Why should Scottish MPs come to Westminster to impose a higher rate of Income Tax on England than the Scottish Parliament places on Scotland?

The announcement by the Smith Commission that Scotland should in future decide her own Income Tax is an important moment in the evolution of the United Kingdom.

The new West Lothian or Wokingham question must be who imposes Income tax on the English?

Instead of the Scottish referendum settling our united country for another generation, the generous offer of the Conservatives and Lib Dems of full Income tax powers, and the offer of substantial Income Tax powers by Labour means we are moving to new kind of looser federation. Time will tell whether this latest settlement is then stable as some of us hope, or whether it will embolden Scottish voters to ask for more once this round of devolution has been digested.

What should be clear to all politicians is the grant of these major powers to Scotland will require the grant of powers to England too. (I  leave out Wales and Northern Ireland for simplicity, but the same principles should apply to them. Devolved issues to them will be settled in their parts of the UK. Anything not devolved to them will still be settled by the Union Parliament with all MPs voting on it who do not come from a part of the country where that matter is devolved. Some votes will be English, some will be English,Welsh and Irish, and some will be UK wide)

The new West Lothian or Wokingham question is simple. “Why should Scottish MPs come to Westminster to impose a higher rate of Income Tax on England than the Scottish Parliament is imposing on Scotland?”

You cannot answer this question by fobbing off England with limited devolution to some English cities or regions. England (maybe with Wales and Northern Ireland) will want a single Income Tax rate which we need to settle for ourselves.  That requires English votes for English issues in the Westminster Parliament as the first step on the road to justice for England within a new looser federation.

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138 Comments

  1. Peter A
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Of course the premise of the Wokingham question is correct in extremis. Though I rather think that the issue is not higher taxes in England than Scotland but comparable taxes. A Scottish government would immediately reintroduce at least 50p rate. The highest earning 1% pay 28% taxes. In Scotland, 40% of that 1% don’t identity with being Scottish, this would spell doom for Scotland. To neutralise this they would of course try for comparable rates.

    Tough choice of subject today John; what with the news of a new EU budget gap that must be filled, by the billion, by British tax payers again. Nothing like penalising success and hard work. Irrefutable proof, if ever it was needed, that Big govt is Bad govt.

    • Hope
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      EU demands £34 billion more for its black hole, Van Rmpouy mocks Cameron for achieving nothing, four Europeans entered the country with convictions were convicted for aggravated burglary, while another is wanted for murder-EAW of no use whatsoever, now Cameron is embarking on the Blakanisation of the country while JR’s understanding of what his leader agreed is different to his own understanding of the Scottish settlement! No ifs or buts but immigration is higher than when Cameron came to office and his promise was never deliverable. World Health Service over stretched, British people fight for school places, and the Romanian and Bulgarian immigration figures have come home to roost despite original denials. When will JR and his colleagues realise. You cannot believe a word Cameron says? Meanwhile the two posh boys’ chum lost his libel case for using pompous language. Anyone remember how Cameron first spoke at PMQs to be labelled Flashman? That is the modern Tory party for you I guess.

    • sjb
      Posted November 28, 2014 at 12:19 am | Permalink

      I hope readers will keep in mind that the Smith Commission has merely set out a list of recommendations. For example, devolving Air Passenger Duty was proposed by another commission … five years ago.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    English votes for English issues in the Westminster Parliament as the first step on the road to justice for England is clearly the only way to go. Justice for England is exactly where Cameron should be, after all he will not get many MPs from anywhere other than England.

    The problem is Cameron has not pushed this remotely sufficiently. Any additional powers for Scotland should be entirely dependent justice for England. He still seems determined to throw the next election, which is still there for the taking despite his dreadful performance. All he has to do is make the party a real Conservative party rather than the current Libdem/Labour/pro EU/green crap/serial ratting/higher taxes/huge deficit/socialist light organisation it currently is.

    • Hope
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Osborne is reported (agreed with Clegg) to be going around the country to help regionalisation by devolving powers to regions/cities. A Blakanisation of the England rather than the EVEL that we all want. However the EU does not want an England region it wants it carved up. Trust Cameron and Osborne- on actions to date in govt. No chance.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 29, 2014 at 6:43 am | Permalink

        Indeed the are forcing a Mayor onto Greater Manchester, against the voters clearly expressed wishes.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Meanwhile the oil price falls again to $75 (and gas) making wind and PV and all the green crap even more insane.

  3. Stevie Gee
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    I’m afraid if this is true, it confirms yet again that David Cameron cannot be trusted on anything.

    Why on Earth Gordon Brown is listened to on any subject, given the damage done to so many areas of Britsh life, I do not know.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Indeed but failed politicians (who have been proved wrong over and over again) seem to get lauded and on to the BBC all the time. People Ken Clark, Heseltine, Britton, the Kinnocks, John Major, S Gummer, Yeo, Huhne ….. Tony Blair even gets a global award for Save the Children in some sort of sick joke one assumes. They are almost as popular as all the quack (dig holes and fill them in again tax, borrow and waste) “economists” and the religious purveyors of quack greenery with their CO2 (fiery hell on earth) religion.

      Major even got a knighted for his abysmal performance as PM, giving away the UK’s democracy without authority and his ERM fiasco with 15% interest rates, homes repossessed, businesses destroyed and even many suicides.

      “If is is not hurting it is not working”
      “if we come out of the mechanism interest rates will have to go up further”

  4. Steve Cox
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    John, you write that, “What should be clear to all politicians is the grant of these major powers to Scotland will require the grant of powers to England too.”

    I ask the simple question why? I fully agree with you, and you are correct from any sensible moral or intellectual standpoint, but if the leaders of all three of the main parties are happy with the Smith Commission settlement what can we do about it? Write to our MP’s? Take to the streets? Or simply vote UKIP in the hope that their leadership still has some sanity and decency left, unlike the other three parties.

    • Hope
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      It was clear from JR’s interview today that his understanding of what the Tory leadership position is is different from what it is written in the Smith report, and what Cameron has heaped praise upon. I could not help but wonder whether JR was had over again by his leadership.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      I am sure many people will vote UKIP. Everything has got out of hand and the more I read on these pages, the more I despair. Why are people even thinking about voting for a party they are so unhappy with? What is the point? We know what we are getting – just more of the same weak leadership and no action on things the electorate want change on. There has to be a better alternative to an SNP/Lab/Dims coalition. Hopefully UKIP will gain enough seats to make that difference and we will see progress. People may not like ALL they stand for but much of what they say makes sense. Sturgeon and co will only be thinking about Scotland and the English can go hang themselves.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    The subsumption of the UK into the EU would cure this problem.

  6. Mark b
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Time will tell whether this latest settlement is then stable as some of us hope, or whether it will embolden Scottish voters to ask for more once this round of devolution has been digested.

    You simply do not get it, do you !?!?!? The UK is finished !

    Our kind host sounds like one of those people who are witnessing the end of Empire. It is not going to go all in one, but go it will. And he, and others is struggling to come to terms. It will go, because you offered nothing better in the debates. It was, same old, same old. Rather than something new, bold and imaginative. Something the Conservative Party use to be good at. Sound, sensible and researched policies that were both forward looking and creative. eg The right to by or, buying shares.

    The people of Scotland did not want to be independent. They just wanted to be rid of Westminster, who they see as remote and uncaring. Much like we see the Brussels mob.

    You could have offered something different. You could have offered a formal Federal Union. You could have offered to convert the HoL to a Senate, which would have pleased the Lib Dems. You could have offered this and much more. Instead, you let the Labour Party try to clear up the mess it made, and made an even bigger mess. What was, Einstein’s theory on stupidity ?

    You gave the Scots something you said you would not give. You did so without consulting the Cabinet, Parliament or, the rest of the UK. We are going to have to pay for your mistakes, but you will pay for yours, I hope, in just a fraction over 6 months time.

    It won’t be 1997 all over again, but the seeds of your parties demise in the one place that would have returned you to power, has been sown. As in Scotland, so to in England will people slowly move away from voting Tory.

