English votes does not fuel the SNP

Mr Darling was wrong to say asking for English votes for English issues fuels the SNP. The SNP is the one Scottish party that sees the logic and justice of English votes for English issues. What fuels the SNP is understanding that every time they push hard for more devolution they are given it. The SNP will always want Home Rule as they call it. Justice for England will not alter that.


  1. alan jutson
    December 16, 2014

    Agree with you John

    When in negotiations you always but always keep on asking for more and more, that is the whole art of negotiation, you even ask for more when the answer is No.

    When you keep on getting a no time after time, you perhaps then realise that you have probably got all you are going to get.

    Whilst you keep on getting rewards every time you ask for more, the requests will continue.


    Anyone who has been in business will know that the above is standard practice.

    Even on a personal basis when purchasing some goods there is room to negotiate a price reduction or the provision of an additional service.

    Problem is we do not have anyone on our side (yourself excluded) who has any commercial intellect, skill or negotiation skills at all.
    Hence why so many of us are in despair about the so called promise of negotiations with the EU.

    1. Hope
      December 16, 2014

      JR’s biggest problem is that, once again, his leadership is fudging the EVEL promised by Cameron. JR has been forced to try to promote in the media what we were promised when Cameron caved in to the SNP showing how inept he is at negotiation. Now there is a clouding of the water and diluting what was originally offered. Who would have thought Cameron breaking a promise or going back on his word? Such a surprise!

      A bit like Osborne’s autumn statement to justify he made the economy worse over five years or how he failed to reduce immigration making it worse over five years, he will try to make it sound as if he achieved something. The posh duo have proven to be out of their depth.

  2. DaveM
    December 16, 2014

    Quite frankly I don’t care if it fuels the SNP, Plaid Cymru, or the Burkina Faso Football Association as long as England gets a fair system.

  3. Robert Taggart
    December 16, 2014

    AD = old Liebore – up to its old trick again…
    Liebore would struggle to govern England without the bank of Celtic members / votes – hence their desperation to deny England even parity with the Celtic fringe.

    Keep up the good work Johnny – EV4EL – England expects !

  4. ChrisS
    December 16, 2014

    Absolutely correct.

    This is only becoming a contentious issue because of Labour and the LibDems’ narrow party interests.

    The case for EVEL is simple and undeniable. Labour’s argument that it will create second class MPs is no argument at all given that Scottish MPs won’t have the power to decide on their own Constituent’s income tax rates whereas English Welsh and NI MPs will.

    Anything short of complete autonomy for English MPs would be an insult to democracy.

    Cameron and Hague must push ahead with the complete and undiluted plan proposed by our host. If Labour and the LibDems vote it down, the English electorate will draw its own conclusion as to where their loyalties really lie.

    1. Bert Young
      December 16, 2014

      Wholeheartedly agree . We must take control over our own affairs ; The Scots have no right to vote on English matters . It would be criminal if the SNP cosied up to Labour and became the influence they desire .

  5. Denis Cooper
    December 16, 2014

    It seems that a major factor in the rise of the SNP has been disgust that Labour, and also the LibDems, lined themselves up with the Tories to oppose independence. They might as well have announced a pact with the Devil as far as many Scots are concerned. It is, of course, pretty irrational and largely based on a belief in the unspeakable wickedness of Thatcher and the Tories that Labour itself has been avidly propagating for the best part of three decades, basically a generation now, and that the diminishing number of Tories in Scotland have proved incapable of refuting, even those who dared to stick their heads above the parapet.

    1. Mark B
      December 16, 2014

      Agreed. And you think the way they have behaved that they have something to save north of the border when, their powerbase is here, in England.

      I think the Conservative and Unionist Party is distinctly looking out of date.

    2. Jon
      December 16, 2014

      The Conservatives in Scotland have been closing the gap with labour and overtaking the Lib Dems. I think once you devolve a chunk of taxes and allow bond issues (all outside of the Barnett Formulae), the electorate there will change it’s thinking. That could be what we are seeing. Holyrood did not advertise that devolution means outside of the Barnett Formulae, that may focus the Scots mind in years to come.

