I was quite amused at the suggestion made by a few of your correspondents (9 May) that David Cameron might ignore the way Scotland had voted in the general election and not concede any additional powers beyond that offered in the Smith Commission report.
David Cameron is not stupid and knows that if he wishes to keep Scotland as a region of the UK he will have to go far beyond what the Smith Commission has offered. I’m sure he is aware of this.
If he fails to deliver either devo-max or fiscal autonomy then the clamour from Scotland for another referendum will be resounding.
I agree with Martin Redfern (Letters, 9 May) that Scotland’s MPs seem likely to exert very little influence on the UK Government.
But there is a rather obvious flaw in his arithmetic and his logic when says that “the SNP landslide means Scotland is virtually excluded from any role in Westminster”. The Conservatives secured their majority irrespective of Scotland. In that respect, it mattered not a jot which party (or parties) we voted for.
All that this election result does is highlight, in the starkest possible way, the impotence of Scotland’s voters while we are part of the UK.
Prime minister David Cameron has said he will give even more powers to Scotland.
The problem that creates is the Prime Minister ends up having less power in Scotland and to the Scots ends up looking more as if he’s not the Prime Minister but more like the First Minister of England.
As First Minister of England he thinks he should still have the right to rule Scotland while at the same time he thinks the First Minister of Scotland shouldn’t have any say in the running of England.
That is a recipe for one thing only: independence.
If, as seems likely, David Cameron “solves” the West Lothian question by disenfranchising MPs representing Scottish constituencies when what are deemed to be purely English matters are before the House of Commons, he will, in all probability, assign to Gordon Brown the accolade of being the last MP representing a Scottish constituency to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
I suggest that any Member unable to vote on any and every matter debated in the Commons would not be seen as a suitable person to occupy the office of Prime Minister.
The same consideration would, presumably, apply to the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, affording Alistair Darling his special place in history; and it might well be considered inappropriate for any Member with limited voting rights to occupy any seat in a future Cabinet, particularly if the government of the day had a small majority.
Such a situation would, I suggest, be an affront to democracy.
Tempting as it must be to deal with the West Lothian question in this way, I must hope that the Prime Minister will be advised that this particular answer may well have unintended consequences of a very serious nature.