Commentary by Derek Bateman
A little detail is being missed from the deluge of anti Scottish slime oozing from the establishment media outlets – England has an in-built majority in the Westminster Parliament, one that trumps everyone else, not just the hated Scots.
The constant wheedling sound of English-orientated hacks about Scots (not just the SNP, mind) having influence over UK government policy overlooks the glaring point that neither the SNP, nor the Scots – nor even Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish combined – can ever outvote English MPs in any circumstance on any issue.
England has, and always has had, an automatic veto over every other nation in this ‘family of nations’ – ‘the greatest union in the history of the world’. At any time in any parliament, a matter of overriding ‘national’ interest to the English people can be voted through the Commons with such ease that counts and tellers and trooping through lobbies are rendered redundant.
A simple show of hands will suffice and even vertically challenged John Bercow will see a forest of 533 arms aloft for England and, if the other nations combine, 117 against. That’s a majority of 416 for England (and St George) because England has 82 per cent of all the seats in the House, fairly accurately representing the distribution of population.
You can see why the English are moaning on about it not being fair, can’t you? Try this self-pitying paean to a lost utopia…
It must be obvious by now from listening to the anti democratic Unionists of all parties and reading the bigots in their media, that Scotland’s 59 MPs can easily outvote England’s 533, yeah?
That’s the implication of their anti Scottish propaganda ground war, isn’t it? ‘There’s nothing we can do but complain and play victim as the awful Scots trample over our democracy…’
Yet to underline England’s supremacy, research shows that if all Scots MPs were removed since 1997 only 21 Commons votes out of nearly 5000 would have been different (Distorting democracy, are we?).
If England really is a nation of one mind and doesn’t want Scots having a say in government, are they are suggesting nothing can be done? How can you be held to ransom by someone whom you outnumber by nearly 10 to 1? If you hold all the cards, how can you be defeated and cowed by an opponent?
The same iron rule applies to English votes for English laws – if there is agreement among English MPs, they vote for what they want and they get it. Nobody can outvote them. Let the other nations do their own thing in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast but in England the English are sovereign, even if everybody else from other nations is in the chamber and votes against them. What the hell are they moaning about?
Here is Labour MP Tom Harris saying something similar in Labour List: “English colleagues should consider the reasons why Scotland demanded a Scottish Parliament in the first place: it wasn’t for reasons of nationalism or national identity; it was because it was patently unfair that our contingent of MPs could easily be outvoted on any issue by even a small fraction of English MPs.
“England could never, ever be in the same position. Even if every Northern Irish, Welsh and Scottish MP wished to foist an unpopular policy on England, they could not do so unless they were joined by at least 209 English MPs. And the occasions when Scottish MPs have made the difference in policy areas affecting England have been so vanishingly rare, they hardly justify such a constitutional upheaval.”
Now the problem here, as you will have spotted, is that English MPs don’t all share the same views and neither do their parties. But surely that is a political problem, not a constitutional one. The constitution, from an English perspective, gives total control of Parliament to them, should they wish to exercise it. The fact they don’t, and can’t agree among themselves, is their problem, not ours. We can’t stop them no matter how many SNP MPs we send south to their dining club. It is only because they disagree on most issues that they don’t combine to vote in England’s interest.
To put it another way, there can’t be an overriding English national interest to vote for.
The idea of Tories, Labour and Liberals agreeing jointly on policy for England is laughable. They’d rather spend time tearing fur off each other. There is no English voice in Parliament – it’s a Daily Mail myth. There may well be growing all-England opinion among the voters…God, I hope so, it might stop their whiney voices…but in the Mother of Parliaments (apologies to Iceland’s Althing), it’s a joke. Oh, MPs like to sound indignant about it, it’s true, but in reality, they vote for party first and England second.
This is now another characteristic differentiating England from Scotland where there is a greater consensus on national questions to the extent that the opposition has to manufacture differences to appear relevant.
The answer to the undemocratic parties – who are inadvertently arguing against the very Union they claim to love – is that if England wants privatised hospitals, businessmens’ academies, outsourced services, nuclear weapons, immigration detention centres and even abolition of the Scottish Parliament and the Barnett Formula, they only have to vote for it. It’s theirs.
If they want a Grand English Coalition of Tory and Labour, nobody can stop them. Nobody. Just stop moaning and blaming us, for pity’s sake. It’s not our fault your English democracy doesn’t exist.