Unsettling the constitution in 2014?

 

                 There have been recent fears expressed that the No campaign against Scottish independence is too complacent and could lose. I would be most surprised if that happened. My recent visit to Scotland found a business and professional community worried about the idea of a split from the UK, but a community cowed into public silence by fears of  the Scottish government’s displeasure  if they spoke out.

                  As the Yes campaign has proceeded it has looked more and more like a campaign for devo max rather than for independence. The so called nationalists want to stick with the pound, the Bank of England, the Queen and the full UK single market and borderless free movement between Scotland and England. Their forecasts  rely heavily on optimism about continuing oil revenues, when decline in Scotland’s oil output is likely. If even the main advocates of independence do not seek  true independence, it would be surprising if the Scottish people voted for it nonetheless. Much would hinge on the subsequent negotiations with England, with the Scots seeking all sorts of concessions having voted for out. The Scottish government is not simply prepared to leave the UK and get on with doing everything for itself.  

                   Meanwhile, our constitution is unsettled for two other crucial reasons. The first is the  continuing federalist drive of the EU and the ECHR, a force that remains most unpopular with a majority of UK voters. The second is the continuing attempts to break up England or to deny England its identity and voice.  Just as Mr Salmond hoped, English nationalism is on the rise in response to both the pressure for more independent government by the other countries in the UK union, and more expressly by the studied disregard for England from the EU and elsewhere.

                   England faces cultural attack from the BBC. They are ever keen to stress independent Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish identity, but rarely allow England a say or even name us. They are keen along with their friends in the EU to try to split England into a series of artificial regions which carry little support or weight with English people. I am not a “Rest of the south easterner” nor a “South easterner”  nor even a “Thames Valley er” or a “Bucks Berks and Oxon er”. The more they try to make us fit into these varied and meaningless places, the more we prefer to be English.

                        England faced a political attack from Labour in government , but they gave up when they lost the referendum to create an elected government for the then most Labour of regions, the North East. They were forced to recognise the reality, that England does not wish to be balkanised.

                           I predict that the only big force  of unrest with our current constitution in 2014 will be the wave of Euroscepticism generated by  unpopular EU policies on energy, migration, human rights and the rest. Politics in 2014 will be dominated by our relationship with the EU, and maybe more people will come to understand that when we are discussing energy prices, living standards, jobs and even public services, the EU involvement is now big and often damaging.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

137 Comments

  1. Arschloch
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    I do not think the prediction in your last para will come to pass. There was a nice article in the Mail yesterday saying a lot of voters out there say Farrage is all style over substance. Perhaps all the UKIPers here could clarify their economic policy? Would a UKIP Chancellor continue with QE? If he did then anyone who votes UKIP and who are not a member of the 1% are voting to continue to be hit over the head with a hammer. While its not going to happen for Cameron either, he is proven ballot box poison. No majority after an illegal war, a run on a bank and a load of Labour MPs on their way to jail, he’s just a loser.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      I doubt if anyone in UKIP imagines there will be a UKIP Chancellor! UKIP’s purpose is to bring discomfort to the three main stream parties in the hope that they will actually listen to what is being said by the electorate.

      • Hope
        Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        Latvia has joined the Euro with 60 percent of its population against it. Neither were they given a choice by the elite EU bureaucrats. What has Cameron done to stand up for democracy within the EU, the regime changes in Greece and Italy or the stealing of ordinary citizens money from their saving accounts?

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      UKIP is a party which is there to get us out of the EU. Because of your last sentence, however, it has become the voice of a lot (about half) of the conservatives in the country. We right wingers are expanding as the local election and poll results show. Labour is actually slightly declining at the moment.

      The danger is that we shall lose the election on a split vote and also that UKIP will lose sight of its determination to get us out of the ghastly travesty of the EU.

      • Hope
        Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        It has been stated the Tory party will cease to exist in about forty years. Let’s us hope it is not that long and the sensible join UKIP and form a proper Conservative party, like the example in Canada. It will need to rid itself of people like Cameron, Clarke, May , Boles etc. but the electorate could help in this regard.

    • Bob
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      @Arschloch

      Perhaps all the UKIPers here could clarify their economic policy?

      In essence, the direction of travel would be for smaller government and lower and fairer tax rates. HS2 would be dropped, as would the EU; only outside the EU can we start to solve the problems our country faces.

      Have a look at their website, it’s easy to find with Google.

      • zorro
        Posted December 31, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        It can indeed be frustrating when people ask for information when it seems that they cannot be ‘Arsched’ to look at easily available information in the first place……

        zorro

      • uanime5
        Posted December 31, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        Approximately how much in tax revenues are these lower taxes predicted to lose? Any party hoping that people who avoid paying 99% of their taxes will voluntarily pay more in taxes if the rate is lowered don’t understand the economy.

        • Bob
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          @uanime5

          how much in tax revenues are these lower taxes predicted to lose?

          Pay attention.
          I never said lower taxes, I said lower and fairer tax rates. It would probably result in higher revenues, more economic activity, more people in work and thereby fewer on welfare, which together with less government and lower public squandering spending will eliminate the deficit, and ultimately the debt. The interest saving on the debt would be sufficient to eliminate the need for tuition fees, bedroom tax and we would still have enough left over to increase MP’s salaries to £250k p.a. and reduce fuel duty and VAT.

          • uanime5
            Posted January 1, 2014 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

            Firstly Bob you are calling for lower taxes. Referring to them as fairer taxes doesn’t change the fact that you want a tax cut.

            Secondly you’ve failed to explain how these lower taxes will get more people into work or raise more money. Osborne cut corporation tax for 3 consecutive years but that didn’t result in more tax revenues or more jobs being created.

            Thirdly I suspect that you didn’t include any figures to back up your claims about how much money will be obtain from your tax cuts because you have no idea what it’s likely to achieve. Unless your tax cut will generate £120 billion per year in tax revenues you won’t be able to eliminate the deficit.

          • Bob
            Posted January 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

            @uanime5

            you are calling for lower taxes

            You’re still not paying attention.

            I said lower tax rates, not lower tax revenues.
            Do you not know the difference?

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      “Perhaps all the UKIPers here could clarify their economic policy? Would a UKIP Chancellor continue with QE?”

      Well, I am not quite a UKIPer but surely the sensible economic policy is very obvious & very simple: halve the state sector, get cheap non green religion energy, stop mad subsidies for nonsense, cancel HS2, reduce and simplify taxes, stop paying people not to work, get rid of parasitic jobs, get out of and stop funding the corrupt & bloated EU, free trade with the whole world, selective immigration and yes indeed stop QE and have sound money.

      These should be Tory policy too if they has a Tory leadership.

      • Hope
        Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        Could you tell us with any confidence what the Tory economic plan is and what relationship it had with its manifesto. Ditto with Labour. Let us leave the Lib Dumbs out because they change on a daily basis.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

          Good point. Did Osborne not promise us £1M IHT thresholds and Cameron something on the EU – perhaps they have both forgotten? Clearly they prefer tax borrow and piss down the drain & with appalling public services too in general.

          • Hope
            Posted January 1, 2014 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

            I seem to recollect JR confirming that there has not been a 80/20 split in public spending and that it was all tax rises. The next time Cameron claims the deficit is reducing, remind yourself any slight reduction is achieved through tax rises not spending cuts.

            Osborne has failed all the measurements Osborne asked us to judge him by. Any upturn is from business people not politicians. They cannot claim any credit. Osborne’s plan was cross your fingers and hope because he did not make the spending cuts. He flew on the US president’s 747 plane going to a basket ball match while telling us the Tories are the greenest government ever, increasing our energy bills on th back of this nonsense and taking no interest in the UK budget.

            Like the other part time waste of space MPs, who now think they are worth an 11 percent pay rise! I am not convinced Osborne has a clue either at political strategy or economics. The wrong man for the wrong job.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    I cannot think the Scottish will be daft enough to vote for independence, but remain under the thumb of the EU (and far weaker) and yet still using the pound on terms to be dictated by the UK.

