English Votes for Everyone’s Laws

The Tories have decided to rush through a measure which they claim is dedicated to ensuring fairness and equality between the constituent parts of this greatest Union of nations the multiverse has ever seen. It’s EVEL, which sounds like a description of the Daily Mail, but which supposedly stands for English votes for English laws. This all sounds just fine and dandy and who could possibly object to it? It’s all terribly fair and British and cricket on the lawnish, after all doesn’t Scotland have its own parliament and English MPs can’t vote on Scottish matters. Why shouldn’t England have its say on things which affect it without those uppity Caledonians interjecting in their incomprehensible accents.

But unfortunately it doesn’t seem to work like that. Scotland’s overall budget is determined by the budget set for England, and when Scotland’s MPs can no longer vote on what are supposedly English only matters, they will lose the ability to have a say on the overall budget for Scotland. It’s like going to a restaurant and being told that you can order anything you like, as long as it doesn’t cost more than what your companion has ordered. They can choose anything they like, and their London transport infrastructure pudding counts as a joint UK national expenditure. And then you get the bill after they’ve decided that they want privatisation pie with austerity chips.

But it’s even worse than that. Scotland doesn’t even get to decide what parts of the menu it chooses its cauld porridge from. That is also decided for us by our dining companion. Fancy something full fat fiscal autonomy? Forget it. Tory and Labour MPs we didn’t vote for have decided it’s bad for us, it will ruin our arteries and give us a sense of independence that’s unhealthy. Scotland must restrict itself to the devolved parts of the menu, but it doesn’t have any say on what the devolved parts are. That gets decided for us. We only get to choose from the cheap end of the menu, the appetisers and the nibbles, the parts that don’t allow a full and satisfying meal. One of those tiny side dishes that has the appearance of a dinner but doesn’t contain any calories. Then they can tell us that we’ve had our chips on our shoulders and we need to stop complaining.

Over 500 non Scottish MPs ganged up to vote down a proposal for full fat fiscal autonomy, the proposal that Scotland voted for at the General Election and which was backed by the overwhelming majority of Scotland’s MPs. At the General Election Scotland resoundingly rejected the Smith Proposals as inadequate and derisory and voted for a party that wanted to go much further. And we did so by a landslide.

But this counts for nothing. Westminster and the Unionist parties are stuck on Smith like a fish bone in their throats, even though it’s choking them to death. The Labour and Tory MPs clapped and cheered when they told Scotland it couldn’t have what it had voted for, like they’d scored a mighty victory. But the only victory is the reminder that England is much larger than Scotland and as long as we remain in this Union we will always be outvoted. Outvoted, unappreciated, unwanted unless we haud oor wheesht like good little North Britons and are grateful for the morsels we’re given.

So here we are in the devolution café. English MPs get to decide what parts of the legal menu Scotland can choose from , and English MPs get to decide the overall budgets which form the basis for determining Scottish spending on those parts of the menu that English MPs allow us to choose from. Scotland currently gets outvoted on these things, but at least our MPs have a say. Once the Tories get their way, Scotland’s MPs won’t even have a vote at all. We’ll be silenced and side lined, marginalised and meaningless.

So it’s clear that the Tories are also in favour of English votes for Scottish laws, and presumably also English votes for Welsh laws and Northern Irish laws. Given the recent behaviour of the Unionist parties, we now know that EVEL really stands for English votes for everyone’s laws. That’s democracy Westminster style.

Remember during the independence referendum that Scotland was told, frequently, that it wasn’t a colony. Unionists scoffed at the minority of independence supporters who compared Scotland to a colony. And by and large supporters of independence agreed. Of course Scotland wasn’t a colony – I agreed with that proposition myself. Scotland was a part of a Union in which we all thought that we had a fair say. A Union not a takeover.

But once Cameron passes his measure to bring in English Votes for Everyone’s Laws that won’t be the case any more. Scotland will be without the means to have any say at all over its overall budget, no say on how much it gets for health, no say on how much it gets for education. England’s MPs will determine the total budget and Scotland will get its budget decided in a vote from which our own representatives have been excluded. Scotland will get a percentage of whatever is decided for England, but won’t be able to have any input into what is decided for England. So if in a fit of Conservative madness Tory MPs for England decide to halve the health budget and introduce rampant privatisation, the part of the Scottish block grant accounting for health services will be proportionately slashed too. And there will be nothing we can say or do about it. This is Labour’s pooling and sharing, this is Better Together’s best of both worlds.

