Time to speak for England

England gave the Conservatives a strong popular vote and a majority of the Parliamentary seats. It is time for us Conservatives to speak for England. For too long we have criticised but had to accept unbalanced devolution which allows Scottish MPs to determine English issues at Westminister, whilst only Scottish MSPs can determine Scottish issues in Edinburgh.

The English problem shows just how untenable Gordon Brown’s position is. He has no mandate to be the UK’s Prime Minister as the leader of the second minority party, but it is even worse for England where he is seeking to prevent the Leader of the majority party from making the decisions the English now wish to be made.

Lop sided devolution on Labour’s lines was always going to be damaging to the Union. We see just how unfair it now is. The position is untenable. Mr Brown has to go.

PS I am pleased to report that Conservative MPs are going to Westminster to meet on Monday, even though the authorities are not opening Parliament.

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74 Comments

  1. gac
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    As I wrote on a previous blog it is scandalous that the England resident voters do not get the Party of their choice. Worse is that the Scottish, Welsh and Irish MP's can vote down legislation that only applies to England whilst living of the back of the England resident taxpayer.

    Surely this nonsense has to stop?

    Even the EU is more democratic than this as all the citizens tend to get 'shafted' by the unelected bloatacrats.

    • Eddie
      Posted May 9, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      Have a look at the election results, if the Conservatives had a policy towards the EU that many wanted then UKIP would not have taken votes from the Conservatives and we would not be in the position we are at the moment. You have to blame Cameron and his Cohorts for that stupidity, no one else.

      The SNP have not voted on English matters at Westminster as far as I am aware and I don’t see that changing in the future. Nor as claimed elsewhere on here have the SNP spoken about a coalition.

      Perhaps Mr Redwood would care to explain to the many on here just exactly how England subsidizes Scotland and lay out the figure so we can all see them.

      • gac
        Posted May 10, 2010 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        You miss my point entirely which was also relevant in the last parliament when Labour had a majority and yet got some legislation through which affected England only due to the votes of its Welsh and Scottish MPs.

        Since devolution England has not had the parliament it should also have been granted especially as its residents are the largest contributors to the government coffers. Regionalisation on the EU 'guidelines' was a botched attempt to get round this which, fortunately, the voters in the North East saw thru.

        • Eddie
          Posted May 12, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

          The SNP is on record as saying that England should have it's own parliament.

          The fact that it does not can be blamed on English MPs failing to look after their constituents, of course if an English parliament is set up the funding to run it will be out in the open for all to see. I would suggest that many past Labour and present Conservative Ministers would prefer that not to happen as it would likely cause serious problems in the various areas of England never mind the devolved countries.

          "Since devolution England has not had the parliament it should also have been granted especially as its residents are the largest contributors to the government coffers."

          Interesting choice of words, not the usual claim of subsidizing the devolved nations, care to expand on that statement by giving details of the total of contributions attributed to England and the sums spent in England currently funded by the UK parliament?

  2. Robert George
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    A couple of days ago much was made of Gordon Brown's constitutional 'right' to have first go at forming a government. To my mind he gave up that right when he asked Clegg/Cameron to see if they could strike a deal first.

    In the circumstances it seems to me that the Crown is under no obligation to wait for him to have a second go but is free to say that 'as Mr Brown has not attempted to form a government I invite you Mr Cameron to do so.' I would be interested in any differing views.

    • pauper
      Posted May 9, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      The Crown acts only on the advice of the Prime Minister. If the PM advised it, the Crown could do it. If he didn't, it couldn't. As he hasn't, it won't.

      There seems to be an assumption that we are in uncharted constitutional waters. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In past centuries there was generally a lengthy hiatus – sometimes months – between an election and the formation of a new government.

      Mr Brown's position is completely constitutional. He is not a squatter in No 10. Less attractive (though also strictly proper) is the position of those Ministers (eg Jim Knight) who have lost their seats but are still in ministerial office.

      After 13 years of sledgehammer majorities, things are about to get interesting. I predict two incidental outcomes to a hung parliament:

      1. Individual backbenchers, from the luminously wise to the foaming and barking, are about to find themselves deeply beloved by HMG;

      2. Corruption will increase as a direct result of (1). Thus an anti-sleaze popular vote will end by increasing sleaze. We turkeys do love voting for Christmas.

      Oh yes. Any chance of a new Speaker, Mr Redwood?

  3. John Bailey
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    VERY well said!, and its not said enough!.

    Enough is enough….this farce has gone on long enough! England needs its own Parliament! and if a as of 1997 null & void so called "Union" that exists in name only has to be formally put out of its misery in the best interests of England than so be it!.