    As you say the only big force of unrest with our current constitution in 2014 will be the wave of Euroscepticism generated by unpopular EU policies on energy, migration, human rights and the rest (mad regulation, ever bigger taxes & endless government, the socialist enforced equality agenda etc.).

    Still some good new I see EU bureaucrat take far more sick leave even than our UK ones and triple those of the private sector. As they do little but harm the more they take the better – ideally they should take 100%.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2530965/EU-penpushers-triple-sick-days-British-workers-Figures-officials-took-average-14-6-days-sick-year.html

    • Arschloch
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Absolutely correct the average Scotsman knows who ultimately pays for his Superkings, Buckfast and Mars Bars and he is not going to end this happy (for him) arrangement

    • Hope
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      I had to laugh at Clegg’s stupid remarks that UKIP would harm the economic recovery. This is the same economic loony tune who is intransigent about the moronic energy policy that will kill jobs, cost us all a fortune and lose business to the rest of the world while not making a jot of difference to the world’s climate. The same economic loony tune who wanted the UK in the Euro, look at he Eurozone countries and it is hard to draw any other conclusion how the Euro has caused destitution, loss of jobs, loss of business all for a fanatical dream to create an EU superstate and make the UK a region of it. The same party that is content for the Maastricht treaty allowing companies capital of freedom to avoid paying tax in the UK, estimated to be about £120. Billion, low cost EU workers subsidised by UK tax credits, free public services and free housing. As normal you cannot believe a word Clegg says.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 31, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        Clegg is indeed a very good guide to all that is a bad idea with regards to the economy.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Zero hour contracts need for them and other elites especially in the private sector.
      Would you agree with the sack for three points in any three months. A point being as little as three minutes late in a system operated by a well know distribution company? Of course they are free to get another zero hours contract if they so choose and WHY! OH! WHY! Do they even need wages? You don’t take a wage so why should they?
      Replaced with robotic systems soon anyway freeing them up to do better things with their time like fishing and in between bartering at supermarkets, collecting firewood for their electrically heated flats and living like merry peasants in an England that does not exist and has never existed except in the Daily Mail and your brainless head.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 31, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        I’m not a fan of zero hours contracts but you have an negative obsession with them Baz.
        It is worth pointing out that less than 3% of the workforce are being employed on them.
        The other thing worth pointing out is they are incorrectly named as the average hours worked weekly by staff on “zero hours” contracts is over 20 hours.
        And a recent survey showed that there was a higher level of job satisfaction/work life balance than those surveyed who are employed on fixed hours contracts:-
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25098984

        • Bazman
          Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

          Whether they are happy or not the fact remains that Zero-hours contracts create a throwaway workforce.They form a one-way street, whereby employers bear no risk, avoiding sickness and holiday pay and overtime. Unite has undertaken the biggest survey of insecure workers of recent times.
          Some 5,000 people from right across the economy contacted us because they want a better deal at work.
          Very few said that they “enjoyed” the flexibility.
          The vast majority said that they wanted decent, secure employment.
          We estimate that some 5.5 million people are now on zero-hours contracts. That’s astonishing. One in five workers in this country have no idea what days they will work or even if they will work from week to week.They told us that this causes problems renting a home or getting a mobile phone. As for a mortgage, forget about that. Zero-hours are particularly prevalent among young workers – most times it is the only work they’re offered. This should worry us all. We cannot build a confident, thriving nation if we allow millions to be treated as disposable workers.
          Dead end jobs ion short. If you reduced health and safety you would find workers that are ‘happy’.
          In some cases where the jobs are pin money they many be appropriate, but we are seeing more and more low paid dead end jobs becoming the norm and your and defence of this is just wrong. If zero hours were so good all the bosses would be on it..
          Ram it.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

            Obviously a survey by Unite won’t be at all biased Baz.
            Another thing you ignore is the large number of people taken on full time after first trialing on these temporary contracts.
            It is a response to the huge legal complexities and costs of taking on staff but mostly its because of the very volatile nature of customer demand during a working year.
            For example how do you meet the increased demand of your customers during the Christmas period ?
            I presume if you were an employer you would have hundreds of unwanted staff stood around for the rest of the year.

          • margaret brandreth-j
            Posted January 1, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

            For nearly 20 years I paId a mortgage on zero hours contract and brought 2 children up alone.Of course there were no travelling allowances or holidays, the stress factor was intolerable, and the inordinate times I was turned down for being overqualified after my ward had been closed down and sold off was unbearable, yet this all happened as streams of nurses were brought in from other countries. Don’t ever tell me about these so called jobs..and through all this abuse I was the lucky one as I had a little money, some didn’t get anything. That was a labour run City.Socialism at it’s worst.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 1, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

            “Obviously a survey by Unite won’t be at all biased Baz”. Hello! Can you not decide your own opinions of the story?

          • Bazman
            Posted January 1, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

            Zero hours nurses are not the same a zero hours cleaners margaret brandreth-j in your middle class fantasy. Ram it.

          • uanime5
            Posted January 1, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2

            Companies are using zero hours contracts rather than temporary contracts because those on temporary contracts have more rights. The fact that these companies are increasing the number if employees on zero hours contracts indicates that they’re not using them as a way to test employees but as a way to save money.

        • lifelogic
          Posted December 31, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

          If you do not like zero hour contracts simply do not sign one.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 1, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

            Just don’t work is what you are saying for many and in the same vain if you do not like a banks terms do not deal with them. Or electricity prices, do not use electricity and so on.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 31, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        Don’t forget about the 6 months of workfare Osborne wants to introduce so that companies will no longer have to pay their staff. No sure how replacing paid employees with unpaid slave labour is going to result in people spending more in the real economy.

        • Edward2
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

          For many years Uni, long term unemployed and many young unemployed have complained that the biggest barrier they face is that employers want people with experience.
          Giving these work placements breaks that barrier.
          They still get their benefits so not quite slaves as you put it.

          • uanime5
            Posted January 1, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

            Edward2 care to explain how people are going to get work experience when all the placements are in jobs that don’t provide any useful work experience. Make sure you explain why employers would want to pay someone to do this job when they can force someone to do it for free.

            Also the unemployed are paid to search for jobs and are not paid any additional income while forced to work. So they are slaves.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 2, 2014 at 6:56 am | Permalink

            Being paid wages is part of work. Benefits are not wages and as for experience stacking shelves is of no use to anyone other than the employer.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 2, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

            So stop their benefits and pay them wages.
            Would that make you happy Baz.

            And don’t be so snobby about working in supermarkets.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 2, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

            So stop their benefits and pay them wages.
            Would that make you happier Baz.

            And don’t be so snobby about working in supermarkets.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 2, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

            The state does not pay the wages of supermarket employees and how would anyone find a job if the government paid for these employees. Benefits are an entitlement whether you agree with this or not. Not cheap labour for tax dodging companies under the pretence of training. The money should be used for real education and training.

  3. stred
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Salmond thinks that Devo Max,
    Will be paid by Sassenacks,
    And all those wind farms on his hills,
    With subsidies on English bills,
    And keep the Pound to subsidise,
    The interest that migh materialise,
    On student loans and other freebies,
    The English can get the heabiejeebies.

  4. bigneil
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    your comments on the BBC made me smile – I have noticed on Question Time that in virtually every audience for this program the camera will focus on a close up of a muslim woman – several times – even when they never comment during the program!! – I have started to wonder if she is part of the setup crew for the program. Maybe a BBC chappie can post in and explain this obviously natural phenomenon.

    • Hope
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      There is really no point watching news or current affairs on the BBC. It is not fit for purpose and needs to be broke up and sold off. If it is as good as claimed by its staff then it will thrive in the private market.

    • Chris S
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      I was a member of the audience at a question time program in Bournemouth.