What was that that the Americans once said about no taxation without representation? That’s the position the Colony of Scotland will find itself in once EVEL comes into force. We will be a colony, without a say, without a vote, and staring at a menu of stale crumbs that are well past their sell by date with no choice in the matter, no say, no representation. Our MPs will be second class, just like the country that elects them. Welcome to the Colony of Scotland.

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48 comments on “English Votes for Everyone’s Laws

  1. andygm1 says:

    I just went on Trip Advisor and read some reviews of the Westminster Restaurant.

    Generally unfavourable, most awarding only one star, apart from a five star review by a Mr Mundell who said, “It’s my favourite eatery and I’m guaranteed a good seat. I always get everything that my partner MrCameron wants, even if it’s off menu”.

    A Mr Murray commented that he didn’t care what he got so long as it wasn’t Salmond or Sturgeon. (3 stars)

  2. The Boston Option suddenly looks a lot more attractive.

  3. Itchybiscuit says:

    The only consolation is that ‘Better Together’ is a meme which has run its course. When we Scots decide to hold another referendum on independence no amount of begging and pleading for us to stay will make a jot of difference. You’re correct in that their version of ‘pooling and sharing’ is definitely a case of pooling our resources for the good of England and accepting stale crumbs from their table for Scotland – the ‘sharing’ part.

    I looks to me like naked spite. They know they fooled the majority into voting no and now they’re punishing the whole country for the votes of the ’45’. It’s almost (they must think) like a warning shot across our bows – try that independence thingy again and we’ll hammer you just like the last time should you fail. It simply makes me more determined to see my country free of these privateers.

  4. BenQ says:

    When EVEL comes into force, there’s no longer any point to the SNP participating in this pretendy democracy. They need to walk out, come home, and start forcing a different approach somehow. They have their mandate from the Scots voters to make our voice heard and that’s just been neutered. Labour will only ever side with the Tories or abstain, rather than do anything to help Scotland in any vote.

    Time we took matters into our own hands and just ignored the English parly, the way the English parly seem content to ignore us. Or we could actively obstruct it. We will never get anything playing along with the rotten Westminster system in place now, nor will we ever get a chance to change it. Democracy my arse.

  5. chicthomson says:

    Wondered the real reason for the Boston trip. Now we won’t be surprised if all their tea ends up cowped in to the Thames…

  6. […] English Votes for Everyone’s Laws […]

  7. GAvin C Barrie says:

    Too early for Indy action, a few more examples of Westminster arrogance are needed for the fearties to be convinced.

  8. Sandra Stewart says:

    My granny taught me tolerance and understanding and never to hate. I hate everything Westminster stands for. My country and its people are enslaved. Let my people go.

  9. Billy says:

    If Westminster parties want to implement EVEL surely the best option would be to give England its own parliment

  10. macart763 says:

    Remember this?

    “If Scotland says it does want to stay inside the UK then all options of devolution are there and are possible.” David Cameron

    “The plan… is for nothing short of a modern form of Scottish Home Rule within the UK.” Gordon Brown

    It seems Mr Cameron and Mr Brown may both have been less than truthful, but then he is a Conservative PM and Mr Brown is… well he’s gone on to better things. That kinda goes with the territory eh? All in the ‘game’? Having said that I don’t think its a stretch to believe that Cameron means what he says about EVEL. Naw, I think wee Davey is deadly serious on that score.

    Now since a fair few bods scan these pages on a daily basis and its also a good bet that some of those bods may have voted no last September, the question is, will you help? Independence is the only answer to this democratic deficit. If you were hoping for devo max, Broon’s federal solution you’ve had your answer in the past 48hrs. All voted down, every single amendment. The permanence of the Scottish parliament, FFA, welfare, removal of the WM veto, the power to top up benefits, all trashed.

    Your help is now needed to right this wrong and it is most certainly the case that a great wrong has been done to the Scottish electorate by the establishment parties. There is no grey area here.

    2016 will be here soon enough and if you want it, you can have the chance to put things right.

  11. Papadox says:

    When EVEL becomes EVIL. against my better judgment I went along with trying to work with English MPs in their English counting house and gang hut to obtain the promises that the posh gangsters, Engerland team “A” and the not so posh, Engerland team “B” had made publicly of their own volition to the people of Scotland.

    Surprise, surprise they lied to us through their gritted teeth and told us they loved us. Now like battered spouse they have us on our own in their locked house and they are about show us how much they love us, once they get their boots on.

    We accept their lies once shame on them. We accept their lies twice shame on us, and he’ll mend us.

