28 November 2006

Equality Of Opportunity Or Equality Of Outcome Or Neither?

Equality of representation is big political news from A lists to All Women Shortlists. Croydonian and I decided to have a look at diversity tartan-style to see what we could learn.

The population of Scotland is expected to fall below 5 million, soon. 400,000 nearly 10% of the population are English-born. Recently, Gordon Brown lectured the Scottish Labour Party conference on how the economic futures of Scotland and the rest of the UK are inextricably linked. Before you nod off, what about the political futures?

How much of a say are English having in Scottish political affairs and vice-versa? Of 59 Scottish seats at Westminster, only two are held by English-born MPs schooled outside of Scotland. In both these cases (Malcolm Bruce and Mark Lazarawicz) they went to university north of the border.

What about where I'm from - Birmingham? Of the eleven MPs in Birmingham, just four were born in the West Midlands. That wouldn't happen in Scotland would it? The same number were born outside England including Labour MP, Scottish born and educated Steve McCabe. What are his links with Birmingham Hall Green, dare I ask? The proportion of Scots in the English population is much lower than the the proportion of Engish living in Scotland so I have to ask whether there is genuine equality of opportunity for English politicians. The Croydonian has also done some excellent research in his London backyard highlighting the similarly disproportionate representation of Scots in the capital. Time for some diversity training, I think?

3 comments:

istanbultory said...

It's not just scotland. In 2001 a quarter of the Welsh population were born outside Wales, mainly in England; about 3% were born outside the UK. Of the 40 MPs representing Wales in the British Parliament, there are, I think, approximately 5 who were born in England.

newmania said...

P you probably have huge reserves of subtlety but “oi tink oi moit “ have been right with this one. You are correct of course to point out the attitudes in Scotland and the imply that Scotland is driving the Union apart . It is and this process has been going on for a long time.
When I am not happily giggling at Lord Snooty and his merry capers in the Beano I leaf through such books as “Death of Tory England” In it there is good chapter ,“celtic fringes”, charting the decline of the Conservative Party “Unionist in this context” in those areas. As late as 1955 the Conservative party had 36 Scottish seats in Scotland, Labour 34. Astounding don’t you think how strong that “British National “sentiment was , and when you think of what British National means now .. Oh dear .
The death of the Conservative party in Scotland especially is bound up with the death of the concept of Union . People who echo Margaret Thatcher ,”every Conservative should be unionist in their bones” are like Angels beating their wings in a vacuum , to misquote Mathew Arnold.. There is no point applying the kiss of life to a corpse and Margaret Thatcher never believed it anyway. It will be interesting to see if nationalistic themes come to predominate in England , I suspect it will not be quite the same
. By the way this staggering shift since the 50s is one of many that are dealt with in the book “The Chosen People”. Sometimes we think , by a sort of chronological illusion we are in the same period as the Coronation of our present Monarch . We are more remote than they were from the Victorians . You notice this trick of time when , in Alan Clarks diaries he writes “thirty years ago when the Luftwaffe flew over London “ in 1973!!! Thirty years ago was the Sexpistols. Times they are a changing and the attitude of the English to the UK is about to change . You have shown how Scotland behaves entirely as you would expect any nationalist sovereign country to.It has felt that way about itself for along time now .

All of this of course has one important point for us . It is the Laird MacBroon of the clan Broon unwilling to let Scots in England vote on devolution , let is not forget , is in a sticky spot. Let us join with Alec Salmon in shouting “the Mac King has no clothes” He is going to try to govern England with Scottish votes and it will be the greatest imposture on any electorate in this land in all history .

I know you love to embarrass the labour party P and I can only say that if you had some other intention here I am sorry because your boot is right into their delicate regions with this subject. Do keep kicking

God I do feel sorry for the Scots Tories though .

Anonymous said...

This is as much about the local party activists, through union and militant Labour affiliation, wielding their power in Scottish constituencies, and the main party imposing their will on safe Labour seats in England where they know the locals will do what they are told.

My local MP is Mark Tami who is from Reading; this is a North Wales seat though this is like an English seat. Mark Tami had been here once briefly before he was selected {sic} or imposed by Westminster to this safest of safe seats.

Consider that this wouldn't happen in Scotland because the locals activists wouldn't knuckle under, and quite right.

Safe seats are for sale every bit as much as peerages...only no money changes hands and it is more like fiefdoms given out by the King to eternally grateful underlings.

Labour sucks...and fucking swallows too.