      The percentage of ethnic minorities in Dorset is amongst the lowest in the country but looking round the audience I was surprised at the ethnic mix.

      It’s clear from my experience that the BBC was blatantly manipulating the ethnic mix of the Question Time audience as well as the selection of the people chosen to ask the questions.

      In the edition I attended, from an audience of circa 250 people, they chose around 10 people to ask a question including my wife. However, It was very interesting to note that they selected two Asians – a husband and wife with the same surname – to both ask a question. I wonder if they have ever, in the long history of the program, chosen a white, Anglo Saxon husband and wife to both ask a question ?

      I queried this by email after the program but of course I was told it was just a coincidence…………

      • Richard1
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

        Interesting observation. The BBC are always very coy as to how the audiences for these programmes are chosen. It is clear that they are manipulated to give 2 possible sorts of audience – left when in a place such as Bournemouth and Far Left when in a Labour held area. It constitutes serious bias because the effect is to give 250 irrelevant people a right to censor legitimately expressed views which they don’t like. About a year ago on Any Questions, Jonathan Dimbleby asked the audience who wanted to leave the EU. Unless i misheard, not one single person put up their hand. Staying in the EU is a reasonable mainstream policy, but for the BBC to give the impression that it has near universal support is biased manipulation of their monopoly power.

        Time for the license fee to go.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, or someone in the wheel chair, obviously gay or similar, TV audiences to the BBC is like arranging chocolates with a subliminal BBC think message. It has the reverse effect I tend to think to the one they intend.

      Far better in Italy where they tend just to focus some pretty girl in a smallish dress.

      • zorro
        Posted December 31, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        As long as you know the poison they are trying to feed you, you can avoid it or just ridicule it at every opportunity (which is far more enjoyable for me and uncomfortable for them)…… Trust the Italians, you had better tell me the program so I can view it for suitability for British audiences.

        zorro

  5. Mark B
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Flipping hell, have you been reading my mind ?

    John Redwood MP said;

    “As the Yes campaign has proceeded it has looked more and more like a campaign for devo max rather than for independence.”

    I could have told you that, right from the very beginning. The SNP are NOT true Nationalists, in the sense that they want an independent Scotland. As I have said here and elsewhere, you cannot be part of the EU and consider yourself a Nationalist, as the two are completely incompatible. The EU was created to destroy the nation state and Nationalism.

    (words left out ed) They do not care for Scotland or its people. They are only interested in obtaining power for their own selfish gain. That is why they wish to remain at the teat of both the UK and the EU. (words left out ed)

    All in all though, best rid. Let them have ‘independence’ (sic). All I ask is, if the Scottish Government want to keep the pound etc. then I, and my fellows demand a referendum on the terms of any agreement between the UK and Scotland. I will of course, would vote NO to any such agreement. However, we do not have very good politicians in the upper-echelons of power, so I think a deal, whatever the result, will be made and the English will be screwed once again. This will lead to evermore resentment and a rise in English Nationalism.

    I myself was not an English Nationalist until sometime after the creation of a Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly / Parliament. The fact that non-English elected Parliamentarians can vote for and against things in their own countries, yet deny the same to the English in the UK / Westminster Parliament truly angers me. Its discrimination (words left out ed) writ large.

    Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all had referendum regarding remaining in the UK. England has NEVER been allowed a referendum, not once !

    If England were ever to be allowed a referendum, and even on current arrangements, it is quite likely that a vote to leave could well happen – then what ?

    If Scotland votes to leave, that is not the end of the UK. If England ever votes to leave, then that is the end of the UK and the Political Class and the Establishment know it. Yet you insult us, why ? You deny us the same as them, why ? I, and many others do not ask for more. I ask for the recognition of my Nation and the right to an English Parliament for England. I do not care for the silly arguments about cost added bureaucracy. If costs and bureaucracy are such a concern, then why not clear out the 850 or so members of the HoL. Why not cut the Civil Service ? Why not reduce the numbers of MP’s ? Why not close the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly / Parliament ?

    Salmond isn’t stupid. He knows he cannot deliver on his promises. He cannot take his people out of the UK and the EU and maintain the level comfort that the Scottish people have been accustomed. Independence is NOT about making easy choices for political gain. Whether you wish to be free from the yoke of the EU or the UK, you must accept that political and sovereign freedom has a price and that the people must be prepared to pay the price if sovereign freedom is what they truly want. I want England to be a truly FREE, SOVEREIGN nation. Free from the EU and free form the shackles of the UK. I have no desire to be a big player on the world stage. I just want to be a free, ‘truly democratic’, well administered nation. Not much to ask is it ?

    • Mark B
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Oh great, thank you. You have finally posted it after about three days. Why has it taken so long. I would have you sooner edited out large parts rather than just consign it to a footnote in history, ensuring that it does not get read.

      The SNP are not nice people and the people of Scotland deserve better. That needs to be said. If not by MP’s of whatever nation, then at least by the people of this nation.

      People have the right to read and comment on what I say even is they think it complete rubbish. Which some have said.

      Subject for your next article: Freedom of speech and censorship in the UK.

      Reply If you send me a very long submission with bits that need editing it may take time to do it.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 2, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        On second reading, you did edit out large parts. So apologies for that. But 3 days !!!!!!

  6. alan jutson
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Just one simple question for theScottish Parliament.

    In all of your very fine calculations, how much have you allowed for paying back your share of the UK nations debt ?

    I have seen no such figure mentioned by anyone so far, and I think it is rather too big a sum to be left out.

    Anyone any ideas, perhaps the Scottish Nationalists should tell us. !

    Surely they do not expect to get away Scot free do they.

  7. The PrangWizard
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I have said that even if Scotland votes ‘no’ it will continue to obtain the benefits of further devolution and will continue to talk and behave as if it were independent. As you say this is what they really want, all the good bits with none of the bad bits. They will continue to be encouraged to celebrate their separate indentity, indeed they will promote Scotland to the detriment of England, and ‘the rest of the UK’ as they disparagingly describe us.

    Here in England, we have no-one to speak for us, no-one speaks for the whole of England except campaigners, we have had to hear Prime Minister Cameron say he will be happy to take on the ‘sour little Englanders’. We are criticised for speaking out, we are attacked for flying our flag. We hear a lot about ‘the people of Scotland’ but who can we trust to protect the position of the people of England when we have a Prime Minister with an attitude like that? The neglect of England and English interests is an outrage.

    There is no question, the case becomes more and more obvious, that a Parliament for England must be established, and well before circumstances force it. There can be no justice for England without one and there are many injustices to overcome. The party campaigning for that is the English Democrats.

  8. Richard Jenkins
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Granted that at present it looks less likely that the Scots will vote to leave the UK, but the real concern is that if they do vote to leave, then weak negotiation by the English (sorry, RUK) side will settle terms of the split far more disadvantageous to England than they should be.

    One point, as an example: the SNP wish list on how things will work envisages dual nationality. Anyone with a UK passport meeting ancestry/birthplace requirements would be able to keep RUK nationality, but also claim Scottish nationality. Internationally, there are precedents on this, but why should RUK accept the idea of dual RUK/Scot nationality? What is the benefit for RUK?

  9. Douglas Carter
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Just speaking personally I think it would be a shame if Scotland withdrew from the Union, but that’s academic in my case. It’s their own democratic choice, and should they vote in that direction, they have every legitimate political right to.

    However …’Much would hinge on the subsequent negotiations with England, with the Scots seeking all sorts of concessions having voted for out.’….

    I hear claims elsewhere that measures should be taken against Scotland which essentially amount to little more than petulant punitive measures. If the Scottish electorate vote peacefully and democratically to leave the union, I expect Parliament to respect that process with magnanimity and negotiate Scotland the most beneficial deal to both sides as can be achieved. Any MP who represents me certainly has no mandate from myself to treat an independent Scotland as a pariah state.

