AFFG outside Parliament at the launch of our London Town Unionists campaign, 13-11-17.
"Scotland gets what England wants". We hear this a lot from the Scottish Nationalists.
The idea is that the votes of Scotland's MPs at Westminster "do not count", and that "England can outvote Scotland at any time". Therefore, whatever "England" wants, "Scotland" gets.
It is based upon the fact that there are 650 MPs in all the UK, which includes 533 MPs from England, 59 from Scotland, 40 from Wales and 18 from Northern Ireland.
Since the combined vote of "Scotland's MPs" can never outvote "England's MPs", then they argue that it is a waste of time for "Scotland" to be at Westminster.
It is a central theme in their objection to the United Kingdom.
Indeed, on the face of it, "England" could outvote the rest of our Islands by over 4 and a half times!
However, that never happens! It never, ever, happens! It is a fear of something that does not exist, nor will ever happen.
That is not the nature of the British Parliament.
Here's the reality.
The British Parliament does not vote on England v Scotland lines, or England v the rest of the UK lines. It never does.
It votes on Party and Ideological lines.
That is, it votes on Tory v Labour v Lib Dem v SNP v DUP v Plaid v Green v Other lines.
Not only that, but it can vote on Split Party lines, as a result of ideological differences. Tories will vote against Tories, Labour against Labourites, and so on!
So the reality is that Scotland never gets "outvoted". No countries get outvoted.
Rather, political parties can get outvoted, and ideological tendencies get outvoted.
Some MPs from various parties in Scotland (or elsewhere) may get outvoted some of the time, and the rest of the time, they may get what they want.
The Brexit debacle between 2016-2019 gave us endless displays of that fact!
The Confusion Arises from the Fact that the SNP is not Scotland!
The root of the misinterpretation is that the SNP and its supporters really do believe that "The SNP=Scotland" (at the same time as they are happy to ignore Scotland's MPs from the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem parties).
Therefore, if the SNP gets outvoted (and they are notorious for maintaining strict party discipline on all votes) then they think that "Scotland" has somehow been outvoted.
The flip side is that when SNP MPs vote in a way which is part of a winning coalition with other MPs from other parties – such as the vote to hold a General Election in 2019 – then you don't hear them talking about how "Scotland" managed to succeed in outvoting the others.
Oh no! You don't hear them being grateful for that!
So, let us hear the end of the matter.
Parliament doesn't vote on England v Scotland lines. It votes on Party and Ideological lines.
It votes Tory v Labour v Lib Dems v SNP v DUP v every other political party, versus splits and mixtures of all of the above.
If the last few years has taught us anything, at least it has taught us that.
Don't expect the SNP and its supporters to learn the lesson, though.
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