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 17, 2014


        CON 2010 election 16.75%, now 17.00%
        LAB 2010 election 42.00%, now 27.00%

        I suppose it could be said that Labour going backwards by 15% has led to the Tories closing the gap just by standing still.

    3. Max Dunbar
      December 16, 2014

      Certainly agree with most of this but the SNP had been making exceptional progress long before the separation campaign. Many former Labour voters are of a republican bent and the SNP is a more effective hammer to smash the hated ‘English Parliament’ with than Labour. The four pro-separation regions of Scotland came as no surprise to those of us who are familiar with Scottish street politics at ground level.

  6. Lifelogic
    December 16, 2014

    Exactly. But justice for England will not happen under Miliband and even Cameron is very wet on the issue and he still seems determined to throw the next election with his duff compass. Clearly no one can replace Cameron now, and there is no one who would be both a good leader and yet still acceptable to this mainly wet/lefty/green crap/pro EU/high tax Tory party. Cameron is all there is alas.

    Let us hope UKIP can give force the man to do something right for a change. I still think we are all going to have to suffer Miliband though, thanks to Cameron’s endless duff decisions.

    1. Mark B
      December 16, 2014


      The best we can hope for, is a hung, drawn and quartered UK Parliament. With CMD gone, and a true blue Conservative leading the opposition.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 17, 2014

        What “true blue Conservative” is there even in the running for the leadership? How could any “true blue” person lead a party that is essentially (about 70%) a LibDem bunch of lefty, pro EU, green crap, tax borrow and waste, career politicians?

        MPs who cannot even keep a very modest promise manifesto on inheritance tax. Ones who are happy to say they are repaying “the debt” when they are massively increasing it?

  7. Tad Davison
    December 16, 2014

    Labour just hate England, only now, their true intentions have been exposed.

    Tad Davison


    1. William Gruff
      December 16, 2014

      The British establishment hates England and the English, the disease of Anglophobia is not confined the Labour Party elite.

    2. Mark B
      December 16, 2014

      Sadly though, not enough English are prepared to return the compliment.

    3. Jon
      December 16, 2014

      Nearly two hundred years ago the land owning gentry sought to restrict the influence of the type they didn’t approve of, then, the farm worker in Tolpuddle, Dorset with their lime washed battered old cart and Cross of St George out the front. Today, it’s metro Hampstead dinner party Labour who don’t approve of the sort that has a white van and a Cross of St George hanging out the front, they don’t want that sort to have a fair say. The Scots seem to have twigged, will their core English vote twig?

      1. Margaret Brandreth-J
        December 18, 2014

        The difference Jon , the nouveau riche and middle classes ( if these distinctions really exist) have far more power than the few powerful landowners today , with a few holy exceptions.

  8. stred
    December 16, 2014

    Mr Darling is probably right in that Scots who voted yes see a prospect of English independence will want the same. On the other hand Scots who voted no will be none too pleased that the 3 party leaders rushed to agree with Gordon Brown and offer more tax raising to Mrs Sturgeon and will be especially annoyed with Labour.

  9. stred
    December 16, 2014

    BBC R4 this morning continued its campaign to regionalise England as a response to the English votes issue. Firstly they went to Exeter and asked a councillor who was against planning for more housing and wanted regional powers to stop it, despite the need arising from immigration and EU policies. Then a farmer who resented the Environment Agency planning to flood good agricultural land in the Clyst valley, this despite the fact that the problem was caused by a quango using EU directives to do what its bird enthusiasts thought was a good idea without reference to Westminster. Finally, who better than John Prescott to push for a northern region and claim he got there before Oz. Not a word about the recent votes rejecting the ideas. Unbiased broadcasting at its best. Lord Reith would have been proud.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 16, 2014

      Indeed that is the BBC agenda on England is:- break it up. They are also (of course) pro ever more EU, push the global warming, quack science, exaggeration on nearly every single programme, news and weather forecast, are anti any real science, still think women are underpaid due to “discrimination” (despite the very clear evidence) and still believe in ever more government, ever more regulation, the NHS fiasco and Labour’s magic money tree.

      Similar to Cameron in many ways.

