IT is quite clear that Labour has lost its mandate to govern this country.” So said David Cameron in the early hours of Friday morning. If he was talking about England, he was entirely right. The Tories will have 298 out of 533 English seats (a true blue constituency has yet to declare). That gives them an entirely comfortable majority of 31 in England.
But Scotland stuck with Labour, with the Tories taking just one seat north of the border out of a possible 59. Never has the UK been so divided; even Margaret Thatcher won 21 Scottish seats in the bitterly divisive general election of 1983.
That means Labour will rely on its 41 Scottish MPs when it tries to thwart Tory legislation in the House of Commons. Most of it won’t affect Scotland, which has devolved powers over virtually everything but tax and spend, immigration, foreign policy and defence. Eleven years after devolution, no-one has answered Tam Dalyell’s West Lothian question: “if Scotland has its own parliament, how can Scots continue to have a decisive effect on England-only matters?”
One option would be an English Parliament within the House of Commons, which denies the Scots a vote on English legislation. That means Cameron would have a decisive majority on several policy areas.
The Lib Dems get a fifth of their seats from Scotland though. They might not be so keen.