Speaking for England – Labour and Lib Dems add insult to injury for England.

This week we expect the government’s White Paper on justice for England.
Labour declined to attend the talks and failed to file a contribution stating its approach for the White Paper. It reminds us just how much Labour scorns England, and how Labour will fight to stop England having her own voice and her own votes. Now we hear they are cobbling together a pathetic offer of English only MPs doing the hard work of the committee stage of English Bills, only to see their work overturned by the whole House on Report. That adds insult to injury.
The Lib Dems have come up with some convoluted approach which seeks proportional representation on some English committee of the House of Commons They are clearly thinking of their vote share at the last election, rather than their likely lower one at the next. They seem to have put their own party interest well ahead of England’s interests. They will not vote for simple justice for England, English votes on English issues. Like Labour they do not want to keep England whole, and want to find a way of seeing off the movement for English votes.
The Conservatives assure me they will propose English votes for English issues. May they keep it simple and comprehensive. We do not want English votes limited to just some issues or some parts of the legislative process. An English Grand Committee, or English votes just at committee stages of bills is not the answer. We want England (and/or England, Wales and Northern Ireland) to be in charge of all relevant issues, from new laws to matters like Income Tax rates and tuition fees.


  1. Mark B
    December 15, 2014

    Good morning.

    You left out Scotland in your last paragraph. Curious.

    This all goes back to not getting a fair settlement for England when Labour were in power and seeking to give powers to the others. The Conservative Party have never stood on a platform of equality for all in this matter, and there is little trust of your leader and the Conservative Party.

    Labour and the Lib Dems are doing what comes naturally – survival.

    You should have got the boundary changes at the same time the Lib Dems got a referendum on changing the voting system.

    If the SNP win outright in Scotland, some say, and I think you are one of them, that the Scots might go for a second independence referendum and that it would be unwise to oppose them their wish.

    If the Conservative Party cared for England, as you wish us to believe, you would have in your manifesto, a commitment to an English Parliament. After all, if voting SNP means independence in some eyes, then voting Conservative, with the manifesto pledge, must also mean the English get to have their Parliament. It is only reasonable.

    I do not ask for more. I ask for the SAME. Do you, your party, and your fellow politicians of all other parties seek to deny me that which have granted others and, at my expense ?

    1. Hope
      December 15, 2014

      If JR’s view was correct why would Osborne be imposing a mayor in Manchester when the public rejected the idea of regionalisation and elected mayors? Why have the Tories imposed police commissioners? The public clearly does not want them hence there was a turn out of less than 10 percent to vote for them, this is not democracy. This is about regionalising England as part of the EU plan.

      I note Junker has given another missive to Cameron to keep quiet about immigration and e Labour Party has sent a memo not to mention immigration in campaigning.

      1. DaveM
        December 15, 2014

        “Labour Party has sent a memo not to mention immigration in campaigning”. [And to move the conversation away from immigration.]

        This is a good thing – it’s just made Milliband go on telly again and backtrack furiously thus exposing the difference between their public face and their real agenda.

        They’ve been doing this (lying) for nearly 100 years now – why don’t people see it?!!

      2. a
        December 15, 2014

        I am assuming you are aware that the John Major government created the nine Regions of England in 1994 as part of the Maastricht Treaty and the subsequent founding of the EU Committee of the Regions (COR).

        By the time Major got to the question of regionalising England, there had been more proposals than you could shake a stick at. Winston Churchill, gave a speech circa 1912, in which he proposed 10 or 12 regional parliaments for the United Kingdom.

        It became pretty obvious early on, that England was far too large to form a balanced federal structure with Wales; NI and Scotland. England would have to be regionalised to form a balanced “federal” structure for the UK.

        We couldn’t be like federal USA or Germany or France. Hence, we have ended up with the most out of date, unitary, centralised form of government in Europe and North America; and, career politicians to match!

        PS. You should look at the December issue “Regional Gross Value Added” stats bulletin from ONS. Particularly Fig 5 “NUTS3 GVA per head … “. “London/inner/west” is now, by far squared, the richest area in the EU. It even has to have its own X axis graph. (Camden; City of London; Hammersmith and Fulham; Kensington and Chelsea; Wandsworth; Westminster).

