One of the great things about the SNP’s Pete Wishart is that he is consistently inconsistent in his views. His remarks on “English Votes for English Laws” (EVEL) are no exception.
Despite claiming eye watering expenses, Mr Wishart has one of the worst voting records in Westminster. I once had an opportunity to quiz him on this and he explained that he only voted on issues which were relevant to Scotland. Indeed, this reflects the principled position adopted by the SNP as a whole. For example, the SNP Government declined an opportunity to comment on a consultation relating to David Cameron’s creeping privatisation of the NHS in England. The same principle means that the SNP’s MPs will not oppose the Tory plans to reintroduce fox hunting in England.
Within this context, I find it hard to understand the concern Mr Wishart has regarding the move towards EVEL as it is entirely consistent with his own views. Just this week Mr Wishart complained vehemently about English MPs daring to vote against his party’s wishes on Full Fiscal Autonomy. Admittedly, Edinburgh South’s Ian Murray MP was also accused of “talking Scotland down” for questioning SNP rhetoric on the issue.
If the SNP is to be taken seriously as a political force in Westminster, and that is everyone’s interest, they must adopt principled positions on the issues of the day. The political opportunism and the manufacture of grievances must be set aside. Sniping from the side-lines was fine when the SNP was a small force in Westminster and had to fight to be heard, but now that they have 56 MPs it is time for a mature debate.