    You simply cannot be trusted.

    • Hope
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Well said. It also dem starts Cameron’s negotiation skills or that he you simply cannot believe a word he says, he says one thing while acting in stark contrast. I genuinely think JR has been had over.

    • William Gruff
      Posted November 29, 2014 at 12:50 am | Permalink

      As always with people advocating a federal solution to the problems caused by the lop-sided devolution settlements of Blair and Brown, and now Cameron and Clegg, you offer no explanation of how a federal structure can avoid the problems that have led to devolution nor any explanation of why one is necessary. What is the benefit to the people of England of union or federation? There is none.

      The ‘U’K is, as you observe, finished and the solution is dissolution and independence for the constituent nations, not a federation that cannot but perpetuate the perceived iniquities of the ‘United’ Kingdom.

  7. bluedog
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    This is utter insanity, Dr JR, truly a moment of pure bungling by rank amateurs in the governance of the UK.

    There is a desperate need for clear, well-considered strategic thinking about the constitutional arrangements of this country. More wild promises, sound bites and Band-Aid solutions will not resolve the constitutional matter, the only hope is for someone to call a halt, pause, think and regroup.

    The time has undoubtedly come to consider a federal constitution in which all constituent entities have equal rights and responsibilities within the Union. There are many federal constitutional blueprints available around the world upon which the UK can draw for guidance. If Cameron thinks that he saved the Union in September, he is wrong, he just bought short-term respite from fragmentation at a very high price. Cameron now needs to apply himself to understanding how a federal constitution works and to learn enough to sell the idea to the whole nation.

    As you say, the matter cannot be resolved by devolving powers to a few cities or regions. Those who advocate such measures are simply too intellectually idle or deficient to think through the consequences of their suggestions. It is essential to grasp that a federal union can contain entities of radically different population size and economic power. The underlying convention is the diplomatic assumption that all states are equal, based on precedents drawn from relationships between the Italian city-states in the Middle Ages. Consider that in the US Federation both New York State and Rhode Island are both represented by just two senators. Again, in Australia, New South Wales with 7 million has the same senate representation as Tasmania with just 500,000 people.

    It is therefore perfectly possible for England, Scotland, NI and Wales to share an equal number of ‘Lords’ in a reconstituted upper house. There is simply no need to carve up England as is repeatedly suggested, and to do so will destroy English support for a federation. Those who advocate the regionalisation of England are labouring under a profound misconception.

    Traditionalists won’t like a senate, but the alternative is too awful to contemplate, the end of the UK.

    • DaveM
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Good points. Would you suggest we have a “presidential” election to decide who’s in overall charge?

      The solutions are endless, but I almost get the feeling that MPs look at it and just think that, because it can’t be sorted out in a day or two, that they can’t be bothered to address it.

      • bluedog
        Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        ‘Would you suggest we have a “presidential” election to decide who’s in overall charge?’

        No, there is no need and a president could not cohabit with the monarch. There is no suggestion of disposing of the monarchy which is an essential part of the UK and much of the Commonwealth. To contemplate getting rid of a monarch who rules in 16 realms would be a further act of folly by the political class. For example, the Spanish constitution is a monarchic derivation of the federal German constitution, if one seeks a European precedent or blueprint. Even Clegg should be able to understand how the Spanish constitution works. In the Commonwealth itself both Canada and Australia have federal constitutions which embody the monarchy.

        • DaveM
          Posted November 30, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

          I wouldn’t suggest for a second we got rid of the monarchy – God forbid. I just wondered what you had in mind when it came to selecting a leader for the senate you described.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      I’m in favour of a proper federal structure, but not including a federal senate with equal representation for the four components of the federation. The founding fathers of the US decided to go down that route, but then they had decided not to go down the same parliamentary route as the mother country but instead have a separately elected federal President who would appoint members of a federal government. I would like our federal Parliament to be bi-cameral, because it would be the sovereign Parliament for the whole of the UK, passing legislation for the whole of the UK and holding to account the sovereign government for the whole of the UK, and that superior status really requires that there should be greater opportunity for intense scrutiny and debate and provision for the second chamber to put a brake on contentious proposals from the first to allow further consideration. I know that around the world there are some countries where the sovereign assembly is uni-cameral but I still think that it is a useful safeguard in many respects for it to be bi-cameral, provided that the system will as far as practicable ensure that the political complexion of the inferior second chamber will always be opposed to that of the government of the day drawing its support, and of course the crucial support for its budget, taxation and expenditure, from the superior first chamber. Obviously there is little point in even having a second chamber if the majority of its members will always supinely vote as they are told by the government, which is why I favour the “First Past The Post, Second Past The Post” system of electing both chambers simultaneously, with the new second chamber having similar powers to the present House of Lords, as defined by the Parliament Acts. I’m well aware that this is not a popular solution but I still see it as being better than all the suggested alternatives.

  8. formula57
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    England can be content to have the same as has been and is now being given to Scotland. Let those who would deny us explain why we should settle for anything less.

    (In related news, the Smith Commission proposals fall short of implementing the infamous Vow, per the SNP. . This will not end well!)

  9. David Price
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    So the Scots get more goodies but still meddle in everyone else’s business.

    According to yesterday’s Telegraph Mr Jacob Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “The biggest risk to the UK is an overreaction [from MPs] on behalf of England.” Is this really the view of English Conservative MPs?

    What rubbish! Sorry we’ve screwed things up but don’t rock the boat otherwise the Scots will threaten to leave – again?

    In my view has has missed the point utterly. The biggest risk to the UK has already been introduced by the pandering to Labour and Scottish politicians in Holyrood and Westminster that has resulted in this dogs breakfast. There is a further risk to stability if England is fobbed off with shabby assurances and treated with such contempt.

    It should not be for England, or Wales or NI for that matter, to keep taking the dirty end of the stick to keep SNP and it’s supporters appeased, perhaps Mr Rees-Mogg and the like need to reflect carefully to whom they must demonstrate their loyalty, now more than ever.

    On balance, if Mr Rees-Mogg could not have demonstrate his support for England in this wholely unfair stitch-up he should have kept quiet.

    • bluedog
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      Jacob Rees-Mogg is quite right.

      The greatest threat to the Union is English revulsion at the privileges granted to the Scots. Without England the Union is doomed, without Scotland it survives, just. But if English public opinion were to swing irrevocably against further relationships with Scotland, Wales and NI, all is lost. Great and trusted leadership is now required to chart a course that mollifies the justified anger of England. Constitutional equity is essential to the future of the Union.

      Cometh the hour, cometh the man, no?

      • David Price
        Posted November 28, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        I agree the problem is public reaction, that is not what Mr Rees-Moggy is reported to be concerned about. He is worried that English MPs will over react.

        I feel there will be public reaction if the MPs do not react but sit back and trust in the leadership. Given the lack of a strategic plan on anything I see no sense in placing trust anywhere near these lightweights.

        The hour has been coming for several years, no sign of the man though.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile it seems 25% of NHS patients cannot even get to see a GP within a week (often for just for 7 minutes and one issue!). What sort of sensible heath system would allow that absurd situation to continue? Free at the point of rationing, delay and potentially many deaths due to such absurd delays and rationing.

    The sooner they start charging (all but the very few who cannot afford it) the better for everyone.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic – Taxpayers ARE charged for the NHS.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 28, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

        Indeed I mean “charged at the point of use” so the service is less likely (when it is delivered) to be rationed, delayed and frequently totally incompetent as now.

        Tax cuts should also be made to compensate for these charges.

  11. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    This is so ( unless the tax rates are higher in Scotland and they want tax rate equality). No only joking .England needs to decide for itself . I would not like to see national splits in parliament though which led to more division.What I would like to see are more people in the house for debates and not just question time.

  12. Antisthenes
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    The left have looked at the prospect of EVEL and they do not like it even though it is undoubtedly the fair and right thing to do. They brought in devolution and as usual with their policies have found it to be counter productive and have brought unintended consequences.