    Ominous threats of a difficult and fractious relationship, with irreparable damage to trade and economy is precisely the same kind of Fear\Uncertainty\Doubt that the preposterous swivel-eyed loons who support continued UK EU membership invoke. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/liberaldemocrats/10543276/Nick-Clegg-and-Danny-Alexander-warn-that-voting-Ukip-will-derail-economic-recovery.html
    With a certain boot on a certain other foot, if Greece – for example – was to be forced out of the Eurozone, or even out of the EU, the Westminster Parliament has no place agreeing a separation package with the EU which obviates unnecessary antagonism for their posture. Similarly I take no specific approbrium that Ireland is not a member of NATO.

    Scotland may or may not remain in the Union. Let’s just prepare for either possibility sensibly.

    • James Matthews
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely no reason why the rUK should be either magnanimous or punitive towards Scotland in independence negotiations or thereafter. It should rigorously and ruthlessly pursue its own interests just like any other state. The Scots are already interpreting that as punitive and will no doubt continue to do so. Their problem, not ours.

      • Douglas Carter
        Posted December 31, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        Drivel.

        • A.Sedgwick
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

          Why?

        • James Matthews
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

          Your response to the proposition that if Scotland votes to become a foreign country it will have no reason to complain if is then treated as such is worthy of the SNP (both in its courtesy and in its lack of substance). If the Union ends Scotland must stand on its own feet as must the rest of the UK. No one will treat it as “a pariah state” but the rest of us will be free to act entirely in our own interests and our representatives will have both a right and a duty to do so. It is a fairly simple idea to grasp. The fact that you don’t like it won’t change it.

  10. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I have been achieving things for many years,put down and then made to feel as though I don’t exist . Many others will perhaps feel the same. From the particular to the general this state of affairs grows. This is how England may be denied its rightful heritage.

  11. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Allow me to remind you that DG REGIO is run with a budget of €347 billion for 2007–13. Cohesion Policy represents the single largest source of financial support at EU level for investment in growth and jobs, designed to enable all regions to compete effectively in the internal market. You apply be region, not by country. It also is at the centre of the effort to improve the competitive position of the Union as a whole, and its weakest regions in particular. (Website: Inforegio)

    In other words, the EU is focused on the regions, not the countries which make it up. Nationalism is of course what caused the two world wars which the EU was set up to avoid. It is a bad thing: regionalism, on the other hand, is a good thing.

    So Mr Salmond is exploiting something which the British Government is right behind: continued membership of the EU.

  12. Old Albion
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Well done John! You a member of Parliament have openly acknowledged the real constitutional problem facing the (dis)UK , England.
    After the vote in 2014 the whole constitution must be changed. It must stop pretending England and Britain are the same thing. It must recognise England as a separate and single country.
    I’ve said before, i want an English Parliament within a Federal UK. I know many will make false arguments against this. But after the Scots vote to stay in and are rewarded with ‘Devo max’ let us at least begin the process.

    • zorro
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, devo max for England too then!

      Happy New Year John!…… Let us hope that Mr Cameron has a Damascene conversion tomorrow and realises what he needs to do for the good of the country and it’s historic democracy and rights as a sovereign nation.

      zorro

  13. Andyvan
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Absolutely text book government – divide and rule. Set us up as lots of little groups then foster arguments so that they can pretend to be the answer. Same methods used in the economy- cause massive problems then pretend to be the answer. We need less government not more.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      That’s not government. They are all at it. Divide, cause problems, step in , take the money, run and then do it all over again or cause problems for one in post by a group then collectively go for the post/posts and then are backed up by the ‘boys’ . They just steal money and power for the sake of it !

      It is the private spiv life which has taken over stately professional responsibility.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      The classic Tory way is to divide the poor and the working poor and we now have them dividing with immigrants.
      Little mention of toll avoidance and the lowering of wages by individuals and business and the social costs incurred, often mixed with cheap labour whether they be indigenous or migrants though.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 2, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        This sounds like a Dave Spart quote out of Private Eye magazine.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 2, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          Art imitating life or life imitating art? No serious comment though have we Edward2 on populist right wing nonsense? Rip off tax scamming companies, bankers and landlords are not to blame. It’s the immigrants, teachers, disabled, unemployed low paid who slog themselves to death just to get by at best, homeless and especially the taxpayers who have no way of avoiding tax. All envious and the cause of the financial and cost of living crisis grabbing money and benefits whilst using the NHS and other services like rail.
          You are the right wing Dave Spart apologising for every right wing idea no matter how much it costs and how many problems it causes. Ram it

  14. John Eustace
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I do wonder at the English Tories who think they would do a better job of running the No campaign than Alistair Darling. Nothing would be more likely to stir the Scots to vote for independence than a bunch of English Tories turning up to tell them what to do. The mind boggles at the depth of these Tories ignorance and lack of self awareness.

    Or is it that you are all worried about the prospect of a successful Alistair Darling back at Westminster?

    The future of the Union is too important for party political games.

    • John Eustace
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      A further thought. Perhaps you could encourage these “senior Tories” who are providing the press with unattributable briefings to follow your example and share their views and opinions openly so that we know who they are and what they stand for?

  15. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    JR: “maybe more people will come to understand that when we are discussing energy prices, living standards, jobs and even public services, the EU involvement is now big and often damaging.”
    They certainly won’t learn that from the majority of your party’s MPs and its leader. We know Cameron is determined to keep the UK in the EU come what may. I shall be interested to see just how the Conservative manifesto for the European elections matches your rhetoric about “speeding the UK’s exit from the EU” – very little, if anything at all, I predict. Will we hear anything about what your leader will negotiate with the EU – I doubt it. At the end of the day Cameron knows that Conservative MPs will put party before country and support him whatever he does, just as Major did when you all capitulated over Maastricht.

  16. Leslie Singleton
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Dear John–Very good this morning but I ask again why we never seem to see much from you along these, or in fact any other, lines in the papers, perhaps in the letters columns, and why, I may be wrong, but we also never seem to see you up there helping Mr Darling, especially as some apparently are muttering against him. I hope you haven’t sort of retired hurt in any way. Me personally I think Mr Darling is doing very well and is the essence of non-panic on the subject whereas Mr Salmond I reckon has just tied himself in knots and is starting to look silly. Nobody answered my question whether ships of a putative Scottish Navy will be HMS(cottish)S or does Mr Salmond wish to share (what’s left of ) the Royal Navy (Scottish Branch)? It’s stuff like that which will bring it home to the Scottish people, not the economics which so many neither understand or believe.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

      Horrors–Should have been “nor believe”

  17. oldtimer
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    It is too soon to write off the possibility that Scotland will vote for independence – though as things stand that remains a possibility rather than a probability. For Salmond it is an each way bet, indpendence if he wins, devomax if he loses the vote. For Cameron and his successor it will mean constitutional problems whatever the result because the SNP campaign has created a momentum for change; the only uncertainty is the extent of the change that will follow.

    I see the progress of UKIP in a similar light because it is apparently attracting support from a wide spectrum of voters and even past non-voters. This will continue to impact the policies of the Conservative party and, I suspect, even the Labour party too. There is more disruption to come.

    Such disruption is to be welcomed because it will help to puncture the current Westminster group think bubble – much of which has got us into the mess we are in today.

  18. Neil Craig
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    The best argument for independence is how abysmal Westminster is.

    The best argument against is that Holyrood is measurably worse.

    For example Westminster’s Climate Act is a lunatic, destructive piece of legislation which only 5 MPs voted against.

    Scotland’s Act was deliberately made more lunatic and destructive and every single MSP voted for it. The further SNP promise of “100% renewable by 2020″ would give lunacy a bad name.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 12:24 am | Permalink

      Indeed why such absurd collective insanity in our elected representatives?

      • Bob
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        @lifelogic

        why such absurd collective insanity in our elected representatives?


        It’s called “group-think” I think.

