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Brown hasn't got an ounce of authentic British patriotism. What he HAS got is a problem.

As a Scot who represents a Scottish seat for a party that's widely perceived as heavily influenced by Scots how can our would be Prime Minsister neutralise the possible hostility of floating voters in England?

Labour's polling guru, Philip Gould, is a Blairite but he's also got solid and longstanding Party credentials and is trusted by Brown. I'm told (on good authority) that Gould's research keeps coming up with "too Scottish" when Brown is put before focus groups.

What to do? Hey, let's bang on about Britain lots and lots so I'm seen as Mr UK not Mr Scotland.

And how should Tories react? By spoiling the magician's trick by pointing out how (and why) it's done.

Gordon Brown's not fooling anyone. He's waving the Union Jack around because he's worried that English voters might not want a Scottish PM.

Exactamondo. But it wont work - infact by drawing attention to it just makes things worse. He has made a tactical error, he should have just kept a low profile.

As far as the substance of the speech goes, he is correct in that Patriotism should not be hi-jacked by extremists, and it is right to raise this for debate as post devolution we need to re-look at this. Devolution of course was championed by Brown, which has - to date - been very dissapointing for a multitude of reasons. We need to make sure every voter in Britain sees his speech in the wider context of Brown's track record. The two do not add up.

I wonder if someone more constitutionally aware than I knows where he would stand legally on making parliament able to veto a royal decision to go to war (I think someone mentioned this on the earlier thread)? Then again they got rid of hereditary peers, and that was in Magna Carta, was it not?

I heard that this new British day might be in place of Remembrance Sunday!

A disgrace... What an obvious political ploy.. I don't believe Brown has any patriotism inside him.. Cameron might do..but Brown..sure..yeah right..

I don't want to impune whatever patriotism might reside in the glowering bulk of Mr Munny (as in "Ah huv the right to all yoor munny"). What won't wash is any member for a Scottish seat being in charge of the Executive whilst we labour (geddit) under the constitutional mangling, sorry "settlement" that's currently in force. It simply won't wash to have someone bringing forth legislation, the vast majority of which won't have any effect on his constituents in Dunfermline. The problem is worse for Brown because he's so very, very Scottish (so am I. I always think I speak in a sort of BBC received pronunciation type way, but when I hear a recording of myself it's very "wurr wurr wurr wurr"). Doing the old marxist analysis type thing - Brown or no Brown, the west Lothian question would sooner or later return to haunt Labour. But Brown's demeanour will make sure it's one of the top electoral ones. In other words, if we hadn't got Brown, we would have required one.

Couldn't we really rub it in by advocating an English parliament? Iain Dale has a blog up on this that has attracted some fairly heated commenting. I know normally we'd be against extra levels of bureaucracy, but it would be politically advantageous for us and the more I think about the current fudge - English votes on English matters - the more I think it's a mistake.

I dont really support the English Parliament idea. I can see the justification but isnt it just another layer of bureaucracy? Would it mean that the UK Parliament would be disbanded? How would the monarchy change with all of this?

I dont like the idea of playing political tactics on this one. Its constitutional change being talked about and it has to be treated seriously IMO.

Gordon Brown's not fooling anyone. He's waving the Union Jack around because he's worried that English voters might not want a Scottish PM.

This issue isn't something I've ever heard mentioned outside Conservative circles.

Is there anyone around here who actually has reservations about having a Scottish PM?

" I know normally we'd be against extra levels of bureaucracy, "

Simply turn the HoP into the English Parliament. Even UK bills could be discussed in their own parliaments with perhaps simultaneous votes.

Few issues will be UK ones, and by implementing this policy the result is likely to be Labour effectively governing Scotland and the Tories governing England.

This would restore equality across the Union and create a neat structure for further devolution to a local level.

I think that English votes (ie members for seats in England) for English laws is the easiest solution to west Lothian; but of course that would make the concept of a Scottish member as PM even more ludicrous.

I spent my early adult life in Scotland fearing the coming of devolution, for all the west Lothian reasons but most of all from a gut instinct that ripping up the Union settlement was abhorrent. As I sort of guessed would happen - no-one in Scotland is happier post-devolution; rather than reinvigorate its economy the mentalists in charge of the "parliament" are intent on reducing it to banana republic status. I am total reactionary on this, can't help it - best solution would be to rip up the Act that brought the Scottish parliament into being and return to being a unitary state.

