The reaction of some in the Lib Dems and Labour to the moves in Scotland to leave us or to loosen the Union ties is to seek to demolish England at the same time. In proposing this they gravely misjudge the mood of the English people.
Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for the idea that Scottish MPs should no longer vote on English matters. What part of that do Labour MPs from Scotland not understand? If they want their party to have a chance to do well in England they should withdraw from English votes, just as the Scottish Nationalists have done.
A majority of proposals for elected Mayors have been voted down by English electorates. There is no sign of huge pent up demands for more powerful elected local government. If it is wanted that will remain possible with an English Parliament, just as it has been on offer from the UK Parliament. Mr Clegg will have to come up with a better idea than more powerful cities. And why in Mr Clegg’s world of unfair and lopsided devolution do cities deserve better than suburbs or rural areas? Why should Sheffield have more devolution than Wokingham?
The old idea of elected regional governments was even less popular than elected Mayors. In Labour’s favourite place to try it, in the North East with traditional strong Labour support and as far away from London as possible, an overwhelming majority said No to regional government in a referendum. What part of that did people not understand? Why do some think they can revive this idea? Do they not see that England, a Eurosceptic country, has no wish to be broken up into Euro regions.
Liverpool does not want to be placed under Manchester control in the North West. Sunderland and Newcastle have made their views known on the North East. Cornwall does not fancy being governed by either Exeter or Bristol, and Exeter and Plymouth would be suspicious of Bristol claims to be the heart of the South West. My part of the country is in several regions that we do not recognise and do not wish to govern us – Thames Valley, rest of the South-east and the south.
If the problem is the potential break up of the UK, the answer is not to break up England. It is time for England to have her voice and her own unity.