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Guardian:We must not give Cameron the chance to tear our country apart

The cross of St George still flies from the odd car roof and hangs in the occasional newsagent's window. Their owners know England are out of the World Cup; they just don't want to believe it yet. Meanwhile, on Andy Murray's website a row rages over whether Scots should support the English in their sporting endeavours and vice versa. And now the Conservatives are fleshing out their plan to stop Scottish and eventually Welsh MPs from voting on laws that only affect England. We are, in other words, in the midst of one of those perennial debates about our national identity.

They come regularly, often in summer, usually coinciding with a major moment in sport. In the case of the latest Tory announcement, that's unlikely to be a coincidence: it's proved smart media management to raise English votes for English laws while the white and red face-paint is still wet. A victory last Saturday would have made it even more timely.

The motive is pretty obvious, too. When Alan Duncan says it has become "almost impossible" for Britain to have a Scottish prime minister, we know who he has in mind. The Tories are raising the English question now to undermine Gordon Brown.

Which is not to say they don't have a point. The logic of the case is as sound now as it was 30 years ago when Tam Dalyell, arguing against devolution for Scotland, raised his famous West Lothian question: why should Scottish MPs be able to vote on schools or hospitals in England when English MPs cannot do the same for Scotland? The Conservative proposal - not new but in the manifesto in 2001 and 2005 - would untangle that anomaly. The Scots would do their thing in Edinburgh, and English MPs would do theirs at English-only sessions at Westminster. When there were matters affecting the whole of the UK, then everyone would come back together. That makes sense and, what's more, it's popular: polls show healthy majorities of Scottish and English voters in favour.



Money is a sign of Poverty - Culture Saying
by RogueTrooper on Wed Jul 5th, 2006 at 07:32:00 AM EST

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