Devolution and the West Lothian Question

I have been asked??by a number of readers if??I would post my thoughts on the West Lothian Question and the establishment of a separate English Parliament.

I do strongly believe that England should be treated fairly within the Union and that we need new democratic arrangements to deal with all the English issues that are currently being put to the United Kingdom parliament.?? As early as 1999 I warned of the threat to the United Kingdom from Labour’s botched devolution settlement in my book, <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Britain-John-Redwood/dp/033374439X/sr=8-2/qid=1166440997/ref=sr_1_2/202-3656065-9987009?ie=UTF8&s=books">The Death of Britain?</a>

However, while I agree we need to do something to remedy the anomoly whereby MPs elected for English constituencies cannot vote on many matters affecting Scotland, and MPs elected to Scottish constituencies can vote on everyone else’s legislation but their own, I do not favour the establishment of a new English Parliament in a new building at enormous cost to the taxpayer away from Westminster.

What I would like to see is the return of the English Parliament to Westminster.?? Everything which is an English matter, including health, education, local Government, planning and law and order, should be considered only by English Members of the Westminster Parliament meeting as the English Parliament.?? This would give England the same devolved powers as enjoyed in Scotland, create a stronger sense of English identity around the traditional Parliament of England, and avoid any extra costs and hassles associated with devolution in Scotland and Wales.

My view is that all of us elected to the Westminster Parliament for English constituencies should perform a dual role.?? We should work with colleagues from Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland on Union matters for part of the week, and for the rest of the week, the Westminster Parliament itself should be the English Parliament, where we, English representatives, settle all the matters that are devolved Scotland ourselves at Westminster, without the help or interference of our colleagues from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.?? The English Parliament at Westminster would therefore create a much more fair and balanced United Kingdom.

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

33 Comments

  1. Posted December 18, 2006 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    That suggestion is a little better than EV on EM but perhaps we could take it a step further and also dismantle the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, then we could have Scottish days, Welsh days and English days, all members would be dual purpose, we would then save a lot more money than your suggestion because we would not have the extra cost of the Scottish and Welsh MPs elected to their separate parliaments, it would also create a level playing field.

    Or alternately; why is it far too costly to allow the English their own separate parliament but not the Scots.

  2. Posted December 18, 2006 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Quite right. I invite you to join the Witanagemot Club, a society of bloggers with the same aspiration. Full details here:
    http://www.toque.co.uk/witan/

  3. Greg
    Posted December 18, 2006 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Why is your suggested remedy better than a federal arrangement in which England has its own Parliament to create a symmetry with the Scots and Welsh.This would create a properly balanced democratic voice for the 85% of the UK population that resides in England and,just as importantly,recognise that the people of England have the same rights to self-determiation as the other UK nations.The matter of cost is something of a red-herring:if the costs are OK for Scotland and Wales,then they are ok for England.I do agree that the House of Commons should be the English Parliament therefore reducing capital expenses.The House of Lords could then become the home of a radically reduced UK Parliament dealing primarily with defence and foreign affairs on behalf of the federal parliaments.The running of England will surely be more than a part-time job for Memberss of the English Parliament.

  4. Jorgen
    Posted December 18, 2006 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Great idea. Or we could close the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly and tell them that they are part of the UK and if they don't like that, they are welcome to go.

  5. Posted December 18, 2006 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Fine. But since the Barnett Formula allocates resources to Scotland as an ever decreasing percentage of what gets spent in England, only non-spending related decisions could ever truly be classed as 'English only' as things stand.

    Even health, education, local Government, planning and law and order legislation can have still have financial repercussions for Scotland. For that reason, 'English days' or an English parliament would need to go hand in hand with fiscal autonomy for Scotland.

    Better still, let's solve the WLQ once and for all and let Scotland and England be independent of eachother.

  6. Stephen Gash
    Posted December 19, 2006 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    Offering an English Parliament would undoubtedly win the Conservatives the next election.

    But as always the Tories are out of touch with the only country that enables them to form an opposition, to the government, namely England.

    Absurdly, the Tories are trying to resemble New Labour when New Labour is at its lowest point in popularity.

    When I joined the campaign for an English Parliament nearly three years ago, the proportion of the electorate wanting an English Parliament was around 16 – 20%.

    Now that has grown to 68% and half the English population actually want independence.

    Continuing to avoid English opinion, indeed suppressing it, will bust up the UK.

