Most gratifying to see Cameron, Gove, Shapps, Hague and co taking such a statesmanlike approach to these constitutional issues. “How can we use this to screw Labour at the next election and secure our own jobs, whilst not upsetting the money-cart?” Thomas Jefferson would be proud of them!
‘English votes on English laws’. Well, leave aside for a moment the fact that, according to Will Hutton in yesterday’s Observer, citing the McKay commission, a) there has been a total of just two-and-a-half years since 1919 when House of Commons arithmetic would have made any difference to any vote, and b) the question would hardly ever arise in practice anyway – there is remarkably little actual solely ‘English’ legislation.
Leave that aside. The obviously false assumption is that ‘England’ in any way equates or is comparable to Scotland (or Wales, or Northern Ireland). Quite apart from differences of landmass and population, none of these political constructs is in any way homogeneous. (The referendum voting breakdown clearly proves this for Scotland; and I know neighbouring villages in Wales that’d be separate countries if they could.) Least of all ‘England’.
No, England needs breaking down before any of this stuff makes any sense. I haven’t worked out the details yet – can I safely leave that to Mr Hague? – but to kick off the negotiations I suggest revisiting the ancient Kingdoms of the Anglian Heptarchy. In case you’d forgotten, these were, in about 700 AD: Mercia; Northumbria; East Anglia; Wessex; Essex; Sussex; and Kent. There’ll be some mergers, demergers and acquisitions along the way, no doubt; but it’s a start point.
P.S. Sorry, I’ve temporarily reinstated the dreaded WV, in the hope of seeing off a particularly persistent idiotic Chinese spamhead. I’ll take it off again after a few more posts.