Who speaks for England?

I asked the government this question earlier in this Parliament. There was no clear answer. It is becoming a more important question, as the Scottish government challenges the Union from within, and the European Union challenges it from without. It is especially important given the wish of the EU and its supporters to deny the very existence of England, as they seek to balkanise into regions with no resonance.

The Cabinet contains the nucleus of an English government. The Secretaries of State for Education, Health, the Environment, Communities and local government, and Transport are English Ministers, not Ministers of the Union. Their functions outside England are the responsibility of devolved governments. Parts of Culture Media and Sport are also devolved. It would be helpful if the word English was more commonly used to describe their remits and duties.

The UK Parliament contains a majority of English MPs. Many of us would like to see the proposal enforced that only English MPs should in future vote on English matters. Some nationalist MPs agree and usually absent themselves from votes on English education or health, seeing that they have no interest or constituency knowledge in these matters.

I see the Westminster Parliament as both the Parliament of the Union and the Parliament of England. I do not wish to see another expensive group of politicians elected to some new expensive building for a different English Parliament. I do want our Cabinet Ministers to be explicitly English in their words and work, and do want English MPs to stand up for England , with us debating and voting on these matters within the Westminster building.

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89 Comments

  1. Richard1
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    This is a huge open goal for the Conservatives. Only English MPs should vote on issues affecting only England. Labour and the LibDems will hate it, but who can challenge the fairness of it?

    Assuming the Scots vote to stay but want devomax, the next move should be to devolve much more spending and establish minimum UK wide tax rates – eg 20% on income and gains, 15% on vat – and then allow the separate national parliaments of the UK to top them up. Left leaning areas such as Scotland can vote for high taxes, and we in England can focus on international competitiveness and incentives. We could even allow regions to borrow, so long as there is no cross-guarantee from other parts of the UK.

    This, along with dumping green crap could be big vote winners for the Conservatives.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Indeed but they have left it far too late and Cameron has saddled them with all the Clegg, Ed Davey, Chris Huhne, Grieg Clark green religion types.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 15, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        Not necessarily. There’s 15 months til the election. On the latest forecast we are looking at 3.4% growth this year and 6% unemployment by the election. Osborne should take more low paid people out of tax in the budget and raise the threshold for 40% massively , to £100,000 or so. If they have some radical structural stuff such as a proper balance of revolution the electoral tide could turn sufficiently.

        • Richard1
          Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          Balance of devolution.

        • APL
          Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          Richard1: “latest forecast we are looking at 3.4% growth”

          Yes, coincidence they couldn’t manage it for the last three years, but somehow they are going to fifteen months before the election.

          Hmmm!

          • Richard1
            Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

            No surprise there at all. Of course it would take several years to reestablish confidence after Labour’s recession, which was the deepest for 100 years.

      • Hope
        Posted February 15, 2014 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        There is no difference between the Lib Lab Con. Cosmetic at best. 70 percent of the laws come from the EU, JR repeatedly tells us all three are for EU.

        We do need 650 muppets in HoC and a further 800 or so Lords to, in the main, boost MPs pensions.

        If people want sovereignty and independence restored to the UK and England that can only be achieved by UKIP and public realising that is thinly different choice available. People are waking up and the by election results show that. JR’s proposal does nothing to change the rule by Brussels, especially from the leadership of the Tory party.

        • Richard1
          Posted February 16, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

          Vote UKIP in the general election get Labour. Then no referendum. Then PR so as there can never be a eurosceptic govt.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

            Does that still apply if somebody votes UKIP rather than voting Labour?

          • Terry
            Posted February 16, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

            The alternative – Vote for Dave and get, either a Ted Heath/Blair clone, or that Minibrand. What’s the difference?

            We need to show these ‘professional politicians’ that they work for us, not the other way around and we will not receive that respect until we rid ourselves of the lot of them. And that MUST be our primary aim. This country does not need the “Professional Politician”. Instead, it craves Professional People to run it. GB plc is a large conglomerate that requires an astute CEO with qualifications, knowledge and experience. Such a person will not be found amongst the Direct entry from Uni to Whitehall elite. Our super-Princes William and Harry have more experience of real life that any of those misfits.

        • APL
          Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

          Hope: “JR repeatedly tells us all three are for EU. ”

          Er! no he doesn’t, he keeps telling us that Cameron is an ‘EUrosceptic’, and when the laughter has died down, he tells us that the Tory party is the most EUrosceptic it has ever been.

          This comedy show is well worth the money.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Indeed, but the whole EU plan is to prevent the English having any say until such time as they have been divided into small powerless regions within the EU’s socialist bureaucracy. Cameron’s heart and soul clearly backs this evil plan. Anyway it seems that he is throwing in the towel in 14 months anyway. We shall have to see if Miliband will do anything to stop the EU agenda. Cameron cannot even stop the EU from attempting to destroy the financial services sector, ramming gender neutral pensions and insurance, HS2 and three times the price religious energy down our throats.

    Interesting to see the reaction to Nigel Lawson on the Today Program on Thursday. He said nothing remotely unreasonable yet we have endless complains from viewers. Mainly I suspect because these viewer having believed the BBC/government “expert” line for many years are outraged to find they have been sold a pup by the BBC/government/the EU and cannot quite believe it.

    In my experience the only people who believe the huge Catastrphic AGW exaggeration are now arts types who just believe what the BBC tells them and “scientists” in the pay of government or charities on the gravy train.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      The comparison with Creationists always comes up but it is the people who claim they can accurately predict the future climate in 100 years, the BBC/government think types who are clearly the anti-science charlatans on this issue.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      The Lawson debate with Brian Hoskins was interesting. hoskings didn’t challenge Lawson’s assertion that there has been no global warming for c 15 years, and the disagreement at the end was Lawson said the assertion that the missing energy is hiding somewhere, such as the ocean, is pure speculation whereas Hoskins said it was a measurement.

      The Green Party and Greenpeace are proposing new Test Acts, 185 years after the repeal of those aimed at Catholics. This time its anyone who doesn’t accept their view on ‘climate change’ who should be sacked from any elected or unelected position. Owen Paterson is in the firing line for his supposed heresy. The arguments of these leftists must be very weak if they have to resort to this.

  3. Dee
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    The current so-called democratic situation is like asking Tesco to tell Asda which services they can supply to their customers, what stock they can keep and what prices to charge? You don’t need a nuclear physics degree to work out the effects on Asda in those circumstances. And you don’t need to look only to our university fees to see the effects on England, either.

    • Jennifer A
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      There is a worse and more sinister example of iniquities than tuition fees.

      Northern Ireland.

      The release and pardoning of Irish terrorists while old Paras are pursued into old age through government funded inquiries.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 15, 2014 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        Jennifer A

        I agree. The IRA killed many innocent people in ‘their’ war. I would not say that the Army were angels and I would not like it if they acted outside the law but, those were difficult and dangerous times for everyone. And if you are going to forgive, then all should be forgiven.

