Who speaks for England?

 

             Twice this week I have asked this question in Parliament. To try to win it more traction let me ask it again, at greater length. Who speaks for England?

              The Cabinet contains a Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Secretary of State arguing their case for money and laws that will help their parts of the country.  Each of these parts of the UK have their own Parliament or Assembly, taking many decisions which for England are taken by the Westminster Parliament.

              The English have for many years been relaxed about the  Union. There used to be  little English nationalism. Most English people have accepted that England, as the large majority partner in the UK, should pay more in ,  put up with more criticism and accept   less good terms than the other parts of the kingdom.

               Few English people complain that the Welsh are fierce in supporting their rugby team , or the Scots strong in backing their athletes and sporting heroes. It hurts a bit more if England is the only surviving Union team in an international competition to learn that some Scots will then back anyone but England. In times past support for Scotland from English fans would have been automatic if England had been knocked out.

                 Until recently few English people have complained strongly about the much higher public spending per head recorded in parts of the three devolved regions than in most of England. The advent of a more powerful Scottish Parliament, putting in different policies on student fees and care costs has started to upset the usually tolerant English.

                 England and Scotland have coats of arms that vary a common theme. Scotland has one aggressive lion rampant, flashing claws. England has three more sedate lions passant. Their claws are obvious, but they are not raised in anger. For years it has been thus. England expects flashes of Scottish anger. Scotland expects little English reaction, despite the superior controlled power.

                 Today the Union is at risk in a way unknown to the post war generations, and unknown to anyone born during the last eighty years. We need to go back to the break away by the Republic of Ireland and the stormy arguments over Irish home rule to find a period of greater stress and tension within the Union.  When I wrote “The Death of Britain” at the start of Labour’s long period in government in the late 1990s I forecast that devolution would endanger the kingdom, not unite it. So it has proved.

                  Devolution has given a great platform to the SNP, who have used it well to build support in Scotland for an independent state, or at least for a state with so much devolved power that it is more or less independent. The more aggressive Scottish nationalism becomes, the more a counter balancing English nationalism arises. Once Scotland raises the issue of independence it naturally focuses England’s mind on the deal both countries enjoy. It leads England to question whether and how an independent Scotland could still share an army, a royal family, a Central Bank, a currency and international representation with England.

           The English thought nothing of Scotland having her own football league and their results being reported on English tv and radio. Now as Scottish teams shun the greater competition that a UK league would  bring, some ask what this means?  If a Scottish tennis player wraps himself in the Scottish flag at Wimbledon rather than the Union flag, where an English player would  select the Union flag, how should the English in the crowd react?  Welsh football teams play against England in the same league, and Welsh players join the English cricket team. Scotland plays it very differently.

           Many Scots acknowledge that it makes no sense for English MPs at Westminster to have no say over Scottish health, environment, local government and education, yet Scottish MPs at Westminster have both vote and voice over all those matters for England. Isn’t it time that we had English votes for English issues? Isn’t it time that the English Secretaries of State – for Health, Local Government, Education and Transport – not only worked for England but spoke out for England?

 

 

 

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159 Comments

  1. Antisthenes
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I could not agree with you more. There is no need to break up the union but there is a case for a more federalist type arrangement with England with it’s own parliament. The “Devo max” appears to be and ideal solution the four nations have more in common than they have differences. However the one major difference is that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland adhere to different political ideologies and it is wrong that one nation can have so much influence on the political processes of another. A looser association can do no harm that allows a united front when circumstances dictate. The advent of devolution has had the unfortunate or perhaps the fortunate consequences of exposing the flaws of the current arrangement and now there is no going back. “Devo max” will make no difference in many respects internationally, in the security of the UK and monetary policy but it would allow each nation to build the society that each prefers. The commons as an English parliament and the Lords as a Federal parliament seems to me to be a very practical way for the new arrangement to be governed.

    • Iain
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      I agree, the British establishment are showing a complete lack of vision. In their attempt to keep alive their Britain, by essentially bribing the Scots with both money and constitutional goodies, whist ignoring the English and attempting to make England a little Britain they are going to lose the chance of keeping any Britain.

      If they had any vision they should have confronted the Nationalists head on , offered constitutional fairness to all by putting on the table the federation of the UK.

    • Robin Tilbrook
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Check out:- English Nationalism on the rise? Predictions on next week’s opinion IPPR poll

      Robin Tilbrook: English Nationalism on the rise? Predictions on next week’s opinion poll

  2. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    When the empire was in magnificent full swing, it made a lot of sense to say that the most attractive sight to Scots was the road to London. Now England is just a few provinces of Europe, that road leads to Brussels, doesn’t it?

    A scholarly joke which, I regret, does not translate so I shall leave it is the original Latin for the very few remaining mediaeval scholars on the blog.
    The Roman Emperor (One of the Carolingians) was dining with John the Scot at the high table in the banqueting hall.
    Wittily, the Emperor joked “Quid distat inter Scottum et Sottum?” (What is the difference between a Scot and a drunken Sot?)
    Quick as a flash, the Scot replied, “Mensa tantum”.
    (Just a table – or – nothing much).
    You had to be there really.

    • Angus McLellan
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Still works for me. Should I be worried?

      But I have to quibble that John the Scot Eriugena was Irish (Eriugena -> Ireland-born). It’s all explained clearly in ‘1066 and All That’.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted January 22, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        OK – I learned it at university when the lecturer wanted to explain that there was humour even in the dark ages. Thank you for reminding me about the Picts and Scots! Loved it!

  3. Mick Anderson
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    My problem with having an English Parliament is that it gives another layer of stifling and expensive bureaucracy, along with more politicians.

    Wales and Scotland have their own talking shops, so we can abolish the corresponding Offices in Westminster, and remove the rights of the MPs to vote on English issues. Perhaps we need to keep the Northern Ireland office going, lest the Ulster situation unravels.

    We can make things more fair and equitable by having less, not more.

    Reply: The English Parliament I want is the Westminster Parliament meeting for English matters without the devolved country MPs.That does not require any more spending or bureaucracy.

    • MickC
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      I would be absolutely amazed if what you propose does not cost more money. In theory it shouldn’t-in practice any re-arrangement of bureacracy costs a fortune.

      Best for Scotland to go its own way, if that is what it wants.

      It would, in any event be a useful precedent. If a State can secede from one union, others can secede from a different union-one most of the nglish most certainly do not want to be part of any longer.

    • Ian Campbell
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      England needs not just the right to make its own laws but a national focus that would be provided through its own democratically elected Parliament. This does not mean ‘more politicians’ or ‘another tier of government’. If England had its own Parliament, the British Parliament would need far fewer MPs. Legislation passed by an English Parliament would not be referred to a House of Lords for amendment – one tier less. A simple solution to the English Question was proposed over ten year ago by the Marquis of Salisbury: let the House of Commons become the English Parliament and a reformed, elected House of Lords the British Parliament. This would reduce the number of politicians, it requires no new buildings, it solves the question of how to reform the House of Lords while retaining all the ancient privileges of the House of Commons. Why not?

    • JoolsB
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Mike,
      If anything an English Parliament would create less bureaucracy not more. With the exception of defence and some taxation, there are 119 Scottish, Welsh & NI MPs sitting at Westminster with absolutely nothing to do except meddle in English only matters as bizarrely they have no say on devolved matters for their own constituents, these being decided by 129 MSPs at Holyrood or 60 AMs at Cardiff, Stormont the same.

      • javelin
        Posted January 23, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Agreed- but to go further – actually I would hope that once we have the English MPs deciding on English matters the Scottish MPs could go back to their consituencies and help their Scottish counterparts (MSPs). I’m sure the MSPs would welcome the extra support.

    • Stephen Gash
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      With respect you use that stale, hackneyed argument because you have no imagination. on this issue.

      All three main parties are determined to reduce the unelected House of Lords to 300-450 members. This chamber does not scrutinise the devolved chambers, only those domestic matters pertaining to England’s.

      It could be easily replaced with an elected English parliament of 300-450 members, thus reducing the number of politicians and restoring democracy to England.

      The House of Commons, left with defence, the EU (arguably) and foreign affairs could then be reduced in size too. It could be funded by the fiscally autonomous devolved parliaments. Thus economic clarity would result, unlike now where spending between nations is obscured by machinations surrounding Barnett consequentials and the reviled regions. That such smokescreening is considered necessary shows exactly why we must have an English parliament.

    • zorro
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Agree with John here. In fact, it will hopefully mean less bureaucracy. We can have our English Parliament in Westminster and concentrate on English affairs. This can have beneficial effects on local government as they can concentrate on local affairs whilst the Westminster Parliament can spend time on English matters.

      The Scots can go their own way in most things as part of a Union federation. The only things that should be dealt with federally are the minimum needed to defend the Union – a common border agency, defence forces, and foreign affairs representation.

      Apart from a small contribution to maintain these functions, the Scots can do what they like.

      zorro

    • Mick Anderson
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      To All;

      As long as it is not another tier between Westminster and the Electorate, that’s fine. I support JRs view.

      However, experience suggests that whenever anything new comes in, it is always as well as whatever is already in place. You only have to look at the proposals for Regional Assemblies to see how Westminster would imagine an English Parliament.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      To reply:- indeed that is the best option from the democratic mess Major & Labour have left the nation.

    • Alfred Wyrd
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      A proper English parliament will save an absolute fortune because it makes the UK parliament obsolete. An English parliament can be much smaller – a 100 MPs working in the English is far better than nearly 700 working against it.

    • John Howard
      Posted January 23, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      British MPs could not and would not put England first. They have to have an eye on what is best for Britain and to keep the other countries in the Union quiet. The only way forward for the English is a Parliament of our own. If the price of that autonomy is the break-up of the UK then so be it.

    • Independent England
      Posted January 25, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      What mandate would these English MP’s be elected upon? A UK mandate or an English mandate? Say I supported the Tories reform of the English NHS but I also want to get rid of nukes. How would I vote? Tory or Green? I dont understand how a Westminster MP can act as a UK MP and an English MP.
      If England had a seperate English Parliament then I could vote Tory in the English Parliament elections and Green in the UK elections.