    There is massive resentment in England, and let's face it the Union offers England nothing it wouldn't have without being part of it.

  7. Posted December 19, 2006 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    The 'dual members' idea is better than the existing situation, but I'm not sure that a seperate English parliament with seperate members would necessarily be more expensive. Assuming an English parliament of 400 members took responsibility for Education, Health, Social Security, Transport, etc the workload left for the UK parliament could easily be handled by far fewer MPs. The total number of elected politicians would not have to increase and both parliaments could occupy the same building.

  8. Scotstory
    Posted December 19, 2006 at 4:39 am | Permalink

    I did not vote for devolution in Scotland and many of my concerns about what it would mean have proved correct. It is here now and we have to make it work, but from our experience up North I would advise against another layer of government and bureaucracy with the added costs in England! I wish that before we spent that obscene amount of money on the Parliament we had written in a clause about voter turnout reflecting the long term viability of this added layer of government. Also wish the Scottish electorate had looked more closely at the costs of running it and the amount of MSP's we really needed.
    I have always been amazed at the way that this Labour government compounded the problems by not addressing the implications for England when it gave Scotland and Wales devolution, and I resent the way it has relied on its Scottish and Welsh MP's to force through unpopular legislation. It's has caused real resentment down South and unfortunately that resentment has been directed quite often at the wrong people. The Labour MP's that allowed themselves to be used to swing votes on England only matter's really do not deserve any respect for allowing themselves to be used in this way.
    The people of Scotland and Wales would have been happy for a ban on their MP's being involved in matters which only effected England and its is not a reflection on them that this situation has been allowed to develop.
    Finally I have heard some wonderful myths about the wonderful paradise that Scotland enjoys paid for by the English taxpayer, investigate a little further before quoting the wonderful figures supplied by this Labour government and the Lab/Libdem coalition in Holyrood, If you scratch under the surface of their boasts about what is provided you will be amazed at the actual reality.

  9. Posted December 19, 2006 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I am glad to see that Conservative Politicians are starting to think about how to solve the enormous problems caused by New Labour's ill thought out constitutional vandalism. In addition to giving the English the same status as their Scots and Welsh peers, we also need to promote localism so that decisions are made as close to those involved as possible.

    We would also be a lot better off out, if you kn

  10. Richard the Lionhear
    Posted December 19, 2006 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Personally, I am in favour of full independence for the home nations of the UK, but if we are to go down the road of seperate parliaments then it needs to be done properly. Each home nation should have its own parliament with identical powers, and there should be a smaller UK parliament established to deal with union business. This would give the UK a fully federal system of government. It should always be remembered that Britain is not a nation, it is a union of nations.

    The best way to deal with Barnett is to scrap it and for each nation to have fiscal autonomy. Each nation would make a contribution to the UK government for the running costs of the UK based on per head of population. That should be the sole criteria used to make the calculations. For example, if the running costs of the UK amount to

  11. keith young
    Posted December 19, 2006 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    All well and good, but until the WLQ is answered could the Conservatives please stop playing the New Labour game and quit referring to England as the English regions or regions of britain?
    The Conservatives have let people down by sitting on un-elected regional assemblies,if the Conservatives had not sought positions on them they would have imploded by now. It now seems that some Conservative councillors are even more pro assemblies than the lib/dems.
    Westminster is the best place for an English Parliament,scrap the Lords and have a new british government in there.I suggest an equal amount of MP's from England,Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to meet there.This will give equal Nation status to the whole of the uk.
    Devolve powers back to the shires and counties of England (and Cornwall).
    It might be an idea to have a referendum on eu withdrawal too.

  12. Neil Cunniffe
    Posted December 19, 2006 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Interesting points and further proof that the current lop-sided, grossly unfair and poorly thought through devolution arrangements are unworkable.

    With most of the proposed solutions there still appears to be an anomily if the PM of the UK also represents a Scottish seat.

    Under the current arrangement you will have a man (or woman) drafting, creating and passing legislation that will effect England but could have no impact whatsoever on his or her own constituents. What'smore, with the Scottish Parliament's powers, his constituents will have laws passed on them where he has no say at all.

    The situation becomes even more ludicrous if the current polls are to be believed. You could quite easily have an SNP/Lib Dem run Scottish Parliament, Conservatives having the majority of seats in England whilst still having a Labour PM representing a Scottish seat.

