Week of Sept 16 – Sept 22


Looking at the news and opinion out of London each day.

9-22-14

Over the past four years there have been long periods of almost monastic silence from Miliband’s office, allowing his opponents to dominate the agenda

Ed Balls: English votes plan is ‘most un-prime ministerial’ thing Cameron has done

Ed Balls wanted to spend his Today programme interview talking about his plans to cut the deficit by limiting child benefit increases to 1 per cent and cutting ministerial pay by five per cent. But he had two big stories to overcome that people seem more interested in.

Despite still leading in the polls, Labour gathers for its last party conference before the election in edgy mood

Justice for England – Today’s Chequers options

English votes for English laws, soft and hard versions. English Parliament, soft and hard versions. Cutting the number of Scottish MPs. Doing nothing at all.

Miliband aide: Labour has never addressed the way the economy works

What’s Ed Miliband’s vision for the economy? We’ll get the public version of that vision in a short while when Ed Balls gives his speech to the Labour conference, but last night one of Ed Miliband’s closest advisers gave us a more interesting glimpse of the underpinning of the Labour leader’s economic plan.

So far the West’s response to the region’s humanitarian crisis has been woeful

9-21-14

Only the Conservatives can deliver democracy for the English

If Scottish MPs feel they are “second class” by no longer being able to vote on matters which are nothing to do with them, then too bad.

After the Wharton Bill on Europe, a Wharton Vote on England?

Downing Street is mulling a means of putting Labour on the spot. How inspiring it would be to see evidence that it’s more than a tactical wheeze.

9-20-14

Ed Miliband clearly has no idea what he thinks the United Kingdom should actually look like

Ed Miliband has just given his response to last night’s vote. It was staggering. The leader of the One Nation Labour Party had no answer to David Cameron’s announcement of English MPs for English votes. None.

Alex Salmond’s success is just a symptom of our age of rage

Across Europe, populist anti-politics has gone from being a novelty to knocking on the doors of power

Alex Salmond falls on his sword – will his party fall with him?

Before the referendum, all the speculation was about whether it would do for David Cameron. Instead, it is Alex Salmond who has fallen on his sword.

The Swedish David Cameron just lost an election

Here’s what he should teach the British one

WATCH: And Finally, “A Nation Speaks…”

For your post-referendum delectation, a snapshot from the 1970s of a truly British national conversation.

9-19-14

English votes for English taxes is a recipe for revolution

“We have heard the voice of Scotland – and now the millions of voices of England must not go ignored. So, just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish Parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare, so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, should be able to vote on these issues – and all this must take place in tandem with, and at the same pace as, the settlement for Scotland.” – PM David Cameron

A new model for the constitution. A new model for Conservative leadership.

Number 10′s exam crisis style of leadership has once again been found wanting – but, this time, on a matter so serious that it cannot be allowed to continue.

Scottish Referendum Results Live Blog: The Union is safe, and the fallout begins

Let us take you through the morning after the night before.

Whoever wins Scotland’s referendum, the ‘yes’ side has emphatically won the campaign

As I left Edinburgh this morning, en route to Inverness, I passed about four ‘yes’ activists cheerily wishing me good morning, asking if I have voted and would I like a ‘yes’ sticker if I had. It worked: on the way to Waverley, people were wearing the ‘yes’ stickers with nary a ‘no’ to be seen. If I were a ‘no’ voter heading for the polling station, I may wonder if I was actually on the wrong side of history.

The first step towards managing oil wealth well is transparency over what it is worth

Alex Salmond wants a funny sort of independence for Scotland

Following a Yes vote tonight, Alex Salmond has estimated the start up costs of the governance of new nation at £200m.

9-18-14

Gordon Brown’s passionate speech in defence of the Union

It’s been called rousing, barnstorming, the speech of his life. Gordon Brown’s passionate message for Scotland, which he delivered to an enthused crowd at the Maryhill Community Central Hall in Glasgow, has certainly caught people’s attention.

