Monday, July 17, 2006

West Lothian Versus North Antrim

You know who your friends and enemies are. Or least it is becoming apparent if you live in a devolved part of the UK. Also you would think in times when patronage of the Lords was under such scrutiny that David Cameron would not make any policy decision on the hoof which might be miscontrued as patronage within the Commons. If you did you would be wrong.

In his hurry to come up with an answer to the West Lothian question about the rights of Scottish MPs to vote on affairs at Westminster over which they have no overall control, he has entered the quagmire of Northern Irish politics. When John Major had a wafer thin majority in the 90s, and some of that was rebellious, he could normally rely on the Unionist parties from Northern Ireland to dig him out of a whole. David Liddington, the Conservative's Shadow Northern Irish Secretary, has refused to extend their proposed voting ban on English issues of Scottish members to those of Northern Ireland. This is fast becoming referred to as the North Antrim question, so named for Ian Paisley the DUP leader's constituency.

Some have accused the delay on the Tories to bring about the same conditions on all devolved areas as hypocritical, merely a way to ensure that should the votes be close after the next election that the Tories could squeeze through legislation with the help of their Northern Irish bretheren. However, the entire restriction on any MP's voting rights might just be under threat from the very Unionists that David Cameron is attempting to cosy up to. As Jeffery Donaldson the DUP MP for Lagan Valley said:

'We would oppose any proposal to deny Northern Ireland MPs full voting rights at Westminster. That right embodies the very concept of the Union. The House of Commons is not an English regional assembly.'

Surely if the DUP mean this they would also oppose the restriction on Scottish and Welsh MPs as well.

But is Cameron playing into the hands of the 31% of English who want independence from Scotland. Typically of Alex Salmond who ignores the view of the majority who did not want separation he said that:

"Clearly this is the future. This growing support shows that unionist politicians are on their way out and the argument for independence and self-respect is on its way in."

Strange then that the level of support for England to separate for Scotland is actually higher than his own party has actually scored recently in Scotland something which is nowhere near their peak, and we all know what that has meant for the separation of the Union.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails