Polling on English votes

In an April survey on the “Future of England”  (You Gov, sampled English voters)  62% wanted English votes for English issues, with only 12% against. ( 5 to 1)

42% of voters also favoured giving control of the majority of taxes raised in Scotland to the Scottish Parliament, with 25% against.

Many people in England like the idea of more fiscal devolution to Scotland, on the basis that Scotland would then be responsible for raising much more of the money itself which it wishes to spend.

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32 Comments

  1. Atlas
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    In all this debate about the Scottish ‘vow’ it is worth remembering that Cameron/Miliband/Clegg have no mandate from the English, Welsh and Northern Irish voters for their vow offer. They presume too much in my humble opinion.

    • James Matthews
      Posted October 17, 2014 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      No mandate from the Scots either. They might support it, but no one has asked them.

      • Atlas
        Posted October 18, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        True James.

        The introduction of the ‘Vow’ after the start of the postal ballots being returned really demonstrates panic on the part of Cameron – who had set his face against Devo-Max being an option on the voting paper.

        Reply The vow was not devo max – it was a restatement of position on the NHS and Barnett. What was new was the timetable to achieve the transfer of powers to Scotland that the 3 main parties had already offered earlier in the campaign.

        • Old Albion
          Posted October 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

          Nonsense! It was a panic response to one poll that placed ‘yes’ in the lead.
          Tearfully, Cameron told the Scots they could have everything they ever wanted, if they voted ‘no’ to independance.
          England as ever, was an afterthought.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 17, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it was not within their power offer any credible vow and the Scottish people should have know this. Gordon Brown after all is just a failed ex PM, who pledged not return to Boom or Bust, mugs private sector pensions and then wastes all the money on state sector nonsense.

    • David Price
      Posted October 18, 2014 at 2:40 am | Permalink

      I agree Westminster has given far too much weight to the concerns of the Scots and so little weight, till now, to the concerns of the English and how a federal UK will work. However, Cameron does have a mandate of sorts if you look at the Conservative 2010 manifesto (pp83-4) and the coalition agreement (implement Calman).

      • James Matthews
        Posted October 18, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        Fair enough, but Calman was on offer long before the Brown induced undignified panic.. All reported discussion seem to be about (at the very least) Calman plus.

  2. ian wragg
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    I would like to see the questions as I am sure they were loaded to give the results the pollsters wanted.
    In our local paper Ms. Di piero is espousing the Balkanisation of England as the solution to WLQ. Right on message.

  3. fedupsouthener
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    This fed up southerner lives in Scotland and would not like to see any shortfall on taxes raised by the Scots picked up by the English. Cameron needs to make sure the English are not paying out more than they do now. Scots already get more because of the Barnet Formula and should not expect any extra.

  4. bluedog
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    April? Six months in politics is epochal.

    Perhaps YouGov will run the survey again in the wake of the Scottish ‘No’ vote. If English opinion has hardened further, the prospects for the Union are grim indeed.

  5. alan jutson
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Not so sure I would like different tax rates for Scotland whilst they still get money from the rest of the UK,

    Means if they get calculations wrong then they automatically get a bail out from the rest of us, but are they likely to give a surplus back to the UK,.

    Sounds like heads they win, tails we lose.

    Only English votes for English policies, absolutely

  6. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    What was the sample?

  7. Richard1
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    This shows that the majority of people are fair-minded no matter how they vote. Its only self-serving Labour politicians like Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband who wish to deny the irrefutable logical fairness of English votes for English issues.

    I think devolution of tax-raising powers to Scotland is fine – so long as we get the same thing for England, and so long as the UK taxpayer is not expected to plug any shortfalls, should the Scottish Parliament make revenue-diminishing choices (such as raising marginal tax rates). It needs to be clear that if the Scottish parliament chooses high taxes, they will need to cut spending if the Laffer effect means they lose revenues.

  8. DaveM
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    That’s fairly conclusive and straightforward.

    Put that together with similar polls on EU membership and immigration, promise to deliver what the majority wants (and add in a few positive bits about tax, pensions, and the NHS) and your election-winning manifesto’s done.

    Then you just need to let people know about it!!!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 17, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Indeed but call me Dave (for, one can only assume, genetic reasons) so often likes to do the opposite of what works and is popular. So high taxes, more EU, more Government, expensive energy, broken promises, more green blob crap, open borders and election loses it will probably be.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Well, JR, of course I agree that it should be English votes for English issues; however they should be cast in a true “national” devolved Parliament for the whole of England, not in a merely “notional” English Parliament buried within the UK Parliament. For fifteen years the Scots have had their own separate and separately elected devolved Parliament and government for Scotland, there is no going back on that now, so why should the English have anything less? Because we’re not worth it?

    • stred
      Posted October 18, 2014 at 2:57 am | Permalink

      The Scottish Parliament cost 5x the estimate and most people watching the proceedings in it would conclude that it is a chamber for windbaggery. They had a perfectly adequate regional chamber, but had to show off and waste vast amounts of money, Do we want the same for the English, when we can use Westminster? The same happened in the case of Portcullis House. Five times over budget, trees and desks costing incredible amounts and more expensive per sq.m. than the most plush City offices.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 18, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        And yet if you asked the Scots now, in the light of fifteen years’ experience of what you see as windbaggery and wasteful spending, whether they think that it was a mistake to set up the devolved Scottish institutions and would prefer to see them abolished, then you would find very little support for going backwards to having all of that windbaggery and wasteful spending located in London rather than having some of it in Edinburgh. In fact it was a close call whether the Scots would vote for a complete separation, with all of it then being in Edinburgh, and they were only induced to vote against that by being promised that the devolved Scottish institutions would be given even more scope for your windbaggery and waste.