    Why do they not like EVEL? It is because they fear the loss of influence in England. Being more interested in keeping hold of the reins of power than in the democratic rights of the English people they propose mini devolutions so as to maintain socialist enclaves. The English have already rejected this idea but then like their left cousins in the EU will keep pushing until it is accepted.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      It’s the Tories who are proposing “mini devolutions”, in fact it’s Osborne who is now imposing an elected mayor on Greater Manchester even though two years ago there was a referendum and those who were asked voted not to have one:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-29876939

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted November 27, 2014 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Denis,
        You are right to highlight that Osborne is the one pushing this mayor on Greater Manchester. The council leaders involved, nearly all Labour,
        agreed without any discussion with their councils. This is now to take place apparently after the event. Bringing power closer to the people? Not much sign of that to me but our views aren’t worthy of consideration by the LibLabCon political class.

      • David Price
        Posted November 28, 2014 at 5:49 am | Permalink

        This is not a complete picture at all.

        It is not the tories who instigated this, as soon as pressure started from our host and Mr Cameron’s announcement the lefties and the BBC immediately started pushing the regionalisation line. Labour have been at it from much earlier in the year.

        from: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/apr/07/ed-miliband-labour-city-regions-uk-growth

        7-April-2014: “Ed Miliband: Labour will use English devolution to rebalance UK growth – Party leader to say a Labour government would use economic devolution to bring prosperity to city and county regions – Ed Miliband is to promise to put powerful “city-region” government at the heart of a Labour attempt to rebalance growth in the UK”

        from: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/11/nick-clegg-devolution-scotland-referendum-wales-england

        11-Sept-2014: “Nick Clegg: the ‘cat is out of the bag’ on more UK devolution – Deputy PM says he will campaign for greater powers for English regions and Wales, regardless of Scotland’s referendum result “

        I agree there have been proposals from Osbourne certainly, but to claim they are the sole movers on this is completely untrue. Even UKIP promote the regional view of England on their website and in their policy material make no mention of EVEL or an English parliament.

  13. William Roberts
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    It’s only a matter of when, not if scottish people vote for full independence, once they digest the fact that there practicly running themselfs already, how pathetic that the Westminster élite, sell there English souls just to guzzle on the power of the world stage, you will have a competing power inside the union that will do anything to power Scotland ahead, for the sake of Scotland, and Scotland alone, we have given up our whole ship building capability to them, why? They have more say on what happens on england, than england has on them, it’s about time that the English MPs stood up for there constituents and accept that English people have a stronger voice and spark as a whole, not broken down into regions , doing this only allow Scotland to divide and conque England,

  14. Old Albion
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Someday,someway, someone is going to have to face the facts. The ‘Union’ in it’s pre-1998 form is finished.
    If any sort of ‘Union’ is to survive, it has to be based on equality of all four nations. That means England grtting it’s own parliament. Not some botched up regionalised mish-mash that falls into the EU trap of divide and conquer.

    I was pleased to see another MP has spoken up for England (that makes about four of them now !! )
    Introducing his Parliamentary and Constitutional Reform Bill under the 10 minute role motion. Andrew Rosindell (Romford) has called for a Federal system and an English Parliament.

  15. The PrangWizard
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    For the sake of simplicity; England must have it’s own true parliament, not some half baked, weak idea of ‘English Votes…’, such will not be understood, opponents in the House will make it unworkable. It is no solution – for Goodness sake, be bold.

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Oh, no! Please forgive the rogue apostrophe.

  16. JoeSoap
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Well absolutely.
    So am I right? Your leadership seems to be digging a deeper and deeper hole on the flimsy assumption that they will magically win the next election, in which case they have some opportunity to dig themselves out again although the likelihood is they will be buried, like us, under a pile of left wing manure, and the UK and England will be done for good.

  17. A.Sedgwick
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Will we, English, be sending the Scots, a bill for their share of Defence or Debt interest?

    Will the Barnett formula continue?

    • bluedog
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      You confuse England with the United Kingdom which is responsible for the defence of both England and Scotland. Similarly, Barnett is a UK grant, not an English grant.

    • John Robertson
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      What is financially devolved is removed from the Barnet formulae.Defence and debt was not recommended to be devolved in the Smith commissinon.

  18. agricola
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I hope the work of this commission is to be subject to a vote in the H o C. If so , make sure the bill contains a series of clauses covering the implications to the rest of the members of the UK. Tax collecting powers in all four countries, the West Lothian question etc. It will be fascinating to see how the Lib/Dems and Labour duck and dive when it is the whole bill or nothing.

  19. Christine Constable
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    England failed again by the self serving Westminster parties. A huge disappointment to the people of England to be regarded as a doormat for the Union.

    If anything is going to destroy the Union it will be the contempt and abuse UK Politicians have for the English Taxpayer.

    Denied a choice in devolution.
    Denied a vote in Devolution.
    Denied the right to have an English Parliament
    Forced to have foreign elected MPs decide on Financial matters

    It is a disgrace and an outrage. Let’s hope UKIP make a stand they are our only hope now the Conservatives have kicked England in the teeth.

    Sorry John, but your party has betrayed the people of England, so they cannot complain when the English don’t vote for them.

    • DaveM
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      It’s funny how the UK government naturally assumes that England wants to be part of the Union. Up until recently I wanted England to be part of a Fed UK with equally devolved Parliaments for all 4 home countries, with the UK govt just dealing with defence, foreign affairs, etc.

      Now the only thing making me unhappy about the possible break up of the UK is the fact that I have so many Scottish and Welsh friends who work for UK PLC and who would suffer as a result of the break-up. And politically, I think the UK has a better chance of success outside the EU than England would.

      Other than that, if a referendum on English independence was offered I can see no other reasons why I would vote for England to stay part of the UK

      • Sandra Cox
        Posted November 27, 2014 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

        “Other than that, if a referendum on English independence was offered I can see no other reasons why I would vote for England to stay part of the UK.”

        Do you know something? As this farce continues, that’s beginning to sound more and more like a good idea!

  20. Malcolm
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Thank goodness someone is making this argument, clearly and simply, and vocally. And well done for your appearance on ‘Today’ on this subject, a few moments ago.

    I was very disappointed to see the usually reliable Rees-Mogg opposing this, on the grounds of worry for the consequences for the Union. That ship has sailed.

    There is simply no way that it can be considered in any way democratic to have MPs vote to impose laws on some parts of the UK that don’t apply to their own constituents. It may sound silly to say so in this context, but that’s the essence of colonialism.

    I am shocked how shamelessly voices in the Guardian and on the BBC support “Scots votes for English laws” explicitly on the grounds that without those votes it might be more difficult to form a stable Labour government. Have they no respect for democratic government at all?

  21. Richard1
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    They must not be allowed to. It is an outrage that this commission has proposed huge new powers to Scotland, maintained the unfair funding formula but apparently say scottish MPs should still be able to vote on devolved taxes in England! We must insist on Justice for England – English votes for English issues. This should be the top Conservative policy at the next election. Boris Johnson, George Osborne and others are playing into Labour’s hands by talking about devolution to cities. We aren’t going to have dozens of different tax rates throughout England. Nor are we going to have a separate health or education service eg for Manchester. So let’s not pretend there can be any equivalent regional devolution of Scotland. Conservatives and others opposed to this manifest injustice must unite to demand fairness and justice for English – and Welsh and N Irish – voters and taxpayers.

  22. Bryan
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    The SNP have outplayed the major Parties and have got almost full devolution via the back door, but with the English tax payer sponsoring their spending = great deal – for them!

    Mr Cameron must now bring the English question to Parliament today. After the next election is a cop-out.

  23. Sean
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I agree one hundred percent. Cameron will do nothing yet again but talk and not walk the walk. He may promise if he win a General Election in whatever year it mabye. He needs to bring home the bacon before we decide to vote for him.

