to a Scottish Assembly. That would also solve the anomaly whereby Scottish bills do not go through the House of Lords.

Anonymous said...

Tom Harris MP who posted on your blog has this to say on his own blog.
"Nationalist hypocrisy? Surely not…
Further to my recent posting about Boris Johnson and Crossrail, I noticed when I was checking who had voted on the Second Reading of the Crossrail Bill, that four SNP MPs - Angus Robertson, Pete Wishart, Michael Weir and Stewart Hosie - voted against.

So much for the SNP principle of not voting on devolved matters. If, however, our secessionist friends believed they should vote on it because significant sums of money being spent on the project by the Treasury would have an impact on the Scottish block grant, then, of course they are right. Welcome to Unionism!

Mind you, why they voted against is a mystery if that was indeed their motivation. The extra capital spend on Crossrail will be “Barnettized”, as it were, so that Scotland’s block grant is increased by a proportional amount.

Curiouser and curiouser".

They are all taking the piss.

Jonathan M. Scott said...

Well, it was silly to let Clarke, a throwback from the 1990s and a Europhile, to be involved in this process. Many voters still associate him with the Major Government! Regionalisation is a European Union project!

I work in Belfast and we don't have English MPs sticking their noses in our affairs (although we used to) - so why should English people be dictated to by MPs from outside England on matters devolved to the 'Celtic Fringe'???

The Clarke proposals should be scrapped and an electorally appealing solution should be devised. That will appeal to voters in 'marginal' seats as well as so-called 'safe' Labour seats.

Anonymous said...

I am a Manxman living in Scotland who until recently always voted Tory since coming from Isle of Man to UK in 1967.However,Alex Salmond and his excellent MP's and MSP's have convinced me, a former strong Unionist that Scotland would be better off as an Independent Country.Selfishly its down to money and quality of life. With oil at $130 a barrel and likely to stay high until it all runs out in 50 years or whatever and the UK's reserves mostly off Scotland plus all the Hydro Electric Schemes and Wind farms, Salmond has a strong negotiating position. He wouldn't want a seat on the UN Security Council, so no need for Scotland to spend vast sums on armed services where UK Prime Ministers so readily commit troops to enhance their status with their peers and not in the UK's long term interests. Whilst there is a high dependency in the Central belt on social security, s these folks have short lives and will not be a burden on the Scottish taxpayers for as long as the massive pension liabilities for all those feather bedded public servants in Westminster and Whitehall.Yes there are a few in Edinburgh but proportionally far less than London.
Just over the border with a low corporation tax rate, Scotland will attract numerous British Companies who will flee England as taxes rise ever higher and higher to mitigate the loss of oil revenues and the cost of the pensions to its public sector and the public debt that Brown and Darling are bequesthing to England.
The idea that we in Scotland will be better off as independent is catching on even with folk like me who were once scared stiff about the idea of independence. Further with roads that have no tolls, no traffic jams, global warming making the winters far less severe, I can assure Scotland is the place to be, and if I was Tory down South, I would tread very carefully with Salmond and co for Iain they now hold the aces.

Newmania said...

TOM HARRIS PM said
Parity? Iain, the smaller nations of the UK were given devolution to try to rebalance the constitution, not give them an advantage over England.

That is a lie they were given devolution because otherwise they would take it and the Labour Party cannot do without Scotland .

If every MP representing a non-English seat voted one way, they would still need many more English MPs to vote the same way for their vote to win. It is nonsense to say that Scottish MPs can "impose" anything on England.

That is disingenuous to the point it will do until a lie comes round the corner .The 69 seats imported from countries with their own Parliament might very conceivably decide which Party governs the UK and therefore decide which bills are there to be voted on .As they vote along Party lines which are passed as well. Is he stupid or does he think we are ...just wondering ?


And another thing, Scottish devolution hasn't affected England in any way in terms of the amount of money that goes either to Scotland or is spent on England.

An utter nonsense, the Scots who are , by the way overrepresented terms of MP`s per head anyway , are the recipients of the Barnett formula largesse do vastly better per head . This has continued under Labour because the Labour Party is now run from Scotland and cannot afford to lose it. Votes bribes and preference have all flown to the tartan battleground directed by the Scots raj. Brown is secretly extending Scottish Home Rule under existing laws so he cannot be seen by the English even now . If he believed what he was doing was right, why does he hide it ?