    Lets face it, the only thing England gets out of the "United Kingdom" is the BILL!…..and an inept, anti-English, Power-mad Scottish communist as De facto First Minister of England!.
    http://img510.imageshack.us/img510/6795/broonland

    • Mike
      Posted May 9, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      John,

      Surely you mean it's time for the Conservatives to speak for the South of England? I live in the North West of England and there is absolutely no mandate for the Conservatives up here. Even with a 4.3% swing in last week's election, the Conservatives hold less than 29% of the seats. It's a similar position in Yorkshire.

      People in the North West of England do not favour the Tories; we do not feel represented by them. Let's hope their policies are at least watered down by the influence of the Lib Dems.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted May 9, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Please take a look at the Telegraph map of the results. It looks like a blue picture with a few spots of red in the major conurbations in the whole of England. Round the Celtic Fringes, however, it turns yellow and red (in Scotland) with clever bits of delightful green and purple. It used to be the Labour Scots who felt disenfranchised. Now it is us.

  4. Kevin Peat
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/

    I think you ought to read what Peter Hitchens has to say on the Tory 'victory'. It really does put it into perspective.

  5. softmutt
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Well said Sir.

  6. John Bailey
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    How Labour MP's, especially one of their Scottish backbench MP's, Gordon Brown, have the gaul and the nerve to say the Conservatives have "no majority in the country" is beyond me!, how are they allowed to get away with that sort of comment! especially when the so called "UK" government has virtually has no say over the non English Regions….only England!.

    The Tail has wagged the dog long enough!.

  7. Charles Linkenhoffer
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    John Bailey,

    Here here,

    If only your thoughts were shared by the majority of the English population!

  8. John Whitehead
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    There will be many new Conservative MPs at your Monday meeting. YOU need to take a lead and get them to rally behind this "Put England First" view. Force Cameron to ditch his pro-Union policy. England and Scotland are politically irreconcilable. Anything else is intolerable to the people of England who have clearly voted for a Conservative government.
    And if you draw a line from the Severn to the Wash the message is clearer still : C 191, L 48, LD 30 I 1. This lower half of England is 71% Tory!!!!!

  9. Oskar Matzerath
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    The solution to all of this:

    Firstly, the Tories need to form a coalition with the Lib Dems. They then force through a constitutional reform bill, whereby Scotland’s parliament is enshrined with sovereign Home Rule – ie, full control over everything, its own treasury, its own mineral rights etc, with Westminster retaining control of only defence and foreign affairs, for which Scotland would send an annual stipend. The Scottish Parliament would no longer be devolved from Westminster, but be an equal partner in the United Kingdom. In return for this, all Scots MPs would be elected by PR, though their numbers cut from 59 to 12. Scots MPs would be banned from voting on matters which do not pertain to Scotland – ie, only on matters relating to defence or foreign affairs.

    In Wales, the assembly would be upgraded to a devolved parliament, similar to Holyrood now. In return, Welsh MPs would be cut from 40 to 25.

    Once this was achieved, Scotland would have its own quasi-independent parliament, run along progressive left lines. England would have Westminster, presumably run along right-of-centre lines. The Welsh would no doubt vote for a similar make-up to the Scottish model.

    Therefore, everyone gets what they want. Except the British Labour party, which would see their numbers at Westminster drop from 258 to about 205. A small price to pay though surely, to keep the UK from splitting apart acrimoniously and which would ensure we all got the governments we voted for.

  10. Helen Wright
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for saying so, once again. Unfortunately, the Lib Dems won't support that, and neither will Cameron [he never mentioned it during the debates. Not once. And it would have been very popular]

    I notice the SNP are calling for a coalliton with Labour, in order not just to prop up the Scottish MPs ruling over England, but to increase them.

    It's unacceptable and the status quo cannot continue. Democracy has to be balanced, with each nation having their own separately elected national Parliament.

    Scotland is calling all the shots and is being treated as though inhabited by demi-gods. They're not all that. Look at Brown et al, as examples of their incompetency over English matters.

  11. Donna W
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I agree. The gerry-mandered devolution settlement has been allowed to fester for too long. The West Lothian Question now urgently needs a resolution – one which prevents Scottish Constituency MPs from voting on legislation which doesn't affect their constituents.

    We should start with 'English votes for English laws' …. we don't need any devolved MPs interfering in our democratic process – and start moving towards a Federal UK. The Barnett Formula needs scrapping. Scotland's welfare junkies will only correlate wealth creation with public spending levels when they have to do the wealth creation first.

    Give Salmond his Referendum on Scottish independence – providing the English can vote as well.