  4. Pete
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Yes who does speak for England? Not it’s spineless politicians that’s for sure. Do the English get a vote on Scottish independence? No of course not. Despite it being a “Union” we have no say on whether we want to continue to subsidise Scotland and Wales to the tune of billions a year. Do we get the promised vote on membership of the EU? Looking unlikely. Do we get any say on who does and doesn’t arrive here and claim more money in benefits than ordinary working people can earn in a job? No way. Do we get to stop Dave and his chums sending billions of pounds straight to foreign dictators bank accounts via foreign aid? Not a chance.
    On one thing I do agree with you Mr Redwood, we certainly don’t want a cabal of political thieves running yet another racket in regional parliaments. We would be no worse off moving to Sicily and paying protection money to the local Mafia family. At least it wouldn’t be raining every day there.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Look, forget what Boris Johnson and other Tory commentators told you in all those inflammatory:

      “Labour has made sure that you English are being constantly ripped off by the Scots and to add insult to injury since 2005 Labour has only been in power in London because of its MPs elected in Scotland and so Labour is allowing the Scots to decide how you English shall be governed and Labour has made sure that you English shall have no say on how badly you are now being governed by the Scots and so you English should vote Tory not Labour”

      articles in the Telegraph and the Mail and elsewhere.

      Firstly, England is not subsidising Scotland to any significant extent, and it is often the other way round, but once again not to an extent which most reasonable people either side of the border would think so significant that the UK should be broken up.

      England is certainly subsidising Wales and Northern Ireland, and some parts of England are certainly subsidising other parts of England, but usually England is not subsidising Scotland; and that is not only the view of the Scottish government but also the view which has been accepted by the UK government.

      See the section “Scotland’s fiscal position as part of the UK” starting on page 6 of this analysis published by the UK government last September:

      https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/236579/scotland_analysis_macroeconomic_and_fiscal_performance.pdf

      “The similarity of Scotland’s economic performance to the UK as a whole is reflected in the amount of tax that Scotland generates: Scottish onshore tax revenues per person have been only slightly lower than the UK average since devolution in 1998. Over the same time period, public spending per person in Scotland has been around 10 per cent higher than the UK average. Therefore, Scotland’s notional onshore fiscal balance has been considerably weaker than the UK’s over the same timeframe. In the event of independence, the allocation of North Sea oil and gas revenues would be subject to negotiation. On the basis of a geographical apportionment, Scotland’s notional fiscal balance for the period since devolution is very similar to the UK’s public finances over the same period.”

      Note that the UK government analysis does not question that “geographical apportionment” of North Sea revenues which would lead to an independent Scotland having a very similar fiscal balance to the present UK as a whole; and why should it, when the lines of the maritime borders between Scotland and the rest of the UK were fixed by UK legislation long ago:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_waters

      and the locations of the known reserves are established, and as it happens almost all of the oil is in Scottish waters, and any related territorial disputes would more likely be between Scotland and Norway rather than between Scotland and the continuing UK?

      Anybody is England who believes that they would pay lower taxes if Scotland became independent has been badly misled, and appallingly they have been mostly misled for narrow party political purposes.

      It is true that the Treasury of the continuing UK would no longer be paying for public spending in Scotland, but that would be slightly more than cancelled out by the loss of the North Sea revenues and the result of that would be slightly higher taxes in England to make up the shortfall.

      But in addition, who would bear the costs for the necessary relocation of UK facilities, and especially UK military facilities, from Scottish territory to new sites which were within the territory of the continuing UK, and the costs of controlling the new international border with Scotland, and no doubt other costs associated with unravelling the numerous arrangements put in place over three centuries of Anglo-Scottish Union?

      That would be taxpayers in the continuing UK, primarily taxpayers in England, who bore all those costs incidental on Scotland becoming independent.

    • zorro
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, the mafia only charge 10% for protection whereas the government charges 40% for dodgy services and not much protection…..

      zorro

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        I thought that as the JW’s

        • zorro
          Posted February 21, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

          ??

          zorro

    • Timaction
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Of course the English have been deliberately overlooked by the LibLabCon legacy parties for 50 years, since we joined the EEC. It was deliberate policy along with mass migration to rid this Kingdom of English people who had a sense of Nationhood. It hasn’t worked, nor will it ever. So we need to change our voting habits to restore democracy, our sovereignty and an English voice for our Nation once more. Einstein told us that the first sign of madness is to do the same things and expect a different outcome.
      On the subject of foreign aid how many people would get a loan to give it away in their private financial affairs? So why does the Government do this in our name with foreign and EU aid for nothing in return other than a £43 billion trade deficit? We don’t have to be in the EU to trade with it. It is ONLY a political construct by incremental stealth. The rest is lies and more lies.

    • H Ward
      Posted February 18, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      If the Scots do vote for independence and the negotiations start between Westminster and the Scottish Parliament, does anyone trust the negotiators to get a good deal for the English, Welsh and N Irish?

      If the Scots push for a currency union, does anyone trust Westminster not to give in?

      Scotland becoming independent will be a major constitutional change. The English, Welsh and N Irish MUST be allowed a referendum on the outcome of the negotiations.

  5. The PrangWizard
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Thank you Mr Redwood for addressing the issue. As you say it is becoming pressing.

    Surely the idea that a proper English parliament should not be created because it would be another level of bureaucracy and cost is disappointing at least. It need not be in any case, and your method would be open to abuse and confusion. If a separate and proper parliament can be granted Scotland, then England should be afforded the same. It is a matter of principle and of right, it is not an issue of administrative convenience. Did you use your argument when the Scottish parliament was being conceived? If you did I imagine it didn’t go down well in Scotland. Why is England different in your view? Why are the principles different, why do you really stop short? What is really holding you back?

    It took me some time to arrive at my position, we are in the same age group, and I have thought long and hard about the issue, and it is difficult to break from something you grew up with and didn’t question. But it had to be done, a clean break; all will be well, it is not to be feared. I urge you to cross the divide, it is like casting off a burden.

    I am English and I feel as if I am daily being betrayed. The British political and cultural elites are smothering me and denying me my identity. Cheap compromise will not do and resentment will turn against those who ducked the issue and failed at the big question.

    I must say again as I have often on your pages, there should be no compromise on this. England must have a parliament of its own, a First Minister, and clearly dedicated named Ministers and Secretaries. England is a nation and its people are entitled to the same rights to democracy and self determination as anyone else.

    And we must not forget our cultural institutions – where for example is the National Gallery of England, the National Library of England, there is a long list of British institutions where England is invisible and these injustices too must be corrected.

