Dear Mr Mundell,
As an Englishman I do not usually write to foreign politicians, but given your recent outburst I felt that it would be remiss of me not to.
"I have always expressed the view that there is no desire for an English Parliament—and the same two people have always written to me afterwards to say that I am wrong" - David Mundell, House of Commons debates, 22 June 2011
You're wrong, as the polls demonstrate. And might I add that you, as a Scottish politician, might do better to concentrate on keeping your own nation in the Union rather than spreading lies to prevent my nation from achieving the same level of national democracy and representation as yours. An unfair union of nations is a union not worth having: so enjoy that £4.5bn extra you receive while it lasts because you'll lose your seat - and possibly the Union - when the Barnett Formula is scrapped.
David Cameron's first speech to conference as prime minister left me in no doubt that he intends to stand by his statement that he does not want to be prime minister of England. While Annabel Goldie urged action in "Scotland's national interest" and David Mundell wanted to "take Scotland forward", David Cameron could only mention England in the context of football and unionism.
He can speak of England but not for England. England is left unaddressed, without a vision of an English future - unimagined.
When I walked into Downing Street as Prime Minister, that evening I was deeply conscious that I was taking over the heaviest of responsibilities, not least for the future of our United Kingdom.
Tony Blair, Gordon Brown - and John Major before them - worked incredibly hard to bring lasting peace to Northern Ireland and I will continue their work.
And as the threat of dissident republican terrorism increases, I want to make it clear that we will protect our people with every means at our disposal.
And I want to make something else clear.
When I say I am Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, I really mean it.
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland - we're weaker apart, we are stronger together, and together is how we must remain.
But there is another side to life as Prime Minister.
Like being made to watch the England football team lose, 4-1to Germany, in the company of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.
It's a form of torture and I wouldn't wish on anyone.
I have to say, she is one of the politest people I have ever met, every time their players scored another goal, she would turn to me and say, 'I really am very, very sorry.'
It's brought a whole new meaning to the concept of Anglo-German relations: whatever you do, don't mention the score.
The aspirations of the English nation, English identity, England's future and England's democracy, disregarded in favour of a glib and insincere anecdote about watching football with a German, from a man who doesn't even like football (and possibly England).
In contrast Cameron mentioned 'Britain' 9 times, 'British' 6 times and the 'United Kingdom' 3 times. He has no problem imagining and speaking for and to the British nation; he even refers to it as "the country I love" and "our country", something that he would never say about England.
It is strange that 'English Conservatives' should be this way when Scottish Tories (for all their other failings) have no trouble at all speaking of, for and to Scotland, with an evident sense of Scottish pride.
As David McCrone remarked, "In an important sense, Scotland’s politicians are all Nationalists". The Scottish nationalists began to control the the political debate and the language of that debate in Scotland to such an extent that the Scottish Tories realised that they had to speak the language of Scotland and distance themselves from the Status-Quoism of the Westminster Tories; and many have also reached the conclusion that the Scottish Tories need 'independence' from the Conservative and Unionist Party in order to complete their rehabilitation.
English nationalists have a hell of a lot of work to do before the likes of David Cameron are forced to confront England in the same way that the Scottish Tories have come to terms with the fact that they must be Scottish first and British second. Unbelievably the Labour Party in England may be ahead of the Tories in that respect.
The Flaming Sword: Cameron, ‘the Country’ and England
BritologyWatch: David Cameron: Big society, not English government
Philip Davies was hassling David Mundell over the West Lothian Question yesterday.
The biggest threat to the United Kingdom comes not from Scotland but from the resentment that people in England feel at the current constitutional settlement. My right hon. Friend and I both stood on a manifesto promise that we would stop Scottish MPs voting on matters in this House that related only to England. When will that happen?
Mundell informed Davies that "This coalition Government, unlike the previous Government, are determined to deal with the issue". It would be interesting to know what discussions on the West Lothian Question Philip Davies has had with his dad, Peter Davies, Mayor of Doncaster. Has the English Democrat mayor ever mentioned the West Lothian Question or made a case for an English parliament? He must be the most high profile English nationalist that doesn't do English nationalism ever.
A short message from David Mundell, the Conservative's sole Scottish MP, on the "National" Citizen Service proposal.
“We are extremely disappointed the SNP government has refused to even consider the National Citizen Service and have rejected it only hours after it has been launched.
“We were hoping to work with the Scottish Government to see it introduced in Scotland. Thousands of Scottish youngsters will now miss out on a real opportunity and our society and our economy will also suffer.