  4. lifelogic
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    As you correctly say:- “You forecast that devolution would endanger the kingdom, not unite it. So it has proved.” It has also given rise to yet more government in absurdly over expensive building – much of it doing little useful. Just creating silly regional anomalies and unfairness or arguing & fighting with other arms of the state.

    So we have the EU trying to make everywhere the same Euro blend and the UK regions trying to make the regions all different. In the case of Scotland and Wales and Northern Island trying to do this on the back of much English tax revenues with a strong, big state, socialist agenda.

    The whole agenda is to remove power from the English in order to prevent them resisting the EU take over.

    The EU and UK governments under Major, Blair, Brown (and now it seems Cameron) rather like divide & rule and using one regions taxes to fund, manipulate and try to buy votes in others. Also to build up and use fairly irrelevant historic regional divisions and even push regional languages down children’s throats to manipulate the future voting and politics for their party benefit – using public money in the process.

    It is import to the powers that be (in the EU and the UK) that the English have no voice and little power – it is just their taxes that are needed. How can anyone consider the voting system in the EU and the UK to be a real Democracy. It clearly has not even got a sensible Demos.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      I see that Vince Cable, the anti Business Secretary, is yet again pushing for a mansion tax. Not content with taking 52% of people income, 5% stamp duty, 20% VAT, 60%+ of fuel and the rest he now wants to steal their capital too.

      The one thing that is quite clear is that people will always use their money far more wisely than government will. The more that is left with individuals (after the provision of the basics of defence and law and order) the better for the country and recovery as a whole. Can the ironically named Libdems really not see this?

      What on earth is Liberal or Democratic about taking all the money off the people and wasting it (perhaps on idiotic wind farm subsidies or the EU bailouts)?

      • Scilla Cullen
        Posted January 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        And don’t forget, for England only, bin taxes (now hopefully abolished) congestion charging and workplace parking licences. All of these enabled for cash strapped Local Authorities in England to raise money thus allowing the British Exchequer to underfund them. This further enables the British Government to more generously fund Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland per head for devolved matters than it allows for England in the same matters.

      • Bob
        Posted January 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        There is nothing liberal or democratic about the Liberal Democrats.
        The Lib Dem led coalition should address the overspending and waste instead of dreaming up new ways to tax us.

      • David John Wilson
        Posted January 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Why do we need a mansion tax with all the extra costs of administering it. There is a simple solution that involves creating a number of extra council tax bands. The money would then be collected by the normal council tax route.
        To collect its share the government could reduce its grants to the councils by say 75% of the extra money raised.

    • Derek Buxton
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      “You forecast that devolution would break the UK”, that was the guiding principle behind it. That was always the intention, paving the way for an EU state of the regions. Without removing England from the map, the EU would have to fight, instead they adopted lies and deceit to damage England by suborning the civil service and the politicians.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        Indeed they do, and how easily and cheaply many have been suborned.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      While the voting system in England lacks democracy as we use First Past the Post (FPTP) Scotland has mixed member Proportional Representation (PR), Wales and Northern Ireland have the d’Hondt method of PR, and the EU lets the member state choose which version of PR they use. Perhaps it’s time England started using PR, like every other part of the UK.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted January 22, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        Have you been on Roger Helmer’s blog recently? It proves how the EU system is wide open to being manipulated quite blatantly by the political parties involved without any pretence at democratic procedure.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          It is indeed as the politicians and bureaucrats who choose who to ask, what to ask, and when to ask the people. Also when to bribe the voters or ask them a second or third time. They can do whatever they want – democracy in any real sense it is not.

    • Martyn
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Am I alone in remembering that when Parliament agreed with the EU to the removal of the name of England from the map of Europe? Wales was also removed at the same time, but the Welsh howls of outrage quickly produced an EU apology saying it was by accident and in quick order Wales reappeared on the EU map. Nothing was heard from anyone about the disappearance of England, other than perhaps from a few cranks such as me, whose protests were simply ignored. So now A Scot, a Welsh or Northern Irish person can express pride in their nationality, but since England no longer exists none of us can really claim to be English. I suppose I might if pushed claim to be ‘a person of a EU region’ but that somehow doesn’t engender the same pride as being able to say ‘I am English’.

      I have always thought that the removal of England from the European map and its segregation into regions, together with the devolution of Scotland, Wales and Ireland was a deliberate act endorsed by our governments to ensure that never again would Great Britain be able to gather itself together with the Commonwealth, and perhaps other nations, to overthrow yet another European dictatorship. Uncontrolled immigration was also a part in planning to undermine Englishness and, sadly, it all seems to have worked out rather well for the EU and its cast of UK parliamentary supporters.

  5. Adam5x5
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    From my experience, the support for an independent Scotland is higher in England than in Scotland.
    This is because the last government, dominated by Scots, gave a better and better deal to the Scottish and kept fleecing the English. Now the Scottish government have decided that they can keep doing this and we won’t react. They are wrong.
    Devo-max for Scotland would probably result in a large protest from the English electorate as we have no English parliament as you point out. The English nationalist sentiment is rising as we see our culture and country and its needs being placed further and further behind the needs of Scotland while we have to pay for their Socialism.

    We are also getting increasingly tired of the rhetoric coming from Alex Salmond. If we decide as a nation to have a Conservative government, it’s accused of not having a mandate in Scotland. If we suggest having a referendum, it’s described as being “interfereing”. If we don’t, its because we don’t care about Scotland enough. If we cut spending in Scotland (as elsewhere in the country), it’s because Scotland always gets the rough deal. If spending increases in Scotland, it’s never enough and shows we don’t care.

    Given that this is a Union, and a Union requires the active participation of both parties, why are the rest of the UK denied a say on whether Scotland should be a member?

    Personally I think it’s time to cut them loose, with their fair share of the debts and resources and see if they sink or swim. Much better to be amicable neighbours than in an antagonistic marriage.

    Also, on related note, do you not find it a bit hypocritical of Mr Cameron to say the Falklanders and the Scottish have the right to self-determination over who governs them, yet denies us the same right with respect to the EU?

    For the record I have a fair number of Scottish friends and I enjoy spending a lot of time in Scotland, though as an Englishman it can sometimes get a bit hairy.

    -A

    • Ken Stevens
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      “We are also getting increasingly tired of the rhetoric coming from Alex Salmond”

      Actually, I’m not. Whilst I hope that he does not achieve his objective, I cannot help but admire him for his skill in pursuing it!

      We need a similarly passionate advocate to advance the cause of England’s devolution. John Redwood in partnership with Frank Field, perhaps?!

    • Scilla Cullen
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Is spending cut in Scotland when cut in Englnad. I have yet to be convinced that the Barnett formula works in this way. When £2billion was cut from the English health service by Gordon Brown no disceranble cuts were made to the Scottish subsidy. Moreoever the spending cuts in health, welfare, education and transport are not replicated in Scotland and eslewhere because there has been no cut in their subsidies up till now. In addition the Government is selling off English assets such as the port of dover and it tries to sell of our forests. No such sales have been seen of Scottish or other assets.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      “why are the rest of the UK denied a say on whether Scotland should be a member?”

      That’s how referendums work. If a part of a country wishes to be independent then only the people in that part of the country has the right to decide this. Given that 83% of the population of the UK is in England and 18% is in Scotland a quarter of English voters would be able to overrule a decision supported by all of Scotland.

      Only the Scots have the right to decide if they remain in the UK or leave, not the English.

      • JoolsB
        Posted January 22, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        Look at that from another perspective. Judging by all the polls, the Scots will almost definately vote to stay in the union but given the chance, the English would vote for them to leave. Does that mean 18% of Scots should be able to overrule a decision supported by 83% of the population, ie. England.

      • Independent England
        Posted January 25, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        It is up to Scotland to decide whether Scotland stays in the UK or not. It is equally up to England to decide if England wishes to stay in the UK! When do we English get a referendum?

  6. alan jutson
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Ah yes the law of unintended consequences.

    As soon as seperate centres of power are allowed, then the whole becomes weaker, and then nationalism grows to further weaken the whole.

    The big mistake was to underestimate individual national pride of the people, and to give dual power to those new centres of influence, without giving English politicians similar benefits for their own country.

    Thus we have the smaller countries (in size and population) having a duel voice, and being allowed to influence the whole, and the main country with only one voice having little influence over the others.

    Now the cat is out of the bag, and it would be difficult to reverse, so now the only logical step forward, is for England to have its own Parliament where Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs take no part, all four elements of the Union thus have similar set ups.

    The House of Commons would then only come into play for a COMMON interest.

    The above makes life rather more difficult, as a Union should perform rather like a team.
    Unfortunately at the moment you have a team captain, a captain for the defence, a captain for the forwards, and a common goalkeeper who is responsible for everyone. The result is chaos.

  7. Helen
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Still don’t “get” the need for an English Parliament, then? What good is a secretary of State if we are still not allowed to elect our own national government? We’ve already had to tolerate Scottish health ministers and Scottish transport ministers – what’s to stop “them” imposing a Scottish SofE on us as well? I’ll tell you – absolutely nothing.
    England – the last colony of the British Empire. If not amicably, that gravy train will end in tears for the British.

  8. Pete the Bike
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    “Who speaks for England?”
    Nobody, least of all our alleged leaders. Time and again we are insulted, belittled and disregarded by the Scots, the EU and anybody else that thinks they can get away with it.
    The obvious answer is to say fine, do without us. No EU contributions, no IMF contributions and no massive subsidies north of the border. We don’t need endless arguments by the weak minded liberals just STOP PAYING. If we get nothing but insults they get nothing at all. See how long it is before Salmond and Rumpey Pumpey come begging.
    Of course this will never happen because our Parliament is controlled by Scots and EU quislings.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      @Pete the Bike: your parliament is controlled by a coalition between Tories and Liberals. How democratic would it be to by-pass these Liberals and lose your democratic behavior in the process?

      • Independent England
        Posted January 25, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        The Tories gained an absolute majority of seats in England at the last general election. The SNP gained an absolute majority of seats at the last Scottish Parliament election. Yet English matters are decided by a Tory/Lib Dem coalition while Scottish matters are decided by an SNP government! See the problem?

