An odd slip.

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Thumbnail image for cochrane.jpgRegular readers will know I am a fan of Alan Cochrane's writing, however much I disagree with his actual politics. 

Get your regular Cochrane here.

However, his most recent piece has a weird conclusion. Skip through the Prescott-hating (hey, I never liked him much either, but he's gone now and it's not clear why anyone would feel the need to pummel him at this late stage), and then take a look at the last four paragraphs.

Scotland's proud Last Unionist backs a scheme from Prof Antony King to reduce "strains on the Union" around the West Lothian Question and the Barnett Formula. The bright idea is to cut the number of Scottish MPs further. But didn't we just do this? In 2005 we went from 72 down to 59, and the next Scottish election saw a distinct rise in SNP support. Would going down to 45 be an effective way to "dish the Nats"?

In what sense would giving Scotland even less of a say in UK governance (war, social security, much of the economy) tackle those strains? Scots who care about those issues would be more likely to feel that Westminster isn't listening. English people aggrieved about the excess of Scots MPs aren't likely to be satisfied until they're all gone.

No, this would be a step towards having zero Scottish MPs in Westminster, which can't be Cochrane's plan, unless there really are no Unionists left.

There are only two ways to fix the West Lothian Question. First, devolve similar powers to either an English Parliament or to regional assemblies (which get a further slating in that same article). Second, independence.

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This page was published on August 13, 2008 8:56 AM.

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