  10. JimS
    December 16, 2014

    I want a united kingdom. The Scots voted for a united kingdom.

    Stop messing about with these ‘solutions’ that no-one outside Westminster is asking for.

    Get rid of ALL these ‘national’/prototype EU regional assemblies, wrest power back from Brussels and give us our own sovereign United Kingdom government.

    1. alan jutson
      December 16, 2014


      WE would perhaps all like a United Kingdom if it were the same for all, but that cat was let out of the bag more than a decade ago with Devolution.

      The Scottish people voted to be part of the UK if they got special additional rights, because that is what they were promised by the legacy Party leaders.

      Who can blame them for asking for exactly that and more, given that the promises that were made were gained so very, very easily.

      Afraid our Westminster representatives looked like Dum and Dummer caught in the headlights compared to Salmon.
      Much as I dislike the man you cannot but argue he played his cards very well and made mincemeat of the other Party leaders.

      1. Max Dunbar
        December 17, 2014

        ‘The Scottish people voted to be part of the UK if they got special additional rights’.
        You cannot claim that as fact. It is conjecture and highly misleading.

        1. alan jutson
          December 17, 2014


          What was the so called Vow all about then if it was not to give Scotland more power.

          Agreed it has not happened yet, but the whole Idea of the 3 Amigos was to bribe enough Scottish voters with promises of ever more power, that they would then vote to remain within some sort of modified Union with special rights.

          1. Max Dunbar
            December 18, 2014

            The ‘Idea of the 3 Amigos’ is a continuation of the misguided theory that somehow by granting devolution to Scotland it will ‘Kill nationalism stone dead’. This absurd idea is stone dead now for all but the most deluded to see.
            The ‘vow’ comes into this category. The people to whom this perverse theory applies exist only in the warped minds of a few politicians. So NO means YES and YES also means YES apparently.

      2. DaveM
        December 17, 2014

        “Much as I dislike (Salmond) you cannot but argue he played his cards very well and made mincemeat of the other Party leaders.” Absolutely Alan.

        Maybe because he actually has an agenda outside of self-enrichment and, whether you agree with him or not, he actually cares about what he believes in. And will do anything he can to get what he believes is best for his country.

        The reason why we all think JR should be more prominent in the Con Party when it comes to the EU and England perhaps?

    2. William Gruff
      December 16, 2014

      I want an and to the ‘United’ Kingdom and independence for England, and the wishes of the Scotch are of no interest to me.

      1. Max Dunbar
        December 17, 2014

        The wishes of the ‘Scotch’ in England were clearly of no interest to the government or the separatists either.

    3. Mark B
      December 16, 2014

      I like the ‘cut of your gib’ there JimS. But we are far too down the road now, and it is only a matter of time before the UK is broken up and England fed to the EU monster, morsel by morsel.

    4. Old Albion
      December 16, 2014

      Where is this ‘United Kingdom’ Jim?
      Scotland has it’s own Parliament/government. N.Ireland and Wales have their own assemblies. England doesn’t exist. We get ‘Britain’ ‘UK’ ‘this country’ ‘our country’ or regionalised.
      Wake up man! the UK is on it’s deathbed. We simply need justice, equality and fairness for England.
      Or you could pop up to Glasgow and tell them ‘no more devolution’ Good luck with that!

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 17, 2014

        What about Australia, does that exist?

        How many parliaments/assemblies are there in Australia?

        Well, there’s the federal Commonwealth Parliament:


        Plus you can count these up:


        to get the total.

    5. Max Dunbar
      December 16, 2014

      If the election of 2010 had been won by a Conservative Party who took the word ‘conserve’ seriously and had a leader of the calibre of Thatcher then we would not now be facing the possible break-up of the nation. The country has been run by a woolly headed committee for the past four years. No wonder that parties such as the ghastly SNP and the Replacement Conservative Party have made great strides.

    6. Hope
      December 16, 2014

      Well said. It is politicians who created this mess and continue to do so for the irrational dream for the UK to become a region of the EU.