    • zorro
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Exactly, the French or Germans are not a problem as long as they respect you. You just have to remind them that we are not a pushover desperate to ‘be at the table influencing decisions’. We have an opinion and should express it. When Cameron said no recently, the Germans soon came around. It is only natural…..If you act like a doormat, people tend to walk over you.

      zorro

      • APL
        Posted January 27, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        zorro: “When Cameron said no recently ”

        Trouble is zorro, Cameron said no to scotch mist.

  9. Steven Granger
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    As with many other areas, there is that big elephant in the room again that you fail to mention, namely the influence of the EU. England already has a parliament or, more accurately, it has 9 of them. They are called Regional Assemblies. They were introduced under the Maastricht Treaty that your party agreed to as John Major was prime Minister. The plan was and is for England to be broken up into 9 regions. The only such assembly that is widely known about is the London assembly but all 8 others exist and cost millions to run. The public have not been asked whether they want these assemblies except in the North East where a huge majority voted against having one there , despite this area being chosen by Labour as the one area likely to accept an assembly. Despite this no vote, the North East assembly still exists and still burns taxpayer’s cash. This is the real reason that England will not be allowed a separate parliament and, indeed, why England no longer actually officially exists as a country (check the encyclopaedia Britannia if you want to confirm this). The parliaments in Scotland, Wales and NI are also in reality also just Regional Assemblies of the EU and the idiot Salmond will find that, if he ever gets his precious independence that the Scots will be less independent than ever and under the control of a much more remote and unaccountable (and far less generous) body than they currently are. In failing to mention any of this, you demonstrate either a chronic lack of understanding of its importance to this debate or are deliberately hiding it. If the latter, I guess to some extent, your embarrassment is understandable as it is your own party that is just as responsible as Labour for this treachery.

    Reply: I am a well known opponent of breaking England into regions, and was one of the originators of the policy to abolish the RDAs, as part of a policy of dismantling needless and unloved English regional government.

    • Steven Granger
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Then why no mention of this in your article given that it is the single most important barrier to the English having a separate parliament? If there is a policy of dismantling regional government, why are the regional assemblies still in existence and costing a fortune and why do they retain their powers? The answer lies in the difference between the Eurosceptic rhetoric of Tories and their Europhile actions in practice.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      To reply:- yes but alas your party is largely not with you on this. Any party that can support John Major and can appoint Lord Patten as head of the BBC trust is clearly pro the socialist undemocratic EU super state.

    • Stephen Gash
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      The Devolution Act made provision for Scottish regions but they have not happened because Scottish MPs, several of whom signed the Scottish Claim of Right, understood that regions are designed to undermine the nation state.

      If England is bust up into regions, then Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland opt for indpendence (within the EU, naturally), where does that leave the English? Stateless, powerless and under the EU yoke, that’s where.

      England remains permanently wedged at the bottom of the spending ladder because of the comparisons continually being made between intact nations, like Wales, with whatever spurious region of England suits their argument best. This is usually London because every effort is being made to hive London away from England and to make it a city state.

      I’ll just remind people of some words made by some Celtic politicians of significant authority.

      John Prescott (a proud Welshman and Labour minister at the time) wrote “There is no such nationality as English”.

      Robin Cook (a Scot and Labour minister at the time) said on BBC radio “England is not a nation, it is only a collection of regions”

      Charles Kennedy (a Scot and Lib Dem leader at the time, in a speech to Scottish Lib Dems) “South of the border regionalisation is moving at such a pace it is bringing into question the very idea of England itself” (to rapturous applause).

      Such comments do not endear English people to our fellow Brits, devolution or the United Kingdom itself. What have we done to deserve such ire against us anyway?

  10. Martin
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    The Secretary of State for Transport is an odd position as the holder has some responsibilities in Scotland for aviation. Some might very well think that the present holder isn’t pro civil aviation especially at Heathrow. Given that Heathrow is in England you might well wonder who speaks up for Heathrow in cabinet!

    Re Sporting bodies – you as a free marketeer ought to know that these are independent bodies (whether it is Cricket, Football or Rugby) free of government with their own rules. I hope you are not suggesting that these be nationalised?

  11. Old Albion
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    There is only one solution. Create a new UK federation.
    Start by reinstating the English Parliament in Westminster. Remove all non-English constituency MP’s and reduce English Constituencies to circa 400. The bonus will be, zero build cost and massive savings on cost of MP’s
    Raise the Welsh and N.Irish Assemblies to Parliament level as Scotland. Remove all peers from the second chamber. More massive savings as 850 wealthy folk retire. Replace them with a UK federal upper chamber. I would suggest around 100 Federal representatives would be sufficient.
    Or do nothing and watch the UK destroy itself.

    • Acorn
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Excellent plan Albion. As Scotland; Wales and NI all have Unitised local government, we should do the same for England.

      http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/geography/beginner-s-guide/administrative/england/index.html

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      We should convert the HoL into a Senate. Two senators from each county, elected every 4 years. One of the senators to be female. If they become ministers, they have to resign. No more than 3 consecutive terms. Minimum age 40.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      After present of the 650 MPs 533 are from England, so if you have circa 265 MPs you can halve the number of English MPs and their expenses.

      I’d recommend against calling the Assembly in Northern Ireland a Parliament as the previous Irish Parliament was unpopular with the Irish.

      Also the federal upper chamber could be called a Senate and staffed with senators. Though they would need to come from all parts of the UK based on the percentage of the population living in these regions; so 82 from England, 9 from Scotland, 6 from Wales, and 3 from Northern Ireland.

    • Stephen Gash
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      I would agree with that. However, please note that today it was announced that the historic Palace of Westminster is allegedly sinking and MPs are looking at an alternative site because it would be too expensive to save it from the muddy depths of the Thames.

      I don’t know about you, but I can’t help thinking there is an alternative motive for wanting to move out of Westminster, and that motive is to sever the link between the mother of modern parliaments and UK government.

      How interesting that Westminster was buoyant in the boom but is sinking in the recession.

    • APL
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Old Albion: “Create a new UK federation.”

      Nothing should be done until we are rid of the EU, else everything that is done will be poisoned.

  12. Anne Palmer
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    The answer to your Question at the moment, “Who speaks for England?” is “No one”. Mr Cameron, in his eagerness to show what a good “European” he is, went headlong into putting through the EU’s Localism Bill-now an Act through. Its sole purpose was to divide the Country and Nation of England into EU Regions.

    I have proven in the past, from reading the debate in the Scottish Parliament (Europeam Committee Tuesday 22 May 2001-afternoon session attended byManfred Dammeyer), that Scotland was classed-as far as the EU was concerned THEN as an EU region, as was Wales and Northern Ireland. The dividing of England and without explaining to the people that the Localism Bill started its Journey from the EU (It is recorded on the Council of Europe’s website too) he went ahead with this EU Legislation without thinking it through. If he did think it through and then STILL decided to go through with it-well! Governments past came up with the idea that EU legislation could not have “direct effect” and this was why we had the European Communitties Act 1972. Mr Cameron could then-have said “NO” to the EU’s Localism Legislation?

  13. Stephen Almond
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Oh, please. Not another layer of government with all the bureaucracy, cost, hangers on, new buildings on and on and on. Hasn’t the Scottish Parliament taught us anything?

    • Old Albion
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      See my post (two above)

    • Stephen Gash
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes. The Scottish parliament has taught us that nobody is speaking for England. Or hadn’t you noticed the title of John’s article?

  14. James Matthews
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I can (sort of) agree, but whilst in 1997 I would have settled for English Votes for English laws I have, in the intevening period, come to the conclusion that the Union is best ended sooner rather than later. I am by no means alone. We should emphatically not agree to prolong the agony by agreeing to any form of “devolution-max”.

    An excellent post, therefore, but about a decade too late.

  15. James Walter Gash
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    It has taken you a long time to realise that England and the people of England have no voice.
    England and the people of England should be set free from the clutches of the Pluto Communists called British. Give England back to the English.

  16. i albion
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Yes Mr Redwood it is time England had a voice and an English Parliament!

  17. Ken Stevens
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    The recently announced Commons “West Lothian” panel on the subject of EVEL is comprised of three UK parliamentary experts, including the panel chairman (a distinguished Scot) plus a representative of each of the three devolved territories. There is no-one similarly representing England.

    Our side of the British-Irish Council includes representatives of the devolved territories, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, plus UK government. There is no representative of England.

    … Just two examples.

    As you say, who speaks for England.

  18. Barry (The Elder)
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    English Votes on English Laws is just tinkering with Parliamentary procedure and the Commission on the West Lothian Question will only come to the same ludicrous decision made by Kenneth Clark and his Democratic Task Force, which will still allow Scots, Welsh and NI Mps to vote at the 3rd stage of any England only bill, so much for democracy within Parliament!! But what about democracy outside of the UK Parliament, England will still be saddled by being Governed by the UK Govt, which patently works for Britian and not England. What England needs is its own Parliament whereby the people of England can vote for a Govt best suited to England, in that respect the people of England would be on a par with the rest of the UK electorate and have two votes, one for thier respective Parliaments/Assemblies and one for the UK Govt.

    It is amazing that since devolution in 1998/9 the UK Govt has gone to war on no less than 3 occasions to bring democracy to far off lands, yet is unwilling to bring democracy to the People of England, the home and mother of all Parliaments.
    William Hague was recently quoted with regard to the Falkland Isles, that the islanders have a right to self determination, yet that same self determination is denied to the people of England.

    When the political will is there Parliament can change legislation very quickly to enable a true democracy for England, but alas the political will is not there, the Britsh Govt will continue to kick English democracy into the long grass because they fear a resurgant England will mean the demise of thier beloved Great Britian.

  19. Scilla Cullen
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    The Memorandum of Understanding between the United Kingdom Government, the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers, and the Northern Ireland Executive Committee states that
    “the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for ensuring that the interests of those parts of the UK in non-devolved matters are properly represented and considered. Other UK Ministers and their departments represent the interests of England in all matters”

    We would thus expect to see the relevant Departmental Ministers representing us in all national and international fora. However at the 14th (June 2010,)16th (20th June 2011) 17th (January 2012) British/Irish council meetings, where business included the devolved issues of transport, housing and the environment, we, in England, have been represented by the Deputy PM and the SoS for Northern Ireland!!!