And it hasn't affected a single vote in the House of Commons. In other words, had there been no Scottish Parliament, England would be in exactly the same position as it is today.



Yes and no. The treacherous Labour Party have been in power in England’s well as Scotland but this is not going to happen again probably never again( The Conservatives got more votes in England last time even). Anti English legislation has continued exactly for the same reason devolution took place which is to stymie Scottish Nationalism and save the Labour Party and maintain this inequitable dispensation which has not succeed in placating the Scots but had the reverse effect.



Scottish devolution was intended as a solution for Scotland; are you saying that because it hasn't affected England either positively or negatively, then it should have its own parliament?

It has effected England negatively because we have less voting rights than the Scots , what do you want ? Black death starting at Hadrian’s wall? It was intended as a solution for Labour as is all the infantile pretence at a damascene conversion to British ness
The last paragraph is a piece of “because I say so “worthy of Violet Elizabeth Bott,. English votes will be fine , cheaper easier and les grandiose that is required for countries insecure enough to require Mac Willy waving prestigious Buildings



It is hard to believe this is an MP at all but actually he is , quite seriously ,a Labour MP in Glasgow and who does not want to lose his job.

My hunch is that we will somehow struggle by without his input

Paul Linford said...

Iain,

How confident are you that this is actually Ken Clarke's work, and that the conclusion was not rigged by Cameron in order to avoid the accusation that the Tories were creating an English Parliament by another name?

You and I both know that is the obvious answer to the WLQ, but I am not sure your leader is quite ready to make that leap of faith, hence the admittedly rather half-baked nature of this report.

Anonymous said...

Clarke has just completed his visit to the Bilderberg meeting in Virginia. Having received his orders, will we see any change in his approach?.

Anonymous said...

Anyone that thinks that a "Grand Committee" is in any way "effectively" an English Parliamnet must be in democratic cloud cuckoo land, I believe that Ken Clarke is the King of said land.
Will someone please tell him that it's simple, stupid.
Scotland 8% of the UK population has a Parliament where Scots elected SMPs look after the concerns of the Scottish people (a job they do very well indeed).
England demands the same democratic treatment.
For those that think cost overrides democracy - what was the cost of devolution in Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland, who cares, whatever the cost the Scots, Welsh and N. Irish think it was worth it. They are right so to do.
Patrick Harris. Portsmouth, England.

Terry Heath said...

This is appalling. Can someone explain why the Tories are so wet on this issue?

Only equality for England will do and I can't believe anyone is seriously suggesting anything else!

Terry Heath said...

Tom Harris said “And it hasn't affected a single vote in the House of Commons. In other words, had there been no Scottish Parliament, England would be in exactly the same position as it is today.”

No it wouldn’t! Executive powers used by ministers from Scottish seats and votes of MPs from Scottish seats have ensured (amongst others) Foundation hospitals: Top up fees: No Sunday trading: A cut of £2bn for the English NHS.

bergen said...

It is surely not rocket science for the Clerk to the Commons to certify each bill or part of a bill as being inapplicable to Scotland or Wales or NI as the case may be.MPs from the excluded areas could not then take part in the relevent votes.

It would create anomalies but would be fair to everyone as far as possible.

Anonymous said...

The answer is already practised by the SNP who have always abstained when it came to Scotland's MP's voting on "England only" matters". Only the Unionist parties MP's have ever voted on matters pertaining to England only. The SNP also have the answer to the criticism over funding - they want Scotland to be funded from all the tax revenues that are raised in Scotland - and yes that includes the tax revenues that come from the 90% of oil that the UK government long ago allocated to the Scots sector of the North Sea.

Noelinho said...

'Wacky' comes to mind more than anything. What are the Shadow Cabinet doing approving that pile of trash?

Anonymous said...

Of course England should have her own parliament and government. If thats awkward, expensive, and a lot of bother, well so is democracy(and so is the Scottish parliament and government)

Anyway, much money can be saved by cutting the Westminster parliament of occupation down to its appropriate size after it loses its "responstbilities" for England.

