In fact every special interest group is going to have its own parliament. Dozens of them. Hundreds of them. Especially in the Chilterns. Britain fragmented by Gordon’s Bouncing Bomb.
They will be able to raise their own taxes, utilise their own resources – good luck with that in Ladywood, Birmingham, but Aberdeen looks like a good bet for a future home – and decide how best to spend the money. Rochdale, Rotherham, Middlesborough and Bradford can invest in blow-up plastic dolls for every young man, could inward investment by Ann Summers be beckoning?
David Cameron has been on manoeuvres all week-end, zig–zagging across the no-man’s land of political empire building with all the dexterity of a special forces operative dodging bullets. We will, we won’t, we definitely will get a vote – nope, MPs will get a vote – on devolution for the English, as first Salmond, then Miliband, then Clegg tried to use the Scottish referendum result to shore up their vote.
Curiously, we find that the English have been forced to adopt the ‘Le Vell/Roach/DLT toe touching position’ of having been found not guiltyÂ of being predatory abusers of vulnerable Scots – but been handed the bill for having defended the Union. The race is on to pay the Scots shed loads of compensation for deciding to stick with us…
“An historic turning point in British historyâ¦”, “The impetus towards radical change is now unstoppableâ¦”. We were ‘in the dock’ – and now the jury has spoken, the ‘not guilty’ verdict is being treated by campaigners as though we had ‘gotten away with it’ and should have to pay a penalty anyway.
A near forgotten MP, Gordon Brown, emerged from his lair a couple of days before the referendum date and announced the timetable by which justice would be obtained, closure, should the ‘wrong’ verdict be delivered and this, apparently, was the reason all 2 million ‘No’ voters suddenly veered away from voting ‘Yes’ and delivered this set-back toÂ Salmond’s nirvana? That the bouncing bomb delivered by the ‘man who would be King’ was the deciding factor?
Cameron’s excitable St Vitus dance is all the moreÂ extraordinary for being in stepÂ with the malodorous drone of the Scottish windbag Brown – an ex-Prime Minister, and a Labour one at that. A resounding vote in favour of the status quo – and we can’t wait to pay compensation to the losing party?
By the end of the week-end, it seems we didn’t even want anything in return – I cheered on Friday as Cameron said English autonomyÂ “must take place in tandem with, and at the same pace, as the settlement for Scotland”. By this morning that had turned into:
“There was an unambiguous commitment by the party leaders to deliver more devolution to Scotland on a clear timetable. That is not conditional on anything else. No ifs, no buts â that will occur.”
Tory MPs will be at Chequers tonight to hear how Clegg had thrown a spanner in the works and threatened to vote with Labour if his Tory partners didn’t dance to Gordon Browns’ tune.
These are extraordinary times. Salmond may not have won over the Scots to Nationalism-max, but he has done a wonderful job on the English – people who had never heard of the West Lothian question or the Barnett formula have been determinedly radicalised; even the apathetic have been roused from their slumber.
Letting Gordon Brown deliver the final solution was a master stroke – it served to remind us all of just how much we really don’t want Scottish MPs frittering awayÂ our geldÂ for us.
Meanwhile, the media have a new supply of bogey-men and predatory behaviour to fashion their tales of horror and woe around – and Labour MPs go off to their annual conference to listen to ‘One Nation’ Miliband turn intoÂ wriggling fissiparous Miliband, licking their lips at the thought of all the new committees and Â legislative bodies they could sign up to.
The corpse of English nationalism is twitching. Nary a sign of the Fat Lady.