English Votes for English Laws

Amazing, the Tories have done it again – produced a poisoned chalice. William Hague on the Radio 4 Today Programme announce their proposal for EV EL. The Committee stages of an English only Bill would be voted on by just English MPs but the final 3rd Reading vote would be open to all MPs.

He stressed that this would give English MPs the power of veto over English only legislation. He never mentioned that non-English MPs might have a similar veto at 3rd Reading. What great spin. But also what a waste of time if a Bill were to fall at the last hurdle. So there would be great pressure and  massive negative publicity if a Bill were to be voted down. Hence the poisoned chalice. What is more Hague never mentioned the House of Lords nor what would happen to a Bill which with some amendment might have passed into law.

It is quite possible after GE15 that Labour will be able to govern with the help of non-English MPs. If English MPs have a Tory majority then they could amend English legislation as it went through the committee stage so that it was unacceptable to Labour. What then? Effectively the Labour government would have no jurisdiction over English law making. What a nonsense.

Why can no politician have the guts or the vision to see that a federal solution is now the only solution as an alternative to Scottish Independence.. 

February 3, 2015 at 11:23 am Leave a comment

SNP and GE15

The Scottish Referendum campaign was marked by a very timid approach to their message by the SNP. They obviously did not want to appear extreme to the middle of the road voter but as a result failed to garner their votes and possibly also failed to convert some undecided voters to the Yes camp. David Knowles has recently written about converts here. Many people have been converted to the renewal of Scotland through participation in the Referendum and the SNP must talk their language.

That means not sinking to the level of the other parties trying to hedge their bets for their positions after the election. The SNP message should be loud and clear. “Vote for us, the only party who will put the Scottish People’s interests first”. They should ignore any attempt to get them into a duel of weasel words. Be simple. Be evangelistic. That is the Scottish mood.

January 29, 2015 at 8:40 pm Leave a comment

Tories Uphold Indy Vow

We now know the substance of David Cameron’s promise of Devo Max. If anybody thought that it would be any more than what it is they were being very naïve. It has been deliberately made as complicated and messy as it can be so that some voters at least may think the pre Referendum Better Together Vow has been upheld.

Let’s ensure that most people see it for what it is, a poisoned chalice.

The Westminster parties are now only interested in one thing, maximising English votes in May 2015. Shafting us along the way is a sideshow. Cameron is not remotely interested in Scottish votes because he knows he cannot make any gains here and, in spite of Murphy, my bet is that Milliband is feeling the same.

January 23, 2015 at 4:38 pm Leave a comment

Genomics Medicine Centres

11 Genomics Medical Centres are to be created by NHS England as announced this morning., http://www.bbc.com/news/health-30558112 .

On the Radio 4 Today programme the question was raised as to the security of patients private information. The glib answer was that it would be perfectly safe as it would be controlled by the NHS.

What failed to be said was that under this coalition / Tory government it would certainly go to a private company to run which would make it anything but safe I fear.

December 22, 2014 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

Scottish Independence–What next?

It is most important that we continue to capitalise on the surge of political activity which so energised the Yes campaign.

However what can realistically be done or campaigned for?

One option which could be pushing a an open door is to work with the idea of English votes for English laws. The present proposals are timid and probably unworkable. However why not a truly federated UK?

I suggest that the UK Federation is made up of the states of the existing regions of England, i.e. the North West, the North East, the Midlands, the South East, East Anglia, etc., and then Scotland, NI, Wales. I know the regions are ill-defined but could be a starting point for natural states. Then the states governments would devolve powers to the federal government. The federal government would consist of two houses, one elected on numbers of voters and the upper house being equal representation of all states. Of course there would be size differences but just think California (38 million population) and Wyoming (0.5 million) in the USA.

I will return to the theme again.

December 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

After Shock of the Scottish Referendum

I have not written my blog since the referendum. I was so appalled by the result, so near and yet so far but more especially about how much of what I feared has since come true. So many No voters were plainly taken in by the propaganda of the Better Together campaign. Much has been written so I am not going to repeat it.

What the Smith Commission has come up with is a poisoned chalice as I suggested in August. Even Gordon Brown agrees with me. As Iain MacWhirter says “The cost of financing Scotland’s ageing population is being repatriated while.. means of growing the economy are reserved.’” This says it all in a nutshell. You just have to read tax expert Richard Murphy here  to get the real story.

And I am also still worried about the NHS. The No campaign repeatedly and falsely claimed that it was safe. TTIP will make it completely vulnerable.

We should realise that Osborne’s Austerity is more than just a hopeful plan to re-balance the economy. Milton Friedman is, years after his death, an icon for the far right neolib / neocon economists and politicians. Naomi Kemp in her book “Shock Doctrine” draws attention to their deliberate opportunism in taking advantage of catastrophes to further their idea of minimal state intervention, preferably none at all, in the running of an economy. Osborne and his friends see our present financial situation as an ideal time to drive down the public services. It is a measure of his ineffectualness that more has not been sold off already. But given the  chance in May 2015  they will continue to privatise all parts of the public services which can be turned into a source of private profit.

December 11, 2014 at 12:26 pm Leave a comment

Scottish Independence – Will Hutton Against

Will Hutton makes his case for imaginative thinking by Westminster in the last ten days of the campaign to stop the breakup of the UK. In this paragraph be succinctly explains why we in Scotland have had enough of the Union…

The big argument is that Scotland does not need to be permanently yoked to English Toryism’s infatuation with a libertarianism that denies obligations to society and each other, has abandoned justice and equity in its public policy positions and is the author of the great “cashing out” of the past 30 years. All our utilities, five million council houses, many of our great companies and swaths of real estate in our cities have been cashed out in the name of market forces, of liberalisation, of being open for business and wealth generation. What has been created is predator capitalism, massive inequality and a society organised to benefit the top 1%. The country needs to build, innovate and reinvent social partnership. Independent Scotland can strike out in this direction.

We have nothing against the people south of the  Border but we do want to build a society that we want. Hutton goes on to say that an  independent Scotland will carry on in much the  same way. But he forgets that the SNP are a regional authority not a national government which has stepped into the void in national politics to effect change. After a YES vote the people of Scotland will decide what government they want. It could be that Alex Salmond is actually a turkey voting for Christmas and that a strong Socialist party will emerge before the first general election of iScotland.

I will vote for it if…

  • It proposes an independent currency with our own central bank
  • It looks outward to Europe and to the Commonwealth
  • It proposes a fair tax regime for everybody and every organisation
  • It has long term realistic plans to tackle inequality and nurture everybody’s health and well-being.

Some suggest this is wishful thinking but better to live in hope than vote for Will Hutton’s picture of the present and no doubt future Westminster government.

September 7, 2014 at 9:44 am Leave a comment

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