    I will follow our leaders line, because I have trust and faith in them and that gives me hope.

    As for the establishment, English Parliament and the totally corrupt system that it controls. Enough is enough.

  12. Hugh Bryce says:

    Slimeballs Cameron and Osbourne along with there pet weasel Mundell are doing a great job of bringing the next scottish referendum closer and closer.

  13. mogabee says:

    I’ve never been afraid to fight my corner, so sleeves rolled up and desperate to get started. Scotland has been sorely and shabbily treated.

    I really don’t think this next battle will be lost…

  14. gavin says:

    I would say another referendum is inevitable. I also think the Brit Nat establishment think the same.
    Hence the ‘line in the sand’ mentality. The sneering and contempt for Scotland, hoping to diminish us. They are also saving the same carrots they promised before, for next time.
    But next time there will be no ‘big beasts’ from Scottish Labour to front up a campaign. No serious Scots to cajole and threaten us.
    We will still have the colonial English press (times, telegraph, mail). The empty jacket of the Herald and Scotsman, ransacked and empted of value by successive owners. The negativity and contrived garbage of BBC Scotland.
    By then, we will know the subsidy for Scottish wind will be gone south for English Nuclear. Barnett much diminished and the fiscal straitjacket Scotland is shackled with, exposed. The vast sums spent on southern infrastructure, while Scotland( and the north of England) is ignored.
    How can we lose?
    An endless Tory Ascendency ( backed more or less by Labour) or Independence?
    C’mon, let’s do it !

  15. Steve Asaneilean says:

    It was clear from the start that if we voted No this is what we would end up with.

    Where are (Not) Labour when it comes to this clear dismissal of the will of the Scottish electorate? Too busy blaming the SNP for every ill – real or otherwise – in Scotland.

    There is and always only been one solution – SVSL – and that means EVERY law. That’s democracy and that’s independence.

    • Shaun the sheep says:

      Yes, I agree, whether we voted yes or no, the very fact that we the audacity to have a referendum and challenge the Westminster establishment would have negative repercussions for Scotland, Independence is the only way forward for our nation when the time is right.
      One of your best Wee Ginger & Dug . Back in great form after your break !

  16. Janis says:

    As I watch this incredible anti democratic EVEL unfold I think we all saw this coming. We knew fine that the vow would never happen and when Cameron unleashed EVEL the day after the referendum it was to put Scotland in their place and that place is a place of subservience. We are literally up shit creak without a paddle. We have, as the first minister of Scotland says, our voices heard and they are loud and fairly clear, albeit In a Scotts dialect, but they have no clout. In fact they are not even taken seriously. It’s hard to watch our MPs struggle with the total rejection of the Scottish people’s will. Rejections from both sides of parliament. And I firmly believe the rejection is enjoyed by both Torys and labour. After watching pmqt today and PM stating it was democratically right that only English MPs should vote on English laws. Then the same should apply to Scotland. The Scotland act should only be voted on by Scottish MPs. That’s democracy. This is not and never will happen. This surely is “significant change” the first minister indicated that would send us moving to an independent Scotland. We need hope now and to see either indy2 or UDI as part of the SNP manifesto for the Scottish Parliament elections next year would give us not only hope but would be a clear mandate for separation as quickly as possible.

  17. Steve Asaneilean says:

    And whenever the next referendum is going to be – 5 years or 10 – it matters not – we need to start campaigning for a Yes vote now, as most of us are already doing. But we need to do it as though it were happening next month.

    We need to engage endlessly from now on – with friends and family, in pubs and cafés, and with shops and street stalls in every village, town and city.

    We can do this – we have the people and we have the resources and we have the will.

    We want to forge something new. We want to give our children and young people hope of something better. We want to better the lives of those who have least.

    All Westminster has to offer is more of the same and a message of cynicism and misery. And I for one am fed up with it.

    • Hazel says:

      maybe you would be interested in a budding idea for raising the profile of indy to those who are not on t’internet? We need to persuade and win a greater mass of those who voted ‘no’ (for whatever reason) before trying another referendum. Even if you can’t take part it would be good to spread the news of this, people are needed with skills and ideas. http://counterpropforum.com

  18. Cjk says:

    I think it probably needs saying that that wee ginger dug at one point, pre referendum Magritte curran days, seemed like a delightful and hugely entertaining one trick pony. That i s no longer the case and I for one applaud the doth of cynicism and disrespect that the duff continues to convey. Long live the dug.

  19. Still Positive. says:

    Couldn’t agree more Steve.