    And finally, if I may say, I do look forward now to your routinely referring to ‘the people of England’ in your speeches and interventions in the Chamber.

    • Jennifer A
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      I too am English and I feel betrayed as well.

      Voting Tory makes me feel a chump. Why ?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 15, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        Well having had Heath, Major and now the heart and soul ratter, how could one not feel a chump. How will conservatives feel should he do it again after 2015 (in the unlikely event he is given the chance).

    • zorro
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      We have a building in Westminster, we can make a part of it deal with UK business. Why can’t we keep the building in Westminster for its original purpose? Yes, why not?

      zorro

    • Richard Hobbs
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear. What a good contribution. This is just how I feel. I hope that those elites who read this could just realise that the English are just as proud of their roots as the other groups in the UK.
      It seems to me that a Federal system needs to be seriously considered.

  6. zorro
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Thank you John for expressing this clear and practical reality. I, along with others, have mentioned this about Westminster on several occasions. It is good to hear you expound this view. Far too few MPs do. Unfortunately, I fear that with a Cameron as PM what you advocate will not come to pass.

    zorro

  7. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I guess this article won’t go down well with many of those who read it …

    Firstly, at one time I might have accepted some kind of pragmatic arrangement whereby the Westminster MPs elected in England could in effect become the elected chamber of an English Parliament.

    However because it became clear that the eurofanatics would never cease in their efforts to break up England I changed my mind on that, believing that the only way to put a stop to their wickedness would be to have a separate devolved Parliament for the whole of England with the same powers as the Scottish Parliament.

    Secondly, the cost of a separate English Parliament would not be anything like as high as some imply.

    There would of course be the initial costs of buildings and so on, but there is no reason why the running costs should not be comparable to those for the Scottish Parliament, £68.6 million for the year ending March 31st 2013:

    http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/help/61877.aspx

    That works out as just 2.5p per week per head of population in England.

    • Posted February 15, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      I’m 100% with John on this subject.

      If we had equal devolved powers for all four nations, the amount of time Parliament would need to sit on genuinely UK Business : Foreign affairs, Defense, etc, is quite a small percentage of the Parliamentary year.

      There is therefore no reason at all why English MPs could not sit as an English devolved administration at Westminster.

      We English are comfortable in our own skin, we have no feeling of inferiority that needs a ludicrously expensive edifice like Hollyrood to placate.

      Whatever the outcome of the referendum in Scotland, as you say, John, its getting urgent.

      If the Scots vote no the pressure will be on for Devo Max. That cannot be allowed to go through without full and equal devolution for England with Wales being treated separately. Given the electoral disadvantage to Labour, if they win in 2015, the issue will no doubt be fudged and that will be a running sore until it’s eventually resolved.

      If Scotland votes yes, England must not be sucked into a currency union with the liability of being lender of last resort to Alex Salmon’s extravagant administration. We need an English Parliament to stand up for us.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 15, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        Well, as JR is there perhaps he has an informed view on what fraction of their time MPs now spend on UK-wide business compared to the fraction they spend on England-only business. I merely note that from the Acts they passed in 2012 most of the time they spent debating and voting on Bills was spent on Bills which applied to the whole of the UK, not just to England, and I would expect that apart from work directly related to their own constituencies much the same would also apply to all the other work they do in Parliament.

      • APL
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        ChrisS: “If we had equal devolved powers for all four nations, ”

        And we might yet find a role for the Lords too. The Westminster Commons could be the English Parliament, the Scottish, Welsh and Irish ‘parliaments’ can sit where ever they choose to.

        But matters affecting UK wide issues, defence, constitutional issues, relationships with foreign powers – might reasonably be dealt with in the Lords and Crown.

        We’d have to sweep (away? ed) all the (undesirables ed) that have accumulated in the Lords over the years; the Kinnock business, Mandleson, ‘Baroness’ Young, ‘Lord’ Patten and so on.

        But in the end we might have a workable system.

    • zorro
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      But why should we have a new building when we have had a Parliament (English) since the 1300s meeting in Westminster. It’s always having to be obliging to others. Let the small bits of UK business move out if they really need to (I doubt that they do). Why should we accept the Europe/euro fanatic argument?

      zorro

      • APL
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        zorro: “But why should we have a new building .. ”

        Agreed. The Scots, the Welsh the Irish have their own parliamentary assemblies already, the English can have Parliament.

  8. Old Albion
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Who speaks for England ? No one.
    As you admit, the EU wishes to remove England from the map of Europe and few in Westminster have ever spoken up in England’s defence.
    In fact most that do occasionally utter on the subject, are usually keen to suggest a form of regionalised devolution for England. Exactly what the EU wants.

    The secretaries of state for the responsibilities mentioned should have their title changed immediately to The secretary of state for English education etc.
    All MP’s when debating English issues should be compelled to state the fact it’s an English issue.

    The old lie that representation for England will be expensive, must be buried. (strange there was no financial concern when Scotland wanted a Parliament and Wales and N.Ireland wanted assemblies)
    Remove the non-English MP’s from Westminster. 117 salaries and expenses saved.
    Hand all the work for Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland to their own bodies, which should all rise to Government status.
    Set up a review to reduce the amount of English constituencies. Unknown saving.
    Scrap the House of Lords. Massive savings by losing 750 salaries and expenses. Replace them with a Federal body to legislate on the few remaining reserved matters the EU allow us to have. I would suggest around 100 ‘senators’ would be sufficient. Small cost.
    These changes should come about at the start of the next government (2015)

    Of course where Scotland is concerned it may not matter much longer, should they vote to secede (i doubt it) However the vote in Scotland should be the catalyst for meaningful change in these islands.

    If you don’t like any of that? Then Independance for England, please.

    • acorn
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Nice one Old Albion, we may have to start a new party to get this going. Please can I have non partisan primary elections as well? We could manage with 326 MPs, if we Unitised local government at District / Burough level. With fixed boundaries and no Boundary Commission. Balancing voter numbers across constituencies will not be a problem with national popular vote referendums.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      “Hand all the work for Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland to their own bodies, which should all rise to Government status.”

      Well, it couldn’t be “all the work” unless you wanted to grant them independence (or force independence upon them).

      I think there is a common misapprehension about how much of the work of the UK Parliament has been devolved; when I go through the 23 public Acts of the UK Parliament passed in 2012:

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012

      I find that 18 of them extend to Scotland, almost all of them in their entirety, with one or two where certain Sections of the Act apply to Scotland but other Sections do not.

      The only 5 Acts which did not apply to Scotland in any way at all were:

      Sunday Trading for the Olympics and Paralympics
      Water Industry Financial Assistance
      Domestic Violence Crime and Victims
      Public Services (Social Value)
      Live Music (licensing thereof)

      But even if it was the other way round, that out of 23 Acts only 5 applied to Scotland, there would be no reason why UK citizens resident in Scotland should have less of a say on those 5 Acts than UK citizens in England; that would be swinging from one extreme to the other.