  12. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Then do something practical. The first thing to agree with the LibDems is a no confidence motion: "This House has no confidence in the Prime Minister". Such a motion is constitutional, do-able and will achieve a rapid result.

    So why are you all waiting?

  13. IMarcher
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    But Mr. Redwood, your party leader calls those of us want democracy in England "sour Little Englanders"!

    And how can Conservative MPs speak for England, when, if devolution for England in the form of English votes on English laws, or an English Parliament, were put before the Westminster parliament, the "celtic" fringes could vote it down.

  14. Tally
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Go right ahead John and speak for England if you're allowed. I'm sure any deal with Clegg will not be for the good of England. The Lib/Dems were and are more rabidly anti English than new labour.
    Cameron wanted to be PM of the whole union, but the union rejected him,Dave said he does not want to be PM of England a number of times.Where do we go from here?

  15. Ian Pennell
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    FROM: Ian Pennell

    9th May 2010

    Dear John Redwood

    SIR, can I first of all congratulate you on a good result for your own seat of Wokingham, secondly congratulations are to Sir David Cameron for getting fully 306 seats, by far the largest number in Parliament. Even if there is no overall majority for us, we came very close and it is an impressive achievement for us Conservatives to win over 100 seats.

    However, it has to be said, that Britain (and especially the Scottish and Welsh parts of it!) is packed full of Socialists who believed Gordon Brown's malicious "warnings" about "Tory Cuts" and they voted against us (even tactically where they had to). I have no doubt that is what denied us the strong mandate we need to take tough decisions for Britain's long-term well-being!

    A special English-only legislature may be one way for us to remedy the fact that Scottish and Welsh Socialists (with the help of Northern England Socialists) can vote in a Government that takes from the English to give to the Scots and the Welsh. Over 80% of the UK population are English yet despite having the worst Labour Government for generations enough people from Scotland and Wales voted for them, to deny the vast English Majority (most of whom voted "Conservative") of their wishes. I trust that the new Government (with or without Nick Clegg's support) can push for major Electoral Reform and an English Assembly to put this situation right. If the Conservatives cannot get agreement on this, maybe this is something they could campaign for in the next General Election.

    I have nothing against the Scots and the Welsh, many of whom do work hard and pay taxes to keep the scroungers in the style to which they have become accustomed, but the Barnett Formula is unfair to the English and we need a mandate to address it.

  16. James Matthews
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Many of us agree about the problem, but not the solution. If someone is to speak for England with any authority it will need to be the English first minister of an English Parliament. The Conservative party is (or was, is it still on the table?) offering only Ken Clarke's quarter-measure of English votes on English clauses. Will any Tories declare for an English Parliament? I won't hold my breath.

  17. Posted May 9, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    David Cameron, the leader of the majority party in England, is preventing himself from making the decisions the English want taking by being opposed to an English parliament and an English government.

    I'm afraid that Minette Martin in the Times captures the English mood better than the Conservative Party, which is little surprise given that politicians are always the last to understand how the public feel.

  18. Stephen Gash
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Will you please say this on TV John?

    Pam Giddy was on Channel 4 talking about proportional representation, and all the talk is about PR. She oversaw Power 2010 which fixed the result (as it promised in its slogan "Fix not fiddle) ensuring that the popular choice of an English Parliament was shovelled down the list to oblivion. This will not change the iniquity of Scottish MPs voting on English matters even though they have their own parkliament.

    Helena Kennedy and Alex Salmond, both Scots, are pushing for a Labour/Lib Dem/SNP/PC/ nationalist anti-Tory alliance.

    The Tories allegedly want English Votes on English Laws. What will happen to this policy which the Lib Dems so firmly oppose?

    Worryingly, an answer about RDAs had to be crow-barred out of David Cameron during the last TV debate.

    Are the English still going to have the reviled regions as well as Scottish MPs voting on English matters?

    What was the point of the general election? What do the English get out of it?

    Please get on TV as much as you can John and speak up for the English.

    • Citizen Responsible
      Posted May 10, 2010 at 12:03 am | Permalink

      Lady Helena Kennedy was full of this “rainbow coalition” on Andrew Marr’s sofa this morning. She could barely disguise her delight at the prospect of English conservatism being buried for ever. That England has just voted for a Conservative government was irrelevant to her.

  19. Len Welsh
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    You could do worse than to give them all the URL to the CEP website and tell them to read it from page to page. If they had done that a few years ago we wouldn't be in hock to the Taffys and Jocks now. Eleven years campaigning and I can now see the end in sight, good job too, I'm eighty years old now and can't hold on much longer.