  24. Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I heard your excellent interview on the Today programme this morning. Concise and exactly right. The interviewer must have been somewhat supportive because you weren’t interupted once. A bit of a first for a Conservative on the programme !

    The principle is unarguable but I suspect that if there is a vote on changing standing orders, the vested interests of Labour, the SNP and Libdems will try and vote it down.
    We can’t be sure that a majority Labour administration won’t reverse it either.

  25. Iain Moore
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    You are asking questions that your leader Cameron should have answered. Many of didn’t have any doubt that Cameron would stitch up the England. On hearing this Smith report and the grubby discriminatory deal that the Cameron has agreed to , I can only say ‘told you so’ .

    So what are all the useless MP’s squatting in English constituency seats going do now? Accede to this constitutional discrimination? Or get off their lazy useless fat backsides and do something about it?

  26. Know-Dice
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    None of these devolution ideas work for me… Scotland should have “sailed off in to the sunset” whilst they had the chance. Now they are going to be a millstone around our necks forever…

    May be Labour’s “Constitutional Conference” would have been to way to go but its timescale with the up coming General Election was never going to be practical.

    Certainly different income tax rates for different regions and the MPs from the devolved regions voting on English income tax is just plain wrong.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      “Scotland should have “sailed off in to the sunset” whilst they had the chance.”

      This is where some people start to get so damned stupid that I get bad-tempered about it and start referring to them as “English village idiots” …

      Scotland isn’t going away anywhere, not under sail or under steam or by nuclear propulsion or by any other means, even if we wanted to do that it is beyond our engineering capabilities; the choice for the English is essentially the same now as it has been for centuries, in fact right back to before the early part of the 10th century when the first king of all England, Athelstan, issued coins and charters in which he claimed to be the king of all Britain, and was reluctantly acknowledged as his overlord by Constantine the king of the Scots as least some of the time:

      You can have the northernmost third of your home island under the control of a separate independent sovereign state, with its own armed forces and free to make its own alliances with foreign powers, which may be enemies of England; or

      You can have that part of your home island subject to some form of British overlordship, royal or now parliamentary, which means that those potential threats to England can be averted by the legal dominance of the English.

      Either way, Scotland will still be there.

  27. JoolsB
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Cameron has just signed the Tories’ death warrant John. How can it be that the promise (vow) of just four men, Cameron, Cleggie, Milipede and Brown can be rushed through and implemented and yet the wishes of 55 million people to have just a taste of some form of democracy, i.e. EVEL is to be pontificated over in some back room before it may or may not be put to the house, where if it is, will be firmly rejected by Labour and the Lib Dums?

    Democracy at it’s finest. Conservative Party R.I.P.

  28. Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    The time has come to let the Scots go their way . Disproportionate representation has no place in our democracy and it must not be allowed to happen . The SNP seem to be able to turn their backs on the outcome of the referendum vote in Scotland with the additional threat of them having extraordinary influence in Westminster . This situation would make nonsense of holding a GE .
    If the Scots have control over their income tax and still retain the benefit of the Barnett formula , we – the English will be further encumbered . There is absolutely no reason why the system of tax and benefits should be anything other than equal and fair for all . Westminster can only function in a democratic way if it represents the will of the people ; the votes applied there must be a resemblance of this will .
    I fully support the efforts to have in place a protection against minority voting influences in Westminster . Agreement on this issue has to be in place before May .

  29. DaveM
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    The Scots are clearly going to push for more and more home rule power – and who can blame them? I probably would if I was Scottish.

    It seems inevitable that the UK will end up as a “looser federation”, and there is (thankfully) a recognition that different areas have different requirements due to demographics and social structures. So why is the UK govt so reluctant to confront this issue? Why don’t they just come up with a full and proper solution? Can’t they see (in Westminster) that if nearly everything is devolved to Scotland, thus virtually excluding Scottish MPs from Westminster debates and votes, that we are back to where we were pre-devolution where it appears as if the English government is still ruling certain things in Scotland.

    It is clear that people like the PM want to spend most of their time dealing on an international stage rather than worrying about internal matters (probably why they’re happy to let the EU deal with non-international regulations and laws) so why don’t they just bow to the inevitable and produce a blueprint for a fair federal UK? Clearly the Scots do not want total independence, and no matter what Salmond says, the majority would rather be part of a federal UK than part of a federal Europe. At least as part of a UK they would actually be able to make themselves heard. In English.

    Can you not get hold of a cross-party group of mature MPs who can – just for a little while – put aside party politics and petty arguments, and come up with a fair deal for all the home nations and crown dependencies? The UK is more likely to stay together if it is ruled fairly across all the countries than if we continue with this petty bickering and this desperate desire that Westminster seems to have for holding onto any little scrap of power (and then passing it to Brussels).

  30. alan jutson
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Many of us may agree with the points you raise John, but unfortunately it would seem all of the Party Leaders do not.

    Given the above, it must come down to ordinary Mp’s of all Party’s to reject such until a suitable accommodation is agreed for England and the rest of the UK.

    I see it is suggested in press reports today that the Barnett formula will still be maintained as will the Scottish Mp’s ability to vote on all things English.
    If true this will mean Scotland has a priority on her need, at the expense of the rest of the UK and England in particular.

    I think the Union has some huge cracks that paper (tax payers money) and spin simply cannot cover any more.

    A major mistake to make promises in panic to Scotland, without prior discussion in parliament.

  31. Bill
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    It is becoming clear that each subgroup within British society is seeking its own gains at the expense of others. The SNP do not care what damage they inflict on the Union so long as they gain more power; Labour wants to get power by any means it can (e.g. uncontrolled immigration); the Lib Dems refused boundary changes to Parliamentary constituencies despite agreeing to this; the BBC blunders about but is desperate to keep the licence fee to pay its layers of management; and so on. The idea of a common good is being lost. Labour having let the devolution genie out of the bottle now fears losing Scottish seats permanently and so never obtaining a majority again.

    Can anyone tell us what benefits devolution has brought us? As far as I can tell the Welsh Assembly Government has made a mess of things in Wales and do we think Stormont has been a massive benefit to the people of Norther Ireland? What we know of Scottish Nationalism is that these are people who having lost a Referendum carried out on terms favourable to them, are bad and dishonest losers.

    • Hope
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Well said.

    • John Robertson
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      Yes the genie is out of the bag. The more that is devolved the more that is removed from the collective and the Barnett formulae. That does of course mean that, England, as the only net contributor to the union, gets to keep more for England assuming we get the same powers.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 28, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Arguably the benefits of devolution to the people of England are real but only indirect and invisible, helping to keep the UK together which is in the longterm interests of England, while the disbenefits are more immediate and visible. On the other hand it is arguable that Scottish devolution in particular has helped to speed up the disintegration of the UK by giving a publicly funded official platform for the separatists in the SNP to further their cause.

  32. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    We shall see how much support you receive from your leader who, with his colleagues, seems to have been very quiet on this issue, after his initial pronouncement immediately following the result of the Scottish referendum. Having allowed Gordon Brown to effectively dictate the basis of future policy for Scottish devolution prior to the referendum perhaps he will now give way to you on behalf of the English?
    You must begin to feel far from confident that your leader will deliver what he announced on English votes for English laws. Indeed press reports suggest that Scottish MPs will be able to vote on income tax for the rest of the UK whilst only members of the Scottish parliament will vote on income tax rates in Scotland.
    I wonder if this is an issue which will test your normal unswerving loyalty to breaking point?

  33. Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    It looks from the newspapers as if Parliament is going to decisively betray the English.

    Cancel the Parliamentary refurbishment and make sure the fire insurance is up to date.

  34. Javelin
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    You can do what you like for 5 years. Then you will be voted out if office for a marginally less despised party who will do what they like for five years.

    If politics was a business it would be referred to the monopolies and mergers regulators.

    That is why every internet comment talks of LibLabCon is such a bad way.