        It takes a Conservative government tethered to the Spiv City of London to generate £135,888 per head average. England is where one has the week-end cottage old boy. London is the true conservative homeland.

        Reply On polling and election results London is very mixed, unlike the English shires. Yes there were some moves to unelected regional administration in England under Major which I opposed. This government got rid of the worst features of this regime by scrapping development Agencies and regional plans.

        1. Mark B
          December 16, 2014

          London has always been a draw. It is close to the continent with its own ports, which until recently in its history, were amongst the busiest in the world.

          The North of England has always been strong in textiles, manufacturing and raw materials. It is again, only recently in our history that this has waned due to cheap labour in far off lands and ever larger containment vessels bring good cheaply to market.

          I have no issue with regional governments but ! This is an English question that requires and exclusively English answer.

          I have just finished viewing a clip of our kind host and Mr. Peter Hain, in the video section of this Diary. To be blunt, it is none of Mr. Hain’s business how I wish my country to be governed. If I wish it to be regionalised, then that is a decision I and my fellow Englishmen must be free and able to decide for ourselves.

          And whatever the result, all parties, whether they have an interest in such matters or not, must accept and abide by the decision we, the English, must make.

          This is my country ! This is my home ! I have no where else to go ! So why do people seek to put in my way obstacles that deny me that which they have lavished on others ?

          I do not ask for more. I ask for the SAME !!!

        2. William Gruff
          December 16, 2014

          If England is ‘far too large to form a balanced federal structure with Wales; NI and Scotland. England [and] would have to be regionalised to form a balanced “federal” structure for the UK’ the solution is to break up the ‘U’K and not England.

          England’s membership of the ‘United’ Kingdom benefits the little countries of this disgracefully unequal union, it does not benefit England.

          Here’s to independence for England.

    2. bigneil
      December 15, 2014

      why would this govt want an English parliament when, despite all the comments they clearly want to hand everything over to the EU. Their claims of getting powers back etc are nothing but lies. Cameron has done nothing BUT lie for the last four and a half years. Even worse he still cannot stop it, not that it would make him popular now. Millions handed over to the EU, every day, millions more whenever they say so. Borrowing more and more to put debt on every other person, not himself, in this country. Why on earth would we need an English parliament when he has given all control away, and clearly wants to go and join them in Brussels, thinking himself way above everyone else. His, and most of his party’s, arrogance and disdain for the rest of us is beyond belief. He should remember what happened to Caeucescu. He also thought he was untouchable. His people turned on him.

      1. DaveM
        December 15, 2014

        I’m not sure we’re heading towards a Romania-style revolution, but I do think that the Westminster bubble has become ridiculously thick.

        There seems to be a very false sense of security surrounding politicians and the BBC at the minute. I spend a lot of time travelling round, and I work with people from all over, of all ethnicities.

        The country (England, that is (not just white England either) – and Wales) is a spark away from something quite serious at the minute. That spark could be one more mickey-taking demand or law from the EU, or – more likely – one more kick in the teeth for England. I remember the Miners’ Strike and the Poll Tax riots vividly, and the 2011 riots showed that England is still more than capable of that kind of behaviour.

        The difference this time round is that the Police and the Armed Forces generally sympathise with the protestors.

        My bet is that it will kick off with another child-prostitution scandal or the people of Kent finally saying enough is enough. One spark is all it will take.

        Take some of my taxes, Mr Redwood, buy some spades, and get their heads out of the sand. The English fuse is famously long and difficult to ignite, but the bomb at the end of it is frighteningly large.

        I’ve been a Tory voter for as long as I can remember, but your front bench colleagues are as alien to me as Clegg, Miliband, and Harman.

        Reply There are strong feelings in England, but no sense of violence, which is never a good idea and should be condemned by all lovers of democracy.

        1. DaveM
          December 15, 2014

          To reply – precisely. But idiots will always jump on the back of any protest as we saw recently in the states and, as I said, in 2011. No one wants that because, aside from anything else, it generally achieves nothing.

          We’re fed up of being treated like mugs, sir.

          The feeling you cannot fail to pick up on is the unbelievable sense of injustice, and the bafflement – particularly considering the inherent fairness of the English – as to why England is treated so abhorrently by the people who are financed by and voted for by the English population. It’s just a blatant betrayal.

