Simon Heffer writes in today's Telegraph about the democratic deficit facing England and the government's plans to reorganise the Home Office:
Mr [John] Reid is the MP for Airdrie and Shotts. The people whom he represents in the United Kingdom Parliament will, however, be completely unaffected by any reforms he makes to the criminal justice system or to the police.
This is because those policies are, in Airdrie and Shotts, the preserve of the Scottish Parliament. Mr Reid can therefore act with whatever abandon he chooses as Home Secretary in these respects, and can make whatever hideous errors of policy he likes, in the full knowledge that those on whose votes he depends for his parliamentary career will never suffer one jot because of it.
Accountability, as we understand it, has been shorn from him. He might, for all the comeback any group of English electors - however small - can have towards him have been parachuted in from Burkina Faso or Ultima Thule.
Until some other Labour minister makes a dog's breakfast of his department, and Mr Reid is sent off there with his legendary charm, integrity and intelligence to give it the Glasgow Kiss and sort it out, Mr Reid will be an alien figure, dictating to sanctionless people how they must be regulated in matters of policing and criminal justice.
Mr Brown is the MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. As he goes about his new mission to reform the Home Office, he might well argue that some of its key responsibilities - such as immigration or the much-hated intention to introduce identity cards - will affect the entire kingdom, and therefore give him the right, as one of the Queen's ministers, to become involved in that area of government.
Equally, the English might argue that, as many of the Home Office's most crucial responsibilities affect only England, it would be nice to have in charge of reforming it someone who in the end will be answerable to English constituents. Instead, they have Mr Brown.
Again, he can act with absolute abandon, knowing that, in the pubs of Kirkcaldy, they will merely be hooting at what he has inflicted on the English, and preparing, as his reward, to vote for him in even larger numbers at the next election.
Why does Blair persist in appointing unaccountable Scots MPs to deal with English business? "This is one United Kingdom," insists No 10. Yes it is. If you ignore devolution. But that is impossible.
No 10 is living in Cloud Cuckooland.
Blair insists he appoints "on merit" - so does an area of the UK with a population smaller than an English county really have such superior MPs, so great that they stand head and shoulders above any in England?
It certainly looks like it.
Or is Blair simply an anti-English/anti-England prig, looking after cronies from his homeland and punishing the electorate in England for giving him such a rough ride at the recent local elections?
Answers on a postcard, please...
Thanks to the Cross of St George Forums and The England Project for pointing the way to the Telegraph article.
This blog is supportive of the aims of the Campaign for an English Parliament, but is in no way connected.