David Cameron’s English offer
With an eye on the general election, the PM has tried to seize advantage from his near death experience in Scotland. If he campaigns for “English votes on English matters”, he thinks he might tap into a bit of the vote that’s deserted him since 2010.
He thinks he might put Ed Miliband, opposed to restricting the voting rights of Scottish MPs, in an uncomfortable place with English voters. He might also calm down anger in his own party that he’s fobbed off Scots with a big offer without consulting his own political backyard.
But David Cameron risks jeopardising a Scottish devolution project which he promised as recently as last week in a desperate bid to turn round a referendum here that was slipping away from him.
His insistence that the next phase of Scottish devolution should proceed in lock step with reforms for the English makes a complicated project look extremely difficult. Given the mood in his own party he may feel he can do no other. But he didn’t talk about any lock step when he promised Scotland change.
The grand post-referendum re-drawing of the UK could prove a bit like fundamental reform of the House of Lords: something the political leaderships all sign up to in principle but which gets stalled because of disagreement and political advantage.
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