English Devolution and the West Lothian Question

West Lothian
West Lothian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back in 2004, 46 Labour MPs representing Scottish constituencies were pivotal in passing The Higher Education Bill through Parliament at Westminster. The final vote was 316 for and 311 against.

What this meant was that both of my children when they came to enter university were saddled with astronomical debts. The passing of the Bill enabled top-up fees to be levied on English resident students going to English universities. However, Scottish students going to Scottish universities were exempt from fees as this has been decided by the Members of the Scottish devolved Parliament.

So we ended up with Scottish Labour MPs voting to impose charges on English students when students in their own constituencies were exempt. Tim Yeo the Shadow Education Secretary at the time described the situation as an ‘utter humiliation’ for the Labour government.

And there was a similar situation when it came to the creation of Foundation Hospitals. Again the votes of the Scottish MPs were crucial in passing legislation that did not affect their constituents but had a massive impact on other parts of the UK.

This whole issue was described as the ‘West Lothian Question’ by the MP Enoch Powell in response to it being raised as a question by the MP Tam Dalyell.

And you can also throw in the annoying situation where both my wife and I have to pay for subscriptions upon which our health depends when Scottish residents (and Welsh) are exempt.

So with the recent failure of the vote for Scotland to leave the United Kingdom it’s a good time to look at ways to ensure that such injustices can’t be imposed by MPs whose constituencies are totally unaffected. The current debate evolving over and English Parliament or English Regional Assemblies can’t come soon enough and I look forward to seeing how the parties work this one out.

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DWP Smears Trussell Trust

Holy Bible Title Page
Holy Bible Title Page (Photo credit: mrbill)

The government remains determined to ignore the real reason behind the rise in food bank usage throughout the UK as they chip away at the welfare system so as to prop up the bankers and bondholders. Now the Department for Work and Pensions, which should remain neutral on political issues is trying to blame the Evangelical Christians. Apparently food banks are a God-given opportunity to evangelise and proselytize and the impetus is not to feed the poor and hungry but to indulge in a bit of Bible bashing.

“For the Trussell Trust, food banks started as an evangelical device to get religious groups in touch with their local communities. As far as I know, the Government has no policy on evangelism.”

See minutes of the Scottish Parliament Welfare Reform Committee, Section 1464.

I’ll let the Apostle St Matthew speak for me.

Matthew 25:35-36
New Living Translation (NLT)
35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

Authored by Chris Hall

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Mami Konneh, Keep on Running!

The headlines at the BBC News website shout “London Marathon runner Mami Konneh Lahun misses flight”

As a tribute to Mami Konneh, the runner from Sierra Leone I’d like to dedicate this fine tune.

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Nick Clegg says Lib Dem-Labour coalition possible

Seems Nick Clegg is touting his party round looking for another host to latch onto.

I wonder what the Labour leader’s response will be?

Ed MacDonald, or was it Ramsay Miliband?

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The Right to Strike

Acetate stencil commemorating the life and dea...
Utah Phillips (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was watching BBC Question Time the other night and the great and the good were waffling on about removing the right of tube workers to withdraw their labour. Most of the Parliamentary politicos seemed to think restricting the right to strike for public transport workers might be a good thing. I expect our government of millionaires will be contemplating the same thing. After all they managed it with GCHQ.

It reminded me of a quote from Utah Phillips which I couldn’t quite remember so I posted this on twitter:

The right to strike is not a right conferred upon the masses by the elite and is not theirs to withdraw

Summed it up for me. Anyhow, here’s the most excellent quote from Utah:

The state can’t give you freedom, and the state can’t take it away. You’re born with it, like your eyes, like your ears. Freedom is something you assume, then you wait for someone to try to take it away. The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you are free…

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Oh the integrity of them all!

Seems that someone else is getting involved in the saga around politicising OFSTED.

Seems that David Laws is accusing Gove of acting politically over the appointments and de-appointments.

Hold on, David Laws?

Yes, that David Laws.

Just to remind ourselves.

Oh the integrity of them all!

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