    Blair has, as before, opened a can of worms without thinking through the consequences.

    There are 3 options:

    1. Return to a pre-devolution UK a single legislative body responsible for the entire UK
    2. Tweak, alter, patch up the mistakes of the current imbalance
    3. Allow the constituent parts of the UK to become wholly independent.

    option 1 wont happen, option 2 will use up excessive time, effort and will further complicate a now broken foundation. Option 3 will eventualy happen; it's just a question of whether we have to spend 20 years of fudge to get to it.

  13. Ian Campbell
    Posted December 19, 2006 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    If England can't afford its own new Parliament building there is another simple solution. Let the House of Commons, reduced to the MPs from English constituencies, constitute the English Parliament and let the House of Lords, reduced to say 250 elected members from all parts of the UK, constitute the British Parliament. This change could be introduced swiftly with very little cost.
    It also solves the anachronism having an unelected House of Lords. Legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament is not referred to the House of Lords now so why should English legislation be referred?
    Even better, all the remaining British colonies, dependencies etc could be invited, if they wish, to join the British state and send their representatives to the new British Parliament. That solves the colonial anachronism as well.
    And yes the first job of the English Parliament would be to devolve as much power back to the counties and scrap the artificial unwanted 'regions'.

  14. Don Beadle
    Posted December 19, 2006 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Your "Westminster" solution to the English question is a possibility only if the English MPs are empowered to elect an Executive to whom the UK government would devolve powers similar to those accorded to Scotland with the financial resources needed. Otherwise you would just have English MPs discussing and voting on legislation formulated and administered by Ministers who may not represent an English constituency. Furthermore all such legislation is subject to the agreement of the Chancellor for any financial aspect and to the whole cabinet that is not restricted to English MPs. Finally at present all such legislation goes to the House of Lords where non English members are not excluded from participation.This does not apply to statutes enacted by the Scottish parliament.
    The West Lothian question concerns only parliament. The wider English question concerns the government of England and that is the question that needs to be answered if the Union is to be preserved.All parties should join in the English Constitutional Convention to produce a solution that could then be put to the people of England in a referendum. Only the English have been an opportunity to say how they should be governed. Where does John Redwood stand on these issues?

  15. Posted December 19, 2006 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Dear John,

    Welcome to the world of blogging. I quite agree with Tom that you should consider joining the Witanagemot club. Smoking is allowed, no ID cards necessary and no CCTV cameras installed at HQ. All you need is a keen sense of what equality actually means and a desire to see all British citizens treated as equals.

    It's about time that more politicians came out in favour of an English Parliament. An entirely overdue concept.

  16. John Hutchings
    Posted December 19, 2006 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    No Mr Redwood , you are wrong . What you are saying is that there should be EVOEM ( English Votes on English Matters )for the Westminster parliament – and that is what is not acceptable .

    If , in 1998 , there had been SVOSM ( Scottish votes on Scottish matters ) for only the MP's of Scottish constituencies within the Westminster parliament , then your argument would carry some logical weight .
    ( though I would still not agree with it ) .

    Remember , the Wesminster parliament is the BRITISH parliament set up in 1707 after the closing down of the English and Scottish parliaments .

    The Scots have got their's back . England should accept nothing less . Mere adaptations of the British parliament are an insulting bodge designed to fob us off with half measures – typical of the way in which the English have been treated for 300 years .

    The points regarding a new building and the cost of it and its location etc are matters entirely for the English to deliberate upon and not the British . I do not think that you have quite absorbed that basic fact yet .
    _________________
    " Time makes more converts than reason "

  17. Posted December 19, 2006 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Fully agree with you Mr Redwood.

    Don't forget to get rid of those awful regional assemblies while you are at it.

  18. A Ellis
    Posted December 19, 2006 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Why is it that MP's who sit in English constituencies, continually deny the public they represent the same rights as those afforded to our Scottish neighbours? We are asking for the same democratic representation, and as an English MP it's John Redwood's duty to his constituents, not his party,that should come first. It's time English MP's emulated the courage of our lads and lasses, risking, and all to often losing their life's in the service of their country and stood up for the people that pay their wages. Justice for England can only come with an English parliament, NO CAVEATS.