    I said before indyref that if we voted no we would be up the proverbial creek without the boat – and alas it has almost? happened.

    Totally scunnered with Westminster and the Tories.

  20. Itchybiscuit says:

    Is anyone else watching the ‘debate’ on the new powers on Scotland 2015?

    It’s a complete pile-in along the lines of ‘The SNP must tell us here and now how they are intending to use these new powers but we unionist politicians won’t be revealing our plans on this show tonight’. And so on and so forth.

  21. Juteman says:

    Has David Cameron not just dissolved the Union?

    • Sue de Nymme says:

      It was never, at any time, starting with the persecution of the Covenanters in the seventeenth century, a union as in a family. It has always been a union as in an owner with his dog on the end of a leash. On occasion, however, a dog will get tired of an abusive owner and retaliate violently.

  22. Polscot says:

    “Labour and Tory MPs clapped and cheered”.
    Did that really happen? I hope that nice Mr. Bercow had a word with them about protocol in the Lower House. Down with this sort of thing! Three cheers with a resounding “huzzah” is the appropriate response to crushing those rebellious Scots.

  23. Calgacus says:

    Ok we tried to play their game but they’ve told us in no uncertain terms that its their baw and we’re no getting a shot.

    All SNP mps should return to Scotland, sit in Holyrood as an upper house and no longer attend that vile corpse masquerading as a democratic parliament.

    Nobody gives you your freedom.You have to take it.

    It’s time.

  24. Marconatrix says:

    Parliamentary Arithmetic Lesson : FFA / EVEL = SFA

  25. […] English Votes for Everyone’s Laws. […]

  26. Jimbo says:

    The problem with the 1979 referendum was that we didn’t have another one soon enough after it – We had to wait 35 years for the next one to come along. By the time we got round to the 2014 referendum the majority of the voters had either forgotten how the Tories broke all their promises back in ’79 post referendum, or many were too young to remember or hadn’t been born.

    This time we need to have another referendum ASAP while Westminster’s deceit is still grating on us.

  27. macart763 says:

    We have a parliament and a government willing to listen to its electorate, all they need is our permission when they ask. There are other legal routes too which would empower our government to act, but I suspect though that the SG already have a timetable in mind by this point and I’d be inclined to let them do their job.

    The Scots have always had the power to challenge, change and direct their government, we just never used it and over time we were actively encouraged to forget we ever had it. Also since we didn’t have a parly in session for most of the past three hundred years, there was no one to challenge or charge with an action.

    Well our parly is back in session after a three hundred year sleep and we also have a government now. 😉

    Popular sovereignty, gotta love it. 🙂

  28. Bob says:

    I do wonder if this Westminster government is actively creating a constitutional crisis after which the Scottish Parliament will be ‘temporarily’ dissolved.

  29. Maureen says:

    Really angry-lets recall our brave 56 and tell this stinking so called parliament where to go. Democracy what Democracy. These so called mp’s behaved like bully boys in the playground the union is dead and has been for a long time.

    • Sue de Nymme says:

      Based on Bob’s comments immediately above, leaving in a huff could provoke what he says might happen. We should remember that the Northern Ireland Assembly has been suspended on several occasions, the longest suspension being from 14 October 2002 until 7 May 2007. It would suit Davie Boy to suspend Holyrood prior to its next elections.

      I am sure that Alex et al are very wary of traps.

      BTW, what are our Welsh and Irish cousins’ responses to EVEL?

      • macart763 says:

        You’re right, they can’t simply leave, Westminster still has the power to shut Holyrood and recall all powers.

        Remember that permanence of our parliament that was promised then yanked away. That’s one of those traps. The establishment parties are deliberately goading our representation, but fear not, they’re not going to rise to the bait. More importantly neither must we. However outraged we may be at current treatment, we must have patience and let this play out.

        • BenQ says:

          I always enjoy your contributions macart, but I have to disagree with you on this. The “Let’s see how it all pans out” strategy is a one way ticket to disaster. We already know how it’s going to pan out, because Westminster has already told us – we get FA, and no means to alter the fact that in perpetuity we get FA. And if every single Westminster seat in Scotland goes to the SNP – now and in the near future – we will still get FA. Or SFA, which is the new improved Broony version of FA/The Vow.

          Suppose the SNP very publicly quit Westminster after EVEL comes into force, explaining the democratic deficit as the reason why. The Tories and their abstemious partners in Labour suspend the Sottish Parliament in retaliation. The SNP go there anyway, ignoring Westminster edicts and citing the democratic deficit as the reason why. If they get locked out they simply go somewhere else. George Square would be a start. Stop dancing to Westminster’s tune !