  20. i albion
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood.
    Let us hope when the Conservatives MPs go to Westminster tomorrow they think on ,they owe their jobs to the English voters.
    And get through to Cameron it was the "sour little Englanders"
    who saved his skin ,for how long, who knows?
    England must have a Parliament,an English parliament ,not a "British" one .

  21. Posted May 9, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/new

    It seems to me there is every reason to be optimistic about the effect of the election result

  22. Posted May 9, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    The most pressing need is to deal with the enormous deficit legacy. There are a number of ways of approaching this issue and some of them have been outlined in all three parties' British manifestos. (I have also read their dedicated Scottish and Welsh manifestos). However of great concern is where necessary cuts will fall. The Westminster Parliament only has control of English devolved departments, namely health, education, welfare, transport, aspects of agriculture, fisheries and criminal justice. The Westminster Parliament has no control over these matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. How will the pain be spread evenly throughout the UK bearing in mind that after the Barnett cuts for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland what is left for England already means each of us receives far less funding per head than the other UK regions.

    • Annoying Scots Git
      Posted May 11, 2010 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      Scilla Cullen

      You don't seem to appreciate how Barnett works. While Westminster has no control over how the devolved governments spend the money they are allocated, the devolved governments have no control over how much money is allocated in the first place. This is decided by Westminster; (i) the budget increments for England is decided (or England & Wales for some issues), (ii) this amount is multiplied by how similar govt programs are in the devolved areas – 100% similar, multiply by 1, 50% similar multiply by 0.5, (iii) the product of (i) and (ii) is then multiplied by a fraction representing the relative populations in England versus the appropriate devolved territory. This gives the budget for the devolved region which then forms the base line for the following years budget.

      The Conservative govt inherited Barnett, which was introduced in 1978 as a short term solution prior to devolution, when they were elected in 1979. They failed to publish a needs assessment carried out in 1993 which would have reduced the spending in Scotland and also failed to readjust the base line spending to take account of population changes between England and Scotland (the population in England has risen by 9% since the late 70's while the Scottish population fell and is only now getting back to the level of the late 70's). This is the reason why Scotland now gets more per head than England as a whole (though in the Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis the index of per capita identifiable expenditure for 2008/9 show Scotland at 116 and London at 118).

      The Conservative government had 18 years to carry out a needs assessment or adjust the base line spending to take account of population changes but failed to do so. Forgive me but I find it hard to sympathise with your point of view.

  23. Posted May 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    As a Scot I have, over many Parliaments, seen a Conservative government running the country with a handful, or less, of Scots MPs. The Westminster Parliament is the UK Parliament &attempts to redefine itvas the English Parliament+ or as one wherecv there is a heretofore unknown duty of LibDems to support a party which couldn't win on its own ought to fail. Much of this is moving the goalposts after the game has been played. The game has been fixed against PR supporters for a century & should not be refixed to make it worse post facto.

    For Brown to be ineligible to be PM because he is Scots would be almost as bad as to make Thatcher ineligible because she was English. It would certainly destroy the Union.

    If you want an English Parliament go for it – though I suspect it would only get voter approval if elected on a PR basis – which again leaves the Tories without a majority. Anything else is just cloaking party interests in an English flag.

  24. Michael Lewis
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    The trouble with some people pipping up about an English parliament now, is why now 15-20 years ago? When the majorities in Scotland and Wales didn't want a Tory parliament? It seems a bit hypocritical, much like the Lib Dems banging on about PR – purely in their self interest. But perhaps the David Cameron should do a deal with the SNP/PC, If both functioned as separate countries then I doubt we would see many more hung parliaments in England.

  25. THE ESSEX GIRLS
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    With the BNP annihilated it's time to recapture the Cross of St George!

    With such distortion of the will of the English voter – resulting from having 117 MPs from Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland – the issue is an obvious candidate for the electoral reforms that will be part of the new coalition.

    Don't let the issue get in the way of the 'deal' and the economic plan but I'm sure we can pat our heads and circle our tummies at the same time!

    • gac
      Posted May 10, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      I have read that the PR system we use for the European parliament, which is PR with a list of candidates, if used at this election then with over 500,000 votes the BNP may have had over 20 MPs.

      Politics seems to be the art of decision making without thinking things through – and this seems to be a case in point.

  26. Paul A
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Totally agree with you on this

  27. Eric Arthur Blair
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Have to say, agree totally.

    England has now become a second class nationality in the Union and as an Englishman, I'm very angered that Scottish MPs vote on laws that we in England have to abide by, but which do not apply in Scotland!

    It was all part of Labour's corruption to gerrymander our democracy to kep their grubby little mitts on power.

    But now we have what we do, I want an English Parliament… at least.

