EVEL: The Clue Is In The Name

Today the UK parliament, for the first time in its long history, voted to make two classes of MPs, some more equal than oth….. Sorry, I meant to say some with more powers than others.

Scottish people who want independence are often asked to defend our opposition to EVEL, as since we want the power of self-determination, surely it’s hypocritical to begrudge that power for others. So, as we have to repeat over and over again, here goes: yes, there is a constutional imbalance. The argument could easily be made that this imbalance is negligible because of the difference in size between England and each of the devolved parliaments, but in the interests of fairness, I don’t think I know anyone who wouldn’t back a devolved English parliament, or, even better, a series of them, each about the same size as the already extant ones for each major region.

But a tiny child could see the conflict of interest in having Westminster also be the devolved English parliament. Scottish MPs can’t vote on devolved matters, and MSPs can’t vote in Westminster. EVEL has the same people fulfilling both functions, which is a terrible idea.

It has also drawn the line at ‘Scottish MPs cannot vote on bills which will only be implemented in England’, which doesn’t remotely take into account the actual problem we have with EVEL, which is this: while very little we do up here in our parliament has any discernible effect on England, there is a vast gulf between ‘will only be implemented in England’ and ‘will only  affect England’.

To paraphrase how Dara O’Briain put it, ‘after suddenly noticing that Scotland existed and spending three weeks begging them to stay, the second the result was called they turned to each other and said “so what does this mean for England?”‘ Instead of making a speech about being glad we chose to stay, reaffirming the Union and our place in it, Cameron immediately moved to EVEL and started the process of painting the Scots as coming to take away what was theirs. We immediately became the enemy, wanting to ‘have our cake and eat it’ after 18 months of being told staying would give us ‘the best of both worlds’ (and all the clichĂ©s you can handle).

Ever since that morning, every move has been made to put us in our place, to remind us that we have very little power, that we will always be overruled, that we are a symbolic relic, allowed to exist as long as we keep funneling the oil money south. We were reminded, as the Chamber broke out in cheers and applause, that they can dissolve Holyrood at any moment because they *allow* it to exist out of the goodness of their hearts, as long as we don’t affect them. And now we’ve got a voting bloc of MPs who might possibly make a difference in close votes, we’ve had that power removed too.

Better Together? Aye, right.


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