The debate about the future of Scotland raises an even bigger debate – what will be the future of England? More and more people in England feel we are getting a raw deal, as the political classes concentrate on improving the offer to Scotland, and burnishing special arrangements for every part of the union of the UK except that of England.
I have tabled questions again asking who speaks for England? When can we have the policy of English votes for English issues applied in the Commons? Why don’t Labour MPs for Scottish seats recognise the long term political danger of voting for or against English matters when the same issues about Scotland are determined by the Scottish Parliament in their own constituencies?
The last General Election saw the Conservatives win a comfortable majority in England. Because Labour MPs for Scottish seats intend to vote on English issues as well as Union issues, the Conservative leadership had to set up a coalition government for England as well as the Union. England now has to accept policies which were defeated in the English part of the General Election as a result. Conversely Scotland gets exactly what it votes for in big areas like education, health, local government, law and order and the environment because these matters are now determined by the Scottish Parliament. Scotland can be on the losing side in a General Election but still get much of the government it wants through devolution. England can be on the winning side in a General Election, and still end up with a government it does not want thanks to the presence of Scottish MPs at Westminster. (All this of course is subject to the increasingly stifling impact of the EU on all parts of the UK)
England’s sense of grievance is sharpened by the persistent attempts of the EU and its Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters to deny the existence of England and to seek to split us up into a series of meaningless regions. They want Liverpool to accept government from Manchester, Sunderland to accept government from Newcastle, and Exeter to accept government from Bristol, as they seek to steamroller city identities into convenient regional administrative units. In my own case they cannot make up their mind whether my area is the Thames Valley, the rest of the South-east, Wessex, the south or some other monstrous bureaucratic birth.
England is the part of the UK least happy with the EU relationship. English voters will want to use any change in the Scottish relationship as further reason to change our subservience to the continent. More English people now want to have a voice, and for us to have more say over our own affairs, if everyone else in our union is allowed such freedom.