I guess that is now politically infeasible, and apart from the pleasure I will take from watching the risible performance of Gordon Brown - one of the architects of this constitutional f**k-up, now trying to prove how British he is with guff about flags and aunt sally's about the far right - the only other long term consequence I can guess at is that English voters will become more and more resentful of the subsidy we send across the border every year. Good lord, I feel it myself, how much bloody money are we supposed to take out of London every year and send up north?

This is one of the best reasons for being a careful Tory with constitutional matters: the law of unintended consequences (though they were not exactly unforeseeable). Some form of English members control over English legislation is required as a matter of decency, if the pre-devolution settlement (aka "the act of union"!) can't be resurrected.

(There is an alternative, which I had assumed was LibDem policy - total federalisation of the UK into lander type regions. It's so vile a concept that the reaction of the north east to the imposition of such a body was one of the best results ever. Poor Mr Prescott).

There is a Campaign For An English Parliament. Run by a crowd of ex-ukippers, and conservatives. click www.eppweb.com

There is a story coming out in Mail on Sunday about Blair being willing to concede £1 billion a year to the EU, but not to protect British fuel tanks in Hercules from small arms. The foam/gas system is installed in all American/Australian Hercules but not ours. That's why the British Hercules was the only one to 'crash', when a fuel tank exploded unnecessarily.

Gordon Brown claims to be ulta-British but his Treasury team sends our troops to war without basic protection. An English Parliament could raise issues such as these. Brown/Blair have too much power, and only care about themselves.

PS Biodun, as a Scot I do have reservations about Scottish prime ministers - but worth being extremely exact with language. I obviously love individual Scots with passion! I am referring to the concept of someone who represents a Scottish seat - be they any nationality - taking control of the Executive in a parliament which would then enact his/her legislation, the vast majority of which would not affect his/her constituents north of the border.

PPS As a tribal Tory with a leader whose constituency doesn't cause west-Lothian type problems, I'm just going to enjoy Labour's discomfiture. But it is a problem that requires solving.

"This issue isn't something I've ever heard mentioned outside Conservative circles..."

Generally speaking, it's almost only ever heard in such circles.

"I think that English votes (ie members for seats in England) for English laws is the easiest solution to west Lothian;"

That is a sticking plaster, not a solution, imho.

I'd much prefer a single British parliament with more powers devolved locally (not the regional assemblies, lower) but I now reluctantly accept that it is too late for that.

Why drag all the Scottish MP's down to England to vote on UK bills? What a waste of time and money.

Simply make the HoP the English parliament and you will instantly restore transparent eqallity and save money.

With English votes on English matters you could easily end up with two entirely different governments within one parliament: a Labour one passing laws on UK matters - tax, immigration, etc.; a Tory one passing laws on English matters - health, education, transport... How would PMQs work? How would you divide up the civil service, committees, etc. Different departments would normally work together but they might be operating with completely different political agendas. Wouldn't all this be an awful mess?

" I know normally we'd be against extra levels of bureaucracy"

...or turn the area which currently holds our upper Chamber into the English Parliament - have the HoC organising UK-wide affairs (defence, foreign policy etc) and four devolved Parliaments all competing for bragging points and meaningless shiny titles.

I have always been a champion of the HoL, but as Blair continues to stuff it with fools who have done nothing more than put money into Labour coffers and to make up the numbers, it is being deliberately turned into a joke to make eventual abolition more easy to justify. Maybe we need to trump this strategy with a more radical idea.

An English Parliament would also have the useful effect of weeding out the second- and third-rate politicians who haven't got the talent to make it to the UK House. So, no place for Ruth Kelly, Prescott or Galloway for a start, then.

Otherwise we'll have to keep on sending our no-hopers to the European Parliament, I suppose. (Daniel Hannan and a few distinguished others as the honourable exceptions)

Tom is right, it could be (it is now!) an awful mess. But as we can't roll the clock back to a more sensible time then we've got to work out how to sort it out from here onwards.

The H o L is underrated. It gets little media attention, which means it actually can discuss the real issues. There are many excellent debates and much improvement to government takes place there.

What is clear is that the status quo is unsustainable. However there are only 3 real sustainable solutions.

1) Scrap devolution and go back to a unified United Kingdom.

2) Create a Federal UK.

3) Give Scotland and Northern Ireland and Wales independence.

The first solution is politically unachievable, unless there is a dramatic shift of opinion in Scotland. The second is costly and complex. Independence could well be the most sensible option.

