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Open Letter on the West Lothian Question

The Under Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, recently said;

I have always expressed the view that there is no desire for an English Parliament—and the same two people have always written to me afterwards to say that I am wrong.

To afford the honourable gentleman some variety in his correspondence, I sent him this email;

Dear Mr. Mundell,

You said recently in Parliament that there is "no demand" for equal constitutional treatment of England and Scotland. You will forgive me if I don't agree. You said in Parliament that only the same two people ever write to tell you that you are wrong about an English Parliament. Allow me to make a third.

It is offensive and wrong that you can vote on English issues equivalent to those reserved to the Scottish Parliament. It is unfair that the Barnett Formula values your constituents more than my wife, my children and me to the tune of £1,800 each per year. Not to mention "free" prescriptions, higher education, care for the elderly etc.

The injustice of the present constitution is creating hostility where there was (on the part of the English at least) none. Polls suggest more English people now favour an end to the Union than Scots. No wonder, when the Scots are voting themselves privileges without fiscal consequences! Perhaps people in England seething at this injustice don't all articulate it in the same formal way, but that is no excuse to dismiss their legitimate concerns so lightly. A Parliamentarian is a representative, not a delegate and should consider the interests of the whole country.

I have no desire to layer on more government. There is already far too much. It could be perfectly economical, however, to introduce an English Parliament as part of a scheme both to equalise the constitutional settlement of the UK and to democratise the Upper House. The Scottish, Welsh, English and Northern Irish Parliaments/Assemblies could sit together in the Lords' Chamber as a Grand Senate of the United Kingdom, with entrenched powers to prevent constitutional changes adverse to the interests of any single constituent nation. Both Houses would then be elected without significant extra expense as the English Parliament could share the chamber with the Grand Senate and the costs of the House of Lords would be saved (as well as perhaps half the costs of the House of Commons). I suggest that the overall number of elected representatives (and therefore expense) could be kept the same or even reduced.

You may recall the poem Margaret Thatcher famously quoted in EU budget negotiations; Rudyard Kipling's "Norman and Saxon"

"When he stands like an ox in the furrow,
With his sullen eyes set on your own,
And mumbles 'this isn't fair dealing' My son, leave the Saxon alone."

The British Constitution, as perverted by Tony Blair's Labour Party in the vain hope of political gain, is by no means "fair dealing". I respectfully request that you stop being so flippant on this issue and consider a just and equitable reform.

I shall post a copy of this letter to my blog, www.thelastditch.org, where I write under the nom de plume "Tom Paine." Please feel free to reply publicly there. Otherwise, if you give your permission, I shall post your reply there.

Yours faithfully,

I await a reply wih interest.

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