  19. Andrew Cooper
    Posted December 19, 2006 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    And the ulterior reason for Westminster MPs NOT to want an English Parliament is……
    Scottish MPs at Westminster have no say on the running of Scottish devolved affairs, as the Welsh assembly is given mopre power then the Welsh MPs at Westminster will have no say in Welsh devolved powers. An English Parliament would mean Englands MPs at Westminster having no say over Englands devolved powers.
    ALL the Westminster MPs have handed away their democratic right to decide policy for Scotland and Wales, they now cling on to their remaining power to make law for England. Much of which they have given to Europe.
    Westminster is nearly a defunct toothless institute by its OWN doing. British MPS paid too much for doing less and less work.
    Only an English parliament at Westminster will right the wrongs of devolution, pay Englands MPs to make policy for England answerable to the English people. As for 'British' MPs in a 'British' parliament your not needed, overpaid and wouldnt be missed.

  20. steve shackleton
    Posted December 19, 2006 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Can I offer a suggestion that also ties in with your request for cost cutting above.

    Have representation tiered and part time, payment only at attendance.

    Have a british parliement as we have now for 1 day a week based in Westminster, the mp's then meet next day as national parliementarians in Westminster for England, cardiff for the welsh etc.

    Let democracy then be localised with county councils meeting on day three, where the MP's are expected to turn up, leaving two days free, one for meeting their constituents and one for emergency meetings.

    Below county levels you could have borough councils where the Mp was ex[ectyed to contribute, avoiding a free day.

    Bit most of all doing far less in terms of legislation, and having fewer professional politicians

  21. Terry Heath
    Posted December 20, 2006 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    If the cost of devolved Government can be justified for Scotland and Wales, then it can be justified for England too. "One man, one vote" does not exist in these islands and the English are getting the short end of the rope. Parity with the Scots is the only option, no matter what the cost.

    Democracy is sometimes inconvenient and often expensive The alternative is too high a price for me and 68% of my fellow countrymen to bear.

    John, please urge others in the party to grasp this nettle…you never know, you might like being back on the opposite side of the House.

  22. Posted December 20, 2006 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Really, there's no benefit to me — a Londoner — in preventing Scots, the Welsh, and the Northern Irish from voting on matters that affect London, when we can still be overruled by Brummies, Geordies, and Liverpudlians.

    London has a greater population than Scotland. If they can have their own NHS, why can't London?

    Devolve more power down to the London mayor and the London Assembly — and beef up the London Assembly so it can properly keep a check on the mayor — and I'll be happy.

  23. The Aberdonian
    Posted December 20, 2006 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Probably the best solution democratically speaking is the creation of an English Parliament. In Scotland it was suggested in the Herald or the Scotsman a month or so ago that the English Parliament building had already been constructed – it is called the Millenium Dome – they might as well have some use for it and not turn it into a mini Las Vegas.

    The English Parliament should have something like 400 members in its lower house directly elected plus an upper house of representing the "regions" possibly elected by local government councillors. This upper house would protect the interests of the regions and have a membership of no more than fifty.

    The British Parliament would see the membership of the Commons reduced to around 350 MPs for the UK as a whole with probable voting reform thrown in. The House of Lords should be abolished and replaced with a body called the "House of Nations" or "Council of Nations" elected at the same time as the Commons. Each home nation would each have 25 representatives elected by PR.

    The new upper house would fulfill the same role as the Lords except that it could review (but not block) financial legislation. This body would represent the "equal partnership" of the union and stop one party from favouring one part of the UK over the rest at the peril of having their legislation delayed i.e. Tories designing policies to benefit the southern half of England to the detriment of the rest of the UK.

    The national governments and the federal government would co-ordinate common goals such as on finance, state-security, constitutional structure through a body called the "Federal Council". The Federal Council would be headed by the UK Prime Minister and the four national heads of government with finance, health etc committees for the proper national and federal ministers. The daily relations between the two tiers of government would be overseen by a federal minister for union affairs and four national ministers for federal affairs.

    The monarchy would be redesigned as a quadruple monarchy. For example Prince William on accession would be "William, soverign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, King William V of England, King William IV of Scots, Prince William III of Wales, William III Lord of Northern Ireland" or something to that effect. The monarch would be sworn in and inaugurated at St James for federal purposes with seperate inaugurations for each of the home nations at Westminster for England, Scone/St Giles for Scotland and whatever for Wales and NI.