  19. Timaction
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I think you’re right Mr Redwood. 2014 is a year of decisions for the English nation. To vote for a return of their sovereignty, control of their borders and homeland or give up to the federalist EU agenda. I see we have Mr Clegg and Alexander today predicting doom if we vote to leave via a vote for UKIP. What absolute nonsense. Please have a word in their ears. They are analogue men in a digital age. With the internet we can all quickly establish the true economic facts with a few clicks of the mouse!
    We don’t have to be in the EU to trade with it, especially with an annual £42 billion deficit!

    • Tad Davison
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      ‘We don’t have to be in the EU to trade with it, especially with an annual £42 billion deficit!’

      I agree TA, so who’s going to stop Clegg lying about that and the supposed 3 million jobs that depend on our membership?

      I don’t see Cameron putting up much resistance. Could that be for a good reason?

      I’ll let everyone else speculate as to what that reason might be, but it won’t take much to figure it out.

      Tad

    • uanime5
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      The UK has to be in the EU if we want complete access to the common market. So while the UK can trade with the EU if we leave it we’ll be subject to tariffs, just like the USA and China.

      • Chris S
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        You have fallen for the lies pedalled by the Europhiles or are deliberately and knowingly telling one yourself.

        Switzerland and Denmark face no tariffs and they are part of the single market without being Members of the EU.

        With our massive trade deficit with the EU, hitting us with trade barriers would be a huge own goal. France might try it out of spite but the Germans will take a decision on purely business reasons. Even a 2% rate of duty on every Mercedes, BMW, Audi and VW brought into The UK would add a lot to the price of their cars.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          Switzerland and Denmark face no tariffs and they are part of the single market without being Members of the EU.

          Denmark is a member of the EU; perhaps you’re thinking of Norway. In any case they both have to obey almost all EU law (even though they have no influence over this law) and don’t have access to the EU’s services market.

          With our massive trade deficit with the EU, hitting us with trade barriers would be a huge own goal.

          How? We can’t do without our imports from the EU but each EU has 26 other countries to sell to.

          France might try it out of spite but the Germans will take a decision on purely business reasons. Even a 2% rate of duty on every Mercedes, BMW, Audi and VW brought into The UK would add a lot to the price of their cars.

          Care to explain why Germany has tariffs on US and Chinese goods even though they sell their cars to both of these countries. The UK will not be treated any differently.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        I don’t notice any shortages of Chinese nor American products in UK or Europe.

      • Timaction
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        As always Unime5 you are wrong. The £42 billion annual trade deficit tends to put the UK in the driving seat. In a discussion in the Lords in May 2013 the 3 million jobs at risk if we left was discussed. It was pointed out it would be over 4-5 million EU jobs if they wanted to start a trade war.
        £20 billion deficit with Germany alone. Do you think Mercedes, BMW, Audi would want trade embargos? All that French and Italian wine and farm products? Do me and every one else a favour and talk facts not Europhile fiction.
        The EU is a political construct by politicians for an ever closer union, hidden from the public by the LibLabCon machine (FCO-30/1048 spells it out). All we need is trade and friendship not countless billions in direct and indirect costs for no benefits. Unless you like the free movement of peoples to continue our overcrowding and pressure on public services?

        • uanime5
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          The £42 billion annual trade deficit tends to put the UK in the driving seat.

          No it means the UK is very dependent on the EU, thus giving us less negotiating power.

          In a discussion in the Lords in May 2013 the 3 million jobs at risk if we left was discussed. It was pointed out it would be over 4-5 million EU jobs if they wanted to start a trade war.

          4-5 million job losses over 27 countries is far less harsh than 3 million jobs being lost in 1 country. You’ve failed to factor in that the rest of the EU has a population over 4 times the size of the UK, so a trade war will need to cause at least 12 million job losses throughout the rest EU to hurt them as much as it will hurt the UK.

          Do you think Mercedes, BMW, Audi would want trade embargos

          They don’t seem to object to the tariffs from any other non-EU country, why would they care about the UK’s tariffs?

          All that French and Italian wine and farm products?

          France and Italy can sell these to the 25 other EU countries that the UK can no longer sell their products to.

          Do me and every one else a favour and talk facts not Europhile fiction.

          You are the one who doesn’t understand that Europe doesn’t need the UK as much as the UK needs Europe.

          The EU is a political construct by politicians for an ever closer union, hidden from the public by the LibLabCon machine (FCO-30/1048 spells it out).

          How was this hidden? The treaty of Rome makes this clear.

          All we need is trade and friendship not countless billions in direct and indirect costs for no benefits.

          Well since that isn’t on offer the UK can’t have that. We either have free trade with the EU and obey EU law, or have restricted trade and can ignore EU law.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        U5 said;

        “The UK has to be in the EU if we want complete access to the common market.”

        Totally untrue !

        The EU is not the Single Market / EEA. You must surely know this by now, it has been repeated often enough, both by others, as well as myself.

        Is there more than one Uanime5 ?

        Turkey is not a member of the EEA or the the EU, yet is is still able to trade with the EU/EEA because it is part of the ‘Customs Union.’

        Switzerland is not a member of the EEA or the Customs Union but trades happily with the EU through long established bi-lateral arrangements.

        I have to say Uanime5, you’re off to bad start this year.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

          The EU is not the Single Market / EEA. You must surely know this by now, it has been repeated often enough, both by others, as well as myself.

          I never claimed it was and have no idea what point you’re trying to make.

          Turkey is not a member of the EEA or the the EU, yet is is still able to trade with the EU/EEA because it is part of the ‘Customs Union.’

          The terms of Turkey’s custom union is that they have to implement all EU law and can’t make any laws contrary to EU law. So the main difference between Turkey and the UK is that Turkey isn’t able to influence EU law in any way.

          Switzerland is not a member of the EEA or the Customs Union but trades happily with the EU through long established bi-lateral arrangements.

          Switzerland also has to implement all EU law and doesn’t have access to the EU’s services market.

          Are you saying that the UK should have less influence over EU law?

          • Mark B
            Posted January 2, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

            You know full well what I meant and have not addressed the naked distortion of the point I was trying to make in challenging your incorrect assumption that, to have access the Single Market, we need to be in the EU. This is totally UNTRUE !!

            I did mentioned both Turkey and Switzerland because they both enjoy trade with the EU and choose different means to do so. The fact that there is choice and that those nations are happy in their respective arrangements seems to support my arguments that you do not have to be in the EU to have access to the Single Market.

            As to the making of the rules of the Single Market, so what. Its just the EU whilst there is a very big world out there.

            U5 said;

            “Switzerland also has to implement all EU law and doesn’t have access to the EU’s services market.”

            Not TRUE !! Switzerland has bi-lateral agreements between themselves and the EU. They are also protected by various international treaties which protect land-locked countries like Switzerland from adverse trade deals. Switzerland does not have to implement EU in its domestic market, where as the UK does. Your very poorly informed U5,very poorly informed.

            And.

            “Are you saying that the UK should have less influence over EU law?”

            Straw-man arguments will not save your sinking ship of a position.

            So called ‘influence, whatever that is, or suppose to mean, comes in many different ways. As you believe that we can ‘influence others, you deny that we ourselves can be ‘influenced’ to do things we would not wish to do. How does that benefit us a nation, this mythical ‘influence’, you sound like Ken Clarke MP.

            We can influence the EU at a higher level through various trade bodies and organizations like the UN. we do not need to be part of a political project.

  20. Bert Young
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    A stronger voice and case for Scotland remaining a part of the UK should be made ; I have no qualms with Alastair Campbell but he lacks the charisma that Alec Salmond has . I suspect there are short term political aims in the positioning being taken north and south of the border with the eye firmly placed on the election in 2015 . I don’t think that the “wave of unrest ” as far as the EU is concerned will be any different in 2014 than it was in 2012 or 2013 ; the message has been ( and will remain ) loud and clear that our relationship has to be different and our identity re-established . I don’t believe it can be achieved under the leadership of David Cameron ; he has been a failure in office and a great mistake for his party . The right wing of the Conservatives have to take the initiative of forcing a change or doing a deal with UKIP ; if this were to happen a new combined leader would emerge and give the country a real focus . I look forward to next year because I have some hope and faith left . I wish you Dr. JR and all your supporters a ” Happy New Year “.