Five small consolations if Scotland votes Yes

If Scotland votes to leave the United Kingdom, I’ll be heartbroken. One of the greatest partnerships in history will be at an end. If centuries of joint endeavour are thrown away it will have been because too many Scots fell for Salmond’s fantastical misrepresentations about the currency and the future of the Scottish economy. But if the worst happens, there are a few compensations for people living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and even for Scottish-born Unionists (like me) seeking asylum.

This is Scotland’s velvet revolution and we should listen to the people shouting

Ignore the strange dry-eyed weeping from the English – it’s nothing more than British imperialism. Now is the time to take a leap toward self-rule

Scottish referendum: Why Scotland could become Europe’s Afghanistan

Yes supporters are hoping Scotland will become a Scandinavian paradise. But with its history of bitter internal divisions, it is likely to go the opposite way

Madrid’s Plaza Margaret Thatcher is a curious landmark for curious times

Despite the fanfare that accompanied the square’s opening, Thatcher’s brand of conservatism was never popular in Spain, a country now split by austerity

If Scotland votes yes, it would be one of the UK’s greatest shows of political engagement

Even our opponents agree that Scotland has what it takes to be a successful independent country

They will have more job opportunities, more secure funding for schools and hospitals

9-17-14

Scottish referendum: David Cameron begs Scots not to leave the UK

If you don’t like me, I won’t be here forever, the Prime Minister tells voters during an impassioned final plea in Aberdeen

More devolution for Scotland won’t wash unless England gets self-government, too

The main party leaders are offering Scots more powers and a continuation of the Barnett Formula – another imbalanced settlement cannot last.

If Scotland leave, we don’t owe them anything. But it’s no great favour if they stay

I doubt I’m alone among English readers of this magazine in having felt uncomfortable with our last issue. ‘Please stay with us’ was a plea I found faintly offensive to us English. Not only did it have a plaintive ring, but there seemed to be something grovelling, almost self-abasing, in the pitch. Why beg?

A shared history of 300 years could be washed away if Scotland votes for independence. What was the complex identity the United Kingdom created – and should we mourn its loss?

Shy Unionists will see the No campaign to victory, says Ruth Davidson

In Coldstream, on the border between Scotland and England, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives is confident that Salmond will not break up the UK.

9-16-14

Pollsters could have got it wrong on the Scottish independence referendum

As the political nation waits with bated breath for the Scottish referendum result, the polls are dictating the mood. One showing Yes in the lead led to the abandonment of PMQs and all three party leaders heading to Scotland. Recent ones showing No back in the lead, have steadied nerves and reassured the No camp that they have halted Alex Salmond’s momentum and begun to turn the tide.

Scottish independence: Why does anyone think that the Queen can influence voters?

The Queen, we are told, has “warned” Scots to think carefully when we vote on Thursday. I don’t think “warn” is the right verb. There is always a hint of a threat when it is used. The Met Office issues “weather warnings” when it expects storms, heavy snow, high winds or flooding, not when the sun is going to shine. All that seems to have happened is that in a brief conversation with some members of the public after Sunday morning service at Crathie Church, the Queen said that she hoped people would “think very carefully” about how they cast their vote. Well, there’s nothing controversial about such a remark.

A go-alone Scottish economy is viable – but would it be any better?

Scots may dream of a Swedish-style state but, lacking concrete plans, Ireland is the likelier model

I grew up on the border of Scotland, permanently aware that they were an integral part of Great Britain

I’m Indian, English and live in Scotland. Will my son’s identity be as borderless after the referendum?

My little boy has inherited a rich and varied heritage, and it is for his future that I am voting. But I wonder what his sense of self will be in that new world

That’s the verdict from the Tory backbenches as alarm bells sound over the result of Thursday’s referendum

Up close, Alex Salmond looks like a cuddly bear. But those wee beasts can still bite

We waited a long time for Alex Salmond to arrive at Edinburgh airport – not that anyone actually flew there. The hacks came by tram, the man himself drove by car. The location was supposed to evoke an independent Scotland that would be open for business and a hub for global trade.

People who are addicted to food should be treated with the same compassion we offer to those suffering from anorexia or bulimia


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Across The Pond is edited daily by Steve Parkhurst. Steve is a political consultant, a writer at his blog as well as a Senior Editor here at US Daily Review. Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveParkhurst

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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