    And if any leftist types don't like reading that, they have Labour to blame for this additional tier of inequality.

  28. Norman
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    That the English have allowed this situation to develop to such an extent is staggering. In the last 30 years England seems to have set a course to give away as much power as possible via the EU, devolved Parliaments but retaining MP's from those countries and Labour's plan of the last 13 years of unlimited immigration from outside the EU to 'stick it to the right'.

    What a mess.

  29. Mr A.D.Dagger
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Your quite right John. Some of us have been pointing out the problem for some years. Unfortunately the so called 'big three' political parties continue to pretend there is no problem.
    Perhaps you would be good enough to mention it to Dave (there's Scottish blood flowing through these veins) Cameron. After all England has just elected him!

  30. Posted May 9, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    As I said it all yesterday I shan't repat it again today other than to say that the "Midlothian Question' needs to be adressed NOW & urgently.

  31. alison
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Great great wonderful news Mr Redwood. This is the opportunity to make a difference.

  32. Iain
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Well said, shame so few Conservative MP's are prepared to speak up for England when their party depends for its very life on the support it gets from English people.

    It shocked me that Cameron, when constitutional issues were raised in the leaders debates, remained silent about the West Lothian question. He really doesn’t like English people very much, for to remain silent about the anti English discrimination Labour have written into the constitution is bad enough, but to remain silent when it would help his party's election prospects made real the phrase 'to cut off your nose to spite your face'.

    Cameron invested a great deal of time trying to curry favour with the Scots and Northern Irish, but what did it get him? Nothing, perhaps if he had been prepared to invest a little time for England, instead of abusing us, he might just have been rewarded with a majority.

    But the West Lothian question is writ large when voting reform is put on the table, for PR would guarantee coalition Governments, and as we see in the progressive coalition Brown would like to cobble together, it would mean England ruled by, not only Scottish and Welsh MP's, but Scottish and Welsh nationalists. How acceptable is that? Here we have the perfect trump card against the clamour for voting reform, constitutional reform, putting front and centre an English parliament, for Labour's calculation is that they can push the Conservatives out of Government for generations with voting reform, but their calculation only woks as long as they can bank on their Celtic heartlands , an English parliament would be a bulwark to that.

  33. Eotvos
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Force the Scots to go independent. If a referendum is called give the English a vote.

    There would still be major areas of co – operation such as the armed forces which could be centrally funded but they need to raise their own taxes.

    The Barnett Formula is a Labour bribe for Scottish votes. It is fear that a Conservative government will scrap Barnett that stops them voting Tory.

  34. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Oh Dear! James I and VI had a dream – one big, united kingdom. Then the Empire happened and the Scots took a big part in making it. A big part. Scotland turned into "North Britain".
    Nowadays, with no Empire left, with no manufacture, no shipyards, no industry, no coal, iron or steel, we are splitting in half again.
    Thanks to the totally corrupt EU and Scotland and Wales were the first of the "Regional Governments". They were meant to precede the Regional Governments of what was once England. But, of course, as ever, John Prescott mucked it up.
    How right the 11+ was!

    PS I am personally still owed my wages for March and April by EEDA – thank you Mr Rompey de Pompey!

  35. Eotvos
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    I think this is the single biggest issue re electoral reform facing the Conservative party. I've been advocating disenfranchising Scottish MPs for thirty years but you are the first person who has shown any interest.

    I spoke to Michael Trend and Theresa May about it years ago but circumstances are more favourable now.

    At a stroke it would remove 41 Lab, 11 Lib and 6 Nats. All of them hostile to the Conservatives.

  36. Iain
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    One further point, the BBC needs to be reminded that there is a country called England, Conservative MP's pussy footing around this issue has allowed them to ignore us.

    As a progressive broadcaster the BBC only reflects the views of the left, and as the left would deny English people representation, so does the BBC. So when the left starts on about voting reform the BBC gets on the bandwagon as well, and they will bang on about it incessantly from here on, but try and get the BBC to mention the West Lothian question, or allow a question to a politician during the election, well forget it, here you hit a wall of disinterest. They will not allow a question to get through to a politician on this. I know I tried. The BBC allowed an Iraqi to question Gordon Brown, but an Englishman asking about the West Lothian question, no chance. Since devolution we have had three elections, three months of campaigning, yet the BBC hasn't allowed one question to get through on the English question.

    Just look at the news reports of the election, Friday's six O'clock news broke the election results down along national lines for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not for England, England for them was a nowhere land, and just reported the results for Britain. So the BBC could gleefully report that the Conservatives didn't have a mandate for Scotland with their one MP, but we never heard from them that Labour didn't have a mandate in England, because England didn't exist.

