My Heart’s In The Highlands
Maltravers: Carr-Moffit, old chap! How was your holiday?
Carr-Moffit: Very fruitful, thanks.
Maltravers: Fruitful? Were you working, then? Sort of a busman’s holiday?
Carr-Moffit: Well, you know, while in the Highlands I was able to help things along during the Referendum, which turned out nicely, thanks to a little nudge here and there at one or two key polling stations. Plus a little bit of gentle pleading from our embassies abroad not to support the notion of yet another European nation emerging coughing and spluttering into the world.
Maltravers: Yes, the good old Union is still intact. Beautiful place, Scotland.
Carr-Moffit: Oh, yes. Absolutely wonderful! Of course, I’ve got some Scots ancestry, you know.
Maltravers: Really? I had no idea.
Carr-Moffit: Yes, that branch of the family hales from Twatt. In fact one of my forebears was the Twatt of Twatt.
Maltravers: So you’re some sort of Twatt of that ilk, I suppose? You’re lucky to be connected to such a lovely place.
Carr-Moffit: Oh yes. Nice place to visit. When the weather’s fine.
Maltravers: But you wouldn’t want to live there?
Carr-Moffit: My dear chap, have you been to Glasgow? The noise! The people! And they all speak in a sort of indecipherable grunting. I’m pretty sure that any meaningful communication is done by pointing and gesturing.
Maltravers: Still, they can put a cross in a box. They elected to remain with us. Once the PM made them some promises.
Carr-Moffit: Oh, I shouldn’t worry about that. We’ll reduce the block grant and frack them senseless. That’ll teach them. We’ll give Holyrood the powers to raise taxes but maintain overall control. They’ll have to tax them till the pips squeak to break even. Heads we win, tails they lose.
Maltravers: So the vows made by the PM aren’t binding, then?
Carr-Moffit: Oh, my dear chap, the PM can say whatever he likes. He can’t deliver on it, though, without the full consent of the Parliamentary party.
Maltravers: And we Tories all love Scotland, of course. What about the famous West Lothian question?
Carr-Moffit: The sooner that’s settled the better, in my view. Why should Scottish MPs vote on strictly English issues?
Maltravers: Plain common sense, I’d have thought. But, er, hang on. How many Tory MPs are there in Scotland?
Carr-Moffit: There’s only one.
Maltravers: And how many Labour MPs?
Carr-Moffit: Considerably more, unfortunately.
Maltravers: Oh. So, if the Labour Party wishes to get something through Parliament that affects England, they can only do it with a majority.
Carr-Moffit: Quite so.
Maltravers: And if the Scottish Labour MPs can’t vote, it reduces their ability to get anything passed? So an early settlement of the West Lothian question would be good for the Tories!
Carr-Moffit: Care for another brandy?