  35. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Perhaps tomorrow you would like to discuss this headline from the telegraph website:
    “Net migration hits 260,000 in new blow for Government pledge.
    Surge of 78,000 year on year driven by Eastern European migrants after ministers admit promise to cut net migration has been ‘blown off course’ ”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/11256116/Net-migration-hits-260000-in-new-blow-for-Government-pledge.html

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted November 28, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Apparently David Cameron is going to make a ‘big speech’ today about immigration from the EU. In the Telegraph there is no sign that he will mention immigration from the rest of the world, which is just as much of a worry to the British people.

      I watched Question Time last night, and the first question was about immigration. Predictably. The three politicians on the panel talked endlessly about the effect on the NHS if we cut immigration. I’m sure that some immigration is good for this country. But politicians never seem to talk about the downside of unlimited immigration. It’s not just about the economy guys!!

  36. Sandra Cox
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    John, slightly off topic, but linked, I’ve got to say something because this makes my blood boil and shows just what we are still having to put up with:

    “Wealthy pensioners should be stripped of their winter fuel allowance to fund cheaper bus fares for young people, a Liberal Democrat Minister claimed yesterday. … Business Minister Jo Swinson said subsidising rich pensioners’ energy bills with payments of up to £300 each was hard to justify in times of austerity. … She said the cash should be used instead to help young people get to work or college with discounted bus tickets.”

    Swinson does, does she? Which pensioners and which youngsters is she thinking about on this occasion? English or Scottish? Will she be aided and abetted by the the supine Conservative party that failed to make democracy for their English constituents a priority in the coalition negotiations, despite Hague bragging that he had been thinking about it for 15 years! The same Conservatives, many of whom have not uttered one word of protest at the blatant discrimination against their English constituents – tuition fees, prescription charges, care for the elderly etc.

    Tuition fees were originally imposed because Blair brought Scottish Labour MPs down to vote for them. In the 2010 proceedings, Swinson and Danny Alexander were major players in increasing tuition fees to £9,000 per annum for English students, safe in the knowledge that their Scottish constituents wouldn’t be affected.

    Perhaps Swinson wants to try to make it up to our children now by giving them their fare money to get to college! I’m ambivalent about the question of removing the winter allowance from rich OAPs and I’m all for helping our struggling youngsters, but it’s the hypocrisy of it all that grates!

    (strange comments re MP pensions deleted – you have to pay in for enough years to get a “full” pension)

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      I recall Swinson running away in panic during the fees business and bleating to the police for protection when there was a whiff of a possibility that people might demonstrate outside her constituency office in Glasgow.

    • Sandra Cox
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, I didn’t make myself perfectly clear. I was just expressing my surprise that the lady in question had been able to accumulate enough service years at such a tender age. Anyway, I have now had a chance to look it up – the normal qualifying service for a full pension for an MP is 40 years’ service.

      I was aware that she is standing down and will not be able to receive her pension immediately – pension pots are normally kept invested in pension schemes, accruing at the appropriate inflation rate until the scheme’s retirement age is reached.

      John, I have no qualms about MPs’ salaries, and I realise that MPs contribute a proportion of salary into the scheme. Having said that, I’m still iffy over MP expenses! 🙂

      Reply And I was saying I do not see how an MP with few years service can be entitled to a full pension.

  37. oldtimer
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Exactly!

    The inhabitants of the Westminster bubble had better come up with the right answer and quickly too. Otherwise the 21stC Peasants Revolt could turn nasty.

    One other issue does not appear to have been subject to much discussion and that is the division of, and responsibility for, borrowing powers within the devolved system now proposed. I should appreciate your views on this.

  38. ian wragfg
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    When we are led by people who actively hate the English, what do you expect. Is this new arrangement subject to a vote in which case I expect all ENGLISH MP’s to vote it down. They won’t though will they as you will continue to follow your socialist PM’s guidance.
    Far from settling the WLQ, this adds insult to injury. Opposition in 24 weeks anyone???

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      It’s not just hatred of the English Ian. The entire political establishment, now known as LibLabCon have contempt for their voters as has been clearly demonstrated by pushing ahead with further devolution in defiance of the wishes of the electorate (in Scotland) who voted strongly for the preservation of the Union.

    • William Gruff
      Posted November 28, 2014 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

      My ‘English’ MP is a Scot, as, I believe, are about a hundred others.

      • Steve C
        Posted November 29, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        Having long wondered why there are 100 Scots representing English consituencies but no English born MPs representing Scottish constituencies, I have come to suspect the selection committees for the main parties have strong Scottish influence.

        One wonders how much the Scots dominate the UK Parliament behind the scenes – look at Blair and Brown’s Scottish dominated cabinets. Cameron himself is a Scottish bankers son.

  39. Posted November 27, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Interesting question, my pension is provided by my erstwhile employer’s pension department in Edinburgh. Will I be able to opt for the lowest tax rate? I doubt it, whatever happens they’ll probably manage to charge me at the highest rate!
    Seriously, I think that any government which levies higher taxes in England than Scotland, and still pays extra cash to Scotland under the Barnett formula would be in real trouble and the push for genuine total English Independence would grow out of control.

  40. ian wragg
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    So the EU will expect us to stump up £36 billion over the next few years to finance their deficit spending.
    What did CMD say when he came back waving his piece of paper, Oh I remember he had reduced the EU budget. Pity no one in Brussels was listening.
    Then we have Juncky telling us they will survive a UK exit but not a French one. He really is a UKIP sleeper. Well done him.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Ian,
      You know highlighting such issues won’t be welcomed by our host. The BBC and much of the MSM have managed to keep quiet about it. That saves Cameron having to say no ifs no buts we won’t be paying the extra £34 bn after we have paid the £1.7bn he said we weren’t going to pay.

  41. stred
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Is it impossible for some Conservative and Labour English MPs to organise a vote on this question and then we would be able to see who is in favour of Scots voting on English matters or can’t be bothered to turn up. If you lose, at least the English will be able to see who is shafting them. You should not trust a man who says “I’ve got Scots blood in my veins”and then agrees with Gordon to bung them even more.

  42. oldtimer
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I have had a chance of a quick, first read of the Report of the Smith Commission. Three early observations.

    The benefit to Scotland of the Barnett formula is effectively baked in. Quote: “The Barnett Formula will continue to be used to determine the remaining block grant.
    New rules to define how it will be adjusted at the point when powers are transferred
    and thereafter will be agreed by the Scottish and UK Governments and put in place prior
    to the powers coming into force. These rules will ensure that neither the Scottish nor UK
    Governments will lose or gain financially from the act of transferring a power.”

    Para 7 (4) states: “Those principles stated that the package of powers agreed through the Smith Commission process, when taken together, should:…not be conditional on the conclusion of other political negotiations elsewhere in the UK.” In other words, stuff EVEL.

    Para 75 states: “Income Tax will remain a shared tax and both the UK and Scottish Parliaments will share control of Income Tax. MPs representing constituencies across the whole of the UK will continue to decide the UK’s Budget, including Income Tax.”

    When implemented these proposals will provide endless opportunities for the SNP to find causes for disagree with the UK government, generate resentment and to promote its on going campaign for independence. It looks like game set and match to the SNP.

  43. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Christmas has come early for the SNP. They can vote low taxes in Scotland to attract the skilled workers and businesses they need and then side with Labour to vote for high taxes in England to further favour Scotland. Why would SNP MPs in the UK parliament do anything other than vote for any measure which favours Scotland at the expense of England ?

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      It’s best to bear in mind that these SNP MPs are socialists first and nationalists second. Sturgeon has, in the past, tried to play down the ‘nationalist’ credentials of her Party. You can expect the SNP to go beyond merely acting in the so-called interests of Scotland.

  44. Tad Davison
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    David Cameron says, ‘This makes the case for English Votes for English Laws, unanswerable’.

    Seems you have won the argument then John, well done. It proves the power of a responsible open forum such as this where debate is usually of a high and well-informed standard, but to keep it that way, perhaps you might like to keep the idiots away who try to make their comments sound like they are coming from someone else.

