The English Democrats hit back

The English Democrats almost lost lost their deposit in a b y election with the two main federalist parties not fielding candidates.You would have thought if their campaign was popular they would have done better here in these unusual conditions than they did.The argument remains true, that trying to make Eurosceptic points by splitting the Eurosceptic vote in other situations is self defeating.
It is also interesting that in a by election where the outcome would not change the government and where two of the three main parties withdrew, the cause of an English Parliament was so unpopular.
It illustrates that people do not have an appetite for more politicians and more bureaucrats at their expense, when taxes are so high and when English votes for English issues, the Conservative position, can deal with the worst of injustices in the current lop sided devolution.
I suggest to the English Democrats that they learn from this bad rejection in a by election they could have done well in if their cause did resonate more, and decide not to run candidates against Conservatives likely to win in a General Election, especially in very marginal seats. Other wise they just help Labour more, the architects of unfair devolution and the betrayers of the UK through Nice, Amsterdam, Lisbon, and the cancelled referendum.
It is silly when we want so many of the same things there are so many scraps. The Eurosceptics will win when enough of us are united behind a strategy for getting powers back from Brussels, and having a different relationship with the EU that allows us to trade, be friends and have shared rules where it suits the UK and the other members.

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44 Comments

  1. DennisA
    Posted July 12, 2008 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    The Conservatives did give us Maastricht….

  2. Posted July 12, 2008 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    The ethical problem is that we have an undemocratic electoral system that discourages electing anybody that doesn't represent to 2 big parties views & the 2 big parties insist on keeping it.

    Thus voting for what you want does indeed usually mean your vote doesn't count & increases the chance of the greater evil getting in. On the other hand voting for the lesser evil is rewarding that party for sharing in maintaining a corrupt electoral system.

    No easy answer, but it does not encourage respect for politicians.

  3. Posted July 12, 2008 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I take it that you are suggesting the English Democrats change their political philosophy and accept the Conservative position that Britain should remain in the EU? But the EU must change its ethos, abandon the idea of further political integration, overturn the Acquis communautaire return power to the nation state and instead become a confederation of sovereign nation states.

    At what point can we expect to see solid Conservative policies which will without any doubt return power to Westminster and create a different EU, so that we are not increasingly forced into further political integration measures by the federalist.

    Reply: No , I am not suggesting people change their views – but I am suggestiog the fire of the Eurosceptic groups should be aimed against federalists, not fellow sceptics.

  4. AlanofEngland
    Posted July 12, 2008 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I don't understand you any more John, especially when you say this…"It is also interesting that in a by election where the outcome would not change the government and where two of the three main parties withdrew, the cause of an English Parliament was so unpopular." The electorate at the by-election were never asked to vote on a direct question about an English parliament, so popularity on the question never arose. The Scots were asked, as follows; "I agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament 1,775,045 74.3 %" and "I do not agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament 614,400 25.7 % " I now put it to you that a similar referendum for we English would vote in similar fashion and we would then have equality with the Scots. I believe it is my human right to at least be asked the questions. I hope the EDP DO stand anywhere THEY choose.

    Reply: But they were asked, by the EDs! You have to live by the results and understand the message of the votres. I want to win to get my country back, and I'm fed up with splinter groups making that more difficult.

  5. tally
    Posted July 12, 2008 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Why do politicians keep peddling this line that an English Parliament would mean more politicians and more bureaucrats when it does not? IEven if it were true, English taxpayers are paying for all the parliaments and assemblies of the uk plus Westminster as well, why should there not be one for themselves?
    Reported in todays Welsh press, AM'S are calling for the same powers as the Scottish Parliament,if they get it, which i'm sure they will,the conservatives no doubt will stick to Ken Clarkes stupid and insulting propasal.
    I have lost any faith that the conservatives will be of any use to England and I sincerly hope New Labour jump the gun on you at the next election and call for an English parliament.They will get plenty of backers.

