The House of Commons has a committee which scrutinises Scottish legislation – yeah! Scottish scrutiny for Scottish laws – yeah! And it’s even chaired by thon guy that used to be in RunRig – yeah! Mind you, the committee has almost as many English Tory MPs as it does Scottish MPs – because that’s what we voted for at the last election, wasn’t it? I distinctly remember Paddington Mundell counting for almost as much as the rest of Scotland’s MPs combined, the BBC seems to thinks so. So the fact that the Scottish Affairs Committee is made up of four SNP MPs and three English Conservative MPs is totally fair and balanced right? It’s fair in exactly the same way the Iain Duncan Smith’s benefits reforms are fair, like Job Centre sanctions are fair. You know, Michael Gove’s definition of justice. And he’s Scottish, so we can’t complain or we’re just racists who hate the English.
Anyway, the Tory MPs are outnumbered by the SNP ones, so there’s no room on our shoulders for chips. But not to worry, just to make sure that the non-Scottish MPs aren’t outnumbered on a committee devoted entirely to Scottish matters and nothing else, it’s got three Labour MPs as well, and they are all representing English seats too. It’s the flip side of English votes for English laws – it’s English votes for Scottish committees.
So in line with the democratic principle of English votes for Scottish affairs, Scotland’s MPs are going to be outnumbered on Westminster’s only purely Scottish committee by six to four. Still, at least that’s not quite as bad as being outnumbered by 600 odd – some of whom are extremely odd, I mean have you seen Michael Fabricant’s hair? – to 59 which is what happens in the rest of the parliament. This represents a huge advance for Scottish rights and representation, because now we’ve only got six imperial masters to bow down before, instead of bowing down before 600, which really does play havoc on the knees.
So who are our Imperial masters who control our destiny but who were foisted upon us without Scotland having any say in the matter? Och silly us, thinking that we should get a majority say on matters that only affect Scotland. Who are these savants who know more about Scotland than any MP who might actually represent a Scottish constituency and have been given their job by voters in Scotland?
Christopher Chope is the Tory MP for Christchurch in Dorset. He’s not Scottish, although rumour has it that he did once mistake a grouse beater in Morayshire for a grouse. Christopher’s hobbies include scoffing at poor people, revelling in his sense of entitlement, and demonising benefits claimants. So fairly typical for a Tory then. Chris spent the Thatcher years introducing the Poll Tax, so he’s got previous experience at opinionating on laws that no one wants and no one voted for. In a previous incarnation he was a colonial governor, just like he is in this one. Chris is in favour of hanging, conscription, and keeping developing countries in hock to banks.
David Anderson is the Labour MP for Blaydon, which is in Tyneside so that’s practically in Scotland isn’t it? Geordies say things like “doon the toon” so it’s more or less the same as being Scottish. And some small parts of David’s constituency are actually on the northern side of Hadrian’s Wall, so as far as the Daily Mail is concerned that makes him a raving blue face painted Braveheartist. In the real world, he’s at best lukewarm on the subject of further devolution for Scotland.
Jim Cunningham is the Labour MP for Coventry South, but he ran away to the bright lights and bustling opportunities of Coventry from Coatbridge. So he is actually Scottish, a Tom Clarke who couldn’t make the mark. Jim cares so much about his former homeland that he’s been absent from most votes in the Commons on Scottish devolution since 2010 and on the occasions when he has been arsed enough to vote, he’s voted against extra devolution almost as much as he’s voted in favour. And this guy is the only Scot who’s been drafted in to make up numbers.
Stephen Hepburn is the Labour MP for Jarrow, which is also in Tyneside. There’s clearly a theme here. It is perfectly possible that no one in London appreciates the difference between Tyneside and Scotland, and thinks that Newcastle is a suburb of Edinburgh.
Dan Poulter is the Tory MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich. But Suffolk starts with the letter S, and so does Scotland, so this qualifies him as an expert in all things Caledonian. He may have a Scottish granny. Then again he may not. No one really cares, just like no one really cares about Dan’s opinions on matters Scottish. He may have gone to Inverness on holiday once, if that’s a help. He’s only on the committee to make sure the SNP are outnumbered.
Maggie Throup is the Tory MP for Erewash, which I always thought was one of the kingdoms of Middle Earth, but apparently it’s in Derbyshire. Maggie may or may not be an elf, but we can be sure that her contribution to Scottish debates won’t be magic. Maggie was chosen for the committee because Derbyshire was the most southernly point that the Jacobite rebels reached in the 18th century, and Davie Cameron is hoping that Maggie will turn around the Caledonian hordes with her magic wand. Her Wikipedia page says “Maggie Throup is the Conservative MP for Erewash” and practically nothing else, that’s how great her dedication to Scottish matters is.
So these are the people that Westminster has chosen to have a majority on the only committee that will scrutinise legislation and ensure that it’s in tune with the desires and needs of the Scottish electorate. They’d probably have stood a better chance of finding people more representative of Scottish public opinion if they’d made a random selection of backing singers from Croatian entries to Eurovision from the past decade. But then representing Scotland isn’t what a Westminster Scottish Affairs Committee is all about. It’s about ensuring that Scotland’s affairs are dictated by Westminster, and about making sure that we don’t get any notions that we get a choice in the matter.
Can we have another independence referendum now please? This isn’t funny any more.
Update: It’s worse than I thought. There’s 11 of them, not 10. And there’s the same number of Tories as SNP MPs. The extra Tory is John Stevenson who represents Carlisle. Carlisle used to be a part of Scotland until the 11th century, but we really don’t want it back. They vote for folk like John, who was educated in Aiberdeen but had to go to Carlisle in order to find people who’d vote for him and his brand of old fashioned homophobia. John doesn’t like the idea that gay people can get married, but then most gay people – and a hell of a lot of straight people – don’t really like the idea of John either. So there’s some balance.
Donate to the Dug
This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.