    Despite your promises to stop them, comments are still appearing from a person who uses a similar name to my own, with one letter change, rather than choosing an original one. That diminishes the site as it puts people off. Would you allow someone to post something you disagreed with, who signed themselves John Radwood?

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    Reply Sorry to have missed one – and I can’t find it on the site to remove at the moment.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      1.e ‘WHY’ you take exception to this

      • Margaret Brandreth-J
        Posted November 27, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        John what on earth are you doing .You have posted the edit without the original. Now that sounds like my poetic works which were edited to one word whilst someone took the body of the text.

        • Margaret Brandreth-J
          Posted November 27, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

          Apologies, the original has popped up from nowhere.

  45. majorfrustration
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Agree entirely but why do I feel a “fudge” coming on. Unless DC comes out “and let me be clear” with a no nonsense commitment to English votes for English issues his party is going to be toast. Lets hope we can get away from the usual political claptrap of being clear and not being complacent and lessons will be learnt etc etc and see English politician doing something for English voters – today rather than sometime in the future

  46. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Incidentally I am very much in favour of giving Scotland the ability to set their own taxes and welfare etc. so they can compete for workers and businesses with England – it may eventually drive down taxes here too.

  47. DaveM
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Quote from the BBC on the Smith Commission: “The main parties at Westminster have pledged that the legislation will be taken forward regardless of the outcome of the general election in May.”

    Ukip weren’t involved in today’s discussion, although the one percenters (formally known as the LibDems) were. What happens if Ukip form part of a coalition? Will they then be used as a scapegoat when the promises to Scotland aren’t kept? (In a similar way that the LibDems have been used to excuse the lack of action over EU issues?)

    Quote from the PM: “I think the report today also makes the case for English votes for English laws unanswerable and we’ll be taking action on that shortly.”

    Mmmm. We’ll see.

  48. DaveM
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Quote from Alistair Carmichael: “Having a more powerful Scottish parliament inside a strong United Kingdom will open the door to more constitutional change in the United Kingdom.

    “We can achieve home rule all round.”

    What do you reckon John?

  49. Shieldsman
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Referring back to yesterdays topic, we will never have cheaper energy whilst the green blob are in power (including Cameron).
    A compulsory read should be Rupert Darwall’s – Energy policy and the return of the state.
    Energy policy represents the biggest expansion of state power since the nationalisations of the 1940s and 1950s and is on course to becoming the most costly domestic policy disaster in modern British history.

  50. Lifelogic
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    What about a comment on the huge mess that is UK defence procurement and our expensive white elephant “air” carriers with no planes – as discussed on Newsnight last night. Once again the “ever closer union” EU loons are largely to blame for the UK’s governments endless tax borrow and endlessly piss down the drain approach in this area.

    Still I see that they can still afford massive quantities of gold braid and ribbon, just for the one uniform of the First Sea Lord, Admiral, Sir George Zambellas KCB DSC ADC.

  51. Robert Taggart
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Answer to the headline – they should not.
    But…
    England be stuffed – appears to be the ‘British’ attitude.
    So…
    England expects – all ‘true blues’ ( yourself included ? – Johnny ??) – to do their bit for their ‘heartland’ !

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Good question Johnny – vis-à-vis your question to Ali Carmichael – Secretary of State for Scotland – during the Smith Commission Statement.
      PATHETIC – his reply – as seen on screen !
      Keep up the good work – with our support.

  52. Eddie Hill
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    A very reasonable question.

    The answer might be roughly the same as the answer to this question: “How come the EU can ‘lose’ £259 billion then, rather than receive a visit from the Guarda di Finanzia, with heads rolling and people being carted off to prison, it just sends the bill to its constituent members who pay up without a word of complaint.”

    And the answer is: “Because that is what our leaders have allowed to happen!”

    And the answer to that is: “Stop just moaning about it or making pledges you can’t keep, and get it sorted, or you will have UKIP and its equivalents in power across Europe.”

  53. Lifelogic
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    It seems all the compromise is as usual on the side of the English. Cameron has just caved in yet again. The Scottish MPs at Westminster will still get to vote on English matters and make the usually complete mess of it and then have to pay for it to. Doubtless they will do this in the Gordon Brown, pension destroying “no return to boom or bust” incompetent manner.

  54. Eddyh
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    It is about time that tyhe English were given a referendum on English devoluton, or even better, independance.

  55. Mike Wilson
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Well, it looks like we’ll have a Labour government supported by the SNP after the next election. They will, I am sure, tax anyone who works and earns a living ‘until the pips squeak’.

    I begin to think we have one chance in 2015 – and that is to vote in a UKIP government. Anyone who votes Tory or Labour knows what to expect.

  56. David Edwards
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I very much like the expression of a “wokingham” question because you seem to have done more then anyone to advance the voice of England. I would certainly like to see competitive tax between Scotland and the rest of the UK in order to see in practice what works – if lower or properly calculated taxes derive more revenue or if higher taxes are of greater benefit rather than just a political ploy. I think the former is the case, and I understand that 37% is the most money generating taxation point.

  57. Javelin
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    If this was EU citizens in the UK or immigrants thy would have their human rights lawyers on us in a flash. This is clearly anti-English racism by the political leaders. Maybe Cameron should start making English people sit on the back of buses and use separate toilets.

  58. Gina Dean
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    No matter how much is devolved to Scotland it will never be enough. If they do hold the balance next election with labour, England will not have a say as they will defeat anything that is proposed. I want to know how so few can dictate to the many. What will the conservatives do to ensure this will not happen.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      You seem to one of the few people who understands the nature of the beast.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Well, so few could not dictate to the many if the many were sufficiently united in their opposition to that happening. It would only need the Tories to tell Labour that they could govern as a minority without the need for them to form a coalition government with the SNP to secure an overall majority, or indeed vice versa, and that would sideline and neutralise the SNP. That would not be a happy scenario, but it would do the job of preventing the SNP MPs dictating to the rest.

    • William Gruff
      Posted November 29, 2014 at 12:33 am | Permalink

      ‘ … What will the conservatives do to ensure this will not happen.

      Absolutely nothing.

      The people of England must stop voting for the same old suspects from the big two and a half and start looking at plausible independents and smaller parties. We should also be giving serious consideration to serious constitutional, parliamentary and electoral reform. By constitutional reform I do not mean the destruction of our ancient liberties that is currently proposed. and by electoral reform I do not mean PR, which merely results in permanent coalition government and places disproportionate power into the hands of unrepresentative minority party leaders. At the very least we must demand the abolition of the whip system and the recall of errant MPs.

  59. eeyore
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    These are anxious days for English voters and taxpayers. No matter how sound one’s arguments, it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil, and the English are not so good at squeaking as the Scots. It is comforting to know that you, Mr Redwood, and like-minded MPs are in there batting for us. Have you any guidance as to what we as individuals might do to ensure that the English interest is not betrayed, nor England balkanised, in the hard-fought negotiations to come?

    • William Gruff
      Posted November 28, 2014 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

      Scotch ‘squeaking’ might more accurately be termed whingeing. We English don’t ‘squeak’, we speak loudly and clearly and not until it is necessary to do so. We’re beginning to ‘squeak’ now but the monkey with the blue rosette and the grease is taking no notice.

      ‘ … Have you any guidance as to what we as individuals might do to ensure that the English interest is not betrayed, nor England balkanised, in the hard-fought negotiations to come?

      Dr Redwood’s party membership means that he can’t tell you not to vote for the Conservative and Anyone but England Party but you might consider asking your local candidates what their stance is on an English parliament next May.

  60. stred
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Watching the debate today, it was notable that it was lead by a Libdem Scottish MP chosen by Mr Cameron as Minister for Scottish matters, about the Smith Commission. Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics made clear the total confusion about what Scots will be allowed to vote on or not. The disagreement between your understanding and the Scottish MP on the programme was total, about an agreement which Mr Cameron has signed.