  6. gadgie
    Posted July 12, 2008 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    I'm very happy to find that whenever English Democrats stand for election, there is a significant core of people who agree with an English Parliament. 1754 English Nats in any seat puts the wind up you all.

  7. Susan
    Posted July 12, 2008 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Right as usual. People would like a slimmed-down Parliament – not more MPs – but I think the English Democrats would like an English Parliament/Assembly so weakening the Union. They can't have it all ways. The UK of Gt Britain & Northern Ireland can survive but England has been ravaged for more than fifty years, moreso in the past eleven, and will not survive alone with or without an independent Assembly which makes calls for an English Parliament nonsense.

    Splitting the eurosceptic/eurorealist vote only weakens. If you, for example, split from the Conservatives and formed a eurorealist party whilst retaining many Conservative Party politicies, I would vote for you. If Miss Great Britain did the same thing, I would not vote for her. It depends on the leader – and we desperately need to win this war.

  8. Patrick Harris
    Posted July 12, 2008 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    If what you say is true why have the Tory party proposed the fudge of EVOE only legislation?
    I thought you were an intelligent man, which means we are both wrong.

  9. A Ellis
    Posted July 12, 2008 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    For the life of me John, I can't figure you out. You are either extremely naive or very afraid. Their may be many Euro sceptics in the Con party but one thing is for certain, they ain't running it mate!
    You are still in the federalist EPP, a Cameron broken promise.
    We now here that there will be no referendum on the Lisbon constytreaty, Cameron backtracking. Conservatives continue to prop up regional government at councillor level, even though your party is supposed to be against the regionalization of England.
    You cannot change anything from within, you will never be allowed to gain enough support or power to do so, only those who are of the correct ideological mindset are invited into high office.
    As for the cause of an English parliament it is very popular, but as I am discovering daily it is fast losing ground, being rapidly caught up, if not overtaken by full independence for England. The people I talk to are real people by the way. If the English Democrats had the media coverage, then their financial support would grow and a different story would be unfolding now.

    Reply: How wrong you are. My stand in 1995 to keep the pound revealed the Conservative party to be a pro pound party and led to the referendum promise from both Major and Blair which saved our currency – a crucial battle in our war for a self governing Britain. Cameron's Conservatives are strongly against Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, and the leaders of the movement for a referendum on Lisbon.

  10. Posted July 12, 2008 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    I suspect that you commit to a party like the English Democrats when you have concluded that the only option is the long march, rather the the sprint to grab power at the next election.

    People like yourself John make the most convincing argument for staying in the bigger parties, by articulating your views on the constitution. But then look at the result of the Clarke review – its an unworkable disaster (oh it will function – but it won't resolve the underlying injustice or serve England as opposed to British political parties who need to suppress English identity). The great chance that David Cameron has missed is the opportunity to answer the English Question on Conservative terms, instead he has chosen to kick it into the long grass. That's the sort of thing that makes me wonder if the English Democrats aren't on the right track.

    Remember many Conservative party members vote UKIP in the secrecy of the Euro-elections polling booth. If Gordon Brown were to install PR then parties like the English Democrats could become king makers, whilst the old parties fragment. They at least have a hope – the Clarke review shows that Englishmen have little hope for justice for their country from the next Conservative government.

  11. Matthew Reynolds
    Posted July 12, 2008 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Surely if we just restrict the voting rights of MP’s from Scotland so that while we cannot vote on their devolved issues they cannot vote on the same things when they affect England but not Scotland that is a start ? The Barnet formula can be axed so that the English do not find themselves paying more tax per head than the Scots while getting less public expenditure . Powers need moving en-mass from Brussels to our Westminster Parliament while the QUANGO state needs downsizing as more power goes to local government meaning also that the Whitehall machine needs fewer civil servants , less rule making as power is moved to the localities . The centralised unitary state in England , the unfairness created by Scottish devolution and the regular abuses of Brussels all point to a set up that is untenable as it is discriminatory , unjust and lacking democratic legitimacy . Only the Scots had a say over their Parliament while the English have not had redress for paying more tax as Scottish MP’s sit as Ministers not accountable to their constituents for what they are doing ( as John Reid as Health Secretary could not legislate for his own electors healthcare needs ). If Scotland became independent the £11 billion saved in funds sent North of the Border could fund cutting basic rate tax by 5p to 15p . Scotland could impose a drastic downsizing of its public sector to stop taxes rising as a result of no more Barnet Formula money . Smaller government paved the way for Eire’s economic revival – could it be the same with Scotland ?