  9. alan jutson
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Let us hope a few more start thinking the way you feel John.

    Face facts, the real union started to break up with allowing devolved power to seperate Nations, when they could still vote on Englands policies, but our Mps were excluded from some of theirs.
    Over time there will be so many differences between the UK nations due to devolved power, that seperate government for England will simply have to evolve in order to be fair, its simply a question of time, and quite honestly the sooner the better.

    The other Nations cannot expect to run with the hare and the hound.

  10. Ken Adams
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    But if we had an English parliament we would not need so many Westminster MPs in fact it is a question why we need so many these days so much power has been outsourced to the regions and to the EU. Ms Reding said the other day that 70% of our laws come from the EU we have yet to see a corresponding 70% reduction in the Westminster rubber stamp unit.

  11. Roger Farmer
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    The answer to your worries in the last paragraph are simplicity itself. English MPs for English constituencies already sit in Westminster. MPs from the parliaments of Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland can be invited to attend Westminster whenever there are matters relating to the whole of the UK to discuss and vote on.
    This would have two beneficial effects. First the reduction of numbers most of the time at Westminster and second that of putting socialism on the back burner in England.
    Tell me from the inside what the problems are with such a solution.
    Off piste I see that Cameron wants to extend the benefits of the CCF to a wider range of schools. Laudable until you read that using his usual dishonest approach he will do it from the existing CCF budget, thereby making existing CCF units none viable. He thinks he can holiday in Mustique for a Ryanair trip to the Costas. The man has learnt nothing from his excursion into gay marriage or from his humiliation in Wythenshawe. Are there no mechanisms by which he can be controlled.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      “MPs from the parliaments of Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland can be invited to attend Westminster whenever there are matters relating to the whole of the UK to discuss and vote on.”

      Then they would be there most of the time, for example see my comment above about the 23 public Acts passed by the UK Parliament in 2012.

  12. JoolsB
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    John,

    You were doing well until the last paragraph. “I see”,”I do not wish”, “I do want”. With respect, it should be for the people of ENGLAND to decide what they wish and what they want just as Scotland, Wales & NI were asked and are about to be asked for the third of fourth time what they want. Cameron & Cleggie went rushing off to Cardiff a few weeks ago offering Wales yet another referendum on their governance yet the irony is lost on Cameron & the Tories that England is watching on in anger that they have yet to be asked once.

    “The Secretaries of State for Education, Health, the Environment, Communities and local government, and Transport are English Ministers, not Ministers of the Union.”

    No they are not, they are UK MPs on a UK mandate who just happen to be running English only departments. Problem is they can’t even say the word England so if they can’t even say the word England, how on earth are they going to stand up for it and their English constituents? When did they last demand equal funding for their English only departments and their English constituents – never. Under Blair we even had unelected and unaccountable MPs from Scottish constituencies running English only departments not that we heard a peep of protest from the then opposition. What’s to stop that happening again if Labour get in in 2015? If they end up with a rainbow coalition as nearly happened in 2010, we might even see a Scots or a Welsh Nat running an English only department not that any of our supine politicians with English seats would complain even then.

    ” I do not wish to see another expensive group of politicians elected to some new expensive building for a different English Parliament.”

    John, this is a red herring and you know it. If anything an English Parliament would probably cost less, not more. For a start the building is already there, the HoC and secondly, there would no longer be any need for 650 UK MPs saving an absolute fortune in salaries, expenses and gold plated pensions. Say 100 would be more than enough for the few remaining reserved matters of the UK Parliament which could be housed in the HoL. 800 Lords and Ladies from across the UK but who only scrutinize English legislation could also be put out to grass. Suspect this is the real reason not one of our 650 UK MPs want to see an English Parliament. But even if an English Parliament did cost more, which it won’t, that is no reason to deny democracy to England. No one was complaining about cost when Scotland and Wales were having nice new parliament buildings built.

    English votes for English laws is a sop and an absolute insult to every man, woman and child in England but even that has been kicked into the long grass. The coalition were forced kicking and screaming thanks to Harriet Baldwin’s bill to set up a commission, insultingly headed by a Scotsman and which didn’t even mention England by name and with absolutely no remit to discuss the possibility of an English Parliament. Even though Lord McKay’s findings were just as insulting as the commission itself, can you tell us why we have heard no more about it John? No doubt now the motions have been gone through it has been kicked back into the long grass from where it came.

    Every Tory leader since devolution has promised to look at the WLQ and not the English Question and yet once in power Cameron dropped it within the first five days of the coalition agreement. The Lib Dums who now see themselves as permanent King Makers demanded it’s withdrawal and he was happy to oblige and therefore stuff England, without whom he and the Tories would not exist. He has denied England constitutional equality with the rest of the UK as a price worth paying for being Prime Minister.

    Said it before, John but the Tories will pay a heavy price in 2015 for this blatant betrayal of ENGLAND. England gave them a 63 seat majority in 2010 and yet England alone in the UK and western world still continues to be denied the Government of it’s choosing.

    We want an English Parliament, nothing less. Instead of telling us, why not ask us next time the Scots and Welsh are being asked. It’s called democracy!

    • Mark B
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      Beautifully put.

      Thank you.

  13. aunty estab
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    What about a referendum in England asking do we want to remain in the Union with Scotland? Perhaps not everyone here would want to continue sending so much of our tax money up there. Why are`nt we allowed our say?

    • bigneil
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Simple. We are continually told in speeches that we are “tolerant”, or as they really mean, they see us as stupid and gullible and we don’t protest like the French. We don’t want, but still have, hate preachers here on benefits. France would have flown them out instantly, with a threat not to return. We give them a free 4 bedroom house. The outcome is already fixed, the people who cause it will not be living here, long gone with their EU rewards, sticking 40% of the digits of one hand to the people of the country they betrayed. Bye Bye (once) beautiful country.

  14. James Matthews
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I have to agree with the thrust of the comments so far. I would once have settled for English votes for English Laws, but after fifteen years of enforced reflection I am sure that it is not enough. We do not want our representatives wearing two hats and we do not want their executives with divided loyalties. There will surely be a cost to this, as there is to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, but if you want that sort of democracy you have to be willing to pay for it. If not that, then abolish the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly and tell the Scots and the Welsh that if that is not acceptable the alternative is full independence and wish them a less than fond farewell.

  15. Atlas
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    John, remember that Northern Ireland has had a Stormont Government since the departure of the Irish Free State from the UK. So we have had a form of devolved government in this country for decades before the Welsh Assembly or the Scottish Parliament. Indeed it used to the ‘Conservative and Unionist’ Party, where the union referred to NI and not Scotland.