    The Conservative MP’s failure to give voice for England has allowed the left to discriminate against us.

  37. James Harmston
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Let the Scots go.

    Then a decade or so later they will be reeling from their latest Darien scheme, whatever form that takes, and along with the slow-dawning realisation that giving money to unproductive people is a bad idea they will be begging for English money again.

    'No' should then be the firm, final answer.

  38. Andy
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    The solution is simple: England must have a carbo-copy of the Scottish Parliament. What the Scots can have so can the English.

  39. Posted May 9, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    John – is there an internal campaign in the Conservative party for an English parliament ?

    If not can we set one up ?

  40. Keith
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    The root of the problem is the unpopularity of the Conservatives in Scotland and to a lesser extent Wales. The real solution is for the Conservatives to vigorously campaign to restore their popularity there. A good start would be an apology by David Cameron to Scotland for some of the excesses of the Thatcher/Major era which so enraged the Scottish people.

    (False allegations about me left out)
    There is no realistic chance of Labour staying in power, and as you well know a reform to prevent Scottish MPs voting on purely English matters etc is a Conservative manifesto commitment.

    So all you're really doing is stirring up trouble, which is the height of irresponsibility at this delicate stage.

    Reply: Not, so, just explaining the reality and speaking up for England.

    • gac
      Posted May 10, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      The unpopularity predates Mrs Thatcher when in Scotland the Conservatives were called the Unionist Party until the 1950's and were associated with English rule and the bosses. They still are today.

      Similarly support for Labour has been inbred since its foundation which is why the SNP still struggle despite their claim to be Labour with independance credentials, plus the other pockets of Liberal support usually in the North and Isles.

      A woo job won't do it.

  41. FSD
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    The Union has probably outlived its usefulness, and now that Scotland and England are set on going their separate ways, I think we should have a referendum in England on whether we should continue with it. A lot will depend on the precise terms of the end of the Union however. I propose the following:

    – the remainder of the UK to oppose Scotland entering the EU. Spain will certainly want to help with this, because of Catalonia;
    – Scots who want to live and work in England and were not already there to be required to hold visas. The number of such visas to be tightly restricted;
    – all UK government property in Scotland to be returned or paid for, down to the last paper clip;
    – Scottish goods and services to face 25% tariffs, where there are home-made English equivalents. This will do its bit towards closing the deficit;
    – Scotland to take Northern Ireland with it. Please please please.

    With those terms, I don't see any difficulty in getting England to end the Union with Scotland.

  42. DH Ellis
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    How skewed are the electoral boundaries in Labour's favour? A lot and way out of proportion.

    Votes – Scotland:
    Labour – 1,035,528, which translates into 41 seats
    Conservative – 412,855, yet only 1 seat

    Votes – Wales:
    Labour – 531,601 – 26 seats
    Conservative – 382,730 – 8 seats

    • Kenneth
      Posted May 10, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      You've hit the nail on the head!

      The lack of proportional representation is the problem. People in Scotland tactically vote against the Tories so they get almost no seats but a high percentage of the vote.

      If you want to preserve the UK and make it credible across all 4 Nations then you must introduce PR.

      Suddenly Scotland would have 10 or so Conservative MPs and very able candidates like Fox, Gove and Rifkind could represent Scottish constituencies without threat to their seats.

      It would also wipe out 20 Labour seats in Scotland as the SNP would get 15-20 and Labour 20-25, rather than 40+.

  43. Adam
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    The Little englander attitude is the road to nowhere. As for a mandate, the key and all parties need to recognise it is that there is no mandate for any party which reflects the lack of support for any party’s policies.

  44. Murray Stevenson
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    And what happens when you need oil, a nuclear base and, er, soldiers. (words left out which some foun d offensive)

  45. John Wilkins
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    John Redwood is, as usual, incorrect.

    as might be expected from one who was in a Government who voted in legislation in Scotland using English Tory MPs against the wishes of the Scots and saw no problems with it.

    as might be expected from someone who knows that London is the most expensive part of the UK, even forgetting London infrastructure projects that are booked against the UK instead of in London, but ignores that

    as might be expected from someone who knows that Crown estate and Corporate revenue earned around the UK, including Scotland, are booked in England. To be frank, Scotland subsidises England.

    Most of England and Wales subsidises London and the SE

    Until there is an open an honest debate, until the UK becomes a proper Federation of grown-ups, we will never be free of small-mindedness as displayed by Mr Redwood.

    Stop blaming each other, work to make it better

    • Kenneth
      Posted May 10, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      I couldn't agree more.

      London gets the 2nd highest identifiable public spending in the UK. Just behind the economic powerhouse known as Northern Ireland!