    Seperation between Scotland & England if the English got out of the EU would be win-win ! No more cash for corrupt Brussels pen pushers whose accounts have not been signed off in thriteen years and no more bribes to Gordon Brown’s backyard that cost £11 billion p/a . With a 15p basic rate of tax , lower levels of public spending and the end of EU over-regulation coupled with a revival of English fisheries & farming ( owing to the end of CFP & CAP caused by us being out of the EU )England could have a major upswing ! Come on Mr Cameron – what does common sense tell you about these ideas ! John Redwood once said that lets have more Country’s as it was what people want – lets apply that principle in this case please ! You never know smaller government , lower taxes and greater democracy coupled with less red tape might even work – stranger things have happened !

  12. Stephen Gash
    Posted July 12, 2008 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    The Scottish Parliament made Westminster MPs redundant in Scotland.

    An English Parliament would make Westminster MPs redundant all over the UK.

    This is the only reason Westminster MPs oppose an English Parliament.

    Once an English Parliament has been established the UK's budget, defence and foreign policy could be run by a Grand Committee comprising a small number of delegates from the devolved parliaments. There would be no need for more politicians. In fact there are too many anyway. The whole of the USA is run by fewer politicians than the UK.

    The easiest thing to do is put the question of an English Parliament to the people in a fair referendum.

    Reply: Not so – The UK Parliament still settles Scotland's taxes and foreign policy

  13. Paul
    Posted July 12, 2008 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    I think the EDP should always run candidates against the Tories (even in marginals). Labour and Tories (Heath etc) are both betrayers of the UK and both offer nothing for England.

    English votes for English Issues is a total fudge. Why cant the English have the same deal as the Scots?

    The reason that the EDP did not win this vote was because their message was not given any airtime, and also because our voting system is designed to thwart small parties.

    Who else but the EDP will stand up for England? No-one.

  14. Posted July 12, 2008 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    "No , I am not suggesting people change their views – but I am suggestiog the fire of the Eurosceptic groups should be aimed against federalists, not fellow sceptics."

    That is the point is it not, the Conservative party is federalist in that it wants to remain in the EU which has one direction towards ever closer union. Certainly there are Eurosceptics within the party, but do they make party policy, it would appear not.

    Mr Cameron wrote last week about the direction he intended to take when in government and the important issues for the next Conservative government, putting rocket boosters behind renewable energy; having a border police force; Lifting up our society. I did not read anything about the EU and changing its direction or reducing its influence. Mr Brown if he is still PM at the next election, if not his replacement, will also be talking about, putting rocket boosters behind renewable energy; having a border police force; and Lifting up our society. Where is the difference and where is the choice.

    This is the problem we have when we go into the ballot box, do we vote for a Eurosceptic member of the Conservative party, when the policies of the party are not Eurosceptic. Or do we vote for a party that we know will not gain power but does stand on an important issue in relation to the EU, voting Conservative is therefore self defeating for the Eurosceptic.

    The Conservatives should be leading the way out of this mess, if they were then there would be no need for parties like UKIP or the English Democrats, they exist to fill the vacuum left by Conservatives. The essential point is that whilst we remain in the EU it really matters little which party is in control of Westminster, Labour or Conservative will both have to follow the agenda set by the EU.