    I think the “elephant in the room” question for the Conservatives, who want to keep the Union with Scotland is this: Why has support for them collapsed north of the border (and in a lot of Northern England as well)?

  16. Bert Young
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    If I had my way I would never have allowed the creation of Regional Government in the first place ;nothing but ill-will has arisen since they came into existence ( I will disregard the expensive and unnecessary costs of their buildings and infrastructure ) . Since they do exist it is essential to maintain the parity of England and the will of its people ; doing this within the existing Parliament of the Union is a tricky management issue . The best possible solution is to get rid of the Regional Governments ; the EU must be laughing its socks off at our mayhem and will not hesitate to keep things stirred up .

  17. bigneil
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Nicely put John. The EU only wants our money and to force us to keep all the dregs of “humanity” ( I use the term loosely) -that come here to commit crime and get a free life. Then the EU tells us we have to release them, but can’t deport them. It is ok for us to be in danger then ??

    DC’s comment after the by-election of “listening to the voters”. Do you think anyone is going to believe him. I don’t. He clearly wants to be in the EU. I firmly believe he has been promised a job, so long as he keeps us in. TB sold us down the river with his lies, it appears to me that DC is doing exactly the same.

  18. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I speak for England, John Redwood speaks for England and the bloggers on this site speak for England. Last night on the box Bridget Jones spoke for England.
    I have seen the degradation of the English by its own for many years.We have slaughtered the language by cutting words. We have ignored the vowels in our words.The endings of words sometimes drool into a soup on illiteracy.The beautiful regional accents have been eroded into accents from Asia.
    One might think this is superficial nonsense , yet it is language which defines where we belong, where our derivation is .It gives us a sense of identity.

    I have watched as the class wars have mocked each others colloquialisms. The stiff upper lip,the Town Of Alice where those funny guards change, the classes who have suffered in mining to bring the industrial revolution. The great state denigrated, which makes us the popular place to reside now, the large companies who do not care about England ; only interested in making profits for their own empire.

    The problem is one of loyalty.We visit France to see its cheeses and wines and rural difference , we visit Spain and look at the traditions of dancing, Rioja and bullfights, visitors come here to see our heritage and our own English people want to ruin it.

    We come from a proud background where we had self control and respect for our homeland. This has become eroded by cultures who do not respect us , but would rather try and make a fool of us.

    • stred
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:07 am | Permalink

      Today, During a farewell brunch with my Swiss outlaws, we put on a CD of English folk music , which I had bought in Australia, and beautifully performed by a bloke with a Dutch name. They were taken aback at that we actually had any and the the lovely story telling in the songs, compared to the oompapaph lederhosen stuff they get at home. They thought it might be Irish or Scottish, but I was proud to explain that all of us had better folk music than the EU.

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted February 16, 2014 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        We certainly did. I used to practice with my ex husband some of the lovely melodies and words at my parents home. I played the violin or recorder and he played the guitar .We went to the Manchester Sports Guild, the home of folk music in Manchester and whilst we had a boozy Irish or Scottish sing song, the English folk songs were the most beautiful.

  19. behindthefrogs
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I entirely support your view that an English Group should be formed within parliament to vote on English only matters. If Mondays or Fridays were reserved for English only matters, on as many days as are necessary, the MPs for the other nations could go home on those days. This would actually save money as they would not be claiming their expenses.

  20. Martin Ryder
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    My understanding is that the British Parliament was formed by a merger between the English and Scottish parliaments. If the Scots leave then the parliament remaining in Westminster must be the English Parliament.

    The members of the parliament in Westminster who represent people in Wales and Northern Ireland should be asked if they wish to sit in the English Parliament or go it alone. If they choose the former then they should have the same voting rights and powers as their English colleagues.

    If the Welsh and the Irish vote to stay with the English then the government formed from the parliament should continue to be called the British Government. If the Welsh and Irish go it alone then government would be the English government. In many parts of the world British embassies are called English embassies by the locals and the UK is referred to as England.

    If the Scots vote to remain in the UK and seek further devolution (or even remain as they are) I would like to see exactly the same powers devolved to the Welsh, the Northern Irish and to the English.

    The Scottish Parliament would sit alongside the English, Welsh and Northern Irish Parliaments. Constituencies in each parliament must be roughly the same size. All four would meet together every few months and form the British parliament. The British Parliament would elect a British Government, with Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs, the Home Departments and Defence.

    All English MPs would be members of both the English and British parliaments. However I would prefer the English MPs and the English ministers (health, welfare, education, etc) to be nearer to their constituents than they are now. I would form three assemblies of the English Parliament in the North, the Midlands and the South. Each would have a First Minister, etc and have the same devolved powers of the Scots. There could be a fourth assembly for London with a Mayor, rather than a First Minister.

    Parliament may leave the Palace of Westminster whilst the palace is being refurbished. This opportunity should be seized and changes made. The House of Lords should be cut to 300; its members should be from each of the nations in the Union and have fixed term contracts.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      “I would form three assemblies of the English Parliament in the North, the Midlands and the South”

      Thanks, another suggestion to break up England, albeit in a different way, and an illustration of why we need a single Parliament for the whole of England.

    • Chris S
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Your suggestion is the greatest danger to England imaginable.

      It’s called divide and rule.

  21. Iain Moore
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    “The UK Parliament contains a majority of English MPs.”

    It should but I am afraid it doesn’t, when only a handful of MP’s have sought to raise English constitutional issues, barely 1% of those elected to English constituencies, what we have are a load of British MP’s squatting in English constituency seats.

    Look at Cameron, he boasts about all sorts of heritage, bar English, he has suggested it would be demeaning to become an English Prime Minister, in all the years he was Leader of the Opposition, no once, not once, did he raise the English Question in PMQs, he thought there was nothing constitutionally odd facing Gordon Brown over English Health , Education etc. And as Prime Minster he has all but buried any tokenist response to the English Question, even though it was in the Conservative Party manifesto, the Libdem manifesto and in the coalition agreement. Cameron will find time and political capital to spend on Gay Marriage, but he can’t be bothered with the English Question, even when Parliament has nothing to do he can’t find the time or inclination to give English peoples a little constitutional equality. And not one of the lousy 650 MP’s in Parliament can be bothered either, they would rather brown nose the PM or raise irrelevant issues, than seek to represent 50 million English people.

    Why would we want an English Parliament made up of useless British MP’s?

    • John
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      I was going to make exactly the same point Iain, there are no English MPs in Westminster only British ones and as we have seen, over many years, they can be bullied by the Celtic fringe. They have not once done anything exclusively for the English but have done many things TO them. Indeed, D. Carswell wants to devolve power in England down to county level, thereby making the the England that I love totally powerLESS.
      One MP that does speak up though, is Frank Field MP. I am not a left winger in any respect but on this issue I do agree with him, shame there are not more like him.
      An English parliament is the only was forward to break the British bias against England.