          We’re not really asking for a lot, just the same as the rest of the world has got!

          I admire your honesty and your stance on England, but with reference to (fully understandable) party loyalty, I’ll just post a little quote from a famous Englishman:

          “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more”.

        2. matthu
          December 15, 2014

          “… condemned by all lovers of democracy”

          that would exclude two thirds of the Conservative MPs then.

          1. Lifelogic
            December 16, 2014

            Indeed 2/3rds is about right.

        3. JoeSoap
          December 15, 2014

          Tell us the answer then, dear Mr Redwood, when democracy is killed off in England but celebrated in Scotland, Wales and NI.

        4. Mondeo Man
          December 15, 2014

          The violence in the Miner’s strike and the Poll Tax riots were all instigated by left wingers.

          Any violence with be from left wingers and the left wing agenda will get pandered to, Dave M.

          Have you noticed how the BBC is appropriating this anger for the left via Russell Brand ? The left are masters of controlling the agenda. Have you noticed how, after 20 years of conservative people being denied any say and the worm turning through the rise in Ukip, the left start getting the hump too ?

          Why ?

          They’ve had it all their own way for so long and are still having it !

        5. Mark B
          December 15, 2014

          Reply to reply

          Democracy is more than an ‘x’ on a piece of paper.

          If we lived in a democracy, we would never have witnessed the spectacle of the tree party leaders making promises to the people of Scotland, without first considering the views of the Cabinet, Parliament and above all, the people of the United Kingdom.

        6. Hope
          December 16, 2014

          Democracy is not working and politicians are treating the public with abject contempt. Cameron epitomises the position, say one thing delivers something completely different. How about the farce on offer today over EVEL? It is straight forward, EVEL not a veto or some other watered down version to regionalise the UK for the EU. You are standing by EVEL but, once more, your leadership is not.

    3. Andyvan
      December 15, 2014

      It really doesn’t matter whether we have English or Scottish MPs ruling our lives, the thing to remember is that they don’t vote for their constituents interests, they vote for their party and it’s owners interests. If you doubt that simply go through a list of laws and treaties for the last 50 years and add up how many have benefitted you more than the elite. It won’t be a big number.

      1. APL
        December 15, 2014

        Andyvan: ” the thing to remember is that they don’t vote for their constituents interests, they vote for their party”


        1. Real Reform Now
          December 16, 2014

          APL: and even worse than that is that they do so without a mandate from a majority of the voters.

          It is interesting to note that Mr Redwood chooses to criticise the other parties for arguing in their own interests while doing exactly the same for his own. The Conservative share of the vote in England in the 2010 general election was 39.6%, yet Mr Redwood would have the Conservatives be able to make laws pertaining to England on such a level of minority support. Yet again, the Conservative proposals deny English voters a truly democratic system (i.e. one with a proportional basis). Party self interest? Absolutely, they’re all as bad as each other.

          Reply We recently asked the UK electors if they wanted a new voting system and they said No.

          1. Real Reform Now
            December 18, 2014

            The UK electors were asked if they wanted AV, which is not used anywhere else in the UK, was not actually wanted by anyone who ended up having to campaign for it, and is not a proportional system.

            It is interesting to note that the Conservative party are happy to go along with proportional systems in Scotland and Wales where they do better under proportional systems compared to First Past The Post, yet continue to refuse even considering the same for England where the reverse is true. Self interest. Nothing more, nothing less.

    4. Pud
      December 15, 2014

      It is blatantly unjust that a Scottish MP may vote on an issue that is devolved to the Scottish Parliament, so we need English-only votes for English-only issues. But do we really need an English parliament? That is, another building populated by another set of representatives, all funded by taxpayers. Surely parliamentary business can be organised so that only English MPs are present to debate and vote on English-only issues?

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 15, 2014

        We need an English Parliament AND government.

