You can epetition for an English Parliament

I discover there is a live petition for the English Parliament to emerge at Westminster with English votes for English issues. It is available on epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/68744. Those of you who support the idea might like to sign it.

(It is not something I tabled or asked to be tabled and is not in my name. )

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57 Comments

  1. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I am aware it is mere pedantry but the misuse of apostrophes in that very short petition reflects badly on the writer and makes me unlikely to sign it.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 15, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Roy,
      Agreed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 15, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      Well if you know the apostrophe was used incorrectly then you surely know the meaning intended. Its misuse has not lead to any confusion, just mild irritation to some people – perhaps we should chill out more?

      Grammar and (especially the countless daft English spellings) should adapt and not be fixed in aspic by some “right” dictionary. If teachers did not have to ram accommodation, yacht, ghost, write and the likes down young children they might be able to teach them how to think, reason and question instead perhaps?

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 15, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Our new language needs to be codified by committee then, Lifelogic – not made up ad hoc by illiterates.

        The point is that the people receiving the petition WILL be well educated and see it as a sign of the signatories’ ignorance on this and other matters.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 16, 2014 at 4:51 am | Permalink

          But is was like all languages largely made up by ad hoc illiterates.

          “Codified by a committee” sound rather a socialist approach to me.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 16, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

            The French do it, or at least try to.

          • Anonymous
            Posted September 16, 2014 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

            Not everything that socialists do is bad.

      • APL
        Posted September 15, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic: “If teachers did not have to ram accommodation, yacht, ghost, write and the likes down young children they might be able to teach them how to think, reason and question instead perhaps?”

        Ahem! Teachers seemed to be able to teach thought and reason as well as grammar and spelling, in the old school system …. AND Greek and Latin too.

        It’s not the English language that is the problem, it’s the ‘social engineering’ of the anti ‘Education’ teaching unions, and (spit) our politicians.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 16, 2014 at 4:43 am | Permalink

          Well do you think there is only one “right” accent too? Should we have an accent dictionary to proscribe what pronunciation is “right”. “Medicine” and “Medcine” for example? Should southerners be forced to say their “a”s properly instead of “ar”s all the time?

          Accent and pronunciation being to the spoken language exactly what the letters & marks on the papers are to the written one.

          Notation is just a tool. What really matters is logic, reason and understanding which are hugely lacking. Merely remembering there are two “c”s and two “m”s accommodation (because some old dictionary compiler says so) is not really that important.

          Or would not be that important were their not so many pedants about.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted September 16, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

            were “there” I meant!

          • APL
            Posted September 18, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

            Lifelogic: “were “there” I meant!”

            Lifelogic: “to proscribe what pronunciation is “right”.”

            You probably meant to use prescribe too, and correct instead of “right”. 😉

            The fact is, this type of detail and discipline can be taught, nay, was taught in the old school system.

            By the way, none more guilty of illiteracy than I, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s lazy teachers and poor discipline in schools that have led us to where we are.

            By the way, there was an item on the BBC radio about the variety of dialects, one individual related how (s)he had two or three different dialects depending if he was in school, at home or with his mates playing. Didna’ give ‘im na’ grief.

            Lifelogic: “Notation is just a tool”

            Exactly, but it is a useless tool if you can’t (a)understand it, and thus (b) use if for its intended purpose.

            There is much to be said for common standards. But that doesn’t mean there can be only one way to do a thing.

        • Margaret Brandreth-J
          Posted September 16, 2014 at 6:45 am | Permalink

          It is pedantry, yet we do not have private languages as they are for collective communication. Apostrophes, commas. parenthesis badly used, can change the meaning of any piece of writing . In haste I have documented much and then re read at a later time to find that it was not exactly what I wanted to say. Language is mutable as long as everyone understands the mutation.

          • margaret brandreth-j
            Posted September 16, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

            and there we see it; early am full stop following the word comma. I have noticed these days that people are beginning to start a sentence with the conjunction ‘and’

      • acorn
        Posted September 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        Taking things far too literally is one of the symptoms of autism. Some autistic people would interpret a remark such as “Give me your hand” as “Cut of your hand and give it to me”, and so can often react with great fear to such statements. Similarly, they may react to requests such as “Pull your socks up” by actually pulling their socks up. Similarly, being obsessed by grammar or spelling mistakes such that they can’t relate to the social context of the writer or what that writer was attempting to say. (Pedants’ and Tossers’ Tea Party)

        • forthurst
          Posted September 16, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

          Autism, which by your definition, acorn, is about literal mindedness, such as not being able to detect irony, of which there is at least one prominent exemplar on this site, should not be confused with adherence to the rules of English grammar: if there were a rule which stated that it is permissable to throw an apostrophe in the general direction of an ultimate sibilant, that might be confusing to foreigners learning English; if they were invited to learn English on the basis that there were no rules of grammar, spelling or syntax, that would be ultimately confusing. Also consider the difficulties experienced by interpreters having to translate Prescott into English or Prescott into Russian.

