Last night, Harriet 'What anomalies' Harman appeared on Question Time, where electoral reform got a good airing. Boris was on top form, though his idea of 'electoral reform' amounted to pushing the boundaries around a bit, thereby completely missing one of the main points.
Ms. Harmen annoyed me greatly when a panellist mentioned constitutional anomalies in the UK and she said 'What Anomalies?'
She will shortly receive the following letter:
Dear Ms. Harman
Last night you appeared on "Question Time". There was a comment about constitutional anomalies. In an astonishingly unaware comment from the Constitutional Affairs Minister you said "What anomalies?"
Please allow me to explain just a few of them.
In the UK, the government launched into a system of constitutional change, despite your statement on Question Time that this is not something to be rushed.
Your Government emasculated the House of Lords without having adequately thought through what would take its place, or consulting the public on a question which affects our governance - one item in a manifesto does not make a consultation. To date, the House of Lords question still remains unresolved. Any resolution should build in the ability of the Lords to be independent. My ideal would be three member constituencies, with one member elected via STV every three general elections. Thus the individual Lord is not continually looking for their next election and can scrutinize legislation without personal worry for their post.
Your Government also started on a process which weakened the UK government by devolving power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Island. Whether this was a right move or not is incidental at this stage. The situation as it stands is that, for example, Scottish MPs can vote upon matters which affect English constituents but not vice versa.
I fully accept that the UK parliament is for the whole of the UK - and so it should be for UK matters. Nevertheless it is fundamentally unjust that English constituents can be affected by votes from Scottish MPs and the reverse is not true. I do not personally want the UK to split up, but this imbalance can only grow with time - for the long term stability of the UK, balance is needed.
A failure to address this matter appears to be driven purely by concerns of party above country, especially given that the Conservatives won the popular vote in England - something which personally I'm not thrilled about.
Given that yesterday you were not aware of anomalies, I hope this letter has helped you to recognize some of them. I wish you well as you begin to address them.
I would be interested to hear your views on these matters and, in particular, how a Scottish parliament can be justified and yet an English parliament with similar powers cannot.