I, for one, welcome our new foreign masters
Today the Scottish Nationalists – who might possibly hold the balance of power after this year’s UK election – have explicitly announced what they’ve been strongly hinting since the referendum. They will come down from the moral high ground they have hitherto occupied, and start to exercise their constitutional right to a share in the rule of England. That is, in addition to their legitimate minority share in the rule of the UK (and indeed EU), of which England and Scotland are both parts.
Let’s be clear. I don’t want to be ruled by the SNP. I particularly don’t want to be ruled by their socialist economic policies (though the alternatives look pretty bleak, too). But I have applauded the SNP for taking the moral high ground in the past, unlike the utterly corrupt Labour party who first created our constitutional brokenness and have always abused it. I applauded the SNP for their heroic efforts to rid us of this brokenness (e.g. here and here).
Now I applaud them once again. The moral high ground is in practice ambiguous and impractical: that is all part of Blair’s terrible legacy. And it is far too broken to apply sticking plaster as the Tories now seem to want, or to kick back into the long grass as Labour are desperate to do. How better to try and combat those things than by provoking the constitutional crisis that’s been inevitable since Blair? How better to do that than for Scottish MPs to highlight unfairness to the English?
And their choice of issue looks like a stroke of genius, encompassing not just (inevitably) the Westlothian Question, but also the Barnett Formula. The latter is of course one of the complexities that renders both their former moral high ground and the Tories sticking plaster hopelessly impractical.