Tuesday, February 14, 2006
English knives out for Brown
According to Charlie Clarke and others, Gordon Brown is now virtually "Joint Prime Minister" with Tony Blair, though as he perfectly well knows, in our system of government such an idea is a constitutional nonsense.
The more of this sort of thing I hear, the more I am tending to the view that Brown is being set up by the Blairites - an idea I explored in a previous post last week and may well return to....
Meanwhile, supporters of the Campaign for an English Parliament, of which I am also a supporter, have launched a campaign to stop Gordon Brown becoming Prime Minister on the grounds that, as a Scot, he has no mandate in England.
This image of Gordon Brown currently appears on the CEP newsblog, along with a lengthy comment from me and response from the blog's author, Gareth Young.
Although I support the CEP's overall aims I think there is a rather unpleasant and personal overtone to this campaign. It doesn't seem so very far away from the sort of "send the buggers home" saloon-bar racism which still exists in some inner-city areas where racial tensions are high.
Gareth's argument is that until we have an English Parliament, we can't have a Scottish Prime Minister of the whole of the UK, but this seems a bizarre point of view to take if Gordon is the best candidate for PM in all other respects.
That said, Gordon could stop this sort of sabre-rattling in its tracks by saying a bit more about how he plans to tackle the West Lothian Question if and when he finally does become Prime Minister.
As I have said on previous posts, one of the opposition parties is going to come out in favour of an English Parliament before too long, because the status quo simply cannot be justified. Brown should pre-empt them by promising an English Constitutional Convention to look at the whole issue in the round.
February 15 update: Iain Dale's Diary is also inviting comments on this post.
February 16 update: More hostile comment on this post can be found at the CEP Cambs blog and The England Project. Some posters on CEP Cambs seem to think I am some kind of wealthy academic stuck in my ivory tower - if only they knew!