  15. Matthew Reynolds
    Posted July 13, 2008 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Surely if we just restrict the voting rights of MP's from Scotland so that while we cannot vote on their devolved issues they cannot vote on the same things when they affect England but not Scotland that is a start ? The Barnet formula can be axed so that the English do not find themselves paying more tax per head than the Scots while getting less public expenditure . Powers need moving en-mass from Brussels to our Westminster Parliament while the QUANGO state needs downsizing as more power goes to local government meaning also that the Whitehall machine needs fewer civil servants , less rule making as power is moved to the localities . The centralised unitary state in England , the unfairness created by Scottish devolution and the regular abuses of Brussels all point to a set up that is untenable as it is discriminatory , unjust and lacking democratic legitimacy . Only the Scots had a say over their Parliament while the English have not had redress for paying more tax as Scottish MP's sit as Ministers not accountable to their constituents for what they are doing ( as John Reid as Health Secretary could not legislate for his own electors healthcare needs ). If Scotland became independent the £11 billion saved in funds sent North of the Border could fund cutting basic rate tax by 5p to 15p . Scotland could impose a drastic downsizing of its public sector to stop taxes rising as a result of no more Barnet Formula money . Smaller government paved the way for Eire's economic revival – could it be the same with Scotland ?

    Seperation between Scotland & England if the English got out of the EU would be win-win ! No more cash for corrupt Brussels pen pushers whose accounts have not been signed off in thriteen years and no more bribes to Gordon Brown's backyard that cost £11 billion p/a . With a 15p basic rate of tax , lower levels of public spending and the end of EU over-regulation coupled with a revival of English fisheries & farming ( owing to the end of CFP & CAP caused by us being out of the EU )England could have a major upswing ! Come on Mr Cameron – what does common sense tell you about these ideas ! John Redwood once said that lets have more Country's as it was what people want – lets apply that principle in this case please ! You never know smaller government , lower taxes and greater democracy coupled with less red tape might even work – stranger things have happened !

  16. Posted July 13, 2008 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    By the same logic green issues must be as unpopular as an English parliament, and issues surrounding civil liberties must also be unpopular because LPUK did poorly in Henley.

    I think you know it doesn't work like that John.

    I'm not an English Democrat but I think they were right to stand in this campaign. Where perhaps they went wrong was to select an ex-UKIPer and adopt a negative UKIP-style campaign.

    The EDP's campaign should have focused on the issue that the by-election was being fought over. It should have been about the erosion of hard won historic English liberties They should have been asking why Privacy International find that civil liberties are better protected in Scotland than in England, and why Scottish MPs can vote to abolish smoking in English pubs, but not in their own country. And why the Scots debate ID cards in their Parliament at Holyrood while the English debate on the doorsteps of Haltemprice and Howden. Most of all they should have been asking why Scottish Labour MPs and the DUP were imposing 42-days on England, against the will of the majority of English MPs, and why devolution has perverted for England the most important civil liberty that a democratic people hold – the ability to choose and remove their own government.

  17. Jonathan
    Posted July 13, 2008 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    What seems to upset you most, John, is the voice of your own conscience.

    Your only argument against the English Democrats seems to be that they can't win a seat and by standing they risk allowing Labour to retain seats. To regard Labour as such villain's that any government is preferable is not the most sycophantic praise of our Leader, is it?

    You argue that EVFEL is "good enough", although even that figleaf of fairness is denied England in Clarke's recent report.
    You argue that if support for an English parliament was high people would vote for it but that willfully misunderstands the value and power of single issue politics in a parliamentary democracy. More worthy of Stonyhurst than All Souls', I would have thought.

    I have been a Conservative at least as long as you and I would seriously consider voting ED, if I thought they had the least chance of winning or to gain momentum, even of a newsworthy defeat. At a Euro or other PR election, I will certainly do so. I suspect that there are many thousands of other despairing Conservatives, relieved that Labour is now going to lose in 2010 but distinctly underwhelmed at the prospect of what the Conservatives are promising to do when they get back in.