    • zorro
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      The clue is in the name……

      zorro

  22. A.Sedgwick
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Politically the Scottish tail has wagged the English dog since devolution. Scottish residents total less than 10% of the UK populaton and it is just as unfair to think that if those residents vote yes that they can expect anything but a take it or leave it settlement. Wishful thinking? Probably given the unresolved West Lothian Question after 16 years and counting. The flotation of Scotland would be a fitting legacy for the short sighted Governments since 1997. The concept of devolution was sensible but unfortunately politics got in the way. All four countries should have been devolved and given similar powers to a USA state. The UK Government would have been reduced dramatically with say 100 parliamentarians and the end of the ludicrous ermine brigade, whose number is now approaching 1000. If that process had been started in 1997 it is highly unlikely the SNP or Salmond would have achieved their current profile.

  23. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I suggest that we wait until after the Scottish referendum result is known.

    Suppose, as is likely, that Scotland delivers a NO vote. Then we must start to get the devolution monster under control by removing the tax raising powers of Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont. Then we must agree with the devolved assemblies which measures affect England only. These should be obvious – the Speaker can rule on a case by case basis if needed – and only English members would have a right to vote on them. The Barnett formula should be reviewed in conjunction with the proportion of North Sea energy revenue going to Scotland, so that everyone is happy.

    If Scotland votes YES, it must become a fully independent new Member State of the EU. Provided this nonsense of keeping sterling is dropped, England can support its application.

    Incidentally, if Scotland leaves the United Kingdom, then the rump of England, Wales and Northern Ireland will no longer be the United Kingdom as recognised by the EU. It too must apply to the EU as a new Member State – or not as the case may be.

    Finally, has Alex Salmond considered what the effect of a YES vote will be in Glasgow, in South West Scotland and Northern Ireland? Put it this way, he may not enjoy a visit to Glasgow Rangers football club.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Firstly, you cannot use the word “rump” to describe the United Kingdom minus Scotland. That would be appropriate if only 10% was left after the withdrawal of Scotland, but not when on a variety of measures it would be about 90%.

      Secondly, I think the best adjective I have seen is “continuing”.

      Whether the 90% similarity of the “continuing” UK to the present UK which is a party to the EU treaties would be sufficient for it to be recognised as the successor state and accepted as still being a party to those treaties, with a few adjustments, would entirely depend upon the attitudes of the other parties to the treaties.

      It’s conceivable that the government of another EU member state might say “You are not the same UK with which we made this contract, so it is void”, but it seems much more likely that no other government would say that and if one did then it would change its mind after a conversation with the Empress Angela, who would not wish to see the territory of the Union diminished in any way while at the same time no doubt wishing to take advantage of the situation to extract whatever concessions she could.

      In contrast the position of Scotland would very obviously be different, because the word “Scotland” does not appear anywhere in the present EU treaties and it would be rather difficult for a country to be an EU member state when its name did not even appear in the EU treaties.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted February 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Don’t underestimate the ability and willingness of France to make mischief.

  24. Antisthenes
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    We have it straight from the horses mouth an EU politburo commissar her name escapes me that 70% of all UK law now emanates from Brussels. We have devolved parliaments and assemblies erosion of the competencies of the commons continues and no doubt foreign policy nearly there, defence and most of everything else of major importance will eventually become solely the remit of the EU. England really does need a separate parliament and as the commons at westminster is now at the point of being redundant as it does not do much that it was set up to do or will in the future it is my suggestion that it becomes the English parliament and the Lords becomes the UK parliament until such time as that is also totally redundant. Thereby avoiding the expense of setting up separate ones. For the europhile this is a grand state of affairs for the eurosceptic quite the opposite. For me what the EU sets out to achieve makes considerable economic and social sense and should in theory be an institution that increases for every EU citizen their security, civil liberties, prosperity and bring harmony to many disparate societies for the common good. However this is not happening in practice because the structure designed and built to attain this laudable aim is seriously flawed as it’s architects and current controllers were and are in the main driven by left wing, green, progressive ideologies and anti free market and illiberal. I cannot see that is ever likely to change as the west as a whole have embraced all those things and have been for decades now been basing their policies and practices on them. We eurosceptics rail against these iniquities and want out of the EU but we are in a minority as most do not care or believe it is in their best interests to support this type of political model so I believe we will be stuck with it until it collapses as similar structures of this model type have done in the past and are doing all around us today.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 15, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      “For me what the EU sets out to achieve makes considerable economic and social sense … ”

      Of course you’re entitled to hold your own view on that, but so is each of the other ca 45 million citizens of this country, and we should put it to a vote.

      The referendum question could be very simple: do we wish to proceed further with the process of “ever closer union” with our neighbours which is prescribed by the present EU treaties, or not?

      • Antisthenes
        Posted February 15, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        I am not sure you read my comment all the way through if you did you would see that I to want out of the EU and that of course requires a referendum which eurosceptics will lose regrettably but I cling to straw in the hope they will not. I do believe my euroscepticism is born out of different reasons than most other eurosceptics as I do not fear the concept of the EU and I challenge you to actually pick holes in that concept. No my fear is born out of the fact that the EU is not capable of delivering it’s objectives as it has been badly constructed and will achieve very little that will improve the lives of it’s citizens and in many cases make us worse off. However we are between a rock and a hard place because western societies are now dominated by lefties and progressives and so domestically our future is also looking bleak. However with the UK’s sovereignty restored being out of the EU the battlefield between the left and right is much smaller and there is a chance of the right losing a few battles yes but eventually winning the war. Taking the Scots off the battlefield by giving them independence of course weakens the left’s berserker army.

        • Mark B
          Posted February 15, 2014 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

          You are confusing politics with structure. Yes, the EU is a Federal State in the making and a political project but, it is not of the Left vs Right variety. The Commission is apolitical, with only the powerless, by design, EU Parliament being elected and constructed on ‘traditional’ lines.

          The whole point of the EU is to rid Europe of the Nation State and remove the democratic influences upon policy. Unfortunately, the fore-fathers of the EU did not envision a world with fake-charities and NGO’s pressuring National and Supranational Governments into adopting policies which are more to a minority view. This is an unforeseen weakness in the EU structure but, the EU cannot change it, because by doing so, it will no longer be that which its designers intended. It is a flawed design and lives in a paradox. It has to go forward and cannot undo what it has done. That is why Cameron’s renegotiation ploy is so much bunkum.

          The EU is destined to fail. Its original concept was in the 1920′s, nearly 100 years ago. The world has changed but the idea remains, much like Marxism today.

          True democracy is the only process by which a Nation can progress. Collective decision making and collective responsibility.