    • pauline welch
      Posted September 23, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Just because someone is not well educated does not mean they are not entitled to an opinion. I failed my 11plus exam and secondary education for the failures was not good, however I agree that it is not fair for scottish M.P. to vote for example for free tution fees and then vote for £9000 a year fees for the English to name just one example. I hope the prime minister sticks to his guns for once. The Labour party are out of touch on this matter and are just worried about themselves, not the English people who quite frankly have had enough of being treated as if we do not matter

  2. Duyfken
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I have complied, despite the profusion of apostrophes in the petition, and also despite my not having the advantage of being English.

  3. Nick
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    More politicians. Exactly what we don’t need.

    Why is it you always go for the expensive option?

    Just have a vote. No Scottish or Welsh MP to vote on English matters.

    • Old Albion
      Posted September 15, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      The total increase in politicians as a result of this e-petition would be exactly …………ZERO

    • alan bayless
      Posted September 22, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      I totally agree with this petition, no Scotsman should have a say with English law, Ed Milliband wants it to stay as it is because he would lose his right to govern England, thank heavens for small mercies.
      Regards Alan Bayless

  4. francis
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    John

    Have a look at this

    http://www.thecep.org.uk

    They have existed for years, why don’t you contact them?

  5. James Matthews
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Leaving aside those who believe that grammar is more important than democracy, I think there will be many who will not sign the petition because, although they agree that there should be an English Parliament, they think it should be separately elected (and, unless they are Conservatives, by some form of PR).

    A pity because opponents of an English Parliament will look at the numbers of signatures, not the detail.

    As I support the main principle I have signed it.

  6. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/68744

    “Westminster to become England’s parliament with MP’s only elected from English constituencies. Representative’s from the devolved assemblies in the UK to attend only when UK matters are discussed.”

    Yes, but firstly there are actually two Houses of Parliament at Westminster, so this totally ignores the question of what would happen about the second chamber; and secondly if representatives from the devolved assemblies were expected to attend when UK matters were discussed then that would be almost all of the time and so they would be unable to perform their duties in the devolved assemblies; thirdly it says nothing at all about having a devolved English government separate from the UK government; and fourthly it doesn’t say how this arrangement would be constitutionally entrenched so that the MPs (either English or UK) would be prevented from reversing it and/or proceeding to vote for England to be broken up into EU regions as has been attempted in the past and will no doubt be tried again in the future given half a chance.

    So I won’t be signing it; and I would agree with francis above that it is worth looking at the CEP website, with its claim that a separately elected English Parliament with its own Executive is “the only real answer to the ‘English question'”.

  7. ian
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    ordering up some weather to freeze this lot this winter

  8. dumpling
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    An English parliament is all well and good if there is no net increase in cost to the tax payer. In other words the present parliament must be made much smaller.

  9. Robert Taggart
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Have ‘done our duty’ – as England expects every man to !

    • Richard Hobbs
      Posted September 15, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Me too – signed it. I am English living in Canada and am worried sick for our Country.
      Bit I don’t care about the apostrophes!!

      • Robert Taggart
        Posted September 16, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        Worried sick ? – for which country ?? – England ???, UKGBNI ????
        Moi ? – only England matters to us !
        As for our ‘colonial friends’ – oneself would wish for Quebecan independence – no more bilingual signage in the rest Canada then !

  10. Mark B
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Like Dennis, I too will not be signing it. Which is a shame.

    I am Sorry Mr. Redwood MP sir, but I cannot sell my country short. I have made my position very clear, and have not had anyone here argue against me. That is not to say that people do not disagree, it is just they do not feel a strong as I do on the issue.

    If a petition was to come my way that supported my position, then I would sign.

    As I have said here and in my letter to my MP; “I want the same !”