“This is narrow nationalism at its worst. It is another example of the SNP putting petty party politics ahead of the interests of the young people of Scotland.”
How is that 'treating Scotland with respect'? England has its own volunteering agency, so why not use that and let Scotland do its own thing?
There are shades of Gordon Brown's 'Britishness' classes about this. It's not to my mind a very Conservative proposal; less Burke's little platoons, more central government control.
A Conservative government would delay implementation of plans to increase the finance powers of the Scottish Parliament until a full analysis had been carried out by the UK Treasury, Public Finance has been told.
It has emerged that it could be up to five years before the Tories would have legislation in place. This timescale is likely to renew controversy over how long it would take the party to act on recommendations by Sir Kenneth Calman’s commission on devolution.
In an interview with PF, shadow Scottish secretary David Mundell said his party intended to have legislation in place in time for the 2015 Holyrood elections.
I wonder if the delay has anything to do with scrapping the Barnett Formula. The Scots won't like the delay, but personally I think a delay - as long as it results in the abolishment of Barnett - is more sensible than immediately implementing Calman's ridiculous 10p tax rate proposal, a proposal designed to mitigate the grievances caused by the Barnett Formula rather than removing them by implementing a fair and transparent funding mechanism.
To be fair, David Cameron did suggest that this might happen at the Scottish Conservative Conference earlier this year:
So yes, we do take seriously the Calman Commission’s recommendations to give more powers to Holyrood. The Commission is right to say devolution is working well but could be better. That’s why I have committed to producing our own White Paper and legislation to deal with the issues raised by Calman. And I don’t want anyone to doubt this.
We have made our choice. Whatever the outcome in Scotland at the next election, a Conservative Government will govern the whole of the United Kingdom, including Scotland, with respect. Whoever is Scotland’s First Minister, I would be a Prime Minister who acts on the voice of the Scottish people and works for consent and consensus. And whenever the precious Union between our two countries is under threat, this Party – the Party of the Union – will rise to the challenge and defend it with all our heart and all our strength.
Although it is sensible to address things in the round and to find a Union-wide solution to the Barnett Formula problem, rather than applying a Calman sticking plaster to the problem of Scotland, I have a feeling that those smiles will be wiped from those faces by this delay.
The Conservatives have called for Alex Salmond to step down as a Westminster MP, highlighting his poor Westminster record.
They claimed the First Minister was now one of the poorest performers among Scottish MPs, attending fewer votes, tabling fewer motions and asking fewer questions than almost all the other Scottish MPs.
One reason for Alex Salmond's 'poor record' is that, as an MP elected in Scotland, he rightly abstains from English and Welsh legislation. David Mundell, the lone Scottish Tory at Westminster, does not abstain. Does this make David Mundell a more effective voice for Scotland? No. It just makes him a nuisance.
Under the proposed Conservative reforms all Scottish MPs will in future have poorer Westminster records. That, surely, is the way that it should be.
A post entitled "David Mundell supports Scotland's place in the Union" has sparked a fun little debate over at Conservative home, possibly because David Mundell takes a pop at Scottish nationalists:
We share the Secretary of State’s welcome for the Calman commission. Does he note the contrast between the application and thoroughness of the interim Calman report and the so-called national conversation, which appears to be little more than a taxpayer-funded blog site for insomniac nationalists? Does he share my disappointment not only with the content but with the tone of the First Minister’s response to the interim report? Will he therefore use his best endeavours to persuade the First Minister that now is the time to show that he is man not a mouse—to use the First Minister’s own analogy—by abandoning the national conversation, which does not have the support of the Scottish Parliament, and by engaging, as many in the Scottish Government wish to do, in the Calman process?
But as David McCrone remarked, "In an important sense, Scotland’s politicians are all Nationalists" (Understanding Scotland: The Sociology of a Nation; 2001).
Very true, all Scotland's politicians pay homage to Scotland at every and any opportunity, in a way that English MPs never do about England (but perversely sometimes do about Scotland or Britain). The ground has shifted so much that the only difference between Scottish factions now is in degrees of separation that they advocate. One commenter to the Conservative Home thread, pokes fun at Mundell by directing us to the David Mundell website with the departing words "WOW look at all of those "Union" flags on his official website!".
Fair point, I think. If David Mundell is such a big supporter of the Calman Commission, whose stated aim is to "secure the position of Scotland within the United Kingdom", then why doesn't Mr Mundell wear his heart on his sleeve and sport some British flags on his website? Too much for his constituents to swallow perhaps!