    The UK coat of arms to lose one of the three lions which is to be replaced with a Welsh Red Dragon. Some Welsh symbol somehow to be inserted in the Union flag. Cardiff Castle to be donated by Cardiff Council to the Crown as an official residence for the soverign in Wales. NI already has Hillsborough Castle.

    However as a Scottish nationalist, my preference is still for Scotland to become independent. Also I doubt my ideas would get any support as England is too consevative and Conservative to reform the UK and itself in an attempt to strengthen the union and make the UK something more than "Greater England with some strange bits added on".

  24. Posted December 21, 2006 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    John,

    What you describe is not devolution. Your model does not include English government. In your model England would be ruled by the UK Government; no power would be devolved to England, English MPs would simply vote upon legislation put forward by the British Cabinet. It's slightly more complex than that, but, in a nutshell, I say that England should have the same executive power as Scotland. No more, no less.

    If you can explain to me why England should have less powers than the other nations of the UK without sounding like a centralising control freak then I'm all ears.

    If it becomes the case that only English MPs are permitted to consider English legislation then it is very difficult to see how Scottish MPs would be able to make it into cabinet. Scottish MPs would no longer be able to cut their teeth as ministers for great Departments of State such as Health, Transport and even, probably, the Home Office; why should they have executive positions in departments over whose policy they cannot vote upon, or even consider, in Parliament? In order to make it into the UK Cabinet Scottish MPs would have to go from the back benches straight into Treasury, Defence or Trade and Industry. Essentially, and unwittingly I presume, your proposal would create a de facto English front bench.

  25. Terry Heath
    Posted December 21, 2006 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    "However as a Scottish nationalist, my preference is still for Scotland to become independent. Also I doubt my ideas would get any support as England is too consevative and Conservative to reform the UK…"

    According to a Telegraph poll, 59% of Englishmen wanted Scotland to leave the union.. a greater percentage than Scots. I think many this side of the border would welcome such ideas but we are NEVER asked, that's the problem, we don't have a voice!

  26. The Aberdonian
    Posted December 21, 2006 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Terry I agree with you on that one. The main reason that Westminster/Whitehall (WW) is probably reluctant to grant a seperate English parliament and executive is the fear of the loss of power and of control.

    If a federal arrangement was introduced the power of WW would be drastically reduced to only foreign policy, defence, macroeconomics, border control, international trade, trade regulation, social security and a few other things such as transport and energy planning. The rest of the departments such as education and agriculture would be husks sending out supervising edicts. Much of the British civil service would be transferred to the control of the English authority. This scares WW.

    Concerning the loss of contol – if an English parliament and executive was created, it would be extremely powerful simply by the fact it would be in charge of most of the British population. The head of the English government – titled such as First Minister, Lord Protector or even a Lady Protector who hails from Grantham and whose father was in the grocery business – would be the second most powerful politician in the UK. Not the Chancellor of the Exchequer as it is now.

    A British Prime Minister can sack a Chancellor – he/she could not sack the English head of government and so would have no power to deal with such a powerful political rival. If the English government demanded more power WW would be forced to grant it by sheer scale of the power of the English government. If the Scottish, Welsh or NI governments wanted more power they can be swotted like insignificant flies by the "daddies" in WW. Try that with an English government. If the English government demanded full financial powers from WW, then WW could not fight them. With Scotland, Wales and NI they can be told by WW that they will be too poor to have them and they are better off with pocket money from WW. The paradox is that by saying that Scotland, Wales and NI are poor, then WW is saying England is subsidising them and the English government can then confidently demand full control as it is their money and they can look after themselves thank you very much.

    The UK is a "hub" union state where one part of the union is the hub connecting the other three. Other examples of "hub" unions are the USSR where the hub was Russia, Yugoslavia where the hub was Serbia and Czechoslovakia where the hub was Bohemia. Existing hubs include Spain where the hub is Castille. This contrasts to balanced unions such as Australia and the USA where the parts are theoretically equal (with some parts such as New York and California or NSW and Victoria more equal than others).

    WW will not allow the creation of a powerful "hub" part of the union. This is more dangerous to the union than whatever Scottish or Welsh nationalists can throw at it. If England started throwing its weight around in the UK, there is little WW could do to stop it and it would drive Scotland and possibly Wales out of the UK.

    To put it bluntly WW will not create something like a political Frankenstein's monster that could certainly overpower it if so chose.