  20. Iain
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    “Isn’t it time that we had English votes for English issues”

    No, that is just fobbing off the English with a rubbish settlement .

    What do the British establishment find so objectionable in giving English people constitutional equality?

    As we can easily see, EVFEL will just mean interminable arguments in Parliament whether a certain law is English or not , or whether the other nations MP’s should be represented and allowed to meddle with it. As everything could be said to have an effect of others, I can very easily see that no laws with be determined as English only matters, so the English will never get the sole say on their laws, especially as English elected British MP’s have shown themselves to be nothing short of useless defending English peoples interests.

    EVFEL will also have the effect of allowing the British establishment dividing and ruling England. Policy coming from the British establishment will not be coming with the first interest being what is best for England, and as we know, the lobby fodder in Parliament will kowtow to the British Executives Parliamentary whip.

    No what we in England is an institution whose sole aim is to speak for England, we need a English Parliament, the British Parliament having failed us miserably.

    • Scilla Cullen
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Despite the oft quoted SNP mantra that they do not vote on English affairs in Westminster that is not quite true. If they see an advantage/disadvantage for Scotland in the operation of the Barnett formula they do vote. (No such self denying ordinance from other RUK MPs). That privilege with regard to RUK domestic law is not vouchsafed to our representatives. I am reminded of the Scottish Parliament law regarding offences on the river Till (which is wholly within England). Who represented England in the Scottish Parliament when that law was passed?

      Before someone quotes a reciprocal agreement on another river, remember Scots have representatives in the Westminster Parliament and a Secretary of State.

  21. backofanenvelope
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    The easiest thing to do is to require the Speaker to certify Acts of Parliament as either UK or English. All MPs could speak, but only English MPs could vote on English bills. The only awkward point about this is the position of Ministers.

    This solution would require no new buildings or more politicians. Quite cheap really…….

    • Barry (The Elder)
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Your solution still does not give England democratic parity compared to others, the people of England will still not have a vote for an English Parliament

    • Angus McLellan
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      If it were as simple as that then it would have been implemented in the 1880s to resolve disputes over Irish home rule. That wasn’t just a matter of political dispute or letters in the Times and Telegraph. People were getting killed over it, so that there was a much greater incentive than the is today to find an answer. Remind me, how did that end?

      Unless all bills were drafted with EV4EL very clearly in mind at every stage, the system would be unworkable. Politicians of the 1880s, when there was a lot less legislation to fuss over, didn’t believe this was practicable. What has changed since then to invalidate their conclusions?

      • Scilla Cullen
        Posted January 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        Devolution to the nations of Scotland and Wales and the citizens of the Province of Northern Ireland – that’s what’s happened!

        • Angus McLellan
          Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

          So the undeniable fact of devolution somehow changes the undeniable fact that Gladstone and his contemporaries though EV4EL was unworkable? I’m not sure that I follow your logic there.

          For myself, I have no problem at all with the principle of EV4EL. But it’s not nationalists and separatists you need to convince.

          I’m hoping Scotland will do much to resolve matters by leaving the UK. If that’s not perfect, it should at least reduce the problem back to the tolerable minor annoyance that it must have been from 1921 to 1972 when the presence of N. Ireland MPs at Westminster was ignored by almost everyone.

          My only worry is that by introducing an unworkable system English people will be even less satisfied than they are today. EV4EL is presented as a great new solution, and it’s far from that. If it works that’s great, but there are good reasons to be pessimistic.

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      backofanenvelope

      What a simple solution !

  22. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    You might also ask “who speaks for the UK?”. Or perhaps more significantly, when a government minister speaks who in the UK thinks it is for them.

    These are emotional issues, and emotions are not helped by confusion over the words we use. Although the parliament at Westminster is that of the the United Kingdom, no one speaks of themselves as a “United Kingdomer”: we say “British”, which strictly speaking leaves out Northern Ireland. Do they mind? I think “British” should included Northern Ireland – after all the english language is nice and flexible and meaning is what we make it to be. We need to tell everyone else.

    Foreigners often say “English” when they mean “British”. This is an understandable mistake, but one we British should not make ourselves.

    As for emphasising “England” when we really do mean “England”, then of course this is the correct thing to do.

    The inevitable consequence of the increasing prominence of the four nations is the less united the Kingdom becomes. I think of myself as British first and English second, but I oft feel I am in a diminishing minority.

  23. Roger Farmer
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Yes long ago I suggested to David cameron that the easiest way to reduce numbers in Parliament would be to put an end to scottish parliamentary seats. They only perpetuate socialism in England. Were it neccessary, at Westminster, to discuss matters involving Scotland then members of the scottish parliament could be given rail warrants and an invitation to attend. There was no response.
    I suspect that the Scots, when they have considered the implications, will reject independence unless this coalition backs them into a corner with injudicious outpourings.
    I hope they stay with us, but we really need to do something about the inbalance within our own Parliament arising from a country of around five million having representation in two parliaments one of which is little to do with them.

  24. JoolsB
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    “Most English people have accepted that England, as the large majority partner in the UK, should pay more in”

    England being the largest population already pays much more into the UK coffers as it is but the unfair Barnett Formula sees the other nations get even more on top of that thus discriminating against every man, woman and child in England and allowing the other nations to enjoy things denied to England on grounds of cost. If England had someone to represent it, which sadly it doesn’t have even now under a party overwhelmingly given it’s mandate by England, then our MPs with English seats might start to put England first instead of last as is the case now. Hopefully they would start standing up for their constituents and demand an end to the discrimination which sees only our young having to pay £9,000 tuition fees and see their ema abolished, only our sick having to pay prescription charges or exorbitant hospital parking charges and only our elderly having to worry about selling their homes to pay for care and of course it’s only English assets being sold off to plug the UK deficit and what are our representative at parliament doing about this? When did they last demand to know why their constituents continue to be treated so unfairly or why those not elected by their constituents are allowed to make crucial decisions for them? We hear not a word in protest, not a murmur. Cameron has already said he doesn’t want to be Prime Minister of England which are words he may come to regret when England get’s her parliament. Shamefully, the union is obviously much more important to him than England that he never once questioned Gordon Brown’s right to be PM when most legislation Brown had any control over only related to England. An even bigger insult is the deliberate avoidance by our MPs to even say the word England trying to imply the whole UK is affected and that we are all in this together which it isn’t and we’re not. We know Clegg won’t allow Cameron to do anything about the Barnett Formula or discuss an English parliament because why would England need the Lib Dems if it was allowed the luxury of having the parliament of it’s choosing, i.e. Conservative, in the same way the Scots and others are?

    Cameron is taking his core voters for granted because he thinks they have nowhere else to go but now UKIP who have only done well in European elections in the past are offering the people of England the one thing which to their shame, the other parties refuse to offer, an English Parliament, Cameron and all the other MPs with English seats who continue to ignore this democratic deficit do so at their peril.

    Finally John, if you would like to see a debate on the governance of England, may I suggest you sign Frank Field’s early day motion 2426 calling for just that, a debate.

  25. Electro-Kevin
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    ‘There used to be little English nationalism’

    I have not noticed a particular rise in English nationalism over Scotland – perhaps a slight loss of patience with the Scottish, however I wouldn’t describe that as English nationalism.

    I’ve noticed that the Welsh, Irish and Scottish can be extremely nationalistic and I know of English people who have had to return from living in those countries because of the overt hate directed at them.

    That just doesn’t happen here. Immigrants tend to thrive whether they want to work or not.

    I think that the English are an innocent people on the whole – unless we are truly saying that the people who brought the world George Formby and Morcamb & Wise were wicked, racist and bigotted ?

    The proof is that we are the most culturally integrated and diverse nation on Earth whilst the mono-chrome and insular Scots will support any team other than England, behave like petulant children call us wicked, oppressive and racist and get away with it Scot free. (Pardon my pun)

    The poor English. Our own politicians are ashamed of us and want us bred off the planet (they are well on the way to doing so.) Hollywood distorts our great history and deliberately puts Englishmen in the roles of villains and buffoons.

    We take it all in good nature.

    In a few generations I don’t think that there will be much English about England.

    That is a very great pity and brought about largely by our own establishment, academics and politicians who thought the English too twee, settled and boring.

    Who speaks for England ?

    Probably a dozen or so translators will have to do that, actually.

  26. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    The history of humanity is one of conflict and shifting boundaries. Conflicts are usually resolve by force of arms. Boundaries are arbitrary. Dominant powers are resisted by alliances of weaker powers. Alliances last only so long as is convenient. Enemies unite to fight the common foe, and once defeated local animosities return. It was ever thus.

    High speed planes, trains and the internet do not seem to have made any difference to the conflicts, though, happily, the means of resolution are less violent, at least for some.

    After 300 years of trying it might have been hoped that the English and the Scotts would have learnt how to rub along together, glad to be different but even happier to be British. That would be a nice model to offer the World.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      The English have learned to rub along with just about everybody – this is manifestly so in virtually every one of our cities. As our host says, it is the Scots who have a problem with putting aside differences over petty issues such as sport.

      It is they who have failed to learn.

  27. wonkotsane
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    John, you consistently point out the problems that England faces despite the conspiracy of silence amongst the British imperial class at Westminster. Yet you consistently fail to point out that there is only one solution to the problem and that is an English Parliament. When will you stop talking about the problem and start talking about the solution? All four member states of the UK have to be put on an equal footing otherwise your British Union will fall. I don’t care one way or the other but there are a lot of people who do so get off the fence and starts supporting devolution for England.

  28. A.Sedgwick
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Arguing for English democracy is an argument for devolution. Scottish Devolution was described as a process by Donald Dewar and that was always the intention and there is support for complete Scottish independence probably at the same level as Republicanism for the whole country. The three main political parties have been blindsided by the SNP. I felt Cameron in opposition should have come to an accommodation with the SNP, especially since the Conservative Party is defunct there.

    Our political structure has long since reached the stage of needing a complete rethink and Scottish Devolution has exacerbated the problem along with our membership of the EU. Many of Salmond’s comments are clearly not thought through e.g. an independent Scotland part of the EU – Brussels better than London?

