Thursday, January 19, 2012

A slightly odd objection

One of the mooted solutions to the West Lothian Question (a question that, while it would be superceded by Scottish independence, would be rendered more acute by any sort of Devo-Max outcome from the Scottish referendum) is that English MPs alone should be entitled to vote on matters that have been reserved to the devolved Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. English votes for English laws.

There is, obviously, a problem with this. What happens if the UK Government is unable to command a majority in England - even worse, what happens if the opposition (for which, read the Tories) are able to command a majority in England? As Vernon Bogdanor puts it:

There would, therefore, be one government for English domestic affairs such as education and health, and another government for UK-wide matters, such as economic policy, social security, foreign affairs and defence.

Well, yes. That's the inevitable result of devolution. Democracy is messy and, as we are seeing now, leads to compromises and coalitions. That's not a great argument for getting rid of it though.


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