  11. Sam
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I am all for the principle, but I don’t think sending the Scots or Welsh to Starbucks for an hour while we talk inheritance tax is really going to work. For one thing, Englishman are unlikely to see it as “their” parliament. For another, Scots, Welsh and N.Irish are likely to see Westminster as a yet more English institution, rather than a representative one. Lastly, Westminster’s status as the sovereign parliament would make the English parliament sitting there implicitly senior to other devolved bodies, which is a likely source of resentment.

    I’m afraid it will have to be another layer of government, as much as that is undesirable. It should sit somewhere other than London, too: Manchester for pragmatists out York for romantics.

    Reply Once again England – and Eurosceptics – will be splintered by their own wish to find the perfect answer which others do not agree with. Can’t we all sometimes just get behind a proposal which may not be perfect but which is a big advance in our cause?

    • Margaret
      Posted September 15, 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      reply to reply..I will await the results and get behind a need for an English Parliament somewhere more central to England . Westminster has a long history , but so does the Scottish/GB union. There isn’t much hierarchical respect any more for the Houses and although the traditional rituals are part of the GB heritage ,we are being forced to change. Staying together though, would be much cheaper than making whoopee.

      Some talked about safety being a personal responsibility . Unfortunately I do not have a trident in the back garden. Defence matters are so important in all this.

      • David Price
        Posted September 20, 2014 at 4:03 am | Permalink

        That was me, though it was in the context of risk taking, the excessive H&S brigade and relying on others, including lawyers, to mitigate risk. I would agree with you that it is a primary function of government to defend against invasion and deal with law breakers.

    • Sam
      Posted September 15, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Yes, on that score you are right, and with that in mind I have signed the petition.

      I encourage others to do the same- let’s have it debated ASAP

    • James Matthews
      Posted September 15, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      I have to support the reply here. The good need not always be the enemy of the best. (e.g.the SNP originally opposed devolution as insufficient, but has gained much advantage from it). Signing this petition does not prevent anyone from seeking more, or indeed signing another petition asking for more. Petitions, even when massively supported, do no more than draw Parliamentary and public attention to an issue. If people want to get the best on to the national agenda they may have to compromise on how they do it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 16, 2014 at 4:48 am | Permalink

      They never mention Inheritance Tax after Osborne’s appalling ratting, let alone ever discuss it!

    • alan jutson
      Posted September 16, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      I just want us to get on with it, so I have signed it.

      Let us simply get on with getting this before Parliament so at least it can be discussed, then we can work/flush out the finer details.

  12. Richard1
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    This is different from your proposal isn’t it? I thought you were saying the whole of the UK elects MPs as now, but the English MPs only sit as an English Parliament, and all MPs meet as the UK Parliament? It would be clear that ministries such as health, education, welfare, justice, the home office would be occupied only by English MPs. Likewise the FO and MoD could be any UK MPs. But what about the Treasury and the PM him/herself? Would the Treasury become the English treasury under your proposal? What about debt issuance? Would the separate national parliaments issue their own debt, and if so would the UK backstop it or not?

    Reply Treasury and PM would be UK, with a First Minister and Finance Minister for England as for Scotland. We keep the currency union so UK issues the debt.

    • Richard1
      Posted September 15, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Excellent I hope you will allow your name to go forward as either First Minister or Finance Minister of England.

  13. Welsh not British
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Hi John, whilst I would agree with you that only English MPs should vote on English only matters it would appear that you do not share the belief that only Welsh MPs should vote for matters concerning Wales.

    After a cursory look I have seen you voted against Welsh water being fully devolved to Wales and against Air Passenger Duty being devolved to Wales. I’m sure there are more examples of this hypocrisy if I looked but these two are enough for now.

    I think you will agree with me when I raise the ‘West-Anglia Question’.

    “For how long will non-English constituencies and non-English Honourable members tolerate… at least 533 Honourable Members from England exercising a colonial, and probably often exploitative, effect on non-English politics?”

    As we are seeing in Scotland, not for very long.

    Hwyl

    Reply I have already said Wales too should get full devolution if it wishes now we are going to need a new constitutional settlement.

    • Welsh not British
      Posted September 15, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      So why do you keep voting on matters that concern Wales?

      Reply Because that is the current system – Welsh MPs keep voting on matters that concern England. I am now seeking a new system! That requires a new deal for all MPs.