    Whilst we are in the EU there is no realistic prospect of making sense of our political system. My thoughts run along the lines of the U.S. State Government.
    Create an English Parliament preferably out of London, replace the Lords with a fully PR elected Senate, which forms the UK Government for international issues, leaving day to day life and most taxation to the four countries.

  29. shaun the brummie
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    ..ENGLAND FOREVER BRITAIN NEVER. ( long piece urging England for the English etc)

  30. Michele
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    What can I say? … there are thousands of people speaking for England; and you can hear some of their voices in these comments – but the real questions is “Who will listen to the voices of England? ” – That John is the real question.

    A growing sense of frustration , a rising sense of injustice and you have a volatile mix for the future. Many people voted for the Conservatives because of promises made to end the injustices of the West Lothian problem AND the promise of a vote on our continuing membership of the EU – only to find that both these promises vanished into thin air once in office. But what was voted in can be voted out, and Cameron could be another ‘one term leader’.

    The stupidity of all this, is that if your party wants to maintain the union, there could be no better way to do it than to offer to England the same democratic right of its own parliament within a federal system. Nothing else will do … no argument as to levels of representation (Scotland already have 3 levels) or cost will diffuse or dampen the rising tide of nationalism. You have an opportunity to be the heroes or the villains.

    It’s your party’s call John, what’s it to be?

    • JoolsB
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Spot on Michelle. Cameron has proved himself to be no champion of the English even though they, no-one else, overwhelmingly voted for him. He is so busy trying to keep his precious union together, that keeping Scotland on board and ‘whatever it takes’ is his main priority and England when he remembers it comes a poor second. Big mistake. Die hard Tories have always thought UKIP was a wasted vote but now they’ve promised an English Parliament as well as their referendum on the EU, hopefully many lifelong Tories will now switch their allegiance to them – I know I will.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      “A growing sense of frustration , a rising sense of injustice and you have a volatile mix for the future.”

      Well not really. Rather than there being a Big Bang I see there being a Big Squelch.

      Our people are suppine and generally easy going. It will be more an issue of our birth rate continuing to decline (by that I mean the birth rate among those who have English values and do not care to raise children in a country like this) and us being bred out of existence. More immediate changes to our culture are being undertaken through Political Correction, a skewed benefits and criminal injustice system and through everything being banned or jacked up in price by unscrupulous lawyers.

      Mr Redwood commented earlier about our housing market being a safe haven for foreign investors.

      Safe for how long ? This really isn’t the country these people seem to think it is.

      I don’t see any volatility – not unless we go the way of the Greeks and ordinary people begin to demand the hand outs their lazy neighbours have been getting. The £500 weekly cap on benefits the Tories are talking about equates to a salary of £35k per year. The vast majority of skilled workers would love to earn that but don’t get anywhere near !

      371,000 foreign nationals claim that sort of benefit here.

      It beggars belief that our politicians hold any sort of authority in this country.

      We are in utter denial.

      If that hasn’t got people out on the streets what on Earth makes you think that the West Lothian problem will ?

      • APL
        Posted January 24, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        Electro-Kevin: “The vast majority of skilled workers would love to earn that but don’t get anywhere near !”

        MPs have no particular skills, have delegated all their work to Brussels but get twice that amount.”

        Perhaps we should look at their pay scale if we are to address the root cause of our problems.

  31. shaun the brummie
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    if the scots wont jump….PUSH THEM…

  32. AN Grey
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Yes, these issues are a frustration to the English. But the major frustration is that none of the big and obvious issues are being addressed in Parliament by you or others. The EU, immigration, getting out of Afghanistan, etc, etc all festering on with no resolution. Mr Redwood, please move things on!

  33. Anne Palmer
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    The last war 1939-1945 was about saving this Country from foreign rule John. I, and people like me went through those war years of bombing certain parts of this Country to HELL so that Hitler and no one like him could ever have a say in the Governing of this great United Kingdom. My husband and many like him fought in that war. The whole United Kingdom fought in that war together, not just one part if it, and sadly many thousands died so that you and all those others in Parliament could make sure those we elect will have freedom to govern this Country according to its very own long standing Common Law Constitution.

    For those that were left after that war would have a free United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland complete and free. AND WHAT HAVE YOU ALL DONE BETWEEN YOU? Divided it up into bit size pieces each one trying desperately to be free of each other so that all separately can be governed by foreigners and in this case through the EU’s Committee of the Regions via the European Union. What if the next person to be head of the EU is another (autocrat -ed)? Think it can’t happen? THIS PRESENT PRIME MINISTER HAS EAGERLY DIVIDED THIS GREAT NATION AND COUNTRY OF ENGLAND INTO BITE-SIZE PIECES IN OBEYING the EU through the Localism Bill that it should have said “NO” to. If Scotland does brake away, it will still be tied to the EU.

    The legislation that brought about the division of the UK into Regions of the EU was not put to the people in a referendum yet perhaps it should have been. Now people will be offered a referendum on the acceptance of an elected Mayor, full cabinets and all the entourage that goes with it. Costing the people even more for these extra REGIONS, but the true “COST” is the destruction of the Nation and Country of ENGLAND. The question perhaps you should ask is, is there any need any more of voting or paying to put anyone in Parliament any more. The Localism Act is the beginning of the end of NATIONAL Governments. What is the point of them when all they can do is obey EU orders like the rest of us?

    Reply: I like you strongly oppose regional government in England. This government is cutting back the size and b udgets of unelected regionalism in the UK. The aim of the localism Bill is to give more power to elected Councils.

  34. Deborah
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    “Isn’t it time that the English Secretaries of State – for Health, Local Government, Education and Transport – not only worked for England but spoke out for England?”

    Yes.

  35. David B. Wildgoose
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Only a federation which provides England with its own separate Parliament can now save the Union. The other parties to this so-called “Union” have shown themselves incapable of taking any consideration of England other than open contempt. A classic recent example was Carwyn Jones insisting that if Scotland leaves the Union that the House of Lords would have to be “rebalanced” to become one-third Welsh, one-third Northern Irish and only one-third English, thereby allowing the “Celts” to over-rule any English decisions. And please note, the Welsh and North Irish Parliaments are unicameral and don’t automatically refer their decisions to the House of Lords for approval. And of course the English will still have non-representative MPs interfering with our Government.

    This is all completely unacceptable.

    We have only two choices.

    (1) Rewrite the constitution to fix the mess Labour, (encouraged by the Liberal Democrats), made of it. Four equal Parliaments in a federation under a UK Parliament in the House of Lords. This must be done before Scotland votes for Independence because otherwise everything will have become too polarised and poisoned.

    (2) Scrap the Union giving Independence for all four member nations of the UK.

    That’s it.

    Take your choice.

  36. Independent England
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    “Isn’t it time that the English Secretaries of State – for Health, Local Government, Education and Transport – not only worked for England but spoke out for England?”

    It would be nice if they actually said the word England when talking about England rather than ‘this country’ etc! I listened to Andrew Lansley talking about implants on the Andrew Marr show this morning. Health is a devolved matter and he was explaining the English NHS’s policy on this matter. Lansley said NHS quite a few times but never once said the English NHS! What is their problem?

  37. Independent England
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    @ back of an envelope ‘ All MPs could speak, but only English MPs could vote on English bills’.
    Why should non English constituency MPs have a say in English bills?

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Well, I would like to keep it simple. And who knows – Scottish MPs might have useful things to say. The biggest problem with this idea is the position of ministers and particularly the Prime Minister.

  38. Matt
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I like Scotland and I like the Scottish people, but a lot of English people are becoming fed up with the way the debate is going in Scotland.
    Living in Newcastle and visiting Scotland on a regular basis, there is, in my view, a growing “anti-English” sentiment, hard to believe when Scots have held the levers of power since 1997.

    For a start I don’t class Scotland leaving the union as “independence” (implies that they are suppressed) but rather a dissolution of the union.

    Mr Salmond’s language and tactics are despicable – Polls on the anniversary of Bannockburn, independence speech on Burn’s Night, proposal for sixteen year olds to vote…

    Many Celts have memories that seem to start in about 1400 AD and discuss centuries old grievances as if they happened yesterday – the fact that there are no survivors from that time and that their great grandparents may have originated from say Tunbridge Wells doesn’t seem to wash with them.

    I think that they will reject independence, but only out of concern that their big socialist state will come to an end – not out of any love for the union.

  39. Stephen Gash
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    British MPs in England present a problem. In view of the way they have not only permitted, but voted for, a virtual apartheid in health care, education, social care and many other things against England, can they be trusted to fight England’s corner, come independence for Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland?

    I don’t think apartheid is too strong a word considering how cancer patients in England have been denied up to 15 life-prolonging drugs that are freely available to patients in Scotland.

    Monmouthshire was stolen from England in the ’70s and the Solway Firth border was moved south under Blair’s PMship, placing wind farms under Holyrood’s control. England controls only a postage stamp-sized portion of the Irish Sea fisheries.

    Many English people believe that England will lose both territory and resources if independence for any nation becomes reality because few, if any, MPs care about the English.

    Why are we English always excluded from the debate about home rule?

    • Iain
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Well said.

      Does anybody think Cameron would come out fighting for the English corner? I don’t think so, and that leaves us dangerously exposed when Slamond is fighting for Scotland.

  40. Billi
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    The real and only question here is : Do the British exist as a people and a nation ?

    If they do then they should remain united in order to avail of the strength unity brings.

    To help you answer this question ask any of the following : The Greeks, Romans, Franks, Danes.
    Check out their history with the : Church of Rome, the Bretons themselves, the Saxon sagas, the Irish.
    Go visit their old forts and cities : Inverness, Exeter, Coventry, Leicester, Carlisle, Dumbarton, Quimper and Rennes.

  41. Independent England
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    John you say that ‘The English Parliament I want is the Westminster Parliament meeting for English matters without the devolved country MPs.That does not require any more spending or bureaucracy’.

    So how would you deal with elections to this Parliament? In Scotland voters can vote for a Westminster government to deal with UK matters and a Scottish government to deal with devolved Scottish matters.
    Under your proposals we English would only get one vote and while a voter supported one manifesto for UK matters that voter might well want to vote for a different manifesto for English matters.

    For example I might want to get rid of UK nuclear weapons and therefore might vote Green whereas I might support reorganistion of the English NHS and therefore vote Conservative.