          We need to step outside a system that is likely to be stacked against us – forever. How the hell can the SNP ever achieve anything? They are figures for scorn and ridicule in England, able to change nothing. They can deliver the most brilliant and incendiary speeches, prep a case for change grounded in common sense and logic, whip up Scottish opinion, build a landslide majority in Scotland – and the Mundell weasel vetos! Feeble 56. So it was all pointless. Even if he doesn’t, Westminster numbers simply crush the vote. Inside an EVEL+Veto system, participation at Westminster it’s utterly pointless, unless your interest is a cushy salary and expenses.

          You say we can’t leave. Why not? The SNP are the majority party in Scotland by a huge margin. The SNP represent US, not the Westminster system. They can do whatever they want.

          If the SNP came home and built their own government, what is London realistically going to do? Send in the troops? Or panic? They marginalised us, not the other way around. And if our elected representatives meekly accept that, we truly are screwed.

          No more Imperial Masters, forelock tugging, play nice bollocks. Our representation is powerless to alter anything at Westminster. EVEL+Veto = FA. Shutup and get back in yer kennel Jock.

          Personal Opinion: Yes was too nicey-nicey, lets not scare the voters with blood and soil Nationalism. And I’m not arguing for that and never will. Since Nicola became the public face of the SNP, she has done brilliantly – but still too nicey by far. She wants to build coalitions and bridges and combat the Tories plans – problem is, all the others (who could help) have closed ranks and frozen her and her party out. They actively participated in stopping any change to the Status Quo. There will be no thaw, in my opinion.

          The only way we will get anything is by taking it, and daring London to stop us. Post EVEL+Veto we need to lead, not follow ! And while we may fall short of Independence going down that route, we can provoke a crisis, crisis meetings, ’emergency debates’ and all the usual headless chicken havoc amongst the Establishment. It’s how we will get real change – but we have to be willing to try. Greece is willing to break from a system the people no longer believe in. We can do similar – and I think the will is there, for now.

          Staying at Westminster in EVEL+Veto, is just tacitly accepting there is nothing we can do except complain, get routinely overruled, and meekly accept getting screwed. 30+ years of that, so we can wait and see how it pans out? No thanks.

          Stop being nice and start provoking them. We have, pardon the pun, FA to lose and at least something to gain.

          • Sue de Nymme says:

            Nobody is saying that we can’t leave. However, if you are in a prison there are two ways to break out. Rushing the barricades will fail, but digging a tunnel is a much better option.

            The key to leaving rUK is to ensure that Scotland has an income. All major taxes raised in Scotland are funnelled via England before being returned. Make no mistake about it, UDI will result in Westminster stopping all of Hollyrood’s income. That is the key problem to be solved and, when that is solved, we can leave.

          • macart763 says:

            Basically what Sue de Nymme said BenQ.

            We are leaving, but on our terms, not theirs. The 56 are using their own system against them. They however are attempting to use the system to provoke a response which will leave them with a constitutional and legal high ground.

            When I say wait and lets see how things pan out it doesn’t mean that something isn’t being done right now. The noise in the press and Westminster let’s you know just how much of a pain our representation is. They’re doing this effectively and legally, what you describe as ‘nicey’ is remaining within constitutional and legal boundaries. It leaves the opposition with nowhere to go and ensures a clean exit when the opportunity arises. The aim is to dissolve a treaty through popular mandate. That, as far as I know, is still the aim and the method which will ensure the least amount of pain is suffered by the Scottish electorate.

            It is difficult and frustrating, no question, but so far that team in Westminster appear to be doing well and seem to know what they’re about. I’m still of the opinion to let them do their job. If they decide there is a time to leave, or call the next referendum, that’s when we get behind them.

  30. craig miller says:

    Surely WM couldnt simply sit out a general recall , democratic world opinion would probably respect a mandate now , never mind in the event of a constitutional crisis like that , i have spent the day spikily slagging off gradualism cos i was in a constitutional bad mood , i could just as easily advocate gradualism on another more hopeful day….slightly split personality or , im just fed up waiting , could you gradually just increase the pace a bit ? …some of us are growing gradually old , i want a Scottish passport

  31. jacquescoleman says:

    Good article except for…”without those uppity Caledonians interjecting in their incomprehensible accents”. This is just another form of ‘the cringe’ notwithsatnding that you are being satirical. Sometimes satire doesn’t work.

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