      • Richard1
        Posted September 16, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

        Dear Mr welsh nor British, do you vote on issues such as education and the NHS where your votes affect English people? Wales should get a choice for proper super devo max or whatever its called, as Scotland is to have, but please help us get the same thing in England. Where would be the justice in denying it?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 16, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        Of course Welsh MPs will keep voting on matters which concern England, simply because there are so few Bills which apply to England which do not also apply to Wales. In fact of the 33 Acts of the UK Parliament passed in 2013 there was not a single one that applied only to England, and they all applied to Wales except one which only applied to Scotland.

    • APL
      Posted September 18, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Welsh not British: “devolved to Wales and against Air Passenger Duty being devolved to Wales. ”

      Air Passenger Duty ought to be abolished.

  14. Old Albion
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Reply Once again England – and Eurosceptics – will be splintered by their own wish to find the perfect answer which others do not agree with. Can’t we all sometimes just get behind a proposal which may not be perfect but which is a big advance in our cause?

    Spot-on

  15. john robertson
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Can’t help but feel the Scots have a no win, independence they are toast, a no vote they loose influence and it gets more fair for the rest of the UK. Typical Scots outcome

    • James Matthews
      Posted September 16, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      No sign that a no vote will make things fairer for the rest of the UK so far. Quite the opposite in fact.

  16. Peter Stroud
    Posted September 15, 2014 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    I support all who suggest that, should NO prevail, Parliament should only allow MPs from Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales to vote in the Commons, on matters associated with their regions. England needs a Parliament, but Westminster needs to govern the UK, including England. No longer, for example, should forty or so Scots Labour MPs be allowed to sway, the Hunting Bill: that affected only England and Wales. As to the Lords: who knows what to do with them? Perhaps Mr Redwood might have a few ideas.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 16, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      I suggest you have a look at the 33 Acts passed by the UK Parliament in 2013:

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2013

      and count up how many of them have no provisions extending to Scotland, how many do also apply to Scotland, how many apply to Wales etc.

      Well, I’ll save you the trouble of going through all 33 Acts and checking the extent of each by saying that I find only these 6 do not apply to Scotland in any way:

      Mobile Homes Act
      Presumption of Death Act
      Prisons (Property) Act
      Scrap Metal Dealers Act
      Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act
      Trusts (Capital and Income) Act

      None of these 33 Acts ONLY applies to England, but there is one Act passed by the Parliament for the whole of the UK which ONLY applies to Scotland:

      Partnerships (Prosecution) (Scotland) Act

      Which incidentally was also the only Act which does not apply to Wales.

      So 82% of the Acts passed by the UK Parliament last year applied to Scotland, with 3% applying only to Scotland and the same 3% not applying to Wales.

  17. agricola
    Posted September 16, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Well todays contribution will be less satirical than the one ignored yesterday. Sense of humour deficit I fear.

    Why is your proposal so complex. I advocate KISS ( Keep it simple stupid). England elects an English Parliament. There is no election of Scottish, Welsh, or NI MPs to the Westminster Parliament because they already have their own parliaments. MPs from those parliaments get invited to Westminster when UK matters are up for debate.

    Forget about the already rejected region/ city autonomies. The idea is put about to perpetuate socialism and the destruction of England by the EU and their quisling mouthpieces better recognised as Cameron conservatives, labour, lib/dems and the BBC.

  18. Know-Dice
    Posted September 16, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Am I being stupid?

    “Westminster to become England’s parliament with MP’s only elected from English constituencies. Representative’s from the devolved assemblies in the UK to attend only when UK matters are discussed. ”

    Shouldn’t it say – …Representatives from the devolved assemblies in the UK to attend only when UK matters are NOT discussed. ?

  19. Know-Dice
    Posted September 16, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Yes I am being stupid…

  20. Atlas
    Posted September 16, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the link John.

  21. a-tracy
    Posted September 16, 2014 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    John before the Scots vote I hope the media says just how much per head of the UK do we spend on Trident each year and how much does that equate to for Scotland to spend on themselves.

    Who the heck was the guy speaking of England on C4 news 19:47 sack him! I’m disgusted with him.

  22. Steve
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Redwood talks good sense

  23. Alastair Harris
    Posted September 18, 2014 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    I am in favour of an English parliament. I think it should sit outside of London. I would be in favour of a more central location. Not just of symbolic importance. Politicians need to reconnect with this country.

  24. tony p
    Posted September 23, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Most people who have common sense can see that it is only fair the English have the right to vote on issues relating to England.

  25. tony p
    Posted September 23, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    English MPs should be the only ones to vote English issues.

  • About John Redwood


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

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