    5. Martin C
      December 15, 2014

      What we dont need is another tier of professional politicians. We simply need to exclude Scottish MPs from voting in Westminister on matters that have been devolved to Holyrood. Pure and simple.
      The principle of “Devo-Max” is that the Scots should largely run their own affairs. I say well and good to that idea. So: The UK as a whole should provide Scotland with funding for 59 full-time politicians. Holyrood should be asked to select 59 persons to be sent to Westminister to represent Scotland in UK-wide affairs. And thats it; how Scotland decides to select these people is Scotland’s affair. And if Scotland internally wants more than the 59 MPs they are entitled to – fine! BUT the Scottish economy must pay for that bill out of Scottish taxation.

      1. JoolsB
        December 15, 2014

        An English Parliament wouldn’t require an extra layer of politicians. The politicians elected on an English mandate to an English Parliament would replace the existing UK politicians squatting in English seats. That’s the reason they are so opposed to it.

  2. Lifelogic
    December 15, 2014

    “We want England (and/or England, Wales and Northern Ireland) to be in charge of all relevant issues, from new laws to matters like Income Tax rates and tuition fees.”

    Indeed we do it is only fair and right, but it rather looks like Labour will be deciding the carve up after May. This thanks to the pathetic, wet & rudderless Tory party.

    I see the BBC is doing its best to kick UKIP with some story or other almost every single day – is this in their remit who is driving it?

  3. alan jutson
    December 15, 2014

    The argument since the latest vote in Scotland is very, very simple.

    Devolution for England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales with exactly the same powers for all four Country’s.
    Because that is the only fair way to go.

    Yes you are correct John, LibDems, Labour, do not want that because it will affect their overall control.

    If we do not get the same power for all, beware the backlash from voters.

    The real negotiation will come when we/you have to decide, exactly how many devolution powers will be controlled by individual Country’s, and how much will be overseen by a joint UK Parliament.

    What must not happen is that England is split up into separate individual regional powers.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 15, 2014

      Well the Tories seem to have pushed a new Mayor onto Greater Manchester that they sensibly voted against. Less government is what is needed certainly not more.

  4. DaveM
    December 15, 2014

    Mark B says it quite clearly – you need to persuade your party to speak for England. It is obvious (at this stage) that the Scots are going to return an unprecedented number of SNP members to Westminster this year.

    Cameron made a very “clear” promise after the referendum that England would be given a fair deal – surely he won’t renege on that one as well?

    If you gave a solid, well thought out and fair offer to English voters, your party might actually stand a chance of winning a majority and get the added bonus of reducing Labour to a marginalised party in Wales and in its traditional areas. In addition, as I have said here before, if people in England were given the opportunity to vote on separate representatives for Westminster and for their local matters in an English parliament, they might actually vote Conservative for the UK; let’s face it, Con are trusted far more on the economy than Lab at the minute, but people often prefer Lab (or even LibDem) at local level based on personality rather than party. Stating the obvious, I know.

    It depends whether or not DC and friends have got the stomach to continue with their economic policy, and whether their loyalty to the EU is greater than their loyalty to the UK , England, and Party.

    Ultimately, produce a manifesto which explains the economic road map in super-simple terms, offers an in/out vote on EU membership ASAP, and promises a plan for England which is fair, well thought out, and in line with Scottish, NI and Welsh devolution, and you’ll win the election.

    I spoke with people last week from all over the country (no disrespect, Mr R, but I come from Reading and there’s a big difference between Wokingham and Leicester/Middlesborough/Northampton/Hull etc!!) and people are crying out for a Tory party with traditional Tory values but which recognises that the UK needs to get out of its current EU arrangements and look forward to a future which embraces a federal UK with 100% recovery of sovereignty.

    I can only surmise that DC’s ultimate loyalty lies in Brussels and that he is tired from the past 5 years. If that is the case then surely your party must get him to stand down. I fully understand loyalty to an organisiation, but no matter how loyal I was, I couldn’t watch someone – friend or not – drive my organisation off the edge of a cliff and into a foreign ocean, and would have to risk my own reputation and position to prevent that happening.

    We want a party who will bring our country back to us – after all, it wasn’t theirs to give away in the first place.

  5. Denis Cooper
    December 15, 2014

    Like Mark B I do not ask for more than the Scots, just for the same kind of arrangement they have enjoyed for the past fifteen years – a separate and separately elected devolved Parliament and government for the whole of England.

