MPs are to be asked to briefly put aside matters such as the refugee crisis and the EU referendum to consider whether England sports fans should still sing God Save the Queen.
There would be no need for the Guardian to make snide comments like this if England had its own parliament. If we had an English parliament then British MPs in the Union Parliament would be able to deal with lofty matters of state, the EU and humanitarian disasters without the inconvenience of running England.
In the absence of an English parliament don’t be surprised to find England sidelined in favour of other matters deemed more important by British MPs, as happened today.
Although the national anthem was tabled to be discussed in Parliament on Friday, in the end there was no time for the debate.
Hopefully this is not the end.
Sadly the government have 'talked out' bill previous to mine, so no time to debate #EnglishNationalAnthem today but fight will go on.
— Toby Perkins (@tobyperkinsmp) March 4, 2016
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This fiscal framework makes a fundamental error. I served with my noble friend Lord Lang and others on the committee established by the late Lord Barnett to deal with what he regarded as a great embarrassment—that his name was associated with a formula that he believed was unfair to the rest of the United Kingdom, and to Wales in particular. We looked at the Barnett formula and concluded unanimously, in a report that stands the test of time, that we should have a system that treated all parts of the United Kingdom fairly, was based on needs and had transitional arrangements for the implementation of the changes for losers and winners. That has been ignored by Governments for political reasons—I understand that—by Governments on my own side and on the other side. I understand the political reasons why it has been ignored, but I cannot understand why, in this fiscal framework, it has been agreed that the Scottish Government will have a veto on any change to the Barnett formula in future.
The arrangements under the fiscal framework say that, after five years of this deal, there will be an independent review. We are not told how independent it will be, how the review will be established or what its terms of reference are—and perhaps my noble friend could explain that in responding to these amendments. Then the recommendations will be subject to the agreement of both Governments. That is Whitehall-speak for saying that the Scottish Government will have a veto. So there is no ability, if the agreement is carried forward, to get rid of the Barnett formula and have a formula that is fair to all parts of the United Kingdom, because the Scottish Government will have a veto. As the Barnett formula is so generous to Scotland, I would be very surprised indeed if the Scottish Government are keen on moving away from Barnett, for that reason.
A Scottish veto on the Barnett Formula was pretty much ensured when the three party leaders pledged to continue the Barnett Formula in ‘The Vow‘ to the Scottish people, which is why we complained about it at the time.