          • Antisthenes
            Posted February 16, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

            “world with fake-charities and NGO’s pressuring National and Supranational Governments ”

            I believe that you will find even with the gentlest of perusal that those pressurising governments all have views and ambitions that the left of all persuasion are proud to own. That the commissars and technocrats of the EU also have and are not in the least apolitical even if they profess to being so. Like the concept of the EU their views not their ambitions are not without merit what is is the methods being employed to implement them. The left it has to be conceded do have good intentions but fail to recognise that central control, planning, overabundance of redistribution of wealth and diktat are not the way for those intentions to be turned into good outcomes. The amalgamation of states and therefore loss of sovereignty can sometimes have more advantages to those states than disadvantages it worked for the the 13 colonies but they were founded under different circumstances and a more democratic process than the EU. However more often than not it does not work Yugoslavia being one of many examples. So it is not the concept that is at fault but how that concept is realised and without all the conditions for success being there and being implemented in the correct manner at the right time that concept will be turned into catastrophe waiting to happen. The EU is one concept that is being implemented in totally the most inappropriate way because the structure is being built with a lean way to the left. If right wing ideas of building had been incorporated in the design such as putting classical liberal democracy, free market capitalist competition and political integration as a wish not a must into the foundations then perhaps the structure would now being going up straight and true. But then we would now still most likely have a common market with a superstate many decades in the future when we had all grown to love the idea.

          • Mark B
            Posted February 17, 2014 at 5:05 am | Permalink

            You think that the EU has somehow gone off course – You are wrong ! You think that somehow the Left and its little helpers are turning into something it was never intended – You are wrong ! You think that the EU would be better with more ‘Right Wing’ policies and a strengthening of the trade aspect – You are wrong !

            The EU is a product of its Treaties, negotiated, and signed by its Members. There is an additional actor in all this that is not mentioned by either you or anyone else. And that is, The Council of Ministers – The EU Senate. In the past, the Council has had the ability to veto anything that was against the National Interest but, thanks to the Lisbon Treaty, that is all about to change. There then will be little restraint on the Commission, who have assembled enough powers in order for them to begin to move into other key policy areas which they have as yet little or no control. And once a Commissioner has been appointed, it is far easier to split an atom with a hammer and chisel than a Commissioner from their post – and that’s deliberate ! Therefore, they can act with almost impunity on almost any matter without much restraint. And remember, “Power corrupts, but absolute power, corrupts absolutely.” We are creating an monster that will one day consume us.

            “The amalgamation of states and therefore loss of sovereignty can sometimes have more advantages to those states . . . . ”

            Just who the hell are you are to make that statement, for and on behalf of people that you are not neither responsible for or, answerable too ? It is precisely that kind of hubristic language that I have come to expect from those who see great personal benefit from membership of the EU but little else. It works for ‘me’, so it must be OK ! Rubbish !

            Even if you studied the history and some of the workings of the EU, you will come to find that it is a club I do not wish our Nation and its people to be apart of. I am no expert, and there are many that can make even more convincing cases for us to leave, but earnestly believe that, no good will come of this. Very little that blows our way from the continent ever does.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I did read the whole of your comment, and I saw that after saying that there was a lot of sense in what the EU sets out to achieve you continued with “However this is not happening in practice … “; but I don’t just disagree with what is happening in practice, I disagree with what the EU sets out to do in theory.

          I think Mark B has already picked enough holes in it, the one which most exercises me and arouses my opposition being:

          “The whole point of the EU is to rid Europe of the Nation State and remove the democratic influences upon policy.”

  25. zorro
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Yes John, I pose a challenge to you…… Why not form a Conservative Friends of England group? Apparently, it works well for other countries……

    zorro

  26. Chris
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Some interesting excerpts from The General Report on the Activities of the European Union 2013, with foreword by Barroso.

    This report really does put the whole question of the importance of England in perspective i.e. that whatever we end up with after the independence vote, we will only be a region of the country, the United States of Europe. Our destiny seems to be already mapped out, all in the capable hands of Barroso et al. Time, Mr Redwood, for Conservative MPs to call a halt to all of this. Note the use of terms such as “irreversible”, and the method of change/reform through “secondary legislation” rather than treaty change.
    http://bookshop.europa.eu/en/general-report-on-the-activities-of-the-european-union-2013-pbNAAD14001/;pgid=y8dIS7GUWMdSR0EAlMEUUsWb0000Crxrbpn_;sid=SfMAx-eyOL0AxbVO4HKeYIWXBJAetarRV4E=?CatalogCategoryID=luYKABst3IwAAAEjxJEY4e5

    From Chap 2 Towards political union, Page 9:

    On their own, Member States, even the biggest ones, are no longer capable of facing
    up to or adequately responding to some of the challenges of a globalised economy.
    By pooling sovereignty Member States are stronger and they can wield more influence
    in the world…

    The fundamental response to the crisis aimed at restoring confidence in the achievements
    of the single market and the single currency, proving that they are irreversible.
    While focusing on individual economic and institutional reforms, we need to keep the
    bigger picture firmly in mind; we need to mobilise the political will to move forward
    on the road to completing the EMU, leading ultimately to a full political union….

    The blueprint (for the future of Europe) sets out a political vision and the concrete proposals
    needed in the short, medium and long term to underpin the stability of the euro and
    the EU as a whole.
    This comprehensive approach to deepening the euro area is based on key principles,
    as follows.
    ▶▶ Firstly, moves towards further integration should be made within the institutional
    and legal framework of the treaties, according to the Community method.
    ▶▶ Secondly, full use should be made of the potential of EU-wide instruments rather
    than those in place for the euro area alone.
    ▶▶ Thirdly, reforms should be enacted primarily through secondary legislation, with
    treaty change contemplated only if necessary.”

  27. Peter Davies
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I really don’t understand why it isn’t already in Parliamentary rules that UK politicians are barred from voting on any matters that don’t involve their constituents – it would surely be simple enough to implement.

    I seem to remember the Gay Marriage vote being one case of point.

  28. JoolsB
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Can you tell us how many Conservative MPs with English seats share your views on “‘who speaks for England?” The impression they give to the English public at large is that they don’t give a stuff, couldn’t care less or aren’t even aware of the growing resentment by their constituents. It would be interesting to know how many are concerned about the English Question or even the WLQ for that matter.

  29. They Work for Us?
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately we know what is going to happen. No one will speak up for England.
    It matters not whether Scotland votes yes or no – they will be feted and devomaxed to our death in appeasement.
    Cameron and the Conservative Party will carry on as usual and sleepwalk their way to the next election. The voice of the right is not large enough to hold sway within the party. UKIP will act as spoilers for the Conservatives. If only they could win seats instead of splitting the pro England vote. A Conservative UKIP coalition would be quite something. But let us return to reality.