    Why is that so difficult to understand? Why do politicians elected in England insist that its people should be offered nothing at all, or at best some fudge in the UK Parliament, and at worst an arrangement designed to bring about the break up of England?

  6. Richard1
    December 15, 2014

    Justice for England is a wide open goal for the Conservatives at the election. Messrs Cameron and Osborne must not fumble the ball. Just be very clear: English votes for English issues, ‘no ifs no buts’. It is an outrage that supposedly democratic Labour and LibDem MPs are seeking to deny English voters the same rights as they want to give Scottish voters.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 15, 2014

      If you really want English voters to have the same rights as Scottish voters then you must want them to have the right to cast their votes to elect members of a devolved English Parliament separate from the UK Parliament, ‘no ifs no buts’; anything less, some kind of fudge, would be an outrage. So I look forward to joining you first in the campaign to extract a referendum in England to confirm that this is what we want, and then in the referendum campaign itself.

      1. Richard1
        December 15, 2014

        I don’t think we need another layer of politicians and I don’t think such a policy would command a majority in the country. We can achieve the same result with English MPs voting on English issues.

        1. Denis Cooper
          December 16, 2014

          It wouldn’t be another layer of politicians, it would be a division of labour between the politicians dealing with devolved matters and those dealing with the reserved or federal matters, and why do you think that kind of division of labour should apply everywhere in the UK except in England? Do you have something against us?

  7. Brian Tomkinson
    December 15, 2014

    If this is a government White Paper we can expect it to fall far short of what you advocate. Cameron and Hague will have acquiesced to the LibDems as normal. It therefore needs to be asked why such a document is to be published if nothing will be done before next May and then the three main parties will have different views which will no doubt be reflected, at least to some extent, in their manifestos.

  8. Antisthenes
    December 15, 2014

    We know the left are power hungry and will go to any lengths to secure and keep it. Generally speaking their tactics are not easily exposed (their tactic of shutting down debate by shouting either an ism or phobia, like their trade union backers saying every dispute is about safety. When both accusations are purely put forward to divert attention away from the real issues).

    English votes for English laws is one situation that the left’s insatiable power hunger can be exposed quite easily. Any fair minded person must be able to discern that if the Conservatives in Government put forward EVEL and the left vote it down then the left is being hypocritical and putting self before the democratic rights of the English. Those accepting the lefts alternatives to full EVEL are either not fair minded, intellectually challenged or partisan.

  9. Douglas Carter
    December 15, 2014

    ‘Labour declined to attend the talks’

    I suppose the latest example of an ever-more frequent form of political dishonesty. For example, the vote in the HoC over votes-for-prisoners, where Labour declined to debate, or Clegg’s cowardly disappearance from the front benches in recent days. Or even the regular absence of Gordon Brown from Labour’s programmes during the Blair years.

    Instead of holding a legitimate public debate, or legitimately giving a public stance on a matter, it’s an attempt to mislead the electorate over policy matter by refusal to disclose a proper Party position. Engagement by evasion you might call it. Rather like Miliband’s quite extraordinary and bereft strategy to reveal manifesto detail only subsequent to the General Election next year. Many figures who dishonour Politics in the UK today are people who believe the electorate should be entitled to generously fund the Political parties, and many also believe that the individual voter be given a compulsion to vote.

    Why should parties which won’t even campaign on matters immediately at hand (Labour – 2014 & 2009 EU elections) have the facility of guaranteed income from the unwilling taxpayer? Why should an individual be compelled to vote when the politics they must endorse has no compulsion to present an honest and complete manifesto account in advance of any election?

    Doubtless a version of ‘Electoral Reform’ the LibDems would never countenance….

  10. oldtimer
    December 15, 2014

    The Labour and LibDem positions/proposals are, to borrow that overused phrase, unfit for purpose. It remains to be seen if the White Paper falls into the same category. Backsliding on this issue will do the Conservative party no good at all at the next GE.

  11. Iain Moore
    December 15, 2014

    That you have to seek assurances from your political party to do what is minimally right by England explains why, when Labour slip out their thinking on English devolution, which is to protect their interests of their Scottish MP’s and do nothing about English equality, they can get away with it without embarrassment or political cost, for the Cameron Conservatives hearts are just not in it, never have been and never will be.