  11. Ian wragg
    December 16, 2014

    This is because of the spineless attitude of the Westminster parties. The Union is as good as dead and should be put out of its misery. Labour and the Limp dumbs only want to protect their fiefdoms and the chickens have really come home to roost for Millipede and co. So much for devolution spiking the Nats. Quite the opposite I fear.
    An English Parliament is inevitable so let it be

  12. Mark W
    December 16, 2014

    Again a grand job on Daily Politics. I can’t deny I have a bias to both you and this issue but you did appear a class act in comparison to the other two interviewed. Clear and direct, no weasel words to avoid direct answers. This issue is so straight forward it’s beyond a joke.

  13. JoolsB
    December 16, 2014

    Absolutely disgusted with Hague’s three proposals John, the latter of which he seemed to be pushing more than the others, where all MPs from across the UK will still get to vote on the final stages of any bill. What an absolute insult to England if that one goes through. There should only have been one proposal on the table, which is the outright ban of Scots, Welsh & NI MPs voting on English issues – end of.

    Sad to note that not many ‘honourable’ members ‘representing’ English seats could even be bothered to turn up, that’s how little they care about the English question. There were only around two dozen or less Conservatives, slightly more on the Labour benches of whom all were objecting, no surprise there, and as for the Lib Dums, you could count them on one hand.

    What a bad day for democracy and for England!

    Reply There were many more than 24 Conservatives there when I asked my question.

    1. JoolsB
      December 17, 2014

      Reply to reply:- I watched the debate from start to finish, even after you had left the chamber, and did my best to count the numbers although it was difficult as there was never one single camera shot of all the Government benches. There were certainly lots more empty green benches than not. With respect, “there were many more than 24 Conservatives”” is not the impression I got. How many more? Is it possible to obtain a list of those MPs who could be bothered to show up?

      Reply No list of those present, but there is a Hansard list of those asking questions. I did not count but it was many more than 24 at the beginning.

  14. Richard1
    December 16, 2014

    So according to Mr Darling we shouldn’t have Justice for England in case more people in Scotland vote SNP as a result. Where is the logic or justice in that? Scottish voters can vote for whomever they like. The question for Mr Darling and other Lab our politicians is why should English voters not have the same devolution rights as Scottish voters?

  15. Mondeo Man
    December 16, 2014

    An English Nationalist Party would simply not be allowed.

    Can you imagine what the BBC would make of it ? “RACISTS !”

    Why is every other country allowed their nationalists without them being condemned for it ? Oddly enough the Left respect and romanticise the whole thing when it’s another country displaying their nationalism.

  16. David Edwards
    December 16, 2014

    Over and above the party political stuff, I particularly don’t agree with the retrospective argument that has been raised by some, that there have been few laws or actions which are solely English issues. Even if that were true, we are discussing and committed to devolution of political responsibility to Scotland and as a point of principle and political parity, that same responsibility should reside with those representatives responsible for England, regardless of past events or legislation. We are looking forwards not backwards.

  17. DaveM
    December 16, 2014

    Only really skim read the White Paper because I have to do some work sometimes, but I can’t help thinking that Lab will just support the LibDems even though the Con solution is better and more practical and more appealing to thinking English people. And although the LD sol’n starts OKish it just descends into reform of voting systems. Presumably whatever is decided will be some sort of compromise?

    There’s no point in speculating over possible systems for English Govt (although it’s always a stimulating way to pass an hour here and there!), and I don’t wish to add to the barrage which will doubtless come your way in the next day or two. However, it appears that a Grand Committee will rear its head somewhere. But if there’s one thing you might try and shoehorn in John, it would be a First Minister. Apologies if I skim read too fast and missed that bit, but I didn’t notice any mention of it.

    The reason I think that is so important – if you want to keep the Union semi-intact – is that without one, the English PM is still ruling the whole UK, and a non-English PM would be ruling England.

  18. acorn
    December 16, 2014

    If you want to know why Westminster is a failed institution, you should read the Command Paper https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/387598/implications_of_devolution_for_england_accessible.pdf . It is classic Whitehall “yes minister” gobbledygook. This document is going nowhere!

  19. David Price
    December 16, 2014

    Just read the white paper and as far as I am concerned the positions given by the Conservatives and LibDems continue the betrayal of England.