      Secondly, the accounting doesn't include "non-identifiable" spending which almost always takes place in SE England.

  46. John Wilkins
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    FSD

    Your plan would require the rest of the UK to indemnify Scotland for Scots money used to pay for UK institutions, such as the British Museum.

  47. tony
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    John

    I am a life long conservative completely disolusioned with the current political system. We MUST end the overrepresentation of Scotland and Wales in the UK Parliament now that both Sctoland and Wales have their own devolved parliaments. A completer resizing of Scottish & Welsh constituencies to morror English constituency sizes must be undertaken.

    A seperate English parliament, whilst fair is just another level of Government and may not be the answer. However I concur with those who propose non English MP's not being allowed to vote on English issues.

  48. Posted May 9, 2010 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    "is there an internal campaign in the Conservative party for an English parliament ?"

    No there isn't. There should be but they're all either bound by collective responsibility or relegated to the backbenches.

    Several of the MPs in this parliamentary group support an EP.

  49. Posted May 10, 2010 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    As I have been saying for about 20 years, the Conservative Party should have ceased being Unionist and allied themselves with the Scottish Nationists to repeal the Act of Union 1707.

    Changes in political systems normally have unforeseen effects. A P.R. system might presage a split in the Conservative Party whereby THE ENGLISH PARTY emerges.

  50. Fiale
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    We need a federal UK with parliaments for each nation. The next General election should return only English MPs. Let separate Welsh, Scottish and N.Irish parliaments send representatives to Westminster in a committee to decide UK policy.

    It would be easy, cheaper than now and a lot more democratic. Why the Conservatives keep pushing a Unionist agenda when Scotland nor Wales wants you is beyond me, it just angers those of us who want what is best for England to see you trying to Bribe the Celts.

  51. Nick Illingworth
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    It is hugely encouraging to see an English politician of the stature of John Redwood openingly taking a stand in defence of England. The facts I believe are sufficiently well known by now – for instance, the fixing of votes on devolved matters such as (1) prescription charges, (2) university top-up fees and (3) the demolition of an English village at Heathrow, all of which were forced through the Commons by Scottish & Welsh Labour MPs in defiance of an English majority. It is clear that we have a two-tier electorate where England does not enjoy equality with the other UK countries, that we are footing the bill for the Union, and that we in England are routinely ignored and insulted by both Scottish politicians and by the political class in general for our pains. This is why an increasing number of voters in England are concluding that the Union can, at best, merely be tolerated without enthusiasm.
    So far, so negative. But on the positive side, what we absolutely require, as the people of England, is politicians of stature who have the clarity of vision, the integrity and the courage to state this position openly, and to highlight this intolerable situation to the London press. John, please do press home the advantage at this historic moment. Your place in history will be assured….

  52. David Herr
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    A view from across the pond:

    How about cutting a deal with Clegg for PR in Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, and First Past the Post in England? That would give the LDs a good part of what they want, while being fairer to England (which is mostly blue).

  53. scarletmajors
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Well said Mr. Redwood.

    The Conservative Party has an absolute majority in England of 62 MPs.

    Conservative: 297 (+92)
    Labour: 191 (-87)
    LibDem: 43 (-4)
    Green: 1 (+1)

    We achieved 40% of the popular vote with a swing of 5.6% and turnout at 65% in England.

    We are the party of England de facto. We won convincingly.

  54. fred forsythe (not t
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Stop trying to push EVOEL. It may keep you in power for 4 years but you know as well as I that it won't work. The Tories are out of the same stable as Labour and Lib Dems. An English parliament is the only answer so stop trying to con us into thinking that you will do anything. This is exactly the same as the promise for a referendum on the EU. Liars!!!

  55. Terry
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Can someone get rid of Murray Stevenson's(words left out) offensive post?

    (I have removed the words you did not like – I agonised over them before posting but agree on reflection it is better to remove them in view of your concerns and interpretation -ed)

  56. Murray Stevenson
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I accept that my words were offensive and written in anger. Sorry. My point was what would an "independent" England do for soldiers, when for 300 years they have turned to The Jocks when the going got tough. See Kipling's "Tommy Atkins" but make it "Jock McKay."
    Most Scots are very reasonable people who support English concerns over votes on English matters. There are not hordes of us here planning to eat your children. Who could eat a whole child?
    One poster called for visas for Scots entering England, a tariff on exports from Scotland and oppostion to Scotland joining the EU! Hmm. We might not give you oil at any price, chum! And what would our international status have to do with England, or Spain?
    Some of the views here are very narrow and short-sighted and decidedly Home Counties whinges. I can't believe there's many in England supporting such ….. ideas. (sentence left out)

  57. Terry Middleton
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, Many congratulations on your own result, and thanks for raising this issue.

