Friday, 17 October 2014

Gordon rides again

Yesterday Gordon Brown hoisted himself to his feet and made another speech on devolution, this time presenting 'his' petition calling on the government to deliver on the 'Vow'.  This must have been a treat for the people of Kirkcaldy - they're not used to seeing him in the natural habitat.of the UK MP and now they've had two appearances in a week. 

The speech mainly aired his concerns that more devolution for Scotland is being linked to English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) and the reduction of the voting ability of MPs from Scottish constituencies.  His argument runs that the 'Vow' made no mention of these things, and that to deny Scotland the powers (not actually) promised in the 'Vow' would be bad faith on the part of the government, and would also make Scottish MPs effectively second-class citizens at Westminster.

Now I've heard a lot of talk about how Gordon Brown is a highly intelligent and politically astute operator, and I've no reason to disbelieve this.  So in that case, why didn't he see this coming?  Or was he so focussed on saving his beloved North Britain for the Union that he didn't bother to think it through?  He's now doing a fair impression of a man who's teetering on the edge of a pit full of sharpened stakes, pin-wheeling his arms in a desperate attempt not to fall in and take his entire hunting party with him.

Part of his concern is, of course, that reduction in the voting rights would disproportionately affect Labour, as Scotland has in the past returned a majority of MPs from this party.  As I've observed before, Labour really needs to wake up to the fact that this is by no means guaranteed at the next UK General Election.  And possibly this tells us a little about why he's in his current dilemma - assumptions.  He doesn't seem to have recognised the fundamental change to the political landscape that has occurred as a result of the referendum, and is now rather like the dinosaurs, wondering what that huge explosion was.

I believe it's traditional for ex-Prime Minsters to be offered a seat in the House of Lords at the end of their careers.  I think, however, if Gordon Brown continues to harass the government on this, his ermine cape might just be up the Swannee.

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