    I suspect you are one of us.

    The English Democrats are a joke, agreed but at least they are not proposing to govern a country beset by recession, beseiged by globalisation, raped by oil speculators, plundered by chippy Scotsmen and controlled ultimately by Brussels with the Conservatives current version of tarted-up Blairism.

    That sort of joke is far less funny.

  18. Ken Stevens
    Posted July 13, 2008 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    If English Democrats are so small and insignificant, I wonder why people get so het up about them?
    Maybe a fear that their advocacy of an English Parliament will steadily catch on?

    😉

  19. AlanofEngland
    Posted July 13, 2008 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    "Reply: But they were asked, by the EDs! You have to live by the results and understand the message of the votres. I want to win to get my country back, and I’m fed up with splinter groups making that more difficult." I despair of such a negative reply John, you appear to be exasperated with anybody who disagrees with you, yet you apparently don't want your party to just ask us the questions that were asked of the Scots.

    Man in a shed is right…."Remember many Conservative party members vote UKIP in the secrecy of the Euro-elections polling booth. If Gordon Brown were to install PR then parties like the English Democrats could become king makers, whilst the old parties fragment. They at least have a hope – the Clarke review shows that Englishmen have little hope for justice for their country from the next Conservative government."

    In my 70th year I'm STILL waiting for justice for my country after the betrayals of Heath and Rippon, Blair and Brown, and I can't wait to vote for ANY party in the June 2009 EU elections that will make a binding promise to give me a referendum, because THAT'S the only way you will ever know the truth of how the majority feels.

  20. Iain
    Posted July 13, 2008 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    "I want to win to get my country back, and I’m fed up with splinter groups making that more difficult."

    Well perhaps people support these splinter parties because they don't trust the main political parties to stand by their word, or they find that main political parties are unresponsive to their wishes, for that was certainly my experience of the Conservative party, when opposed to the ERM, which I thought was going to be the biggest economic disaster to befall our country, but it was a case we don't want to hear what you have to say, shut up and keep stuffing the envelopes through the letter boxes.

    The same with EU integration and Maastricht, where if we weren't being abused for our EUscepticism, we were being insulted with crumby cons like 'subsiduarity', but we were really only wanted around as an unpaid workforce. It was only when I and many others left and joined the Referendum party did the party big wigs take note. Then we got the undertaking to give us a referendum on the Euro.

    So the lesson is clear, forget trying to argue or make your point within the Party, its best to leave the Party , join a splinter party to make life difficult for them, then they sit up and take note. So far we have had a decade of the Conservative party sitting on its fanny about the English question, if not being picked out to be insulted for our demands for equality. So clearly nothing meaningful is going to happen on this issue under Cameron, he seems deaf to the issue, which leaves us a clear course of action, join a splinter party, like the English Democrats, become a thorn in the side of the Conservative party like UKIP, then the party big wigs will sit up and take note.

    So don't blame splinter parties, for they are just the cause and effect of the main political parties failing to respond to our issues. If you don't want the English Democrats around, then properly deal with the English question, don't blame them for your Party’s failure to take note of the issue.

  21. adam
    Posted July 13, 2008 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    i am more concerned with vote blue go green image. If i vote blue it is because i dont want to go green. I could vote red, yellow or green, if i wanted to go green.
    The UN is just a glorified EU in my eyes, their secretariat control the green movement.
    If our politicians suck up to the UN and Al Gore the only way this country can go is a police state because the majority of voters will not like green policies even the ones who think they will.

  22. adam
    Posted July 13, 2008 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    The British conservative party deserves a lot of praise for being almost alone throughout europe in its eurosceptic views and resisting the lefts attempts to mock. I am not as sceptical as other posters about the parties anglophile position, but lets make sure we dont just skip the EU and think the UN is a replacement. We need to balance the need to be globalist and environmental against the economy and democracy.

