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Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Question

Simon Lee writing in These Englands:

The rationale for Brown's British Way reflected his understanding of the longer-term implications of devolution, and England's omission from that process, for his ambition to succeed Tony Blair as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The British Way would provide a means of answering both the pre-devolution West Lothian Question, and the post-devolution Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Question. The latter, named after Brown's constituency, asked why Brown, as a representative of a Scottish seat (although the Question would have been equally applicable had Brown represented a Welsh or Ulster seat), should be able not only to vote on policy matters affecting England alone, but also design and control the policy agenda for England. Devolution to Scotland of responsibility for major ares of policy such as health, education and housing, meant that Brown's own constituents would not experience policies developed for England, unless such choices were voted for by the Scottish Parliament.

This, in a nutshell, is why England requires its own first minister, cabinet and government, in addition to its own parliament. The 'Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Question' applies not only to a Scottish Prime Minister, but also to any Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish politician who is a cabinet member designing the policy agenda for England, and any non-English politician who has a ministerial position in a department with an England-only portfolio. Such people have little democratic mandate in England (there's the argument that Parliament and their party caucus provides their mandate) and will have an even more dubious English mandate if the devolved nations have their devolved powers increased.

Such inconvenient truths are presumably why the Government's Commission into the West Lothian Question has not yet begun despite Mark Harper's assurances that it would now be under way. Unfortunately for him, and his anti-English cohorts, English home rule is the only answer.

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