By the way , as an exercise in sneering, pig headed, refusal to get the point the contribution by Tom Harris MP for South Glasgow takes the biscuit. His attitude and mentality are a bad enough example of the privileged Westminster bubble class. Since the Scotland Act 1998 he has no business whatsoever sticking his nose into English affairs.
Thats pretty simple and obvious. He has yet to get the point while it is still being made in civilised way.

Newmania said...

Stephen Gash who I assume is a thin lipped baby eating pictish sheep stealer and tighter than a shark`s arse ,can add stupidity in a built up area in daylight hours to his cultural rap sheet.

He( the Ginga oaf) said

Of course the voting system in Scotland made sure Tories attained seats.

It was designed to ensure the status quo was maintained in Scotland and the fact a few Tories got seats was an unwelcome side effect.

Anonymous said...

In my mind there are only two solutions to the constitutional problem. As a Scot living in Glasgow I can see how the English can think they are being hard done-by by the current settlement. The reality is now we have devolution, and 2 different parties, policy will begin to diverge somewhat.

The most popular solution, I guess, would be a federal set up. Devolve much more but leave foreign affairs, defence, macro-economic matters at UK level.

OR, Independence. But as proposed by the SNP retain the Monarchy, and no doubt do joint agreements on such things as defence - but joint agreements between two nations as is currently done between other countries. This way we would remain United Kingdoms, but separate nations inside it.

The tinkering proposed by Clarke is just that, it will change nothing. Lets take a bold step and make a real change.

Anonymous said...

I see no problem with being a conservative but not a unionist. The two don't necessarily go hand-in-hand.

Richard Nabavi said...

Blimey! This topic has really brought them out:

"Now we have another liar as leader."

"We are heading towards a Party civil war on this front."

"What a bunch of useless incompetents!"

"As for this Clarke dogs breakfast.
What can you expect from a man who wants to see the end of England as an entity!"

"If this truly ends up being the Tory "solution" then the Union is finished... Does Cameron really want to take on the role of a modern day Bonar Law?"

"How confident are you that this is actually Ken Clarke's work, and that the conclusion was not rigged by Cameron"

"What are the Shadow Cabinet doing approving that pile of trash?"


Some at least of those making these comments appear or profess to be Conservative supporters. Looks like DC might need to do some more 'brand detoxification'.

Hang on to your hair, folks.

1. This has NOTHING, absolutely nothing, to do with the EU. I doubt whether more than a handful of EU bureaucrats and politicians have the slightest interest in or knowledge of UK parliamentary procedures. And if you conspiracy theorists are right (and I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you about the general drift of power to unelected EU officials), why on earth would they care about whether Scottish MPs vote on English laws, since it is claimed that Brussels has all the power anyway?

2. The mess - the dog's breakfast - is not Camerons's fault. It is 100% the fault of one Tony Blair and his cronies, who have left us us with a boshed-up mess of devolution. There is no perfect solution, other perhaps than abolishing the Scottish Assembly or full Sottish independence. Neither looks like practical politics, starting from here.

3. As I said in the first post, why not wait and see what exactly is being proposed? It certainly won't be perfect - starting from here, nothing will be - but it looks as though it might be a lot better than the mess which Labour has created.

Or maybe it would be better if Gordon Brown won the next election?

Grex said...

Doesn't Mr Cameron get what an issue this is becoming? Were he to come out in favour of an English Parliament it would cement his poll lead and shift a lot more Labour voters straight across to Conservatives. And he'd be leading a debate of nationwide significance and proposing a solution. It could be his Clause 4 moment.

Newmania said...

Richard Nabavi said
Or maybe it would be better if Gordon Brown won the next election?

I suspect we are going to be hearing a lot of this from the Cameroon crew. I have always liked and admired David Cameron but I hope he is not going to become arrogantly insensitive to the Party because almost anything human animal or possibly mineral would be better than Brown.

I still say simply reduce the number of Scottish MP`s , they have nothing to do anyway

Toque said...

Paul Linford: "How confident are you that this is actually Ken Clarke's work, and that the conclusion was not rigged by Cameron in order to avoid the accusation that the Tories were creating an English Parliament by another name?"

Given that they've been deliberating over this for the best part of three years, frankly I don't really care why it is a crock of shit. But you're correct, it most probably isn't what anyone in they're right mind would suggest, and I expect the dead hand of Cameron has played its part.

At least the decade of informing us that English Votes on English Laws is the answer is over.