    • Scilla Cullen
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      And what would become of the devolved Executives? Would they cease to have law making powers? What if the MPs for the individual RUK territories wanted some legislation but the Westminster government was against it? Would there be an Executive for England? Would those voted to represent England do so if there was a conflict of interest between UK and English interests? Would the English flag fly over Westminster? If the current MPs of English constituencies, some of whom have made very negative comments about England, cannot bring themselves to say England when talking about devolved matters how can we be expected to believe they will have a Damascene change of heart under your scenario? these are questions that are just off the top of my head.

      I fear that I have no faith in dual mandated MPs.

    • Stephen Gash
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      Superb riposte. I’ve looked at most reasons why anything less than an English parliament like Scotland’s will fail, but the single vote and single manifesto for the English, as opposed to two with two for each of the other nations, had escaped me.

      The English would be inferior citizens still, elevated from third class to second.

  42. Damien
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    The reason for including Scottish Welsh and Irish at Westminster goes back to lessons learnt in the American colonies where the slogan ‘No taxation without representation’ was in usage during the American Revolution. As Scotland Wales and NI cannot levy taxes upon England then those people should rightly be able to ask why the English should have their representatives in their assemblies. Also so long as Westminster continues to raise taxes from all parts of the UK then representatives from those parts must be allowed to sit in Parliament and even vote on matters that are essentially England related and not affecting their local constituencies. To have it any other way would be a constitutional change and should require a UK referendum on the matter.

    I do not know the wisdom behind Cameron raising this whole issue but I can imagine there must be some advantage in having a Scottish referendum asap. Unfortunately Salmond is right in proposing a later date for a referendum as it will allow careful consideration of the political economic and constitutional issues. My preference would be for Westminster to engage in a through debate of the implications for any changes and to articulate the arguments clearly to all in the hope of avoiding a disorderly breakup of the UK.

    • Scilla Cullen
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      As Damien says “so long as Westminster continues to raise taxes from all parts of the UK then representatives from those parts must be allowed to sit in Parliament” then clearly the WLQ (and related English Question on the governance of England) can only be answered by a separately elected English Parliament.

      This does not mean another layer of politicians we already have precedent in the RUK. We do not need more politicians just the same number but some responsible for English intersts and a small number to a UK Parliament.

      As to a new building we have a perfectly adequate one which was the English Parliament until 1707. Perhpas the British Parliament could be persuaded to move itself? 🙂

  43. Len Welsh
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    The Union is dying and the sooner we bury it the better, some time back I would have settled for a devolved parliament for England, no longer. Britain has treated England with contempt and continues to treat Scotland and Wales as if the sun shines from their nether regions and I am totally fed up with such treatment. As far as I’m concerned Mr Salmond can take his parliament along with his nation and take a hike sooner than later. Create an English Parliament now and dissolve the Union, the English Parliament could be composed of two houses with a lot fewer members than exist now thus saving huge amounts of money and lessening the chances of fraud on a massive scale being perpetrated.

  44. peter davies
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    John

    Just to put you right on one thing – its the English & Welsh cricket board.

    On the devolution issue this could be put right by aligning the terms of all UK parliamentary business. Westminster to have sittings for UK wide issues where there needs to be a vote so all MPs can contribute.

    Then all MPs/MSP/AMs etc go back to their respective parliaments for devolved issues. I would go one step further and double hat all MPs effectively getting rid o MSPs, AMs etc.

    Your consituency MP represents you in Westminster when UK business is being carried out, then in their devolved parliament when devolved business is carried out.

    • Scilla Cullen
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      So what happens when there is a conflict of interest? Clearly SNP and Pliad members will put their countries first.
      And again what about law making powers?

      This all sounds very easy until one starts looking into it in depth.

      • peter davies
        Posted January 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        I’m not with you – they put their countires first anyway.

        What I’m saying is that for this to work all UK parliamentary business would need to be aligned

  45. John Page
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    England should declare independence from the UK.

    Then the remaining three nations can subsidise each other, and continue the UK’s membership of the EU.

    England will be free of the other nations, and will decline to apply for re-admission to the EU.

  46. Dr Bernard JUBY
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    The Scots can’t have their cake and eat it! The Midlothian question has to be answered – as does the Barnet Agreement needto be re-thought.
    UE maps of the British Isles no longer have “England” on them.
    Time we had English affairs ONLY voted on by English constituency MPs and the Scots diesnfranchised for these debates/decisions.
    Do it now before it gets really nasty.

  47. Jon
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    It is the left of centre than wanted devolution. If Scotland chooses to stay in the Union then we all know it will still mean much more devolution following it.

    The only reason I can see for not having English matters debated separately is that in England its more right of centre so Labour and the Lib Dems don’t want it. They should have thought about that when they championed devolution.

    Nick Clegg covered his opposition to it initially by later saying we don’t need this whilst Scotland is to have a referendum. It didn’t disguise that even after the referendum is done he would still be opposed to it.

    If they don’t want to address the West Lothian question then they shouldn’t have promoted devolution, were they that short sighted?

  48. Jon
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    And just to add I’m really tiered of playing the parent role to a bunch of stroppy prepubescent teenagers across the boarder who just use this Union like a friggin hotel!

  49. John B
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    The Union belongs to all those in it – and its inhabitants are British – and all should have its say in its future.

    Exactly how has it become the accepted thing that Scotland exclusively decides the fate of 60 million people?

    Time to re-establish one nation, the British nation, one Parliament the British Parliament.

    Localisation of powers, certainly, but to local and parish councils closer to the People not into the hands of another bunch of halfwit politicians for the benefit of their own ambitions and vanity.

    What next People’s Republic of Northumberland, British East Anglia, The Independent State of Kernow?

    How about independence for Acacia Avenue?

    • Dr Bernard JUBY
      Posted January 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Come back Boudica, Queen of the Iceni.
      She fought for what she believed in!

  50. HampsteadOwl
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    You ask what the English reaction should be if a Scot were to win Wimbledon and wrap himself in the Scottish flag.

    Assuming you have Andy Murray in mind, then luckily the question is hypothetical.

  51. Barbara Stevens
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    OK, you give the Scots ‘devo max’ and then what? A few years time they will be after full independance, and with Salmond at the helm it can only mean one thing, joining the euro eventually, and with the assistance of Germany and France he will succeed. He’s not a man I’d trust one bit especially with a nation. No, the referendum should be ‘in or out’ and nothing else, and brought about as soon as possible. We all want to know where we stand not just the Scots. Meanwhile, we the English keep paying the bills. Let the debate begin, let the Scots see the full meaning of independance, for defence, services, nhs, police, education, the list is endless for financing a nation. Salmond thinks the oil will be his salavation, but this should be shared as we have paid the money for its extaction, I’d say 60% to the English 40% to the Scots. The fields are nearly dry, so they won’t last to long. Salmond is intent of breaking the union up its his dreams and ideals, and what we should be doing is telling both nations what this would mean truthfully. The cost to us would be savings, to the Scots it will mean higher taxes, and costly living. Somehow I don’t think the Scots will want that road. They are not being told the truth the public of what independance really means. What for, for one man’s ideals and dreams, is that what they really want to give him his dreams on a plate, while they pay the price. I just hope after 300 years of union and prosperity the Scots see through this man for what he is, and cast him to oneside swiftly before it’s to late.

  52. uanime5
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    The problem with the Welsh, Scottish, and Irish not supporting English sports teams may stem from the fact that the English team uses the UK flag and national anthem; while Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland use their own anthem and flag. So from a non-English perspective if looks like the English are synonymous with the UK, while other parts of the UK are different countries. Perhaps if English teams used the English flag and Jerusalem as the English national anthem, and the UK flag and national anthem was reserved for UK teams it may help unite the UK teams to support each other.

    England can also have lower student fees and care costs, however the political will isn’t here to introduce them. The priorities of the politicians in England seem to be different than those in Scotland.

    According to QI only a bearded lion is referred to as a lion. The three animals on the English coat of arms are leopards (beardless lions).

    Regarding devolution it was originally designed to strengthen unity by allowing Scotland and Wales to have a greater say in local issues rather than have the choice of be dictated to by England or leave. At present the SNP is popular because it is made up of people who talk about Scottish issues, rather than the Little Englanders who dominate some political parties. Were other major parties to develop policies that the Scots agreed with then these parties probably won’t do so badly when Scots vote for MPs and MSPs.

    I also agree with others that an English Parliament is needed to resolve the West Lothian question. This could easily be achieved by turning the House of Commons into an English Parliament with 265 MPs elected using the Additional Member System (used in Scotland) and lead by the First Minister of England. The House of Lords could become a UK Senate comprising of 100 Senators elected using the d’Hondt method of proportional representation (used in Wales and Northern Ireland) and lead by the Prime Minister. I’d also recommend removing the need to obtain the Monarch’s consent to pass bills as the approval of the democratically elected body is sufficient.

    Reply: The lions of Scotland and England are described as such in heraldic descriptions of their arms.

    • zorro
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Leopards! Are you having a laugh? They don’t look anything like leopards…..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Arms_of_England

      Honestly, uanime5 you’re a very naughty boy! Don’t always take what Stephen Fry says as the gospel truth. Leopards indeed….doubtless Stephen Fry probably said that Henry Plantagenet went on a gap year to Kenya to study leopards and that’s where he got the idea!

      If you want to see leopards have a look at SOCA’s insignia…..probably…..http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/4876818.stm

      Who knows what the NCA’s logo will look like…..?

      zorro

      • uanime5
        Posted January 23, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

        Just because they’re called lions today does not mean they were called lions when the Royal Arms were initially made.

        Here’s a Wikipedia article about leopards in heraldry.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopard_%28heraldry%29

        “The heraldic leopard differs from the real-life leopard (Panthera pardus). It does not have any spots and often has a mane. In heraldry, the leopard is also generally similar to a lion. The reason for this lies in the fact that in the Middle Ages leopards were thought to be a crossbreed between a lion and a panther. This was retained in heraldry. The difference between leopards and lions passant guardant is scant, if any, and the two terms are generally interchangeable. The beasts on the Coat of arms of England are generally referred to as lions.”