  23. Posted July 13, 2008 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    John – I'm still waiting for an answer to my question, put to you some time ago: why are the UK political class so obsessed with being in the EU. Why won't they defend their position to the UK electorate, ie why do they continue to conspire with Europeans against their own people?

    Reply:Because Labour spin pro EU has it that splits on the EU damaged the Conservatives in the early 1990s. I think what damaged the Conservatives and the nation was the Conservatives being too European and going into the ERM

  24. Cliff
    Posted July 13, 2008 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Thank you for highlighting the English Democrats.
    As I have voiced before on this forum, I am not happy with the way our party is going under Mr Blair….Oppps Mr Cameron, sorry slip of the fingers!!

    Whilst it may be true that the EDP may not win any election soon, like Mr Davis, I am a man of principle and will vote for what I feel is right.

    It seems to me that, our leader does not trust anyone other than himself to comment on anything in the media…..We seldom if ever, see one of our shadow cabinet commenting on areas that are their concern, it is always Mr Cameron. I notice above, you call the party Cameron's Conservatives, this is wrong; the party belongs to the members not one man and if he feels he can take the party any where, no matter how far away from Conservative values, he will drive more of us away.

    At the moment, it is my opinion that the real feeling in the country is "anything other than Mr Brown/Labour" not "We think Mr Cameron is great."

    All our leader seems concerned about is tying our hands more and more with his green agenda which, will make our industry even less competitive.

    I looked at the EDP's website and was really pleased with what I found.

    You see John, living here in Wokingham, I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. You, as an individual, have always served your constituents well, however, you now seem infactuated by Mr Cameron's brand of "ConservatismLite" and I am at this time. unable to support what Mr Cameron stands for.
    I feel I have less to disagree with when reading the EDP policies than I do when I listen to Mr Cameron.
    Other people mention he seems not to say much about the EU and our relationship with it, I have heard you say on here that our next government will negotiate with the EU to improve our position however, what have we to negotiate with?

    I have been a Conservative all my adult life, including during the bad times but, I really do feel the EDP are nearer to my political beliefs than Mr Cameron's Conservatives.(sic) I may at the next election vote for a non Conservative(No not Mr Cameron!!) I mean someone that does not pretend to be a Conservative, perhaps one wearing an EDP rossette.

    Reply: I am not infatuated, but I am impatient to end the long run of policy in the UK that gives more and more power to the EU, to regional governments and to quangos, takes more and more of ourt money in taxes and bosses us around too much. There is only one way to vote to end this – to vote Conservative. It is as simple as that.

  25. Frederick Davies
    Posted July 13, 2008 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Who got us in the EU? The Tories.
    Who got us in Maastricht? The Tories.

    I am afraid that the Tories have lost all credibility as far as Euroscepticism is concerned.

  26. Tommy
    Posted July 13, 2008 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    What England needs right now is their own version of the SNP, this is The English Democrats, they are a new party and in time they will grow, especially when the English people awake from their stupor and discover what all three main political party's have done to England or should I say NOT done for England. The original country that invented democracy, the first country to have a democratic parliament now finds it is the ONLY country with no parliament not just in the UK but in the EU. Watch this space!
    It is a pity that the Conservatives ARE the party of England but are too scared to speak up for it's people.

  27. E Justice
    Posted July 13, 2008 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Please ,Please , Mr. Redwood,Think of England!

  28. Ken Stevens
    Posted July 14, 2008 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I see that the latest conservativehome survey has two aspects featuring in the priorities (marks out of 10. Highest mark of any was crime @ 8.2).

    3. A significant repatriation of powers from the EU: 7.7
    11. A fairer deal for England within the United Kingdom: 7.0

    But I suppose the Tories will continue to behave like the publican who, having dealt with a constant stream of customers requesting a pint of real ale, quoth in exasperation "How many times do I have to keep telling you people — there's just no demand for it!"