  21. Posted December 31, 2013 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    If Scotland remains part of the Union, arrangements must be made so that England (and Wales and Northern Ireland) have exactly the same measure of self-government as Scotland, with only English MPs having a say on English matters (ie those matters which are already devolved to Scotland). It is wrong that MSPs can vote to have something in Scotland, and then have Scottish MPs coming to Westminster and voting against it for the rest of us.
    Personally I favour a US type set up, where the states (in this case England , Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) have considerable autonomy and their own parliaments, whilst central government only deals with overall issues such as defence, foreign affairs and UK’s budget. If we can’t have an equitable set-up, as far as I’m concerned Scotland can have its independence, which I believe this is quite a common point of view.

  22. James Matthews
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I think most of these predictions are likely to prove substantially correct, but some details trouble me. Devo-Max, for instance, does seem to be what Salmond is really aiming for and many in the main Westminster parties seem ready to concede it. That would be a substantial constitutional upheaval and not one which the rest of the UK would be sensible to welcome. Much better that Scotland is sent on its way, rejoicing or not, to fend for itself entirely.

    This report in The Scotsman: http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/scottish-independence-salmond-to-meet-mark-carney-1-3240630 must be a cause for concern. Sharing a currency with an independent Scotland is a profoundly political issue and the UK government has so far claimed that it will not “pre-negotiate” the break up of the UK. What then is Mark Carney discussing and why is he being allowed to discuss it? Sharing a currency with a foreign country, whether actual or prospective, is surely not a mere technical matter for the governor of the UK central Bank. This must be well beyond his independent remit, so presumably what he is doing has Treasury approval.

  23. acorn
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    What Constitution, I didn’t know we had one! This blaming the EU for everything is wearing a bit thin. The fact that the UK growth in GDP per capita is now 7.3% behind the US since Q3 2007; is nothing to do with EU and everything to do with Osborne’s failed austerity plan. If the EU is such a problem the voters will blame current MPs for doing nothing about it.

    Prof Menzie Chinn at econbrowser says, “The gap between the US and UK per capita income series is 7.3% as of 2013Q3. So, the current growth in the UK is merely digging that economy out of the big hole dug for itself in the vain search of expansionary fiscal contraction.”

    At least Thatcher and later Major, learnt from their brief dalliance with austerity and turned the fiscal tap back on. It took each of them circa nine years to get GDP per capita, back on its long term trend line. Osborne is now so far off it, number crunchers can only guess when growth will parallel that trend line, nevermind accelerating to get back on it.

    As Prof Wren-Lewis at Merton says “So the battleground for the next election is set out. Labour will argue that living standards have shown an unprecedented decline (true), and the fault for this can be laid at the government’s door (half true at best). The Conservatives will argue that austerity has enabled the economy to grow again (false), and that continuing growth requires yet more austerity (completely false). Which will win out will be fascinating if you are interested in political spin, but it will all be pretty excruciating for any macroeconomist.”

  24. lojolondon
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    John, unlike David Cameron, you are obviously aware of the destructive nature of the Biased BBC – please can you suggest how / when the organisation could be forced to live up to the terms of it’s charter, or preferably be privatised / disbanded?

    • Bob
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink


      John, unlike David Cameron, you are obviously aware of the destructive nature of the Biased BBC – please can you suggest how / when the organisation could be forced to live up to the terms of it’s charter, or preferably be privatised / disbanded?

      Yes – I would like to know your ideas on that too.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      How about the rest of the channels which report the same lojo? ‘Their destructive nature’ should be allowed to continue just because they do not take a licence fee? They take millions off the population in advertising revenue that is added to products. If this propaganda is so ‘destructive’ then why is any news or information allowed to broadcast it? Do tell us and why you are not opposed to them or are you? The licence fee is a red herring, so tell us how you propose to deal with destructive and evil propaganda by the state or otherwise. An answer is required on this as you cannot just try to censor without good reason. The licence fee is not a good reason. SKY takes up to a 1k a year or more. You claim this is voluntary? Get off fool.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        These other channels will go bust and close if they fail to attract enough viewers and as a result their advertising revenues reduce.
        No such worries for the BBC.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 2, 2014 at 6:59 am | Permalink

          That is not the point, the licence fee is a red herring. He accuses the BBC of destructive forces, you argue that if enough people pay then these destructive forces should be allowed?

          • Edward2
            Posted January 2, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

            You miss the point that if you dislike the BBC you are still forced to pay its annual fee if you want to watch any other freeview channels.
            If you dislike Sky you can switch off and cancel your subscription.
            If enough customers do this Sky will either improve their offering or eventually close down.
            The BBC do not have these concerns and as a result are impervious to criticism.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 2, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

            The quality of the BBC programmes is far better than SKY or any other commercial stations. This idea that the free market produces quality TV or goes out of business is false. Look at German TV. Absolutely dire. Most of the anti BBC on this site as middle aged or older men do not even watch TV, so why they think they should put all this terrible TV on us because they do not like some reporting as it is not righ wing enough is just lain wrong. It not bias as if they were right wing like FOX News they would have nothing to say except that it should be even more right wing. Ram it

      • Bob
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        @Baz
        Subscription to satellite or cable is voluntary.
        They don’t send snoopers to sneak around your home and peer in through the windows the hopes of catching you in the act of watching telly. And they don’t need police backup to enforce the sale of their services.

        How many unemployed people and single mums have been prosecuted, fined or imprisoned for failure to pay Sky or Virgin subscriptions?

        Can you still not see the difference Baz?

        • Bazman
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

          Good point.

  25. Roger Farmer
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I would prefer the Scots to remain members of the Union. If they vote to leave then that is precisely what they should do, their future relationship with the UK and the EU is for them to present their wish list. In such a divorce there should be no liabilities on the part of England or Europe. Put simply you do not resign your directorship and then expect to use the boardroom dining room once a week.
    Should they decide to stay in the Union, there must be changes. They have their Scottish Parliament for all things domestic, there is no logical reason for them to remain at Westminster except to discuss matters pertaining to the whole of the UK. Labour would not like this because it reduces the socialist base at Westminster. It nevertheless remains immoral.
    The BBC must be dealt with. They must be forced to return to a balanced output in current affaires. This means that for every advocate of a view there must be an equal and opposite view. To force this policy some of the big guns of current affaires need to be put out to grass, or directed into areas where their politics are irrelevant, such as royal weddings.
    The EU is in terminal decline and will remain so, as long as democracy is denied the people. You would think they would learn from the history of Napoleon. he did much for France in the early part of his reign but his autocracy was not supported by the rest of Europe and he went the way of all dictators. Remember, power corrupts and absolute power does so more completely. The stirrings against the absolute power of Brussels bureaucrats is manifesting itself throughout the EU. We should recognise this and get out now. We should have no part in the unrest I anticipate in the future.
    Your fellow MPs are largely a manifestation of the problem in that they deny democracy to the people of the UK. I hope they get a frightening reminder in May 2014.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      They have their Scottish Parliament for all things domestic, there is no logical reason for them to remain at Westminster except to discuss matters pertaining to the whole of the UK

      This change can only be introduced if the government is prohibited from suddenly introducing any bills or debates on these issues on days when these MPs won’t be in parliament.

      This means that for every advocate of a view there must be an equal and opposite view.

      So every time the BBC talks about evolution you want a creationist to be given equal air time? There is a reason why the BBC doesn’t have to give air time to people who’s views aren’t back up by any evidence.

      The EU is in terminal decline and will remain so, as long as democracy is denied the people.