        Once the UK Parliament passed an Act saying in its first line:

        “There shall be a Scottish Parliament.”

        and dividing powers between the existing UK Parliament, “reserved”, and the new Scottish Parliament, “devolved”, then it was setting the UK on the path to become a federal rather than a unitary state.

        But you cannot have a federation where three of the four components have their own separate and separately elected Parliaments and governments while the fourth is treated as if it was just a very large federal territory under the direct rule of the federal Parliament and government.

        • stred
          Posted October 20, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

          I was arguing for the use of the existing chamber, where MPs may have been less inclined to talk incessantly in their splendid surroundings. The same would happen if a new English Parliament were to be built. More windbags at great expense and finding new ways to waste taxes.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted October 20, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

            Because the despised English do not deserve a separate chamber in which their separately elected representatives could hold their debates, they have to make do with UK MPs elected in England borrowing a room at Westminster. And this is what runs through most of the attempts by the UK politicians to find a quick and cheap fix to what they see as the English “problem”, that the English are a problem once they start wanting recognition of themselves as a nation and England as their country, rather than just being there in the largest part of the UK to provide said UK politicians with the resources they need. Maybe that will wash, or maybe the English worm will eventually turn and bite those who view the English and England with such contempt.

  10. petermartin2001
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    If it really were the case, as most tend to think, that taxes are levied and governments then spend the proceeds, and borrow the rest, it would be relatively straightforward to divvy up the tax take.

    Except it doesn’t work like that! For any of us to be able to pay taxes, or buy treasury bonds, the government must have first spent that money into existence. So, logically, the spending has to come first, (that creates the money) then taxation can follow. The only sensible way of understanding the monetary system is on the basis that money is created by government spending. Money is destroyed by government taxation.

    That just needs to be borne in mind when working out who can spend what in the separate entities of our less than perfectly United Kingdom. Ultimately, there needs to be a single issuer of the currency and as single destroyer too. For that reason, the suggestion from Alex Salmonde that Scotland and UK could somehow share the pound was nonsense. That was the weak point of an otherwise good campaign on his part.

  11. Old Albion
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    EV for EI is o/k as a start point. Ultimately democratic equality for all four nations of the (dis)UK is the only answer. That means a Parliament for England.

  12. Real Reform Now
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I think there is only one sensible way to solve this and that is to take it out of the hands of the politicians, because while the vested interests argue amongst themselves we will get nowhere.

    Set up an independent group comprised of apolitical experts charged with delivering genuine fair and representative reform to the Westminster electoral system which must include a framework for devolved matters (in all their guises – England, England/Wales, England/Wales/NI) and implement their recommendations. How about it?

    • Edward2
      Posted October 18, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Who chooses the members of this august body?

  13. Sam
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    EVEL should be stage one, to be followed by further devolution to shires and cities. The UK executive’s remit should be narrowed, as general elections have become a spending contest. I don’t see why much more than defence and (cross-regional) infrastructure needs to be controlled at the state level.

  14. acorn
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Eight out of ten cats prefer Whiskas. But somebody had to tell them cos they didn’t understand the question either.

  15. Peter
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    The problem is John, the Beeb won’t broadcast it. Tory solutions win until they’re identified thus, as shown by the latest Standard poll. EVEL might help but having the national broadcaster at odds with you won’t.

    It will always be am uphill battle: Cry God for Harry and St George

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 18, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Cry God for Harry, England and St George.

  16. Richard
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Are there likely to be any problems caused by different countries having different borrowing, taxing and spending policies but sharing the same currency ?

    Reply They will not have different borrowing policies

  17. David Price
    Posted October 18, 2014 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    I’d be interested in seeing more up to date polling which also asked if EVEL would be enough or responders would prefer a fully devolved English parliament and administration.

    I agree there needs to be a constitutional convention but that should focus on the federated UK since a fully devolved English parliament could operate the same as the British equivalent now. A key issue at the UK level would be how to protect other constituent countries from fiscal excesses of others.

    I would hope Westminster recognises the danger of alienating people and directly involves the English people in this important debate, not just the politicians, MSM and academics.

    On a related note, which parties have asked/agreed to contribute to the current EVEL discussions, I realise Labour have rejected the opportunity, but what of the others?

    Reply Conservatives and Lib Dems

  18. fedupsouthener
    Posted October 18, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Let’s not forget that some of us living in Scotland are truly afraid of the consequences of letting the SNP loose with more of our money. The middle/working class are worried we will pay the price of the extravagant welfare payments to those who cannot be bothered to work and I can assure you, there are plenty of those!!

  19. Gareth Young
    Posted October 20, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    In September ICM found that 65% want an English parliament and 40% want English independence, both forms of English Votes on English Laws.

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/5931118/England-of-hope.html

  • 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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