    I have asked a question before as to why the left hate the English people, and never managed to get a good reason. A similar question could be posed of the Cameron Conservatives, why do they ignore England? The Conservative party could play merry hell with Labour on this issue if they chose to, but don’t, Cameron spent years opposing Gordon Brown across the dispatch box, but even when faced with the embodiment of the West Lothian question he never felt moved to question Brown about it. And after a term being in power , and Parliament in its dog end years Cameron is now only offering some half measures, and even then, by putting it Hague’s hands, a politician who has lost interest in politics, he doesn’t show he cares very much about the issue.

    Why are the Cameron Conservatives so reticent about embarrassing the hell out of Labour and the Libdems on this? Couldn’t care? Too much like hard work? What? Why do the Cameron Conservatives consistently abandon the very electorate they need?

    1. Martyn G
      December 15, 2014

      Ian, you say “I have asked a question before as to why the left hate the English people, and never managed to get a good reason. A similar question could be posed of the Cameron Conservatives, why do they ignore England”?
      Looking backwards to the Napoleonic wars and before, in each case it was England that sparked ours and other nations into war leading to the defeat of those at the time determined to conquer Europe.
      It seems to me that there is a real fear amongst the majority of current politicians of all colours that if England is given the same devolution rights as Scotland, it would result in much political and possibly civil unrest when the English people demand their own proper representation. The EU commissars appear also to share that fear, hence the obvious determination of our government and the EU to balkanise England – divide and conquer is what this is all about, the English as a whole are far too dangerous a people (and in the majority number-wise) when provoked beyond their innate sense of fairness and justice so long a feature of the English.

  12. eeyore
    December 15, 2014

    Fair and equal treatment for England and Scotland – what’s wrong with that? Come the election it will be amusing to see the other parties tie themselves in knots as they explain why unfairness and inequality is the right thing to give voters south of the Tweed.

    More seriously, while you, JR, and some of your colleagues are doing a noble job batting for England, is it not a problem that England itself has no dedicated voice? Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish have plenty of loud and eloquent parties making sure their national interests are represented. Mr Cameron and the rest of HMG speak for the UK. But even now an English Nationalist Party, should there be one, sounds half National Front, half Gilbert and Sullivan, and wholly absurd. Why should that be? And is it not a grave problem?

  13. mickc
    December 15, 2014

    Cast-Iron has no intention at all of getting a fair deal for England.

    After May, the Conservative party can be re-built and EVEL can be part of the manifesto for the 2020 election. The five year term, of course, is here to stay, unfortunately.

  14. Bert Young
    December 15, 2014

    The Scottish referendum has resulted in a very messy state . In some ways it would have been better if the “Yes” vote had succeeded and the Scots would now be outside of the UK . It is imperative that England is not punished as the result and the system of taxation and benefits is the same for all . It was wrong for the three leaders – without prior consultation and agreement beforehand , to go to Scotland and promise that the Barnett formula would continue ; we now face the disintegration of the UK with each corner trying to come off better .

  15. Old Albion
    December 15, 2014

    Frankly what the Lib Dems have to say on the matter is irrelevent. They will finish fifth in the forthcoming election, behind Con/Lab/UKIP/Green in terms of English constituencies.
    Labour and Miliband do indeed hate the thought of England being recognised, another reason not to vote for them.
    English votes for English laws, which you have championed is the first step to English recognition. It is not the end of the issue. I thank you for all you are doing on the subject and tentatively welcome EVoEL. However, eventually England must be granted equality, fairness and Democracy. That means an English Parliament.

    Hopefully the SNP will be the majority in Scotland. This will indeed give them the mandate for a second ‘independance’ referendum. Hopefully this time they won’t get it wrong.

    1. Max Dunbar
      December 15, 2014

      UKIP is rapidly gaining support in Scotland. We don’t want the SNP and their revolutionary Marxism here. The Far-Left SNP claim to speak for Scotland. They don’t. We voted to preserve our Union.
      An English parliament means a balkanised Britain; a balkanised England.

  16. Bill
    December 15, 2014

    Here is one voter who wants to encourage you to continue to press forward on this issue.