      The EU is made up of MEPs who have been elected by the people of Europe. So how exactly is democracy being denied.

      The stirrings against the absolute power of Brussels bureaucrats is manifesting itself throughout the EU.

      Then why haven’t any EU countries elected anti-EU MPs or MEPs? Could it be because most EU countries don’t object to the EU.

      • Hope
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        No, it is because they do not understand. They have been told something completely different by their sleazy politicians.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

          No Hope the lack of Europhobia in most of Europe is because most EU countries like the EU.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        U5 said;

        “The EU is made up of MEPs who have been elected by the people of Europe. So how exactly is democracy being denied.”

        Simple. The candidate MEP’s are selected by their Parties who, instruct them how to vote on certain issues. Even our kind host has voted against his own Party on occasion. Ask him.

        MEP do not know what they are voting on. They are given a list on what to vote on and have never read or tried to understand the legislation being made.

        The unelected Commission are the only ones allowed to propose legislation. The Parliament can vote against the legislation but the Commission have ways around it.

        Its not very democratic or even representative of mine or anybody else’s views. Just ask the Greeks’.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          Simple. The candidate MEP’s are selected by their Parties who, instruct them how to vote on certain issues. Even our kind host has voted against his own Party on occasion. Ask him.

          By that logic the UK also has no democracy because our MPs are selected by their parties and are told how to vote on certain issues.

          MEP do not know what they are voting on. They are given a list on what to vote on and have never read or tried to understand the legislation being made.

          Firstly you haven’t provided any evidence to support this claim.

          Secondly the same could be said about UK MPs. So by your logic the UK doesn’t have any democracy.

          The unelected Commission are the only ones allowed to propose legislation.

          So what? In most democracies only the executive can propose legislation.

          The Parliament can vote against the legislation but the Commission have ways around it.

          No they don’t. No bill can become a law without the support of MEPs.

          • Mark B
            Posted January 2, 2014 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

            Uanime5 said;

            “By that logic the UK also has no democracy because our MPs are selected by their parties and are told how to vote on certain issues.”

            Correct ! But why compound the problem with another layer of government ?

            I no more have to supply evidence than you do, or not as the case may be. What is sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander. It is up to you to try and disprove me.

            And yet again as in the first point, you are indeed correct.

            “So what? In most democracies only the executive can propose legislation.”

            We are not talking about most democracies, we are talking about a democracy fit to use the name.

            “No they don’t. No bill can become a law without the support of MEPs.”

            The Commission have ways and means, and the Parliament can usually be relied upon to roll over. But hey, as you say, so too with the UK.

            I like neither system of so called democracy, because in truth, neither are. I just do not want yet another layer.

  26. forthurst
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    English concert pianist, Stephen Hough, gifted with an amazing pair of hands, is not mentioned on the BBC website for his CBE award, but the Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins, similarly gifted, is all over both BBC Multicult and BBC Wales for her OBE.

    We need a BBC England in which we can celebrate our Englishness and discuss the assault on our culture by those who claim to be fully integrated but are nothing of sort, as can be determined by their brand of politics which they have used to pervert the course of all three main parties and, by that means, that of our country.

  27. Robert Taggart
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Agreed Johnny.
    Speaking as a Lancastrian from Lancastria ? (N W England !) – there be nothing more tiresome than the lefties / liberals who for different reasons (Lefties = self interest, Liberals = innocence) try to deny our common English heritage.
    England will only gain independence from the British union by default – after the Celtic fr/wh – inge gain theirs.
    England should be yours – the Tories – for the taking. Alas, their hearts (British) over-rule their heads (English).
    As for the European union and the forthcoming election – guess the only choice be the ‘EIP’ ? – UKIP !

  28. Atlas
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I wish the Scots well in their bid for freedom – after all, all they are wanting is to be as free of the English tyranny as we English are of EU tyranny. Mind you, the Scots have reputation of being canny so – if they are getting more from the English at present than they are putting in now, or likey to get from other sources post Independence – then I doubt if they will vote Yes.

    Either way around, the West Lothian question must be sorted out – and that worries the Labour Party silly.

  29. Chris S
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Dear John

    My own straw poll over the last year indicates that a majority of English people are more than happy to see the Scots go for independence. Many have expressed the view that we should all have a vote, in which case the English would ensure that the decision would be Yes

    Why are conservatives so keen to maintain the Union ? Surely we would be better off without the over-inflated number of Scottish Socialist MPs in the Commons ?

    A majority of the English are fed up with The funding and expenditure inequities caused by the outdated Barnett Formula, the constant harping from North of the border and the downright Racial Abuse levied against us.

    If the Scots vote to stay, it must only be on the basis of a complete realignment of political structures in the UK.

    By this I mean not just a resolution of the West Lothian Question but complete parity on all Devolved matters for England and Scotland. Wales and Northern Ireland should be consulted on their own preferences.

    But at the very least, English MPs must be allowed to sit as a purely English Parliament in Westminster and take all decisions for our Country alone.

  30. BobE
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    The one certainty is that Cameron is toast. A new conservative leader might be able to join with Ukip to form the next government.

  31. Ale Bro
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I believe your view that ECHR is unpopular with voters is incorrect. It’s unpopular with politicians and the police and maybe business leaders, but I don’t think that there is any general animosity towards ECHR from the general public.

    The inability of the government to extradite people based on the perceived threat of torture etc has reflected badly on domestic bodies and not the ECHR.

    • Edward2
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      You obviously have not seen poll after poll showing large majorities against the unpopular decisions of this foreign court.

  32. behindthefrogs
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    We need England only matters in parliament to be debated and voted on by MPs with English constituencies. I do not believe that it is necessary to have a devolved English parliament. However surely one day a week, Monday or Friday, could be set aside for England only matters.

    • Posted December 31, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Given that there will almost certainly be more devolution after Salmon loses the referendum, English MPs will require the house for at least three, possibly four days a week for most of the year to deal with purely English matters.

      For the UK as a whole, there will only be defence and foreign policy left plus an annual debate and a vote on the overall budget settlement for each of the four countries.

      Everything else can then be devolved and debated in Holyrood, Stormont and Cardiff.

      The salaries of Scottish and Welsh MPs can be cut by at least 50% as they will have little to do. The Catholics from NI should be paid nothing as they have never turned up at Westminster anyway.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      The main reason we need a Parliament for the whole of England is to put a stop to eurofanatics trying to break up England into euroregions.

      Because they are fanatics, eurofanatics, they will never stop until they are stopped dead in that way (and maybe not even then in some cases).

    • uanime5
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      That will only work if parliament is prohibited from discussion non-English matters on the English only days. Expect the Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish MPs to cry foul if a minister is ever found to be trying to force through changes when the non-English MPs are unable to object to them.

      • Chris S
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        Your suggestion is not as clear cut as it may seem :

        The speaker would schedule or defer any matter requiring a vote on UK matters to a UK day and an emergency debate ( Like the Falklands, for example ) could be called at 24 hours notice.

        However, you need to remember that the Scottish Parliament has debates on defence which is not a devolved matter. The SNP used a debate to establish their Scottish position on Nuclear Weapons, for example. They probably do the same on Foreign Affairs and particularly Europe.

        The English Parliament will be perfectly entitled to do the same in advance of a UK debate on any subject.

        The same MPs would then come together with Scottish, Welsh and NI members as the UK parliament to debate and make decisions on UK matters.

  33. Iain Gill
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    My visit to Scotland over Christmas noticed a billion quids worth of tram ways absolutely not running, and unlikely to do anything the buses are not doing perfectly adequately. Another public sector vanity project into which money has been poured for no benefit.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      Exactly.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        1 billion quid for 8.7 miles of tram, which will take longer to get passengers to and from the airport than the current buses. must be more per mile than HS2? I dispair I really do.