  29. Posted July 14, 2008 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I thought you favoured an EP at one point, Mr Redwood. Sorry if I misread you.

    Issues like health apartheid and the West Lothian Question are of utmost importance to low income people like me and recent polls have shown a majority of voters in England are in favour of an English Parliament.

  30. adam
    Posted July 14, 2008 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Frederick, Thatcher helped bring us into europe but i believe she was naieve.
    She was def. eurosceptic.

  31. Posted July 14, 2008 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Why not put the question to the English public and let us have a referendum as to whether we would like an English Parliament – as was given to the good people of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales….

    In recent polls, the demand for an English Parliament has been as high as 67% in favour. Last time I did my sums John, that was a clear majority in favour…. It'll cost a few bob to hold, but hey exactly what price DO you put on the democratic rights of 50 million people, John? (And it's not as if goverments don't waste billions every day, is it?).

    Instead of sneering at the English Democrats' performance, why not put it on a par with the Greens… But I don't see your logic going as far as saying that as only 1750 people voted Green they couldn't give a toss about global warming etc….

    If I were you, I would be lobbying Call Me Dave to bin his Hush Puppy option – and instead go for a commitment to reinstall an English Parliament. It's called democracy, John.

    England is the only country in the whole of Europe without a national parliament – and that is a shameful indictment of a shambollic and self centred Westminster machine.

  32. Barry
    Posted July 14, 2008 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    All you separatists and fanatical devolutionists ought to realise that Mr Redwood represents a party callled the Conservative and Unionist Party. If you have been voting Tory in the past then you have been endorsing Unionism in its strongest form. The Conservative Party IS THE Unionist party in Britain. Mr Redwood therefore has to think not only of England, but of Wales, Scotland and NI as well!

  33. Ken Stevens
    Posted July 14, 2008 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Barry
    OK then, if the Unionist Party will unravel nation-based devolution, I would genuinely be very happy indeed to return to being the UNITED Kingdom.

    What is unacceptable is that some parts have their nationhood nurtured and cossetted while the remaining part is expected to put up with it.

  34. Posted July 14, 2008 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Barry – the Tories also claim to be democrats. So how can they endorse Scots, Northern Irish and Welsh devolution as 'a good thing' yet leave 85% of the UK without any benefits of a nationally devolved administration – which by not having it, is, by definition, 'a bad thing'.

    Extra, top down democracy isn't a gift to be bestowed on the chosen 15% by the Westminster club. If they have it, then I want it – as of right.

    The threat of a union break if England were to be given national parity is simply not a good enough excuse. If the union cannot stand extra democracy then it simply ain't worth having in the first place. The longer the English Question fails to get answered, the bigger will be the fall out.

    An English government will be smaller, more focused and more relevant. We will not have the abberation of a PM with a Scottish constituency delivering policies on Health, Education, Transport and Planning that will only impact upon the English – and not upon his own constituents. It's called democracy, Barry. John, Call Me Dave, Gordon and the rest of the Westminster elite should start looking it up in dictionaries….

  35. Iain
    Posted July 14, 2008 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    "The Conservative Party IS THE Unionist party in Britain. "

    Not always, for the Act of Union was taken through Parliament by the Whigs and moderate Tories, Pakington and other Tories saw the prospect of Scots MPs and peers at Westminster as so much lobby fodder for the court and the Whigs.

    Hmmm methinks Pakington had it about right, while I believe another Tory said about the Act of Union ' If you lie with beggars you get fleas', referring to the poverty of Scotland, but little did he realise English men and women would be constitutionally beggared by it!

  36. Ken Stevens
    Posted July 14, 2008 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    The current proposals for reform of the Upper House risk being a lost opportunity to take into account the unfinished business of devolution.

  37. backofanenvelope
    Posted July 14, 2008 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    As is often said on this blog, Mr Redwood, you are a voice of sanity.

    Unfortunately, you are not in charge. Assuming that the next government is Tory, it will follow the same policies as every British government has since the dreadful Heath took us in.