    After the 2015 election there will be no referendum on Europe (or anything else).
    Renegotiation will be a flop spun as a major success. The welfare state will continue much as usual in tax, waste and spend.
    Controlling Immigration (virtually stopping it) won’t happen.
    Major reforms to deporting foreign criminals and terrorists – won’t happen.
    A proper right of recall for MPs to answer to their electors- no chance.
    Business as usual then with the current readers and contributors on this blog making the same comments and observations. To quote Frankie Howerd “Woe, Woe and thrice woe………”.

  30. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    I feel many miss the point. Parliamentary structure will not reflect what England means to the English. Whatever the Scots decide,is up to them, whatever the English decide is up to a parody of ‘little England’

  31. uanime5
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Technically if there was an English Parliament and areas such as education, health, and local governments were devolved to it then we wouldn’t need any MPs in Westminster making decisions regarding these areas. So the number of MPs could be reduced after an English parliament was created to help offset the cost of running the English Parliament. We could also reduce the number of Lords as well.

    Given that all other EU countries have regions yet somehow haven’t lost their national identity it’s unlikely that the UK will lose theirs if England is made up of several regions.

    Also the administration of the bedroom tax seems to have run into a problem as a tribunal judge in Bolton has ruled that households have to be inspected by the council to determine how many bedrooms they actually have (previously council were allowed to consider each room a bedroom). As this has to be done before the new financial year, which starts in April, Councils have little over a month to determine how many bedrooms 523,000 households possess.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      I say we should have a central Government for England first ans then, perhaps, work on this Region idea, after we have left the EU. That way, we can build a system that suits us, rather than the EU.

      Not falling for the trap U5 ;)

  32. Mark B
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Q: Who speaks for England ?

    A: No one !

    Q: If this was a vote winner in many key marginals, would it matter ?

  33. Max Dunbar
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the name ‘United Kingdom’ is part of the reason why it makes it easier for separatists to attack the country from within and claim that they represent a geographical area and its constituent population. After all if we were ‘Britain’ only, then these distinctions would probably be more difficult to emphasise and it would be harder to claim a contrived and spurious right to break off a specific chunk of sovereign territory. I am not, however, advocating abolishing the monarchy!

    Spain is not called the United Kingdoms of Spain and Germany is not refered to as the United Principalities of Germany. I can’t see either of these nations tolerating a subversive movement to destroy them from within.

    The question needs to be asked how we have ended up in this mess. Why did we let things get to this stage? Why have the iniquities generated by regional devolution which are prejudiced against England been allowed to continue – by the English? Who is to blame and when did the rot set in? Is this the same apathy that led to the immigrant invasion?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      We have ended up in this mess primarily because of party political polarisation between different parts of the country, which has been exacerbated by the first past the post electoral system for Westminster, coupled with the fact that it is only three centuries since Scotland was a separate sovereign independent state and it is relatively easy to conceive of it reverting to that status, compared to say the resurrection of Wessex or even Northumbria.

      The electoral system having the consequence that the Tories and their Unionist allies could go from attracting more than half of the votes and winning more than half of the seats in Scotland at the 1955 general election to still attracting a fifth of the votes but winning no seats at all in 1997; whereupon they were pronounced to be on the verge of extinction, which can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      There’s an interesting article here which says a lot just in its title:

      http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/38349/1/blogs_lse_ac_uk-The_decline_of_the_Conservative_party_in_Scotland_has_more_do_to_with_its_own_failings_than_the_rise_.pdf

      Really the two things which stop people in the north of England following the Scots in considering a future independent from the rest of the UK are their deep sense of being English and the absence of any clear historical border already drawn on the map which could be easily accepted as the line of separation; in terms of hostility to the Tory party they are now not far behind the Scots.

  34. Terry
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Who speaks for England? Why, UKIP, of course. Dithering Dave and his boy band does nothing for my country.

  35. JA
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Voter turnout 28.2%

    The people are telling you this:

    The British political ‘industry’ is redundant. It costs vast amounts of money. It is self serving, employs Spanish practices – its work has been outsourced to the EU.

    THERE IS NO POINT IN VOTING.

  36. bluedog
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    A surprising number of voices calling for a federal system, and they are right too. Some things cannot be done without a cost, and the United Kingdom must be retained as the hegemonial political structure on the island called Britain. Unless the investment in the UK is to be completely written off after 300 years, a federal system may offer a solution so that a reconstituted UK suits the needs of nationalists in all four constituent parts of the Union. One signal benefit of a federation on US or Australian lines is that there is an elected (accountable) senate that represents the rights of the underlying states in the Union. Even the US has only 100 senators, Australia less. Compare this to the current House of Lords with its almost 900 un-elected superannuated politicians, an absolute disgrace. Away with them.

  37. Richard
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    No-one speaks for England and those Scottish MP’s who continue to vote in the HOC on legislation not affecting Scotland are despicable.

    The fact that Parliament does not prevent these Scottish MP’s voting shows that an English parliament is needed with a new set of English politicians.

    Democracy does not seem to be important to many MPs.

    In another attack on democracy we see that 34% of the votes cast in a recent by- election were postal votes.

    Nothing is said and no action is taken, despite the fact that such voting is clearly open to bullying and fraud.

    There is at least one road in the UK where it is alleged some residents have forced the Royal Mail to deliver all the post for the road to a single house.

  38. a-tracy
    Posted February 18, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    This should have happened immediately when the Scottish and Welsh got their assemblies, it is ridiculous that tuition fees went through in England on the back of Scottish MPs (whose constituents it didn’t affect) voting it through.

    If the Scottish vote for Independence does win the day, does this mean that no more Scottish MPs would sit in the houses of parliament as there would no longer be a union or anything for them to have a say in. Why would they be needed at all if the devolved government in Scotland also has representatives. That would wipe off a big expense in wages, travel, accommodation, and offices in Westminster. Would the UK need to change it’s name, I wonder what too Britain. If Scotland has no right to EU membership then the new Britain would be out too wouldn’t it and wouldn’t you then have to convince the English to go back in?

  39. Robert Taggart
    Posted February 18, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    The time has certainly come for a complete rebranding of government departments.
    Ergo…
    British Defence Ministry.
    British Economic Ministry ? – business / trade matters.
    British Environs Ministry ? – environmental / safety matters
    British Foreign Ministry.
    British Finance Ministry.
    British Interior Ministry ? – constitutional / political matters.
    British Premier Ministry ? – self explanatory ?!
    British Transit Ministry ? – communication / transport matters.
    English Culture Ministry.
    English Education Ministry.
    English Health Ministry.
    English Welfare Ministry.

    The confusion will remain – until Blighty ceases to be a nation state.
    All the above could be English … – if England was to be independent – if only !

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  • 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.
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