Over at A View from Rural Wales Conservative MP Glyn Davies considers the English Question although he still calls it the West Lothian Question
Lets consider some of the various answers. First up an 'English Parliament'. Now do we really need to create another 'parliament'? Is this what the people of Britain want? I have heard it suggested that current MPs sitting for English seats could meet as an 'English Parliament' each Friday at the House of Commons. Well, I would not want these English MPs deciding on health and transport policies in Shropshire without my being there, or air transport policy just because the actual airports are in England. Increasingly specialist services are going to be in England. Lots of mid Wales services are in Shropshire. Some form of an English Parliament is supported by those who want a 'federal' UK. Personally I do not thing a 'federal system is sustainable when one of the 'federal partners' is around 85% of the whole. Think Cyprus and the Eurozone!! Many sensible people like this idea. I don't.
So what about 'English votes for English laws'. Personally I think this is rather better, but would be horrendously complex and difficult to operate. Every bill would have aspects which affected England only. House of Commons would be like a non-stop Hokey Kokey. But this would be good for job creation - the million civil servants needed to make it work. This is not for me either - unless we unwisely decide 'Something must be done'.
So Glyn seems to have concluded that there's a problem but doesn't really know what the best solution.
He is not alone
But then what he doesn't really address is that whats practical isn't always right.
He doesn't for instance look at devolving power to English Regions but for both the Tories and Labour this would mean that there will be always at least one dissolved English body run by a different party than Westminster and it won't consist of Nationalist but consist of their main Westminster opposition.
Of course whats arguably at fault here is the two party system,
I have used the 1997 election because although there was a Labour landslide . If there was regional Parliaments in England .The would still be in control of parts of that country in these regions.and the Lib Dems in the South west
Similarly Labour faced with a Tory Landslide would still control large parts of the midlands .abd the North East
So Regional Parliament s is not attractive to either party.
So that leaves either a English Parliament or changing the voting system in Westminster.
I don't share Glyn Davies pessimism on how English MPs can vote on English Laws
There could be a Speakers Committee who could decide on the bills and decide whether thebills:
- Solely affect English Law which are voted on and debated by English MPs
- Billss which may affect the other Nations which only English MPs can vote on but others can debate and take part in the committee stage.
- Bills that mainly affect England but the affect means that Welsh MPs can vote but not Scottish MPs.
- Bills which affect the UK as a whole
It may look like a bureaucratic mess but in fact would be reasonably easy to rule on.
Glyn rightly points out the problems of federalism. Though Cyprus is a poor example . But he fails to point the only real solution is to end the UK and see an Independent England as Wales Scotland and Wales.
Practical and Fair.