Elizabeth Peacock: Vote Tory to keep political bandits from Scotland at bay

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WITH the current predictions pointing to a hung Parliament after the May 7 general election, it seems that the Scottish political parties will play a significant part in the outcome – and that this may prove to be totally unsatisfactory for the rest of Britain and England in particular.

The parties involved in this scenario are the Scottish Labour Party and the Scottish Nationalist Party [SNP]. Presently their leaders are acting in a similar fashion to the Border Raiders of history who invaded the North of England to grab our cattle and sheep.

The political stance and attitude of these people is such that it may create a constitutional crisis for Britain and break up the Union.

Clearly, these marauding Scots are determined to grab control of the Westminster scene and extract the maximum benefit for Scotland, regardless of the effect on the rest of Britain.

Jim Murphy, the leader of the Scottish Labour Party and who served as the Secretary of State for Scotland in Gordon Brown’s government, appears to be outside the control of Ed Miliband and the national party.

He is demanding that the so-called “mansion tax” to be collected from high-value properties, particularly in the South East of England, should be used to further the lot of Scotland – an outrageous proposal that is unacceptable to England as the Scots have under the Barnett formula a much greater government grant per head of population.

It is equally unacceptable to Yorkshire which has a greater population than Scotland.

The second and greater danger comes from the Scottish Nationalist Party, as they appear to be about to overwhelm Mr Murphy’s party and take up to 40 seats off Labour if the polls are correct.

Perversely, in the event of a hung parliament where the national Labour Party have the most seats but require outside support to form a government, the SNP would co-operate.

Regardless of whether this is in the form of a coalition or an issue by issue basis, the outpourings from their leader Nicola Sturgeon – and the First Minister’s immediate predecessor Alex Salmond – indicate an intention to hold Labour to ransom by scrapping the Trident nuclear deterrent, starting the HS2 railway project in Scotland and severely relaxing the present austerity programme.

These threats could rapidly create an English revolt and a constitutional crisis, as the control of English matters would be in the hands of four million Scots who would dictate policy to the 60 million people in Britain, with English matters being controlled from Edinburgh and not Westminster.

England would certainly be unhappy with this development and would demand change, possibly an English referendum. In turn, this might prompt the Scots to have a second referendum on independence.

Something has to be done to avert this looming catastrophe, but what is the remedy?

A political barrier needs to be built to preserve the Union in a similar manner to the way the Romans built Hadrian’s Wall to keep the Scots out of England.

The real answer is the election of a Cameron-led Conservative majority government or a coalition under his control. English electors can produce this result. However, to achieve this, many may need to vote in a way that they would normally consider unacceptable.

To gain the additional seats, the Conservatives will need significant regional support. As the party is already well represented in the South East of England, these gains will need to be made in the South West, the Midlands and the North. In these regions sufficient floating voters will need to be encouraged to vote Conservative even though this step would normally be unpalatable to some.

The results in Yorkshire will be important in achieving this objective and electors in the Labour marginal seats of Halifax, Morley and Outwood and elsewhere should be encouraged to support the Conservative candidate because there is no way that the people of Yorkshire could accept government from Edinburgh and Scotland.

Indeed, Yorkshire warrants its own devolution encompassing a Northern regional hub. In summary, some voters will need to hold their noses and vote Conservative to prevent us being governed by political bandits from over the border.

Elizabeth Peacock was the Conservative MP for Batley and Spen from 1983 until 1997.