  34. ian wragg
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Off topic but very interesting. I have just heard the silliest spokesperson for some research organisation on the Jeremy Vine show saying we need immigration to pay our pensions. Migrants don’t get social housing and they do not overcrowd our schools and hospitals.
    Considering there are 2 million more people in work than in 2008 and the total tax take is down the how does that work?
    Here in Notts, there are many council properties (with recent migrant tenants ed)
    One of the staff at my wifes shop tells me that her grandson cannot get a place where his mother teaches as the school is oversubscribed due to preference being given to migrants. He has to travel to the next town about 4 miles away which is very inconvenient to say the least.
    So according to the NISER think tank we must encourage an ever increasing population to fund our services which of course are not designed to cope with such numbers. A ponsi scheme if ever there was one.

    • Bob
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink


      A ponsi scheme if ever there was one.

      Of course it is. National Insurance “premiums” “contributions” is just income tax by another name. 100% of the NI rebate that my business receives next year will be credited to the staff bonus pool.

      And if the government increase the rebate in subsequent years, that money will also go directly to the bonus pool. Obviously the Treasury will swipe back their cut in tax but at least the staff get a little bit extra.

    • zorro
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      LOL, someone from a research organisation who is not very observant…… We should listen and value these gems though…… Obviously, we are ignorant of the fact that immigrants do not age so never need pensions, do not get social housing because they can stretch their salaries by a factor of 10 to pay private rents, and they do not have children or their children do not go to state schools because they go to private schools or do not need school. Perhaps the Eastern European children who make up high percentages of pupils in certain state schools are optical illusions?

      Please tell me it was IPPR……

      zorro

  35. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I am Glasgow born but moved south at the age of 4; I am now 67. For me, there can be no other identity but that of a citizen of the United Kingdom. I think John Redwood’s post is a good one on both Scottish Independence and the EU.

    I would find Devo Max a lot WORSE than full Scottish independence. How dare the Scots seek to play Greece to England’s Germany?! If there is Devo Max it will not be easy to keep Scottish public expenditure in check; with the pound as a common currency, that would be bad news for England. Mr Redwood is quite correct in believing that Scotland’s advantage in energy resources will eventually decline.

    Once we have won the 2014 Referendum, WITHOUT any concessions, Mr Cameron, we should remove the tax raising powers of Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont. This would be the first step in a war of attrition against devolution.

  36. ronnie anderson
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    What total & uter pish, when was your resent visit John, what buisness men did you speak to , we re you talkin WELSH

  37. Normandee
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    So Cameron has bought you off with a non job in no 10, he must be laughing all the way to Brussels.

    Reply. What non job? I have not been bought and have not changed my views on the EU

  38. Posted December 31, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    In your predictions for 2014 you refer to our ‘current constitution’, as though that somehow differs from our historic constitution.

    We have only one constitution and that defines us as a nation governed by a constitutional monarchy. It is set out in written form in a number of documents, including Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Act of Union, the Coronation Oath, the 39 Articles of Religion of the Church of England.

    What you describe as the’current constitution’ is a rag-bag of unlawful legislation and dishonest interpretation of unwritten traditions which are all treasonous, because past and current politicians desire to be free of the constraints on their power by which our historic constitution binds them.

    The English people are a free people, subject to Common Law, which Law binds Monarch, Lords, Judges and Parliament alike.

    Attempts to make us and our Queen subject to continental law, legislation and regulation are alike unlawful. We are not governed by Treaty, but by the Queen in Parliament, so long as She and Her Parliament act in accordance with our historic constitution.

    It is there that our future will be decided, but only as Parliament returns to the Rule of Law, of which, it is at present in denial.

    John Wrake.

    • Excalibur
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 1:46 am | Permalink

      Your thorough grasp of our constitution is appreciated, John Wrake.

  39. Antisthenes
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I am not against devo max if I understand properly it’s implications would for me mean more devolution of powers to the countries that make up the UK. That cannot be a bad thing for democracy as plainly Scotland is firmly wedded to establishing a socialist Utopia there (good luck to them with that), Wales has that type of leaning but not so much and Northern Ireland has ambitions peculiar to itself that only they can in the end sort out. If more power is devolved then England should turn Westminster into the English parliament thereby diluting the lefts influence their and then can show the rest that right wing policies and practices work where the one they adopt do not. I would settle the House of Lords problem by turning it into a parliament for all of the UK that would deal with security and foreign matters and act as a second chamber for all the UK countries.

  40. cosmic
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Our constitution is unsettled because of the lop-sided devolutionary arrangement put in place by Labour, entirely based on calculation of political advantage – miscalculation as it turned out.

    I believe the move for Scottish independence will fail because Salmond hasn’t produced a convincing explanation of how it will work. E.g. Scotland independent within the EU is something of a nonsense and the EU has indicated that Scotland can’t slip easily into the arrangement Salmond wants. About the last thing the EU is going to encourage is more nation states and unnecessary complication of its already unwieldy structures.

    I get the impression that Salmond doesn’t want independence, he wants a sheltered independence, in other words being allowed to have his cake and eat it.

  41. uanime5
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile, our constitution is unsettled for two other crucial reasons. The first is the continuing federalist drive of the EU and the ECHR, a force that remains most unpopular with a majority of UK voters.

    Some of us do appreciate having rights that parliament can’t remove whenever parliament finds these rights inconvenient.

    The second is the continuing attempts to break up England or to deny England its identity and voice.

    Westminster doesn’t seem willing to create an English parliament for some reason. Most likely because it would result in much of their power being given to this new body.

    They are keen along with their friends in the EU to try to split England into a series of artificial regions which carry little support or weight with English people.

    The EU wants the UK in a series of regions so that they can ensure that funding given to the UK is spent throughout the UK, rather than mainly spent in London. Also it was the UK that created the outline for these regions based on aid distribution after WW2.

    I predict that the only big force of unrest with our current constitution in 2014 will be the wave of Euroscepticism generated by unpopular EU policies on energy, migration, human rights and the rest.

    Given that none of these are causing a problem in any other EU country it’s clear that the source of the problem isn’t the EU but the UK. The UK has high energy costs because the market is uncompetitive. I have no idea why people are opposing having human rights which protect them from abuses by the government (I suspect right wing propaganda).

  42. The General
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Why does no one mention the bigest advantage of an independent Scotland. Very unlikely that we would ever see another Labour Goverment. No more Bliar no more Gordy Cyclops Brown the Financial Genius and no more from the ……Liberal
    wind bag. If I had my way we would have an English referendum on ehether we want Scotland to be part of the United Kingdom. I think the result would surprise a lot of
    Scots.

  43. Brigham
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Once we get rid of the scots we will have a tory party in government in perpetuity.

  44. Chris
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    “England faces cultural attack from the BBC. They are ever keen to stress independent Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish identity, but rarely allow England a say or even name us.”

    This is pretty disingenuous from a politician. The BBC are actually pretty good nowadays at identifying things that only affect England and saying so. It is the political parties who are the most coy about England. When did you last hear the Prime Minister doing so? It is “this country” or “our country” or “us” which is used at Westminster as a substitute for England, leaving in the air whether the matter concerns only England or the whole of the UK. This is absolutely something you cannot level at the BBC.

  45. Iain Moore
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    In light of the complete lack of response to English constitutional issues from the British establishment, who will fall over themselves to hand out constitutional goodies to everybody bar the English, then the obvious course of action is for all English people to do everything in their power to ensure the Scots vote for independence, for at least that way will find an answer to the West Lothian Question, then all we have to do is find a answer to the Cardiff and Belfast question.

    The British establishment really have to be dumb to create that dynamic.

  46. Mark B
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Still waiting for my post to come up ;¬)

    Perhaps you might like to do a piece on, freedom of speech and censorship.

  47. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    reply to Bazman, Of course you are right, as a nurse, myself and my children went without meals and were hungry , the cleaner always got benefits.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      You should have claimed then, don’t be proud, the biggest benefit cheats are the richest. They truly believe they are entitled and not just for money.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

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

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

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

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page