Thursday, 25 September 2014

West Lothian Question and a venal PM

Moments after the result of the Scottish Referendum was announced, our deeply shallow (an oxymoron, but apposite) Prime Minister could have behaved like a statesman rather than a party political hack. He could have accepted the result and confirmed the pledge which had done enough to persuade 5/100 voters to change their minds. Matthew Norman, writing in the Independent, was singularly unimpressed. 

“What he told us, with the most venal political manoeuvre in memory, is that he loves leading his party more than he loves his country. “Beware of men who cry,” said Nora Ephron. “It’s true that men who cry are sensitive to and in touch with feelings, but the only feelings they tend to be sensitive to and in touch with are their own.” In this case, the feeling with which he was in touch was the fear of losing his job.
To ingratiate himself with Mr Redwood, Bernard Jenkin and other far-right brethren in the phalanx of Poor Little Englanders who might have sought to oust him for devolving more power to Scotland, he has wilfully and knowingly unleashed forces that will, if unchecked, render the Union a mirthless and meaningless joke.
Yet it is the petty partisanship of David Cameron that is so despicable. At a moment when decency demanded that he douse the post-referendum rancour and bring the Union together, he did the opposite. He disgraced himself and his office by seeking to yoke (albeit he has drawn back) the timetables for Scottish “home rule”  and English Votes For English Laws,  even though the former was a solemn promise and the latter had never been hinted at until then. (my emphasis)
He never fails to disappoint, this Prime Minister, with his smallness. He could have said that while the West Lothian question must be addressed, constitutional change on such an epic scale cannot be rushed; that this was a moment to celebrate the survival of the Union and a time to bring “our United Kingdom” together rather than entrench the divisions. Instead of being the statesman he affects to be, he dipped into his heir-to-Blair trust fund to pluck out the fool’s gold of short-term tactical gain.

Months of nationalistic bickering might leave Labour paralysed, and partially neutralise Ukip, to help him win next May. But it will leave the Scots asking themselves why they chickened out of ridding themselves of the English, and England more diminished than ever. If David Cameron is re-elected on a shrill platform of falsely imagined victimhood, poor little England indeed.”24/9/14

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