David Lindsay said...

The West Lothian Question does not exist. If the Parliament of the United Kingdom were to enact legislation applicable in Scotland, then that legislation would prevail over any enactment of the Scottish Parliament. There is simply no doubt at all about this, any one who doesn't like it should have voted No to devolution. I bet they didn't.

At present, it merely chooses not to do so. But it should do so, not least to make the point. After all, hasn't Brown any views about such matters in his own constituency? Well, now he has the chance to give effect to those views. He should take that chance.

Meanwhile, the real Scottish Question in British politics is that David Cameron is a posh Scot. Not a borderline case like Tony Blair or Iain Duncan Smith, but the real deal. His English public school, his Oxford degree, his marriage into the English baronetage, and (these days) his Southern English seat are all part and parcel of this.

Therefore, he simply cannot believe that a state school and Scottish university son of the manse from Kirkcaldy has the effrontery to be Prime Minister instead of him.

And Brown very obviously knows perfectly well that those are his views.

Andrew said...

Typical Iain. I always enjoy reading your blog until you start on a rant against the Scots (of which I am one). I agree the constitutional question must be answered, but would you prefer having no union at all? That is what Sir Malcolm's idea would create. As David Cameron said recently at the Scottish Tory Party conference- better an imperfect union than no union at all. Do you agree?
Or perhaps you would feel more at home in the English Democrats than with us Tories...

Iain Dale said...

Andrew, please do be good enough to explain where I have ranted against the Scots. If asking for parity is a rant against the Scots then God help us all. I am a quarter Scottish too.

Ken Clarke has got this seriously wrong. Should I not say so, if that's what I believe?

If you believe many of the commenters on this blog they seem to believe I am a CCHQ mouthpiece. Funny how they are silent on this post, eh?

jsfl said...

The problem with Clarke is his proposal (like most of the Democracy Task Force) provides proposals that consolidate real power in the hands of as Clarke calls it the 'ruling political class' (sic).

All the proposals, including this sop, proposed by the taskforce do nothing to address the underlying democratic inequalities that currently exist in this country as a result of the 1998 Devolution Act or address the increasing growth of demand for democratic representation (bigger population = more ' national' elected representatives?).

Clearly Clarke does not believe that the English deserve a better democracy.

If as is said Cameron is willing to go along with this all I can think is 'Weak, Weak, Weak'.

As for Clarke and his pro-eu elitist parliamentary views it's clear he is a centralist grasping to his more than ample breast as much power as he can.

I am a localist. Clarke is as much the enemy as Labour and the hypocritical Libdems (pro EU localists - yeah right!).

Anonymous said...

Yep that's right, let's slag off Ken Clarke. Ooh doesn't it feel good! Don't you feel so sanctimonious in your hatred of the terrible pro-European. Why not throw in some words like traitor to really feel the right-wing love. And let's knock the Scots too, they're only 10% of the population of THE UNITED KINGDOM, so who cares?

Then perhaps you might realise that if the Tory Party seeks to govern One Nation of 60 million people, slagging off those of the 60 million it doesn't like getting in the way of its Hayekian pipe-dream isn't really the way to get ahead.

Never mind!

Old Codger said...

Whatever the solution we do not want yet another layer of "elected representatives" with their snouts in the trough adding yet another layer of bureaucracy.

king lear's son said...

It's House of Lords reform all over again - pick at the edges, try to please everybody, water down the original concept just to say you have done something - and of course end up with the usual dog's breakfast.
I have long held to the view that decentralized government would be the answer to so many problems but it does need to be thought through cleasrly. One model would be a federal-type government with responsibility for criminal law, state security, foreign affairs and regional governments with powers to deliver education, health, social services roads etc. There is no need to double up bureaucracy as some claim and my view is that education and health which flounder under the weight of the Whitehall decentralizing tendency would be free to become effective.
Take regional governments in Wessex, Sussex, east Anglia, Mercia, Wales, Northumbria, Scotland and Ulster, each with equal and defined powers and it can work.
However, it would require a decade of discussion and development. Unfortunately planning is not something we do in this country!

Newmania said...

David Lindsay that was a stupid post the first time ,the tenth is bordering on psychosis.

The Remittance Man said...

