Back in June I delivered a well deserved broadside to David Davis and Iain Dale who, in defiance of their previously stated beliefs, decided to run for the Conservative Party leadership on an English Votes on English Matters ticket.
As it turned out it was not the winning ticket and they got beaten, and deservedly so if they are not prepared to stand by what they believe. It puzzled me though. Why would two people that have previously stated that England should have a parliament suddenly, and without any explanation (at the time or since), change their stance for a leadership campaign?
The great tragedy is that they lost to David Cameron, a Blair clone who lacks any convincing ideology or visible integrity. My problem with Cameron is the same as my problem with Blair: I don't believe that he is sincere; policy is made on the hoof depending on which way the wind is blowing; style over substance; spin over fact; and, worst of all he's smarmy. I would dearly have loved Davis to win because he supported an English parliament, he fiercely opposed Labour's attacks on civil liberties and he took a sensible line over the EU. Most of all though I believed that he was sincere and that his word was his bond.
But it wasn't. He back-tracked on the one issue that is most important to me - an English parliament - and in doing so he lost my support.
Did Davis and Dale really have a change of heart and decide that English Votes on English Matters, as opposed to an English parliament, was the answer? Or were they, in the style of Cameron and Blair, making policy decisions not on their beliefs but on what they thought would get them elected? I doubt that we shall ever know.
Yesterday Iain Dale published an article on his blog that makes me believe that treachery was the correct word. I quote from the article:
Christine ought to be a Conservative. Indeed, she ought to be a Conservative MP. But she thinks the Conservatives have failed her because of their reluctance to adopt the policy of instituting an English Parliament. English votes for English measures is not enough for her and her friends. Never having been a great fan of devolution and a critic of bloated bureaucracy I have been singularly unimpressed with what either the Scottish Parliament or Welsh Assembly have achieved. Any yet, and yet... there can be little doubt that there is a great feeling of injustice among many in England, particularly as a disproportionate number of our leaders seem to be Scots. The Liberal Democrats, and Simon Hughes in particular, seem quite keen on an English Parliament and I am concerned that we Conservatives may be outflanked on this if we are not careful. We ought to be attracting Christine Constable back to the Conservatives. Let the debate begin.
Iain, it's time for you to make amends. Salvation lies in joining the Witanagemot Club.
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If you wondered why David Davis dropped his support for an English parliament and English referendum in favour of the constitutionally unworkable 'English Votes on English Matters' the answer is 'collective responsibility'.
If each of the other nations o