In today’s Telegraph, Gordon Brown returns yet again to the subject of Britishness:
In contrast to Lady Thatcher, who rightly defended
the Union and did so even when not expedient to do so, some
Conservative writers now embrace anti-Unionist positions, from
independence to "English votes for English laws" – a Trojan horse for
Regrettably, an opportunist coalition
of minority Nationalists and from what used to be the Conservative and
Unionist Party is forming around a newly fashionable but perilous
orthodoxy emphasising what divides us rather than what unites. (Telegraph)
What Brown refuses to acknowledge is Labour’s role in
promoting this coalition, by failing to address the democratic deficit
that allows Scottish MPs to impose policies like tuition fees and
foundation hospitals on England.
He cannot acknowledge this problem because addressing it would mean circumscribing his own power as Prime Minister. This basic dilemma has been apparent for several years, but between the Scottish elections and Brown’s all-but-inevitable appointment as Prime Minister, 2007 looks like being the year when the issue comes to a head.
(Mrs Thatcher is an apt reference, given the right-wing policies that Scottish Labour votes have imposed on England. Thatcher, of course, would have seen Scottish devolution as a
‘Trojan horse for separation.’)