    The clearly stated Conservative position is to not support an English Parliament but faff around with proposals which appear unneccessarily complicated and go to lengths to avoid the simpler option of an English Parliament just like Scotland has been granted.

    The offers of a stronger voice for English MPs on English matters are a meaningless sop, the non-English MPs will still have influence unless the Speaker decides otherwise or on stages of a bill depending on the approach taken. This is completely unnacceptable as the English MPs should have the only voice on such matters.

    Given the straightforward option of giving England what has been given the Scots, what is Hague and Co’s justification for exluding it entirely?

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 17, 2014

      Because in their eyes the English do not deserve it, obviously.

      1. David Price
        December 17, 2014

        I don’t think it’s a case of “deserve”, that would require an objective and morals based viewpoint on the part of the self annointed deciders. Maybe even a recognition of what is just given the current extent of devolution and a need to redress the balance without waiting for an NI or Scottish style situation.

        More likely I think Westminster politicians simply don’t care because they don’t believe the English will make a fuss in any meaningfull way. It is clear no-one speaks for England though there are many anti-English opinions being offered.

  20. Denis Cooper
    December 16, 2014

    I read in the Telegraph about Hague’s proposals:

    “Under the most radical option, English MPs would have a separate vote in which they could veto any legislation – forcing the Government either to abandon the proposals or make changes to secure majority support.”

    If that is considered to be “radical”, what adjective could be used to describe simply granting to the English the same as the Scots have had for fifteen years now?

    How about “inconceivable”, would that sum it up for Hague?

    With his attitude Hague is at risk of stirring up the very English nationalism he once warned was “the most dangerous of all forms of nationalism that can arise within the United Kingdom”, and apparently not excluding the form of nationalism that led to the IRA murdering innocent people.

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    December 16, 2014

    As expected, Cameron and Hague have let you and us down once again. Does this not convince you that even on this issue they are all talk and no action – untrustworthy. Does your party loyalty have no limits?

    Reply BY being in the Conservative party I have helped persuade the PM to speak for an early solution to the English question, and to provide a White Paper. Now I will urge the case for the best option under that WP.

    1. alan jutson
      December 17, 2014

      Reply – reply

      Thanks John, keep on plugging away, I can see and sense your passion on this subject.

      Good to see you are getting some air time for your arguments and very sensible comments.

    2. DaveM
      December 17, 2014

      Which one do you think is the best option?

  22. Jon
    December 16, 2014

    Indeed, seeing comments from SNP supporters on news media items they sympathise with the English, though also saying that the problem would have been resolved if they had got independence. Labour’s stance could do them a lot of damage if their membership started to think about their automatic vote.

    On first glance the proposals from William Hague do seem a bit tame? Maybe they aren’t and it’s my lack of understanding of the practical workings in parliament and in practice they would be comparable to Scotland’s powers. Just doesn’t look like it at first glance,
    Will hopefully get some clarity here in the coming days.

    I read today that 21 pieces of legislation were passed on issues affecting English matters that would not have if Scottish Labour MPs did not get bussed down on mass. No wonder their leaked document suggested they shouldn’t mention constitutional matters.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 17, 2014

      I mentioned this back in October, in a comment here:


      However I noted:

      “But of those 21 votes listed I find only about half a dozen where it would obviously have been right to exclude the MPs elected in Scotland, and indeed they would have been barred from voting under the EVEL proposals; in all the other cases the vote was on a UK-wide matter and the MPs elected in Scotland had a legitimate interest.

      Half a dozen occasions out 5000, just over 0.1% of all the votes over 17 years, does not square with the widespread notion that MPs elected in Scotland are frequently imposing their will on the English about matters which do not affect Scotland.

      It happens that some of those few cases were important and have become notorious, and I certainly agree that as a matter of principle it should never happen, but it has not been such a frequent problem as many people may suppose.”

      Reply It is many more votes than that. Scotland has serious devolved power already and much more in prospect. English issues are mirror image of a Scottish issue. England should vote on her own spending patterns within a general spending settlement decided at Union level. That’s a lot of votes.

