Jack Straw attacks "English votes for English laws," but has no answer to the democratic crisis in Englandby Christine Constable / October 27, 2007 / Leave a comment
Published in October 2007 issue of Prospect Magazine
Jack Straw’s description of the Conservative policy of “English votes for English laws” as “narrow English nationalism” demonstrates his willingness to adopt the tactics of the playground bully, by replacing intellectual debate with name-calling.
Labour’s partial devolution settlement aimed to ensure that only the Scots voted on Scottish matters and only the Welsh on Welsh matters. This was meant to salve years of rancour caused by the fact that neither Scotland or Wales felt they had democratic control over their own affairs. At the time, Labour politicans were adamant that this was not a matter of “narrow nationalism”; it was an essential requirement of a functioning democracy.
England, by contrast, is in democratic meltdown. For England to find herself with a prime minister whom no one in England has elected, and without an executive or parliament, is an affront to democracy. In a post-devolutionary British state, it is absurd to have ministers managing English departments who have not been elected by the people of England—Douglas Alexander, for example, MP for the Scottish constituency of Paisley and Renfrewshire South, has total control over English transport, yet has no power on transport issues in Scotland.