Friday 4 June 2004

Has Brown left it too late?

I imagine that this story will result in heated but private debate within the Labour Party:
LABOUR’S war of succession flared again yesterday, when Tony Blair’s closest aide claimed Gordon Brown could never become Prime Minister - because he is Scottish.
I don't really think that Brown's nationality rules him out as Prime Minister in the reasonably near future, but the West Lothian Question really does need to be answered. My own preference is for Scots MPs to be barred from debating or voting on England-only laws, with a corresponding reduction in salary. However, if we get a few more of those Commons votes that force through English-only legislation with the help of Scottish MPs, who knows what will happen? Maybe then English Labour MPs would indeed refuse to pick Brown as leader. We could even have a West Lothian Question in the Labour leadership election itself, whenever it eventually comes. What on earth would happen if Gordon Brown received a majority vote but only by including Scots?

It's interesting to note that the Scotsman's political correspondent doesn't seem to consider Edinburgh-born Tony Blair as being Scottish:

If Mr Powell did assert that Mr Brown could not become Prime Minister because he is a Scot, he clearly has not read a history of the occupants of Downing Street. In the 70 years between 1894 and 1964, there have been seven Scottish prime ministers who covered a total of 25 years.
Of course, Tony is probably the only person born north of the border who doesn't proclaim his own Scottish nationality.


David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Ben Cosin (
Rosebery, Campbell-Bannerman, Bonar Law, MacDonald, MacMillan, Home. 
That's six.  
Who's the seventh? 
Not Balfour, surely, in spite of his Scots-sounding name. (Salisbury's nephew - hence the phrase Bob's your uncle). 
Asquith delighted in standing on Arthur's Seat and claiming that every visible constituency was represented by a (?English? some other qualifier? Liberal? only thirty years before Disraeli loathed the Scots for returning only Liberals) barrister. 
But he was a notorious Yorkshireman, though not a tyke, surely. He gave us the phrase "squiffy". 

Gladstone (resigned in 1893? and a Scouse anyway) 
Ben (Alzheimer) Cosin

15 June 2004, 12:40:29 GMT+01:00
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David Ellams (
I agree with Stuart Dickinson. Mr Blair has a right to reject his Scottish nationality, if he so desires. 
However, he does not have the right covertly to turn this country into a carbon copy of the Soviet Union, the country that he so obviously and ardently admires.

11 June 2004, 22:59:34 GMT+01:00
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Neil (
I would much prefer English regional assemblies as I think an English Parliament, or even worse, a de facto england only section in Westminster, would be unbalancing & produce a long term weakness in the Union. I also think that one argument for Federalism is that it allows different areas to experiment & an all England group is to big for much experimentation. 
On the other hand it is up to the English to decide.

8 June 2004, 20:55:01 GMT+01:00
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k young (
England does not need a Scotsman to create an English Parliament, there is one on the way sooner or later, any one will do.The public have no say in who is to be the next PM. The member for Fife will be ideal for the cause of an English Parliament and bring it on sooner rather than later.NL are not on their own in trying to deny there is a problem. In these elections the Tories 
are putting Wales first,putting Scotland first and then putting britain first. The Lib/Dums are working for Wales, working for Scotland and er in the big bit working for you, England is not invited.

6 June 2004, 10:39:23 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickson (
Not only did the English need a Scot to found the Bank of England, now they need one to re-convene the English Parliament they lost in 1707. Why can't the English ever do anything for themselves?

5 June 2004, 05:38:55 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer said...

k young (
Gordon Brown is one of the few Labour MP's from any of the home nations who has no problem with an English Parliament, where as English Politicians duck and dive every time the West Lothian Question is brought up. In recent times Gordon has taken to describing the UK as "The Nations and regions of Britain" which gets up peoples noses,we know who he means by the regions of Britain.He is probrably saying it for prezzas sake. 
Gordon Brown could back heel prescott 
create an English Parliament and become a President of a federal Britain.nowt wrong wi that.

5 June 2004, 01:03:54 GMT+01:00
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David (
Of course Gordon Brown should not become PM. Not because he is a Scot, but because he represents a Scottish constituency. 
Why? Because Brown would find himself legislating on matters which did not impact on the people he represents. 
Brown is a very intelligent man. Brown also spent decades campaigning for devolution to Scotland. Brown is therefore perfectly able to understand why it is not acceptable for a Scottish MP to decide English legislation, and he must now be wise enough to accept the consequences of devolution. 
I mean Tam Dayell pointed this all out a long time ago, did Gordon not realise this?

4 June 2004, 21:23:03 GMT+01:00
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Verity (
V good!

4 June 2004, 16:57:34 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer (
This calls for a "Which Blair Project".

4 June 2004, 16:45:47 GMT+01:00
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Verity (
How do you know where Tony Blair was born? I think he's a changeling. There's something empty and not quite right about Toneboy and Matthew Parris captures it with stunning accuracy in this week's Spectator online.

4 June 2004, 14:50:16 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickson (
Nationality should be a matter of choice. It is Tony Blairs prerogative to reject his country of birth, and his choice should be respected.

4 June 2004, 13:24:00 GMT+01:00