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 18, 2014

        Well, in my comment in October I gave the link to the study:


        and the authors identified 21 votes since 1997 where the result would have been different if the MPs elected in Scotland had been excluded.

        But as I say in almost all of them it would have been wrong to do that as the vote was on a UK-wide matter, there were maybe 5 where it would have been legitimate to bar the Scottish MPs from voting.

        Reply Yes, and in future many more matters will be devolved to Scotland, includign Income Tax, where England will then need to make her own decision. This also only looked at laws – what about all those votes on English spending matterng

        1. Denis Cooper
          December 18, 2014

          The study counted Commons divisions, rather than laws.

          Obviously I can’t vouch for its accuracy; I can only say that the authors seem to have been careful in their analysis and they have published the code used and the datasets, and none of those who commented on it suggested that they had got it wrong.

          Of course I agree that even if it has only happened rarely in the past as a matter of principle it should not have been allowed to happen at all, and it is a problem which will come up more frequently with greater powers for the Scottish institutions.

          There is also the question of Wales, which unlike Scotland is still significantly over-represented in the Commons and with most of the seats being won by Labour, 26 out of 40 in 2010.

  23. Peter Stroud
    December 16, 2014

    Of course English votes for English laws does not fuel the SNP. Darling knows this as does everyone. He is frightened, as are all Labour politicians, of finding it difficult to gain a majority. It is completely unacceptable for Scots, Welsh or N Irish MPs to vote on purely English matters. It is up to every Tory MP to campaign for this completely just and fair objective.

  24. Jon
    December 16, 2014

    I think it will be interesting how Jim Murphy gets on. Holyrood across the board has worked hard to get more powers. Jim Murphy follows Labour party lines in that he wants to devolve power away from Holyrood, regionalise and divide. Delegate it to local councils like Edinburgh who spent a final cost of £1bn for something that takes longer than a bus from the airport to the city. Scottish politics has been interesting and looks set to continue. Doubt Johan Lamont intended that outcome when she made her leaving speech about being a branch office. Interesting times the GE will be.

  25. formula57
    December 16, 2014

    Mr Darling, being a Scottish person and moreover one who represents a Scottish constituency, might do well to recognize that his unlooked for interference in English affairs may easily fuel English nationalism.

  26. Max Dunbar
    December 16, 2014

    English votes for English issues is perfectly understandable under the current circumstances.
    However, once the most powerful component of the United Kingdom goes down this road it must surely play into the hands of the EU who wish to divide and rule us and be interpreted as partial dissolution by others.

  27. Kenneth
    December 16, 2014

    Just keep an eye (or an ear) on what the BBC is up to.

    On Sunday night (14th December) on the Westminster Hour on BBC Radio 4 (at about 37 minutes in) a reporter despatched a report where we were presented with some comments from Manchester shoppers telling us how they want more of a local say in local matters.

    From the 3 or 4 answers that were presented, the BBC stated that these shoppers were expressing enthusiasm for English Regional Devolution.

    What? Sorry but even going by the BBC’s own selection of voices this is simply untrue.

    Unfortunately we were not told what question was put to these shoppers. Not only was this unprofessional, it was plainly misleading.

    To then turn all of this into a promotion for English Regional Devolution was simply biased.

    In the programme, the BBC made this statement: “if Scotland and Wales are given more power over their own affairs, why not the English Regions?”

    And there you have it. “English regions” but NOT England.

    Every time I heard the BBC talk about this subject they always veer off into Labour’s preferred option of English regional devolution and simply ignore English votes for English MPs.

    This is political propaganda, pure and simple.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 17, 2014

      And these wicked attempts to break up England would not be stopped by any EVEL fudge within the UK Parliament as proposed by the Tories, only by the establishment and entrenchment of a separate and separately elected devolved Parliament and government for the whole of England as opposed by the Tories and the other two old, viscerally anglophobic, political parties.

  28. Ken Adams
    December 17, 2014

    Is not the fuel for the SNP the same as that as for UKIP and to some extent the Greens, a general dissatisfaction with the major parties.

    Both Conservatives and Labour have rejected their core votes and want to only occupy some mythical middle ground where we the voters are not allowed to debate or to have a choice on major issues of concern.

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