        • zorro
          Posted January 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          Here we go…..You said in your original post…’According to QI only a bearded lion is referred to as a lion. The three animals on the English coat of arms are leopards (beardless lions)’.

          Right here is a link to the Royal Arms of England….http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Arms_of_England

          What is on the chins of these fine beasts?…..Beards….They are lions.

          On the link you post, you find some weak looking beasts without beards on the coat of Arms of some German Prince….They are most definitely leopards according to your own definition. There is a clear distinction here between the beasts.

          Real lions were called lions when the coats of Arms came into being. As you say, in the Middle Ages, ‘leopards’ were thought to be a crossbreed between lions and panthers. Even so, they were still distinct from real bearded lions, of which there are three on our Royal Coat of Arms!

          Thank you
          zorro

    • DaveK
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      We may use the National Anthem, but we do not use the “UK” flag, by which I assume you mean the Union Jack. And I don’t care what Mr Fry says about heraldry, there are 3 lions on our shirt or a red rose for the rugby union!

    • forthurst
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      Although there appears to some disagreement as to the precise location of Jerusalem which causes some of those who are not in point of fact English to froth at the mouth, I’m fairly certain that it is not in England.

    • Independent England
      Posted January 25, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      The English haven’t used the Union flag for many years!

  53. Philip R Hosking
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry but to portray English nationalism as some form of passive reaction to aggressive Celtic nationalism’s is utter nonsense. Aggressive imperialistic English nationalism was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Kingdom of England, UK and then, eventually, Empire.

    As for aggressive Celtic nationalism I think you’ll find the likes of the English Defence League, England First and English Democrats have perfected xenophobic reactionary nationalism to a T. We could add the BNP and NF to the list as their form of British nationalism equates to little more than racial English supremacism within these Atlantic isles.

  54. Louise
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    There’s only really one thing anyone in Wales wants to say, or should that be sing, to Mr Redwood. Ahem… la la la la la-la, la la la LA la-la, la la la la, la la la la la-la, la-la la la la-la, la la la LA la la, God save your Queen. You are NOT forgiven.

    • zorro
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      ‘Men of Harlech stop your dreaming,
      Can’t you see their spear points gleaming,
      See their warrior pennants streaming,
      To this battlefield

      Men of Harlech stand ye steady
      It cannot be ever said ye
      For the battle were not ready
      Welshmen never yield….’

      You might have got away with that John….

      zorro

    • outsider
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Dear Louise: Re “You are not forgiven”.
      How sad. I thought Wales was a great Christian country yet you do not even forgive a faux pas made nearly 20 years ago.

  55. sm
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    The EU wished to divide specifically the English into regions. We should resist this.

    Scots are a canny people and independence should be seen in that light, their have been too many traitors within over the centuries, we all need to be vigilant.

    Lets just get on with the English votes only on all which have been devolved to Scotland or Wales. Then Parliament could be split into dealing with legislation as imposed by or from the EU say 3 -4 days a week, 1/2 day for English sovereign only stuff and 1/2 day for UK sovereign stuff.

    It woulds be illuminating to see what little powers are left compared with the feigning of power. We should be working on Plan Euro Kaput and a version of the Great Escape.

    Personally I think the Scots would err to swap what influence the UK gives them for close to none in the EU, but i respect their choice, as im sure they would respect other parliament/s that arise as a consequence.

  56. nicol sinclair
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    As a Scot born and bred – the offspring of Scots of many generations – and a devoted Unionist, I read the comments on your blog and in other broadsheet publications with increasing sadness. During my youth, I spent 25 years in the British Army serving my Queen and that same Union. Being 69, I am well past my prime and really do not wish to see the break up of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. I fervently hope that I shall not live to see the day of reckoning whereby we all go our separate ways.

    I fear that the call to “let us go” is gathering momentum in England for good reason, whereas I believe that a slender majority of Scots would vote to stay married to the rest of the Kingdom. Therefore, I would prefer the English NOT to have a referendum on the matter. However, I can understand the bile emanating from South of the Border. I fully blame ‘Wee Eck’ for his less-than-diplomatic approach.

    • Stephen Gash
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

      Don’t blame Alex Salmond Nicol, blame Cameron, Clegg and Miliband for making his job easy. Salmond’s pretendy-inde bluff should have been called as soon as the SNP gained majority government in Holyrood. His real mandate lies in Westminster, where he has no mandate at all with a mere 6 MPs. It took just four months after Blair coming to power in 1997 to the Scottish devolution referendum being held. The coalition should have had the independence referendum in the same time-frame and it would have all been over before 2012 started. Instead we have this sword of Damacles unnecessarily hanging over a fragile UK economy.

  57. davvers
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    “Who speaks for England”…………..Almost all MPs and Ministers plus the EBC as Auntie is known outside of England. How many more do you need ?

    • Iain
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Rubbish, the MP’s in Westminster are British, they look down their noses at representing England, for example in all the years since devolution how many times have you heard an MP at PMQ’s raise the issue of the WLQ? You would struggle to get past a hand full. And then there are the likes of Cameron who would find it demeaning to represent England, as he has said, and the likes of Iasin Duncan Smith who have said their heart lies in Scotland.

      Look if the MP’s in Westminster had any regard for English people they would not have allowed their young sick and old be discriminated against, and all English people made constitutionally second class citizens.

      As for the BBC being pro English, you are having a laugh! Like the British MP’s the BBC has been silent about the constitutional discrimination heaped on the English with devolution. But just look at the BBC’s structure you will see that it is institutionally incapable of giving voice to the English after all there is a BBC Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland , but no BBC England. Like the organisation it most identifies with , the EU, the BBC only sees England as a place of regions .

    • Scilla Cullen
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      No MP has a mandate to speak for England. they are British MPs of English constituencies, serving in a British Parliament and members of British Unionist parties. Many do not identify themsleves with England and some are positively antagonistc.

      When the English flag flies over Westminster I will agree with you.

  58. Barry
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    In 1999, prime minister Blair predicted that Scottish devolution would be the salvation of the United Kingdom.
    Blair and others went ahead with a half baked notion that a small part of a nation created around 400 years ago could have a measure of independence without the agreement of the majority. The majority would not receive similar rights but the minority would maintain their rights over the rest.
    If the example of devolution in UK is promoted, the world needs to pay attention because no majorities in any state can feel secure or comfortable. Large numbers of minorities in the USA could claim privileges similar to those that Scots enjoy in the UK. Germany and Italy were nations created relatively recently and could offer large numbers of opportunities for Blair-style devolution in order to be “the salvation of their nations”.
    No such monstrous construct as our “devolution” would be tolerated in any other nation state. We may be ruled by politicians who are largely lawyers by education, but they seem incapable of constructing a legal framework for our nation that is fair or anything other than a thoroughly bad example to the rest of the world.

    • David Fraser
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      South Tyrol in Italy. Catalonia and The Basque Country in Spain.

  59. David John Wilson
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    The English need more than a secretary of state for England. Certain periods of the week in either house should be dedicated to English bills. These should only be debated and voted on by English MPs or members of the House of Lords. If this was done on say a Monday the foreign MPs could stay back in their constituencies for an extra day, saving on expenses. There would probably also be some half way bills for which for example the Scottish MPs would be excluded because the bill only applied to England Wales and Northern Ireland.
    Alternatively to restricting the Lords it could serve as a second house for ALL of the devolved parliaments. Each country could elect a proportionate number of members. The Lords would thus for example discuss and vote on all bills from the Scottish parliament.

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 23, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      David

      Along with backofanenvelopes suggestion, I agree with you.

      All that needs to happen is the list of debates, discussions, potential voting rights, needs to be formed into a list, grouped together for certain days, and circulated a week in advance to all concerned by “e” mail.

      Most other organisaions would do this, and operate this way as it would probably be more efficient.

  60. Javelin
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree. Where is the Minister for England giving a balanced view?

  61. NickW
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Parliament represents the UK not England.

    The English are being illegally discriminated against by not being given the same rights and privileges as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, being denied an equal representation in the UK Parliament to the devolved members of the UK.

    It will become a matter for the European Courts if Scotland is offered terms and conditions of Independence denied to the English by virtue of their race and Nationality.

    Note that any terms of Independence for Scotland must legally be offered to England, Wales, and Northern Ireland in order to comply with European Law.

    Note that there is a certain amount of advantage from this situation in that legal constraints will severely limit any terms which Scotland is able to negotiate for its independence.

    Scotland will be in the position of holding a gun to its own head during the negotiation of its independence. The English have no obligation to them whatever, and will doubtless reciprocate all that ill feeling which Salmond is generating and encouraging.

  62. backofanenvelope
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    In any case, the EU will not allow Scottish independence. Why? Because several other nations, including the Spanish and French have areas that would dearly like to be independent. Basques and Catalans in Spain, Bretons in France. Not to mention Belgium!

  63. Derek Emery
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    The EU is totally disinterested in economic growth as its only drive is further integration regardless of cost. Even though future growth is guaranteed to be anaemic from the massive eurozone debts they still want to introduce a Tobin tax knowing it will knock a percent off the already low growth rate see http://www.cityam.com/latest-news/allister-heath/britain-right-oppose-tobin-tax
    There is no way the EU can be made accountable to the public and so interested in future economic growth.
    It seems likely that the pay-off will be increasing numbers of young, better educated people leaving the EU for better lives in the rest of the world where economic growth is expected to be close to 10% pa. This must already be happening in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. Imagine how much bigger the exodus will be in a decade’s time when the rest of the world’s economies have doubled in size whereas EU growth will be anaemic at best.
    Many EU companies will relocate to take advantage of the supply of young skilled workers and year on year GDP growth which directly translates into profits growth.
    The EU will be left with the old, retired and less able workers to add to the EU ageing demographic problems.

  64. marhak
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Who speaks for the Engish? The Cornish most certainly do not, and the English don’t speak for us, either. So just leave us out of your aspirations. Mr Redwood.