    I am looking forward to next year's Euro elections – hopefully it will see the 3 main parties wiped out – which might provoke a rethink.

  38. Susan
    Posted July 14, 2008 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    If only I could believe that the Conservative Party is a euro-sceptic Party. Even I'm not that daft and that's saying something.

  39. Banachech
    Posted July 15, 2008 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Take a look at England now with its Muti cultrial society and Scottish run government, The conservatives are no longer a party for English people (although England is the only country it can rely on for its votes) It is only interested in the European way and would not offer a referendum to its people on any treaty let alone the constitution, indeed Cameron seems infavour of Turkey becoming a full member.England has become one of the most violent countries of Europe because of socialist policies of former Conservative and present Labour Governments.

  40. Iain
    Posted July 15, 2008 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    "indeed Cameron seems infavour of Turkey becoming a full member"

    And that shows how removed the British political establishment are from the rest of us, for I seriously doubt anyone other than the Westminster village (well may be the CBI looking for its cheap labour who couldn't care about the social cost ) think this is a good idea.

  41. thomas
    Posted July 15, 2008 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    We all know the solution: vote UKIP in the EU elections. Only when the politicians can be given evidence that we don't want to be ruled by Brussels will they alter their policy significantly. Polls are too fickle, they won't change Cameron's mind. The Tory party is our only hope for the time being, but they must become convinced that the issue of the EU is important for our votes. Otherwise they will continue with their self-aggrandising Star-Trek inspired 'Federation'.

  42. Iain
    Posted July 15, 2008 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    I note the Weslh Conservatives are campaigning for Wales to get the same powers that the Scottish Parliament have, in the new Welsh constitutional convention. So will we hear Cameron say that this wil break up the Union and call them sour face little Welshmen?
    Reply: No

  43. Freeborn John
    Posted July 17, 2008 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    I was very pleased to see William Hague state the following in a press release on the Conservative Party website today, but on further reading I am wondering if it is a good as it sounds.

    "As long as the Irish decision is not reversed the EU Treaty will not be in force at the next general election. A new Conservative Government would then take back the instruments of ratification and put the Treaty to a referendum, recommending a 'no' vote. That is the honourable and democratic thing to do." – W. Hague, 17/7/2008

    I am wondering if this new statement supplements or replaces the previous position of “not letting matters rest”? i.e. if the Irish decision were to be reversed somehow, and the Lisbon treaty were to be in force in say 2010, would an incoming Conservative government then still “not let matters rest” or would it now accept an in-force Lisbon treaty as a fait accompli that it would live with?
    http://www.conservatives.com/tile.do?def=news.pre

    Reply: The not let matters rest is if the Treaty is ratified everywhere by then

  44. Freeborn John
    Posted July 18, 2008 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    Thanks Mr. Redwood for the reassurance that the old commitment still stands in the event of eventual ratification throughout the EU27. Despite today being the black day when the UK ratifies I remain hopeful that Lisbon will not stand and this will enhance the UK negotiating position in whatever happens afterwards.

    I recently read some online proceedings of a Commons debate on the same topic which I found interesting, especially remarks by Malcolm Rifkind, which were all the more noteworthy coming from someone I regard as EU-phile. He made some interesting points on the desirability of a flexible “Europe a la carte”, the distinction between national interest and influence (and that influence can be sacrificed if necessary in pursuit of interest), and the need for pro-EU elements in the Conservative party to do some fundamental thinking between now and 2010 as to what type of EU they might want to negotiate. I am not sure if the views he articulated on June 18 were new to him, but it seemed promising to me that even pro-EU Conservatives recognise the need for a fundamental re-think.
    http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk

    BTW – although I don’t comment much on your economic posts I must say I find them interesting and informative. Sometimes it is better just to read rather than reply on issues I haven’t given sufficient thought to be able to make any useful comment. 😉

  • 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.

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