The HoL WAS hugely underrated when it was made up of people with outside interests, a wide-ranging and independent crossbench knowledge, and party-affiliated peers with no career to put on the line by saying the intelligent thing.

Few would now doubt that HoL criticism of the Dangerous Dogs Act and the War Crimes Act was valid and fair. They were, in too many cases, our last bastion against the tyranny of an elected majority (of either hue). Not since Asquith threatened to have King Edward VII pack the House of Lords with unknown Liberal peers in 1910 have we seen such blatant gerrymandering with the appointed members of our Upper House.

What a shame that things have become thus. That is why we must ignore the old joke "If you're asking for directions, sir, then I certainly wouldn't have started from here" - we try to formulate the policies to get us out of the constitutional mess that we will inherit.

Rob gives us three reasonable, obvious and logical alternatives.

Option 1, I agree, is not feasible - to my huge chagrin.

Our European enemies would be delighted if we opt for Option 2 which is what the EU is promoting with regional "development" zones anyway (and the thankfully inept assistance of our egregious DPM).

Option 3: I would wonder whether Northern Ireland could muster even a significant minority of support to make that work, and Wales wouldn't back devolved assembly if their vote were repeated tomorrow. It's only the Scots who are driving this agenda. Maybe a quick call to Mr Salmond, a vote in a few months time; a fond tartan farewell, and all of this goes away? Wouldn't that be easy?

I'm in the Conservative and Unionist Party and believe we are all better off when we stand together. We need to be presenting better ideas than sticking flags in our gardens, and we need them soon.

I do think that Brown's strong Scottish accent will put some people off, and that may be why he wants to appear "British". It will sound much better from David Cameron.

I agree with those previous posts that we need to have English measures decided by English MPs. Maybe in time we can abolish the Scottish and Welsh devolved bodies and simply use the MPs from those countries to represent them. Any idea to reduce the number of politicians must be good. I hope that we will continue with Michael Howard's policy of reducing the number of constituencies overall.

R UK wrote:
" However there are only 3 real sustainable solutions.
1) Scrap devolution and go back to a unified United Kingdom.
2) Create a Federal UK.
3) Give Scotland and Northern Ireland and Wales independence."

..not quite only 3 you forgot my favourite..

4) Remain a Union, but allow each country to run its own parliament with UK matters agreed from one of the sensible and varied suggestions here.

Option 4 sounds very simple, cost effective, fair, and thus appealling to me.

And looking back at the suggestions, having a body for uk issues sitting above the four country parliaments would help give the Union itself cohesion.

"Maybe in time we can abolish the Scottish and Welsh devolved bodies and simply use the MPs from those countries to represent them. Any idea to reduce the number of politicians must be good. I hope that we will continue with Michael Howard's policy of reducing the number of constituencies overall."

Unfortunately this will not be politically possible until the Scottish and Welsh are prepared to trust a UK Parliament to look after their interests. The Tories are not helped by the left-wing bias of these smaller nations.

Once over 50% of the Scots used to vote Tory. What are the chances of that happening in the near future?

Chad, option 4 sounds to me, exactly like option 2.

An English parliament is necessary, or we should simply barr scottish and welsh MP's voting on English matters. In this case, we may have a hung English vote, but a labour majority in the UK overall... politically complicated.. But we must accept that we cant go back to unionism and the English have a right to protect their nation from foreign people who have no right to meddle in its affairs.

"Chad, option 4 sounds to me, exactly like option 2."

:-) Yes, I read option 2 as Geoff did to mean a regional federation as the EU wishes, but I can see it could also be just the four countries.

As long as it is the latter, I am happy!

I'm so incensed that I have posted an article on Once More.co.uk. His reference to using Remembrance Day is truly the most awful aspect of this and should have been picked up on by Tory HQ much quicker. How dare he attempt to politicise this day for his own ends.
British people have never been told how to feel and Gordon Brown isn't about to start now.

Gordon Browne wants to mess with remembrance day because in a small amount of time he will be forgotten.

Labour send our troops into harm's way, cannot be bothered to equip them, and now wish to remove the only day their unnecessary sacrifice would be remembered.

Gordon who?

Unfortunately, the only way to bind people to an authentic British identity is to reclaim our past from those who have rewritten it to portray us as History's Bad Guys. Somehow, though, I doubt Gordon Brown is offering a defence of the Empire.

