Monday, January 16, 2006

Is Gordon Brown a big grumpy incarnation of the West Lothian question?

A number of people have suggested, not implausibly, that this is the reason he was coming over all patriotic - and it certainly is a wee problemette for our Gordy. As well as being seen, a bit unfairly, as someone who personifies Calvinist gloom - he represents what is increasingly seen as an imbalance in the constitutional settlement we have post-devolution. During eighteen years of Tory rule, we got so used to the fact that the way Scotland voted didn't matter a damn when it came to the outcome of a British General Election, we seem to have forgotten the possibility that when Labour came to power, the opposite could be the case. The first two Labour landslides meant the West Lothian question remained academic, but with their present more slender majority it has become a genuine source of disquiet amongst English MPs, according to the Scotsman.

We have already seen controversial legislation on health care passed but only with the government retaining its Parliamentary majority with the presence of Scottish MPs, who represented constituencies that would not be affected by the changes. Gordon Brown must be anticipating the possibility of leading a government that does not have a majority of the seats in England. Bit of a problem for him - and adds to the feeling I keep getting, that the Force isn't with this one, and that his star may have passed... and that he senses this too?

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