Here is the Guardian’s views on the recent Sunday trading fiasco in the House of Commons
“Scottish votes for English Stores"
The article is right on some very key points about the failure of the Government to get through its proposed changes to the Sunday Trading Law.
However it downplays the most important constitutional point; which is that this incident has already proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the Government's EVEL rule change to Commons procedures has failed its very first test even in its own terms – let alone in terms of an answer to the whole English Question!
Here is the article:-
“The interest of Scottish Nationalists in the hours that English grocers keeps is more plausibly interpreted as simple mischief-making. Many things are wrong with society, but a shortage of shopping opportunities is not one of them. Some supermarkets open 24 hours midweek, and the big chains operate small stores that open whenever they like. Credit cards can purchase anything at any hour online. Subliminal ads drive commerce into every last corner of life, and many workers feel a pressure to do shifts at times when families would traditionally have been together. There is, then, a good case for clinging on to one of the last legislative defences against a shopping free-for-all – the residual Sunday trading laws of England and Wales. It is, however, plain weird that the government’s plans to scrap them ran aground on Scottish Nationalist opposition on Tuesday.
For one thing, the SNP is intervening to salvage something that Scotland itself has never had: there is not, and never has been, any general bar on Sunday trading north of the Tweed. For another, this separatist party used to claim a “self-denying ordinance” against meddling in “England-only” matters. True, the complexities of the Barnett funding formula have always provided for a bit of ambiguity and opportunism in determining territorial scope. The SNP managed, for example, to oppose Tony Blair’s foundation trusts in the English NHS. Before May’s election, it said it would oppose “privatisation” in the same English service, on the questionable grounds that outsourcing would inevitably lead to cuts down the road, and then feed into Scotland’s block grant.
In the case of Sunday trading, however, the SNP is falling back on an even shakier support – a claim that supermarket chains would respond to their new commercial freedoms in England by eroding Sunday premiums in workers’ pay in Scotland. Who knows? Cross-border employers may, conceivably, have responded first by rewriting English contracts in the way conjectured, and then have further decided that this was a propitious moment for ironing out differences with Scottish contracts. But even if this highly speculative scenario played out, it would reveal highly integrated British businesses which would, one might have thought, be most effectively regulated by integrated British governance. But this is not, of course, an avenue that the SNP would want to go down.
The interest of Scottish Nationalists in the hours that English grocers keep is more plausibly interpreted as simple mischief-making. After all, the SNP bloc – which swelled from just six to 56 MPs in May – lost no time in using its new clout to scupper Tory hopes of weakening the semi-effective English hunting ban. The sentiment may have been noble, but since Scotland has long had its own separate ban, what distinctively Scottish locus could there possibly be? Protecting the odd fox in the Borders that may stray into Northumberland?
No, the aim is to render the UK in general and England especially that bit harder to govern, and thus provoke irritated English Conservatives to begin wondering out loud whether the country would be tidier without the Scots. The government has rammed its “English votes for English laws” procedures through the Commons, but the whole House still votes on third reading, so the potential to make trouble remains. With a tiny Tory majority that relies upon several rebellious MPs, the SNP is not going to let constitutional niceties stand in the way of its efforts to pull down the shutters on the union store.”
Here is the link to the original article>>> The Guardian view on Sunday trading: Scottish votes for English stores | Editorial | Comment is free | The Guardian