Originally posted by harrisjohns
Half the cabinet is Scottish and Scottish MPs get to vote in the House of Commons
Ah, the so-called East Lothian question. Many Scottish MPs at Westminster - a large majority of them, I believe - choose not to vote on issues which
only apply in England. I agree that it is an imbalance in our system of government, and I think that a voluntary abstention on solely-English matters
is a reasonable fix.
It is true, however, that on issues such as tuition fees Ė the most heinous crime perpetrated by Blairís already-dodgy government - the Labour party
whips forced Scottish Labour MPs to vote in support of the government line. That, I would suggest, is a sign of something rotten at the heart of
Labour rather than our parliamentary system.
I would also like to observe that, contrary to some nonsense Iíve seen posted elsewhere, Scottish MPs voted on English matters all the time prior to
devolution, but Scotland has always had itís own education, legal and health systems which have been subject to separate legislation Ė just one
reason, by the way, why devolution was a good idea and, I believe, helped to strengthen the UK.
Exactly, muppet, it's all been deliberately set up to be as chaotic and as confusing as possible and this lack of transparency is one of the
reasons that so many of us in the UK view the whole operation with suspicion and disdain.
The cardinal rule of ATS: never attribute to conspiracy that which can be better explained by incompetence.
The EU is a large, complicated
set-up, I agree, but when you remember the size of itís geographical reach, the diversity of itís members Ė both lingual and cultural Ė and the sheer
amount of work that it generates, youíll see that it has
to be. While Iím in favour of a British commitment to the EU, I too would like to see
it reformed and brought up-to-date.
And leading on from that, a beginnerís guide to UK politics for ThunderCloud and our foreign cousins.
The UK is ruled from Westminster in London, England. The Houses of Parliament, our seat of government, comprises two political houses, the Commons,
for elected MPs, and the Lords, which used to be for the aristocracy but is now for people who gave Mr. Blair some money. Parliament passes all the
laws and legislation which applies to the whole of the UK. However, there is [I]also[/I] a parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland, which passes separate
legislation which applies only to Scotland, and assemblies (mini-parliaments) in Wales and Northern Ireland, which do, in theory, the same things for
their countries. We have no official written constitution because there was no official ďbeginningĒ to our country Ė rather, our rights are enshrined
in thousands upon thousands of pages of arcane legislation which highly-paid lawyers debate at great length. The behaviour of elected officials,
likewise, is not laid out in a single document, but is governed by centuries of history and tradition.
I know what youíre thinking, and yes
, it does make it awfully unwieldy. But it also makes it the home of parliamentary democracy as we
understand it today.
There a lot more to it, but those are the bare facts. Iíd recommend the BBC
information, particularly their excellent A-Z of Parliament