Monday, 29 October 2007

Sir Malcolm Rifkind's Conservative plan for a English Grand Committee.

I'm playing catchup here. The Conservative party plan drawn up by Tory ex-minister Sir Malcolm Rifkind to establish a "grand committee" is in my mind a step in the right direction. Though this is not exactly what I or many other pro English parliament bloggers want to see, it is most definitely a great deal closer to our objectives than anything Labour are going to offer.

Sir Malcolm said: "When the House of Commons is purely discussing English housing or English health or English transport, then why should that not just be left to the English Members of Parliament to decide upon? When these matters are being discussed in Northern Ireland or in Scotland, it's the Scots and the Northern Irish who decide these matters - that's what devolution's all about."

I'm probably going to get some stick for this but I think this is a good idea. I honestly believe that it will be easier to get across the argument for an English parliament, once we are in the position of having English votes on English matters. I will of course continue to call for an English parliament, nothing else in the end is acceptable. Alex Salmond has said that he backed the idea of English votes for English laws, but that a grand committee did not go far enough, saying: "I think the right solution is to have a Scottish Parliament and an English Parliament - I believe independent parliaments - and to do the job properly as opposed to having some sort of spatchcocked solution to appeal for votes in middle England."

When we have a Conservative government that wants English votes on English laws and a Scottish First Minister who wants separate parliaments, it will only be a matter of time before it happens. I cannot however see this happening, ever, under a Labour government.

16 comments:

Toque said...

The problem with this solution is that it's an unknown quantity.

It might just work as an interim measure but it's also very likely that it will break up the UK. See the CEP Blog.

It's all largely irrelevant anyway because the idea is already being torpedoed from within the Conservative Party.

Daily Referendum said...

I know what you mean Toque. The thing is that I believe the Tories want an English parliament and they see this as a means of testing the water (I hope). A fair UK is like an omelette and those in power have to decide which eggs are going to get broken. There is no doubt that some will.

kate said...

Its the best thing thats been said in ages. I mean come on these people wanted devolution which has already broke the country up so why the frig are they still able to be involved in english matters?

Daily Referendum said...

That's very true Kate. Labour are trying to tell us that an English parliament or English votes on English matters will break up the union. The truth is of course that devolution is causing a rift in the union because it is seen by many as grossly unfair.

Ultimately there can be only the choice of one of two solutions: scrap devolution or give England its own parliament.

kate said...

Yey did i say something relevent? hee hee, politics aint my thing but this really winds me up

Daily Referendum said...

Kate,

The more people become aware of the situation, the more people are getting wound up.

I always appreciate your comments:)

Cheers

kate said...

I dont mind keeping the numbers up hee hee.

William Gruff said...

Scotch MPs had a Grand Committee, and a Scottish Affairs Committee, in addition to a disproportionately high level of representation; a Scottish Office and a cabinet minister, prior to devolution, but those arrangements weren't sufficient to address their self-serving sense of being 'done down', even though the Scotch were given more than us. Why should a simple Grand Committee be any more appropriate or acceptable for the people of England?

The idea is a non-starter as it will simply be used to rebut calls for an EP. 'But you have your Grand Committe' we will be told, 'and that must suffice for you'.

Dissolution of the union is inevitable, and not far ahead. We need a parliament to represent our interests when the break-up comes, and sooner rather than later. An English Grand Committee can only delay things.

Robin said...

The EU has a treaty with The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It doesn`t have a treaty with England. But will it say it has a treaty with both Houses of Parliament that of course is in London, capital of England (for now)?

Daily Referendum said...

Robin,

I suppose that if the union was to break up we would have to renegotiate our involvement in the EU.

Daily Referendum said...

Mr Gruff,

Possibly, but I can't help feeling that it is better than anything Labour would allow. And I mean "allow" the way things are going.

Andrew Allison said...

I too think this is a stepping stone towards an English Parliament, although after reading the comments on my blog, I was beginning to think I was in the minority.

JRD168 said...

Do you want a break up of the Union Steve? Question asked in all seriousness BTW!

Daily Referendum said...

JRD,

No, if I had my way devolution would have never happened and the Barnett formula would have been scrapped. Unfortunately the halfway house we are in now is not fair to the English. I think we will be able to keep closer social ties with Scotland if we get our own parliament. Devolution is a wedge, widening the gap between our countries.

Richard Havers said...

Steve, JRD's right. The more this English parliament thing goes on the more it is playing into the hands of the SNP. The fact is Labour are on the slide here in Scotland and unless they can pull themselves together then the SNP blitzkrieg will roll all over them. And it's no good expecting the Tories of the Lib Dems to do anything about it here in Scotland. First of they don’t have the firepower or the support and second up they would probably quite like it if there was Scottish independence.

First thing they'll do is vote themselves a big fat pay rise because they have bigger jobs.

Daily Referendum said...

Richard,

It's already gone too far. The Union is broken and nothing can fix it apart from either scrapping devolution or creating an English parliament. To carry on as we are will only cause more friction between our countries.