    So who did Mr Cameron chose to propose the document to which he signed? Lord Smith is , according to Wiki, a Scot who leads a Scottish university which benefits from fee subsidies, owns a Scottish island, has worked for RBS, chairs Scottish and Southern Energy which benefits from wind subsidies and will be flogging expensive unreliable electricity to England, and has been a knight of the Thistle.

    Just the person for our ‘Scots blood in his veins’ PM to chose to safeguard the interests of 95% of voters. If he had tried to cause more confusion and disagreement in his Formerly United Kingdom (United Provisionally) he could not have done a better job.

    • ChrisS
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

      Hear ! Hear !

  61. Atlas
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Agreed John: English only votes on devolved English matters.

    • William Gruff
      Posted November 28, 2014 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

      Only an English Parliament can properly represent the interests of the people of England.

  62. Bob
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    “Why should Scottish MPs come to Westminster to impose a higher rate of Income Tax on England than the Scottish Parliament places on Scotland?”

    Because someone has to fund the Barnett Formula.

  63. Posted November 27, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    What a complete and utter mess! What a constitutional crisis waiting to happen! I’ve got a much better idea. Force total independence on Scotland whether it likes it or not, with no transfer payments, no common currency and no shared monarch. Abolish the Stormont and Cardiff assemblies and reconstitute a unitary state, then leave the European Union.

    Scotland has become more trouble than it is worth.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 27, 2014 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      An independent Scotland could be even more trouble, it was in the past.

    • William Gruff
      Posted November 28, 2014 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      ‘United’ Kingdom out of European Union then England out of ‘United’ Kingdom and all those ‘Celts’ who have done so much for us without any recognition or reward can get on with the relatively easy job (for people of their stature) of building paradise on Earth and we can do whatever we wish to sort out the mess their politicians have made of our still green if now far from pleasant land.

      Here’s to independence for England.

  64. Max Dunbar
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Dr Redwood, much as I sympathise with your concerns regarding the likelihood that Scottish MPs will be able to impose a higher rate of tax on England than in Scotland, the bigger picture is that the SNP appear to have lost the referendum and won independence de-facto.
    David Cameron and the other ‘Unionist’ parties have talked as if they won and are behaving as if they have lost the formerly United Kingdom. Over 2 million people in Scotland, the majority on a democratic mandate, voted to maintain the Union. Cameron and your party are busily handing it away. That is despicable. We did not vote for this. The so-called ‘vow’ was made in desperation on the back of an unpromising opinion poll just before the referendum, a vow between politicians. The people, as usual, have been totally ignored. Submissions to the Smith Commission will no doubt consist mainly of shrill demands for full independence from semi-literate supporters of the SNP and various left-wing pressure groups who represent only themselves. Our future, as a nation, is being decided by a handful of powerful individuals around a table in Edinburgh.
    I appeal to you, Dr Redwood, to consider the nation as a whole and to use your considerable intellect and influence to protect all of us from the sinister forces of dissolution.

  65. Gumpy Goat
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    As we are going to have a federal UK wither you like or not lets reform the house of lords to be the legislative house of the nations of the UK? Surely we can work something out? Parliament and a senate which can work together

    On Scottish tax good luck to them it will never be far from England’s rates if they raise it Scotland’s brightest and best will head to England

    I am ashamed of to say that I am a tory When the party has let our defences go to pot Not even fighters for the carriers but no Maritime patrol aircraft. The last defence review was a shambles a disgrace!

  66. alan jutson
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    A good set of comments on the media by you today John.

    Seems they think you are the only sensible one putting the argument for England, given the numerous requests for your comments.

    It would appear that Scotland as well as retaining the Barnett Formula, are also going to get the ability to borrow !!!!
    So how long before we bail out the Scots ?

    Why does our government sign a bill that allows Scottish Mp’s to vote on all matters, then talks about wanting to change it just a few hours later, to exclude them from voting on some of those matters.

    This just shows how useless our own Governments negotiating skills are, and does not bode well for EU talks, should they ever happen.

    What a dogs dinner we have ended up with.

    By giving a panic vow just prior to the referendum, we now have a hugely complicated mess both political and financial, that will lead to Scotland and England both wanting complete independence from each other in a few years time.

  67. DaveM
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    GG: “As we are going to have a federal UK whether you like or not lets reform the house of lords to be the legislative house of the nations of the UK?

    “Surely we can work something out?” – You’d like to think so, but it’s almost as if no-one in government can actually agree on anything any more. Except gay marriage.

    You’d like to think so.

  68. Alan Stephenson
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Fully agree with Lindsay McDougall “a complete and utter mess!!
    It’s a case of who shouts loudest gets the most, the Scots have been a pain in the rear for 100’s of years, lets just let them get on with it, they will get Independance eventually so why delay the inevitable?
    We do not need regional assemblies, we voted against that several years ago, all we want want is equality with the rest of the UK, an English Parliament, I’m sure that would satisfy most English voters.
    The SNP will never be satisfied until they achieve full independence, they are already saying the Smith proposals are less than had been promised.The proposals should have been conditional on EV4EL , but of course Labour would never have gone along with that, vested interests.
    We shall reap what we sow, and if a settlement cannot be achieved to satisfy english voters, then I fear the worst at the May 2015 election

  69. Posted November 27, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    If the Scots raise taxes all successful people will move south of the border.

    And I can’t see a socialist government reducing taxes can you?

    This could be a case of give them enough rope . . .

    • William Gruff
      Posted November 29, 2014 at 12:20 am | Permalink

      If the Scots raise taxes all successful people will move south of the border.

      To compete with us for the best jobs. Will they, however, have to wait four years for benefits and will they be deported if they can’t find a job here?

  70. The PrangWizard
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    We learned after the event that Blair and New Labour implemented policies to encourage mass immigration in an attempt to destroy English identity; this mass immigration is being continued under Cameron and the Unionist Establishment, for the same purpose notwithstanding statements to the contrary.

    Observation tells me that it is also his intention also make England and the English as dependent as possible on Scotland and the Scots. Recent examples, which will be added to, can be seen in his decisions in defence and industrial policies, and he continues this with this further devolution, and allowing Scots to vote on English tax affairs. This makes a mockery of his claim to be supporting ‘English Votes…’ and shows what a mockery and deceit this is in his hands.

    Any votes on English taxes and any other matters be illegitimate in my eyes under this arrangement. The English must protest this, by whatever means they deem appropriate, our constitutional and democratic rights are being abused and these changes must be stopped.

    Our voices must not just be heard but respected, they are not at present.

  71. BobE
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Led by donkeys

  72. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    JR, maybe at some point you could remind us of the valid arguments against the English being granted the equivalent of what the Scots have had for fifteen years now, a separate and separately elected devolved Parliament and government for England.

    PS – “You’re not worth it” would not count as a valid argument.

    • William Gruff
      Posted November 29, 2014 at 12:22 am | Permalink

      ‘ … “You’re not worth it” would not count as a valid argument.

      ‘You could kill the goose that lays the golden egg, and keeps on laying.’ does.

  73. John Robertson
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    The airports in the north of England are saying they are at a disadvantage with airport duty tax being devolved to Scotland. Are Labour going to hold out on this for England? You can’t devolve taxes to some cities and some areas and not other, what a mess it would create with unfair competition between cities that have devolved taxes and those that don’t? different tax rates between the cities?

    In a way I’d like Labour to stick with their policy as I think they will pay a heavy price in May.

  74. turbo terrier
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    United Kingdom AKA Country Titanic.

    The Scots have opened up the hull and the waters are pouring in. Unless our Prime Minister gets into gear for the first and only time in his life, all it will be is the classic case of moving deck chairs.

    We have to face the facts that our so called leaders do not have a scoobie!!!

    They will not or cannot listen to our host as he speaks too much sense.

  75. Iain Gill
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Given the out of control immigration. The lies from your leaders about tackling it. Mass ICT work visa abuse and so very much more…

    I am upset you have the nerve to blog about anything else.