  27. John Hutchings
    Posted December 21, 2006 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    To put it bluntly WW will just jolly well have to accept that England must be accorded the same rights – ie an English national parliament with the same briefs and the same competencies as Scotland .

    – or before too long the strains within the UK will be such that the UK will cease to exist – in which England will have her parliament and self government anyway .
    It cannot be beyond the wit of even the existing British political class to grasp that there is a profound and unsustainable injustice in the governance of the United Kingdom . The solution is simple – a federal United Kingdom – just the sort of federation which the British have been instrumental in setting up across the world throughout modern history .

    The fact of the disparity of size of the constituent parts of the UK is irrelevant . Once you have accepted that the rest becomes easy .

  28. Posted December 21, 2006 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    John.
    Sir, the union is finished, it is in last moments, new labour have bought this about by their utter contempt and exploitation of the English people. There is no way back for the union, I can't understand why the Tories have not accepted this, you have no influence in Scotland and probably never will again, you need to grasp this wonderful opportunity that has been presented to you and move on. Is ot not the Scotch, welsh vote that keeps labour in power, an Independent England would give your party a better chance of election.
    However I have to say that I whom have voted Conservative all my life am now an English democratic party voter, they seem to have grasped whats going on and have left your boys way behind with no idea really.

    Kind regards

  29. Anthony Baggett
    Posted December 21, 2006 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    I wrote to you some years ago regarding an English Parliament and in your reply you rather scoffed at the idea. At least you were curteous enough to reply – thank you. However you now appear to be shifting towards the idea; wise move, I applaud you.

  30. Posted December 21, 2006 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, like most members of his party, is very adept at the 'Ostrich stance' which is to say head in the sand and a very vulnerable part of their political anatomy sticking up in the air. Mr Redwood, Unionism is dying, yet you and your associates cling to it with morbid determination. Your power base is England, not Scotland, not Wales, not Northern Ireland. Despite this you still seem determined not to enfranchise the English. Why not? Why are we continually denied democratic parity with the, politically speaking, fringe nations? Why should we be fobbed off with EVoEM? Who will decide what matters are English, Scottish ministers! The Speaker of the House! Lord, 'voting is a privilege' Falconer! The only answer is an English Parliament, nothing less will do, nothing less will be acceptable to England. Mr Redwood, I suggest you use your undoubted political skills to persuade your party to whole-heartedly propose and support a parliament for England; Then you and your colleagues can prepare for government. If not, you will need a bigger sandpit to bury your heads in.

  31. Posted December 23, 2006 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Aberdonian, has offered the best reason I have yet seen to oppose a separate English parliament, I would however suggest that, the break up of the UK can also be caused by the Scottish parliament. The SNP are standing on an independence referendum ticket, if they gain enough votes the Scottish people alone will be allowed a vote on the break up of our country. If the vote is yes the Scottish government will be mandated to move towards independence that will then be the beginning of an almost unstoppable process. The rest of us in Britian will have had no chance to vote on the issue.

  32. Posted December 27, 2006 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I read your Death of Britian. And, yes, you were right to a large extent. Nations are dynamic beings because they're made of people.

    As far as I can see there's very little the UK state can do which the constituent nations couldn't. The only exception would be in the field of war. But then independence all round gives the different nations the choice of which wars to fight … and which ones not to.

    As a Welshman I can't see what the English get from the Union and in any case as any Welshman and Scotsman will tell you, most people across the globe think that England refers to the UK and the whole island in any case.

    A UK Federal state is an option, but why bother? In a globalised world and a European Union (even were it to be relaxed) then independence is the tidiest and offer and will stop the begrudging and whining from the constituent nation. The Czechs and Slovaks now believe that independence was the best option in 1993 even if most didn't think so at the time.

  33. Alan Eaves
    Posted January 25, 2007 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Maybe as a first step, it would be a great move forward to have a Goverment with English Ministers sitting on the front bench – and also, occupying the majority of Junior Minister jobs – by contrast with our current position, which as we all know is dominated by Scots.

    Alan Eaves

2 Trackbacks

  1. By It`s in the details — eurealist.co.uk on March 13, 2008 at 1:22 am

    […] Lord Elis-Thomas is in line with the thinking of John Redwood who also favours a part time English parliament this from Mr Redwoods new Blog […]

  2. […] on. John Redwood has a new blog: What I would like to see is the return of the English Parliament to Westminster. Everything which […]

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page