Saturday, October 27, 2007

John Rentoul on why Justice for England is just us being stupid and right wing

I had the unfortunate experience of seeing the magazine/comic newspaper The Independent today.

I read an article by John Rentoul ( is he Scottish ? ) which was one of the usual line of New Labour misdirection - Mr Rentoul is regarded as a Blairite ultra loyalist.

Its is stunning the complete disregard the likes of Rentoul have for the English people. Some of the quisling tendency in the English Labour party think that keeping England down is the price of socialism - but there are others such as Billy Bragg and Frank Field who aren't afraid to stand up for natural justice and the English.

Anyway Mr Rentoul's article deserves a Fisk - so here goes:

John Rentoul: Public spending run mad or right-wing propaganda? (because we all know right wing is bad - and no reasoning will be needed by journalists like you ! )

Published: 27 October 2007

The West Lothian Question is like something out of 1066 And All That (ie a joke - why are only the Scots, Welsh and Irish laughing then ?). It is a very, very difficult question that was first asked by Tam Dalyell (wrong: its a very simple question that crystalised the problem of devolution to only parts of the UK - that's why its famous. My guess is you know this - but it doesn't fit your agenda so you'll tell the airheads who read the Independent what to think instead )., before he began to ask difficult questions about the sinking of the Belgrano(snide innuendo added here). It was such a clever question that it scuppered the Callaghan government's attempt to give Scotland its own devolved government (no the referendum scuppered the plan - but I guess using the word referendum or even election in New Labour circles is seen as bad form right now). Even after Labour succeeded in setting up a Scottish parliament in 1999, the Conservatives continued to think it was such a clever question that it would, if they went on asking it, eventually unravel the policy( its all a Tory plot - so you can ignore the facts and logic of the issue - just let your left wing bias shout down and issues of justice or democracy you here ).

The trouble is, no one can remember what the West Lothian Question is ( why should the member for West Lothian be able to vote on issues that don't affect his constituents - not that hard even for a brain dead leftie). You have to look it up on Wikipedia and then five minutes later, you have forgotten it again. Nobody genuinely thinks it matters very much if some MPs can or cannot vote on measures that affect different parts of the country (deliberate misrepresentation. Also wrong - the Scots objected to this and got devolution - so this is easy to demonstrate as simply a false statement - as I'm sure Mr Rentoul really knows. Support for an English parliment is at about 66% of the English population). Recently, however, some clever (see the use of the work clever - its New Labour for not real ) people have changed the question. Some journalists on the Daily Mail and some Conservative MPs have started to ask about money ( its all a right wing plot again - none of this does anything except to appeal to the unthinking bias of Mr Rentoul's readers who are so un-indepnendent as to just listen to his dog whistles).

So it is not called the West Lothian Question any more. It is called the Altrincham and Sale, West, Question (Nobody does this check google if you don't believe me- its know as the English question now). It was asked by Graham Brady, the Tory MP for that constituency, in the House of Commons on Wednesday. It went like this: "Why should my constituents pay more tax so that the Prime Minister's constituents pay no prescription charges?"

It is a stupid question (its a great question if you are dying of cancer or going blind and are refused drugs as you live in England rather than Scotland), really, although it turns out to be quite clever(the clever key word again) in a different way. It is a question that English voters think they understand and do not like (damn those stupid Tory voting English voters who don't like being ripped of for the celtic socialist cause). It is a question that has been asked repeatedly by the Daily Mail in recent months, not least because some of its staff think it is a way of embarrassing Gordon Brown( it is very embarrassing for him - and the rest of the Labour party and Liberal Democrats who introduced the botched devolution - but this didn't start with Gordon Brown it started with devolution). This is odd, because Paul Dacre, the editor( we thought we'd bought him off), and the Prime Minister are such good friends that Dacre has just been appointed by Mr Brown to review the official secrets rules (so this should stop him reporting what he thinks is right then ? Only a immoral New Labour supporter could find this thinking anything less than very disturbing).

What is so clever (clever again - means ignore it your an Indie reader ) about the new question is that it implies that every time Scottish voters appear to gain something, the English taxpayer loses ( thats just the way the Barnett formula works). So when the Scottish National Party abolishes prescription charges in Scotland, Tories and the Tory press conspire to pretend that this is an extra charge on the English ( it is funded by the English - however when Gordon Brown cut the English NHS budget by £2billion pounds at the end of his time as chancellor he refused to make the equivalent reductions in the Welsh and Scottish budgets as the Barnett

formula requires ).

The truth is (go on amaze me), as Brown tried to tell the House of Commons this week(if only they would listen to his most wise, Scottish accented, words), the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament make decisions within their own budgets. "No more money goes to Scotland or Wales as a result of their decisions on prescriptions," he said. Or tuition fees, or "free" personal care, or bus passes. If the Scottish parliament abolishes charges, it has to find the money from somewhere else in its budget. ( The point that you are deliberately ignoring Mr Rentoul is that those budgets are far to large - especially the Scottish one. You fail to mention the extra £1.5billion that Gordon Brown let the Scottish government keep - when all other spending departments get surplus money clawed back. Are you trying to suggest they are more efficient ? Where are the cuts and spending choices that if what you say is true would be required ? )

True, public spending is higher in Scotland than in England (at last a little truth), but this is not a decision taken by the SNP or the Labour-Lib-Dem coalition that governed Edinburgh before. It was a decision taken by Joel Barnett, Labour chief secretary to the Treasury in the 1970s (who know admits its a mistake and has publicly asked that his name is no longer associated with the so called formula)and maintained by the Tories throughout their 13 years in power. (Mostly to try to buy off Scottish nationalism - it is not I repeat not based on need).

John Rentoul is chief political commentator for the Independent on Sunday

And really should know better than to try to con people with this drivel.

Update: I note this has been passed on through the internal email system of the Independent. ( Just like the sort of system that the Labour party definitely doesn't have at No 10 - officer ).

References to this post at The CEP Blog - thanks ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A lot of red lines then.
So Why do the English have no representation on the Council of the Isles?