  76. Lithgae Dave
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I have no problem with the principle that Scottish MPs should not vote on RoUK (Rest of UK) income tax rates. My problem is that the House of Commons does not vote on income tax in isolation, but as part of The Budget. The Budget also contains a lot of reserved taxes (VAT, NIC, Petrol duty etc.). Should Scottish MPs be allowed to vote on The Budget? If not then the argument can be reversed. Should RoUK MPs determine the rates of VAT etc. in Scotland?

  77. Steve C
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Dear John,

    It was painful to see you on Daily Politics, our local MP of a governing party denying his government had given more of English democratic powers away. It transpires he was misled by David Cameron.

    The Scots will continue to receive the extra £1600 per head spending and get to vote to increase English taxes to pay for it – this is a total disgrace. I will never ever vote for the Conservatives again unless this reversed. Overseas aid, increased EU payments, loss of control to EU were bad but this is just plain wrong!

    Yours incensed,

    Steve

    • William Gruff
      Posted November 28, 2014 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      ‘ … I will never ever vote for the Conservatives again unless this reversed.

      You were doing well until ‘unless’.

  78. John
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    It was embarrassing to watch the debate in the commons today whereby English MPs were asking questions about the government of England from the Scottish minister. Obviously the Scots rule England now and we have to get our direction from them.

  79. turbo terrier
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    The party is rapidly approaching that sword in the sand moment.

    It seems obvious that the majority of tory MPs are not applying themselves to save the future of the country and the party. Time and time again entries to this site mention vote UKIP. Is no one listening at Westminster apart from our host plus another hundred or so? How many does it need to call a party internal debate on the leader? From outside he is not performng very well at holding the confidence of the electorate albeit he is helped that Labour are in such disarray. Unless the party stands up to the real threat of a “rainbow” coalition we could end up a long time back in opposition. The party needs a full and open and above all honest debate on the perceived performance of the leader other than just looking at opinion polls that at best are not always right. The dog has got to start wagging the tail and not as it is now when you take into account, energy, Scotland, equal terms for the English voter and of course Europe. How many of out here really believe that our PM wants out. The perception seems to be that he talks a good act. Out of the 100+ who are very aware of our true situation surely there must be someone that can unite the party and above all the country? Now that is a thought John!!!!

  80. Richard
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    I do not understand how all this financial devolution is going to work.

    How will over-spending, borrowing and the national debt be dealt with ?

    What will be the residency test to determine the rate of income tax to be paid and to whom ?

    It looks like we will have a complete mess and the sterlingzone will suffer the same problems as now experienced by the Eurozone.

  81. ChrisS
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    The Thursday evening edition of Newsnight was a disgrace.

    The main item was on the Smith Report but everyone involved in the discussion was Scottish, including the presenter, Laura Kuenssberg !

    Of course, they wheeled in the BBC’s candidate for the Scottish Labour leadership, Jim Murphy, and EVEL was dismissed as usual as a sideshow and unnecessary.

    Why was this necessary ? Scotland has it’s own political programme that starts at 10:30pm and Newsnight is broadcast afterwards.

    I suspect that the BBC and Westminster have a shock coming because 56m English citizens are utterly fed up with the fawning favouritism shown to Scotland over the last year by all the political parties yet the SMP are still not satisfied with the settlement and are sure to pursue independence until they get it.

    For goodness sake, John, give them their independence and we can get shot of them.

    All the problems to do with implementing EVEL disapppear and England can be governed under a moderate capitalist administration without having to worry about the Socialists at our back door.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted November 28, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      We voted to maintain the Union. We would like to be ‘shot’ of the SNP as much as you. They only represent a minority despite their bombastic assertion that they speak for Scotland and the suspicious claim of a huge increase in their membership.

      • ChrisS
        Posted November 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        I sympathise with the section of the Scottish population that don’t support Labour or the SNP.

        I’m sure our host does not want us to re-run the Referendum debate here but it’s a fact that the SNP are in the ascendancy and Labour is in self-destruct mode. That means that the push for Independence will continue indefinitely.

        The trouble is that 70% of voters in Scotland say they are supporters of Labour and the SNP so there appears to be a big majority that want far more of a Socialist, left wing agenda that voters in England where only 30% support Labour and there is a clear majority supporting the Conservatives and UKIP.

        The Scottish 70% figure doesn’t even include LibDem or Green voters which would add at least another 7% to the total.

        While the new devolution proposal maintains the unjustifiable extra expenditure in Scotland, at least it will ensure that any extra expenditure will have to be raised in Scotland.

        Taxes are inevitably going to rise dramatically for anyone with income and/or assets much above the average and the only option for anyone in Scotland who wants to get ahead is to move abroad where taxes will be lower ( I include England, here ).

        When the SNP and Labour have ruined the Scottish economy by strangling wealth creation and driven the best and the brightest to move to England, they will struggle to make ends meet and won’t be able to hike taxes even higher.

        England will then be expected to pick up the tab for the massive increase in expenditure on pensions and services for Scotland’s aging population but we won’t be able to control how our money is spent.

        Trouble is that, by then, the oil revenue will have reduced dramatically and independence will no longer look an attractive option. So the only conclusion is that the 2014 settlement is going to cause huge tensions after a decade or so.

        It would have been far better for English tax payers had the Scots voted for independence.

      • William Gruff
        Posted November 28, 2014 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

        Increasingly, we would like to be shot of you, regardless of your desire for union, and we have the numbers to be shot of you, regardless of your wishes.

        As an English nationalist I am in favour of independence for England and look forward to the day we ditch the crippling liability that is the rest of the ‘U’K, and take our oil and our gas with us.

        Here’s to independence for England.

  82. William Gruff
    Posted November 28, 2014 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Why should Scottish MPs come to Westminster to impose a higher rate of Income Tax on England than the Scottish Parliament places on Scotland?

    Because our Scotch ‘United’ Kingdom prime minister wants them to?

    Whether or not, why shouldn’t they be able to impose yet more ruinous levels of taxation on the people of England,? They were allowed to impose tuition fees in England while voting against them for their ‘ane folk’ (several Scotch MPs were also MSPs) and few if any of those polishing the leather benches of the Commons thought anything of their doing so, even on your side of the House. How is setting tax levels different from setting tuition fees or prescription charges or any other charge we pay that they do not, thanks entirely to our taxes and a government that appears to hate us and love them, even though they never vote Conservative?

    I’m in favour of anything that might rouse the somnolent English voter from his British induced coma and taxing him into the workhouse to featherbed the always ungrateful and complaining Scotch is a good thing in my opinion. My local MP is a Scot, I shall e-mail him urging his support for the continued interference in English affairs and distortion of democracy in England by Scotch MPs. I will not, however, be voting for him in May of next year and I will be doing all I can before then to ensure that he is not returned. Given the mentality of the electorate here (‘we’ve always voted Conservative’) that is going to be tough.

    Hopefully the Conservative and Anyone but England party will be given a bloody good hiding in May by the only people who can put them in office – the people of England. The country (England) is well and truly buggered anyway so it doesn’t matter who gets in, and we are not to be given a refendum on getting out of the EU – that’s the last thing Scotch Blood Cameron, aka ‘Cast Iron Dave’, aka ‘Call Me Dave’, aka The Grooovey One, aka ‘Our King David’ wants – so that particular carrot is useless.

    Your party is rapidly and systematically destroying this country and the damage is irreversible (I’m not referring to benefits cuts, which I think essential and long overdue, but to the galloping imposition of a police state). It does not matter, therefore whom we vote for as long as we don’t reward you (your party, not you personally) for your vandalism by giving you five more years to finish the job and turn what was once the cradle of parliamentary democracy and individual liberty into an inferior sort of Albania, to paraphrase another good doctor.

    I don’t know the mood of the nation (brain dead I suspect) but I hope that electing the dreadful and dangerously authoritarian Mrs May as Our King David’s successor drives the final nail in your party’s coffin.

    Have you thought of standing as an independent?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. 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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