  65. Alex
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    John – generally I find myself in agreement with most of your views but on this one, with two exceptions, I find your comments a little disingenuous. The first exception is that certainly that Scottish MPs should not be voting on English only matters. I also would not disagree with an essentially federalist UK. Where I find myself disagreeing is in your characterisation of England as an essentially passive, benevolent member of the UK, hard done by those perfidious grasping Scots. I think there is a danger that this rhetoric (“Look what we’ve done for those Scots and this is how they repay us” type of view) is analytically bogus, condescending and dangerous for those of us who wish to maintain the Union. So what if Scotland gets a bit more of a subsidy than England? Scotland is poorer, and more rural. Isnt the concept of a transfer payment an integral part of any modern state? And the fact is that English MPs where until quite recently more than able to decide Scottish affairs rather more often than Scottish MPs decided English ones. And English radio, English TV? Arent those British? English nationalism has been alive and well for many decades (pick up a modern history book and count the number of times England is used where Britain should be and youll get my point). Proud Englishmen can live with proud Scotsmen, and both groups can be proud Britons. Dont fall into the trap being set by the SNP. Lets talk positively about how we make the union stronger, not destroy it with petty nationalist cliches (on both sides)

    • Alfred Wyrd
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Where are these proud English when there is no England?

      What’s destroying your so called ‘Union’ is the raw deal handed out by the UK parliament to the English (see below if it gets published). UK MPs put the UK first not England – why should we put up for that? The only thing the English get out of the ‘UK’ is the bill and the sooner we stop paying the better.

    • JimF
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      You write as though the SNP were a fringe party in the Scottish Parliament! An English view is that you can’t set up your own Parliament north of the Border, vote in a Nationalist Party which wants eventual separation, but only on the basis that first they’ll squeeze all the juice they can out of the rest of the Union.
      This is one where the computer definitely says NO!

      • Alex
        Posted January 23, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        Are you honestly arguing that members of a representative body shouldnt do their utmost to win as much for the constituents as possible? Juts because the SNP are in power does not mean that most people in Scotland want independence. The SNP were voted in because people were tired of the Labour party’s arrogance and corruption. Unfortunately the Tories here are still ‘toxic’ and the LibDems are, well, LibDems. Salmond is at least a competent administrator, a formidable poitician and so far has proven himself to be at least more or less honest. This was why the SNP was voted in, primarily. The greatest threat to the Union isnt from the SNP but from the anti-Scottish sentiment being displayed on a lot of blogs. Yes the settlements need to be made fairer to the English etc, but thats no reason to adopt a stance which will have the effect of creating such antagonism between our 2 nations as to make separation all but definite.

    • Barry
      Posted January 23, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Alex

      “Scotland is poorer, and more rural”…than what…London?

      You seem to be unaware that there are deprived areas of England almost certainly larger than Scotland that are not afforded “Scottish style” benefits including free University Education and better funded support for the aged.

  66. Bruce Neeves
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    I think that something is stirring in England – all the separatists/nationalists have done, to quote the Japenese Admiral Yamamoto after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbour, is ” to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve”. Beware you Nationalists the power and resolve of the English will cause you more pain than you could ever believe. John, keep asking the questions!

  67. i albion
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    How would any one not want a Parliament for their own country ?
    The people on this thread who do not agree with this are entitled to their opinion
    But if you are not English what has it got to do with you and if you are English shame on you!

  68. Alfred Wyrd
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Your so called Union denies the English recognition, representation, fair funding and fair services. There is nothing in it for the English

    How can I be relaxed about a ‘Union’ where my kids are having to pay £9k a year tuition fees, where I pay £7.40 per prescription item and where my elderly mother has to pay £400 a month for visiting care? Cost to a family north of the border? Scot FREE.

    You tell me Mr Redwood – why should I want anything other than independence for England?

    • Anne Palmer
      Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      In a truly united United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland it may well be “discrimination re Nationality”. DIRECTIVE 2006/123/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market. (94) In accordance with the Treaty rules on the free movement of services, discrimination on grounds of the nationality
      of the recipient or national or local residence is prohibited.
      From The Equality Act
      (1)Race includes—
      (a)colour;
      (b)nationality;
      (c)ethnic or national origins.
      The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is one Country as far as the European Union is concerned. The UK Government ratified EU Treaties to that effect. In no way has each separate Nation or Country (Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England) been tied to the EU or in the European Union separately. So, why under the laws of the United Kingdom are University Fees discriminatory one to the other within the United Kingdom? Each of the four parts, Nations of and/or Countries, were all as one for the purpose of ratification of the then European Economic Community Treaty of Rome in 1972, and is still classed as one whole in the European Union of 2011?

      Ministers say the current position is particularly unfair because the EU rules do not apply within states”. (Why not indeed? Is this because the EU is still trying to cause unrest-to deliberately divide NATION STATES? I certainly cannot see any other reason for such an action.) So WHY are we still voting and paying for a UK Parliament when they do not treat students all the same?And many believe that what is proposed will be a fairer system?

      Alfred, I have written many letters to Mr Willets about this matter and got no where, and I do not have a “student involved” to fight for. It appears to our MP’s that the system is “fair” and as it should be in a now broken -sorry, “devolved” no longer United, Kingdom.

  69. Gordon
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,
    In short, yes, indeed!

  70. Caterpillar
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    “Who speaks for England?”

    I guess it may come down to – who speaks most clearly for England?

    English Democrats
    UKIP
    Conservatives

    The party names may say it all.

  71. forthurst
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    I do not see any point in having an English Assembly unless we the English can decide with whom we wish to share our country.

  72. Anne Palmer
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    All the people that have responded to your well timed question, “Who Speaks for ENGLAND” should be answered by the three Leaders of the Major Political parties, for all three as we now know, have made clear they want to remain in the European Union. I ask is that a yes for “FOR EVER?

    I will repeat what I have made clear once before to your question, “Who speaks for ENGLAND”? The people of this Country vote for MP’s for a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. They do not vote in a UK MP to work just for “a bit of it” and neither do they vote for a UK MP just for them to speak for “their bit of it” either. Would you just speak for your “Bit of it” on something that only touches your ‘patch’? If MP’s are only going to see to their own patch, there is no need to even vote or pay them at all, for the EU NEW REGIONS can and will be looking after THEIR OWN PATCH unless the legislation comes in too think and fast to allow them any time to see to their own matters. Maybe they will be busy collecting money for the EU Fines that they might have to contribute to, because there will be no “innocent until proven guilty” any more, plus, lets face it the EU really needs every British “penny” it can get its hands on and there may be no one in our Parliament that can stop them. If Mr Cameron could have said “NO” to EU Legislation, particularly the EU’s Localism Bill before he took it through to an “ACT” would he have done? What on earth is the point of this extra layer of Governance, having to pay for it, fit it out as an assembly and keep two full houses of Parliament. I know the Commons is already set to lose 50 MP’s from its numbers but that was very convenient to alter the boundaries into more likely EU Regions too. Strange how everything just neatly, “fits in.”

    The Region of Scotland has its own Parliament, as does Wales and Northern Ireland, The London Assembly? And then there will be the Regional Cabinets and who is going to pay for all the entourage that goes with these new EU Regions? Who needs a UK Parliament and Lords? I do not think the people can afford the old as well as the new anymore, can they?

    One of the most interesting points is that the Election for Mayors are taking place ‘one by one’ NOW, yet nothing in the National Papers. Perhaps they will be for the “chop” too for there may be nothing “National” left.

  73. Monty
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    The last straw for me, was when Scotland imposed a tuition fee burden on English students that was waived for other EU applicants, and never a dissenting voice was raised in Scotland about that. I would have been furious if Scottish youngsters had been treated like that in England. I would have called that racism, as indeed it would have been, and I would not have been alone in that.

    But it has been done, and we know it. And we can not un-know it. It has all gone too far now.

    • Barry
      Posted January 23, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Amongst many strong reasons for the English majority to vote for Scottish removal from the Union unless the English are afforded the same rights as the Scots….

    • JoolsB
      Posted January 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Never a dissenting voice was heard in England either. Our elected politicians as usual chose to ignore this discrimination against their constituents.

  74. Robert Taggart
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Who speaks for the English ? in our pantomime parliament ?? John, if you do not know…
    The English are ‘stuffed’ –
    Conservatives – overwhelmingly English, but, beholden to the ‘union’.
    Liebore – Celtic creeps to their core.
    LibDems – Celtic dependants / naively ‘British’.
    Oneself – English, born, bred and dead ! When asked the question “what are you” before devolution –
    British, when asked; English, when pressed; European, when convenient !
    Since devolution –
    English, when asked; British, when pressed; European, when convenient !

  75. Monty
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Full independance please, for England. Not devolution, not a federation. Seperate sovereign nations. Each with its own parliament, treasury, currency, armed forces, the whole shebang. The important thing for the English, is that there must be no UK legislative body above the English parliament, because it would simply act as an unanswerable back channel to funnel subsidies from England to the other UK nations, leaving the English parliament to squabble over whatever is left. So no to that.

    Another benefit of a clean break, is the downsizing effect. Some would complain that as the UK, we are able to influence foreign affairs. Punching above our weight, I think they call it. Well I beg to differ. I do not want to see our ruling class swanning about on the world stage. Whoever they punch, the taxpayer takes another hit, and we pay for this hubris in blood, as well as treasure. All so our government can be seen to be taking decisive action on a foreign problem that is no business of ours in the first place. But it is a great displacement activity for camouflaging all the issues the government should be tackling at home.
    So a great pinning back of ears would be a welcome by product.

  76. Carolyn
    Posted April 19, 2012 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    I was born in England but my mum is Welsh, my nan Irish and my cousins Scottish.
    And i would just like to say that after living in all parts of Britain. I find many of the Scots Irish and Welsh to be (unfriendly-ed) in regards to how they treat English people coming into their cities. And all the rest of my family who are not English agree with me.
    We were very shocked when entering Scotland Ireland or Wales, that the people became (words left out-ed) rude and ill mannered !! just by hearing a English accent, even though these people knew nothing about the person who was speaking.
    And i would just like to say that my family who are not English as i stated … have never in all their years been treated or spoke to in such a manner.
    And agree that they are ashamed of their own people, i think the best thing for Scotland now is to go independent. Do i believe in the future their story will be one of success .. NO!
    But i do know now .. that their has been to much damage done by Scotland and Wales is getting their, to be ever forgotten by the English people. But i am so sad at the same time to see the union dissolve, but it is the best thing all round.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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