    My own calculations are as follows:

    England:
    Conservative: seats 297 votes 9,928,749 (43.2%)
    Labour : seats 191 votes 6,996,349 (30.4%)
    LibDems: seats 43 votes 6,043,832 (26.3%)

    I have been a PPC in the North East of England 3 times, and a Councillor for 12 years in Gateshead. I fully realise that the Tories are not the number one choice for the general populace in the NE,
    but we are English, and have every right to have our own English Parliament. I do not accept that it is anti – Unionist to hold these views, indeed it is a way of strengthening the Union if all 4 parts of the UK had the same democratic structure, which we currently do not have.

    Please be assured that you will have considerable support within the Party, for any campaign you may wish to mount.
    Good luck.

  58. Annoying Scots Git
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    Where to start? Well, someone needs to explain to me how 65 MP's from Scotland can "determine English issues at Westminster" in a Parliament of 650 MP's.

    Second, has no one ever explained to the people of England how the Barnett formula works. Westminster does not really concern itself with Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales when setting budgets. It merely considers what it wants to do in England and the budgets for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are determined as a consequence of the English budget (we are not even an afterthought). So something which, on the face of it, appears to be an England only matter may in fact have huge ramifications for the budgets of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland – which is why sometimes Scottish MP's vote on English matters.

    Thirdly, the Tories were never slow to use Ulster Unionists votes to pass legislation and Cameron even offered them a deal, prior to this election, whereby no cuts would be imposed in return for their votes. So Ulster Unionists voting on English matters under Tory whipping, after having been bribed, is OK, but Scottish MP's voting on English matters is not (if they follow the labour whip).

    Barnett was introduced in 1978 as a preparation for devolution and was only to have been a stop gap solution. A needs assessment was to have been carried out, but when devolution was not carried through the assessment was canceled. Another needs assessment was to be carried out in 1993, but these results were never published.

    Barnett does contain a mechanism that would have resulted in per capita convergence but for that to happen the base line spending would have to have been adjusted to take account of the changes in population. Since 1981 the population of Wales, England and Northern Ireland have grown by 6%, 9% and 14% respectively. Scotland, on the other hand, has seen its population decline then rise back to its 1981 level. No account has been taken of the changes in population to the base line spending.

    Now who was in power from 3 May 1979 until 1 May 1997? Who had 18 years to carry out a needs assessment and apply it to govt expenditure? Who had 18 years to adjust the formula so that the base line spending was adjusted in line with population changes? All this before devolution too.

    Lastly, Mr Redwood needs to recognise that at present there are no majority parties in the UK. The Tories may have the largest number of MP's but they are not the majority. In England, while they may have a majority of MP's they do not have a majority of votes cast. If there was to be a LibDem/Labour coalition that would have 52.3% of votes cast – call me old fashioned but that is a majority of votes cast.

    By the way I am not a Labour supporter.

  59. Chalcedon
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I am utterly furious with Clegg and his double dealing. If there is a coalition of Losers I'm going to join the Conservative party.

    I think it may be time to cut loose the Celt(s)… and let them raise their own taxes and pay for their public secor economis themselves. When they are paying 70% tax and we in England are paying 20% …………the only proftable parts of the UK are London and the South east and East of England. I don't mind subsidising England, but I'm fed up with supporting the Celt(s)….

  60. Murray Stevenson
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    The previous Labour Government had an absolute majority in England without any MPs from any other country involved. The imaginary Scots hordes had nothing to do with it. Now the Con-Lib coalition can kick the Scots around as they please, despite minimal representation there. Perhaps posters could clarify their true objectives – fairness, equality, mutual respect… or just revenge.
    A number of posters seem to imagine all Scots are handed a sum of money every year via Barnett. In fact the per capita expenditure in Scotland is calculated on land mass and population.
    A crude example: Build a road from London to Brighton. It benefits millions, so the cost per user is about two quid a head. But a road from Glasgow to Oban, for example, might benefit only a few thousand and cross difficult terrain. So the per capita cost is astronomical. Hence the different allocation. If you feel people in Brighton are entitled to a road and those in Oban are not, then tell me if your Englishness includes any Britishness.

  61. Posted May 12, 2010 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Dear annoying scots Git – as you name yourself

    Thank you for the lesson on Barnett. However I am less concerned witht he mechanics than the outcome

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] John Redwood: It’s Time To Speak For England Posted on 9 May 2010 by Free England Alliance To reinforce what the Alliance said earlier, John Redwood blogs about it here. […]

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  • 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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