I've seen this script before...

In Australia, we once had a Treasurer that tried to use pseudo-patriotism and national identity issues to broaden his position as successor to the most electorally successful Labor prime minister the country had ever seen.

His name was Paul Keating, the people hated his efforts at becoming Australia's cultural dietician', and he went crashing and burning in a spectacular election defeat in 1996.

Try again, Gordo.

I just realised I can continue the analogy further....

The election before the change of government resulted in a makeup of the lower house of Parliament that looked like it was too hard for the conservatives to regain government next time.

Following a leadership change, the opposition conservatives were then led by a man that had learnt the importance of reshaping the Party's image from the bad old days when it was deep in Opposition, a man who sought to make peace with all wings of the party in order to bring them on board to share the coming victory.

The man's initial efforts were rewarded with immediately improved polling....

As with almost everything the government suggests it is not difficult to find the information that makes it look hypocritical.

The same scenario springs to mind with flags.

Only a matter of a few weeks back did not John Prescott (I believe he recently proposed progressive personal "flat tax" incentives) announce that the EU flag would, via new proposed legislation, be allowed the status of a national flag.

Would I be correct in suggesting that when Liam Fox MP suggested flying the Union flag at schools, some uttered the word "racist"?

Having spent the last few months locked in battle with a local authority regarding what I believe to be the blatant promotion of the EU and EU loving members of the council ahead of Britishness. Perhaps Mr Brown ought to offer advice to his minnions, who are seemingly at the other end of the British scale than his rhetoric.

If Gordon wishes to distance himself from Tony, then how about the following proposal:

British Day will from 2006 be celebrated on May 9th, recently designated as Europe Day, but receiving about as much support as the strikers at Sunderland football club.

Can you just imagine the panic!

If you haven't already done so I recommend reading Tom Bowers unauthorized Biography on Brown--it gives real insight into how his mind works and the scant regard he has for any political conventions. Brown is very focused on the West Lothian Question and more particularly on the fact that if Labour wins the next election their majority will be almost entirely represented in Scottish seats hence the Union Jack is hoisted and the Red flag is lowered.
In my view its high time that English Tories woke up to the fact that through the Barnet formula Labour's Scottish mafia at Westminster have been raping the affluent south east with impunity for years. In Scotland this has helped perpetuate our subsidy addiction that is a thousand times worse than Kennedy’s addiction to alcohol, but has the same problem of denial even amongst Tories.
The West Lothian Question and the Barnet formula should be used to expose Brown for what he is; and old fashioned dour Scottish tax and spend socialist, but with the knack of spending more of your English tax £’s in Scotland to buy himself power.
Such an attack from English Tories would also concentrate the minds of the Party in Scotland (if that proposition is even possible) into seriously thinking about fiscal responsibility and having the real tax cutting and tax raising powers so much needed to reinvigorate our economy.
The huge Tory contingent at Westminster (one MP) at least has the decency not to vote on English matters –this should be enshrined onto the statute book, but any prospect of abolishing the Scottish Parliament is a fantasy which would result in Scottish Tories becoming a more endangered species than the Red Kite.
A solution worthy of investigation however would be to allow FPP Scottish MSPs the dual franchise of sitting in Holyrood and Westminster instead of electing Parliamentary representatives to both bodies as we do now. This would dramatically reduce the number of politicians in Scotland and give the tax payer better value for money. It would also, on present arithmetic double the number of Scottish Tory MP’s at Westminster and most weeks give all MSPs something useful to do. The question we as Tories have to answer is how can we improve on what we now have, in both political arenas, and how can we use it to our electoral advantage.
It seems to me that greater fiscal responsibility in Scotland would be attractive to the English and would help the Scottish Tories by attracting back those Tartan Tories that currently vote SNP. It should also appeal to those Orange bookers that are backing Ming the- past- it, till their own candidate matures.
No one is taken in surely by Brown’s conversion on the road to number 10—he is no Samaritan.

I so want to comment in a deeper way but too many glasses of Pouilly Fuisse are stopping me. So here are two observations:

1.Having come from a commonwealth background that fully supported Britishness it is ignorant of Brown to consider that its make up comes only from UK countries.
2. Government bills that only applied to England dropped (England)from their name a few months ago. The ones concerning Wales and Scotland have kept the (Wales) and (Scotland) bit in their names.

Labour have realised that at the next election they will be in minority in England for some time. Brown is just positioning himself for this.

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