I've always said, the only equitable solution that will save the Union is a federal state. The four constituent nations each get their own parliament with powers over their own internal affairs and a Union parliament to deal with Union wide matters and externals issues.

An English Grand Committee in Westminster comes way behind as a poor second option. And, if it is truly as proposed here, Ken Clarke's abortion of an idea is so far off the radar as to be laughable. The best part has to be the "parliamentary undertaking" bit. Where has Ken been these last ten years? We've had a parliament of whores ... oops sorry... lawyers who've demonstrated that they are fully prepared to overide convention when it suits them. What makes him think future governments will be any different?

Sadly, knowing the pillocks in Westminster they'll love it's complexities and probably go for it.

auntie Flo' said...

All Clarke's achieved with this is to further confirm the views of those of us who who believe an English Parliament is the only democratic solution.

I love and admire Scotland and the Scots, my daughter is half Scots, I wish the Scots all the luck in the world, however they now have no right to vote on matters affecting England.

Five million Scots have their own parliament while fifty odd million of us in England do not. t
That's an outrage.

dirty european socialist said...

Scotland subsidises the rest of the UK thanks to the oil now. Grow up English facists.

Terry Heath said...

This has absolutely nothing to do with the EU, oil, anti-Scots sentiment, which nation contributes the most to the economy or whether another layer of bureaucracy is desirable or not... it has everything to do with England's right to claim democratic equity with the rest of the UK!

That, and the fact Labour caused the problem and the Tories are refusing to fix it!!

Anonymous said...

judith said...

"Now do you see why I think Clarke is a waste of space and should step down at the next GE?"

Indeed so. He's always been good at creating a mess and then skipping off before anyone notices it was his fault. Good to know that the useless tories are now catching up with everyone else.

The latest twaddle from Clarke just shows that all these MP types are deluded and irrelevant.

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

Tony Blair taught us that "Parliamentary Conventions" are made to have a Coach and an entire convoy of HGVs driven through them whilst the horses are sent to France to be fattened for Pate for his wife's lunchtime sandwiches at her "Human Rights" business.

Anonymous said...

"Dirty european socialist said...
Scotland subsidises the rest of the UK thanks to the oil now. Grow up English facists.
June 10, 2008 12:05 AM "

This is a classic expression of racist and nationalist hatred aimed at the English and measure of what the English are up against. Change a few words and it could be Hitler condemning the Jews. Same mentality though and the same selective thought processes. DES wholy supports the Scottish parliament and self rule but when it comes to the English its not acceptable and they are "fascists" even for asking for it.

dirty european socialist said...

Rubbish. I was talking to the liars who claimed we are subsdised. You are the NAZIS. You spread evil facist lies like Hitler did about the jews. You and the evil English facists try to claim we are subsidised. When anyone with half a brain cell would know with high oil price that was not right two years ago let alone now when you are subsidised more and more and more as every day goes by. People Like Boris make up evil evil fake claims that they subsidise us, rubbisht to stoke up hatred to us. We have a right to call, as any proud people would to such evil lies to call him a facist liar for making evil claims. I support devolved parliaments for English regions. So shut up with your fake lies about me. With equal powers for all parliament assemblies and mayorships. It is the english facists who deny the regions that. under some pretence abouit the EU giving a flying #### about devoltion.

Martin said...

Idiots! Hopefully the jocks will go their own way soon anway.

Has anyonelse heard the "rumour" that the senior Scots who have seats in Scotland have approached sitting safe (if there are any left) seats and will ask them to stand down so the likes of McBean can still be PM?

Anonymous said...

Iain - I think you are right and James Kirkup is wrong.

The Sewel Convention is relatively straightforward - either something is within the competence of the Scottish Parliament or it isn't.

In contrast, Ken Clarke's proposed convention would be nightmarishly complicated. If there are cross-border issues, or if a vote impacted on the Barnett Formula, Scottish MPs could always find a reason to defy the convention.

Furthermore, even if MPs abided by the convention not to vote down particular amendments, they would still have a vote at Third Reading and could therefore vote down the whole bill. There would be endless possibilities for finding political cover for such a manoeuvre.

The fact is that Ken Clarke's proposals represent a significant dilution of the original policy intent (presumably because he recognised it was utterly unworkable) and what he has proposed will melt away further in the face of political reality. It will amount to a complete u-turn.