    Labour used to have political principles expressed in Clause 4 and the Liberals have a long an honourable heritage going back to Gladstone, though his liberalism was to do with trade and not to do with cultural and sexual freedom – which is where, if anywhere, the Lib Dems have made their unprincipled home.

    So please press on with this basic democratic principle of representation.

  17. ian wragg
    December 15, 2014

    Why do the 3 main parties wish to Balkanise England. We know that we are the 9 regions of Brussels and it would appear that the Tories are intent on doing their masters will.
    I see the MSM are in overdrive with the stories on UKIP and the BBC found some spurious comments by some UKIP hopeful a major story all day Sunday. The public are well aware that the LibLabCon are very worried about having their territory violated by a popular upstart party and these stories do nothing to reduce UKIP support.
    Labour and the Limp Dumbs have nailed their colours to the wall with their spend, waste, tax and borrow commitments but Gideon is just as bad. As for devolution for the English, what are you afraid of??

  18. Fieldea1
    December 15, 2014

    I 100% agree it must be English votes for English issues.

    It is very straightforward and can be put on 1 sheet of A4 paper. No MP from Scotland, Wales or NI can vote on an issue/matter devolved to their Regional Assembly. Done!!

  19. Anthony
    December 15, 2014

    This is an issue close to my heart as a patriotic Englishman and Briton. I understand the reticence about proportional representation. Certainly imposing a proportional number of MPs on an English grand committee as the lib dems want to do would be compounding an error with a gratuitous mangling of the way our democratic system works.

    However, a more proportionally based system does not have to be gratuitous or mangling and could help to achieve fairness for England. For example, suppose the voting system in the UK were changed to a system akin to that in Scotland, with EVEL (and associated devolution for Wales and NI) in return?

    Surely the LD’s would be tempted and if they could be convinced, we would see fairness for England, and perhaps even a few more Tory MPs returned from the north of England and, heaven forfend(!), Scotland. It is true that the democratic system would change, and the Conservatives would probably struggle to gain a majority on their own, but so what? Part of the problem our politics is having is that politicians are not incentivised to be responsive to their voters but to their parties, and the parties are protected from having to be responsive to voter demand by the ‘high barriers to entry’ provided by the first past the post system.

    I realise that it would be a big step, and there is the teensy weensy problem of only just having voted against AV in a referendum, but for me there is an opportunity here to gain a political win for the Conservatives, Lib Dems and most importantly a win for the country in terms of fair and responsive representation.

  20. The PrangWizard
    December 15, 2014

    I am not sure of what is meant in your final sentence; I think I am right that Wales is still constitutionally and legally part of England, but I don’t know about NI. Welsh MPs will have to acknowledge this openly and stop pretending otherwise, treat it in the right spirit and of course stay out of everything to do with England only. I do wonder what anyone will do though if, and probably when, the SNP refuse to co-operate after the GE, – they may show it no respect in any event – and use their presence to further blackmail their way to greater power at the expense of England. They have certainly taken up metaphorical arms against England.

    But will there be a Minister for England, and Ministers of the Ministries for England? Are these essential people to be appointed, and God Forbid, are we to see MPs shuffling in and out of the Chamber on different days of the week now and then when English issues are debated and voted on?

    It will be a big mistake not to make such appointments; such a refusal to treat England seriously will also be cause for friction and ridicule, parliamentary sketch writers will have much fun with the whole thing, and ‘English Votes…’ will have solved nothing, and simply prolonged the agony. Let us hope good sense will prevail.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 15, 2014

      No, Wales in not part of England. However there are many laws which apply to both England and Wales but not to the other two parts of the UK.

  21. JoolsB
    December 15, 2014

    Far too little, far too late John. The Tories have had four and a half years to do something for England and fifteen years from devolution to demand a fairer deal but instead have stood idly by and said and done nothing, when England alone in the UK and western world has constantly been denied the government of it’s choosing. Not a word of complaint when tuition fees were forced on England’s young thanks to the votes of Scots Labour MPs and then tripled by your party knowing full well they would only affect their English constituents (stupidly the part of the UK that actual votes for them, or did). Sorry John but it’s obvious Cameron and some Tories care no more about getting a better deal for England than the even more anti-English Labour party and Lib Dums.

    Cameron insisted the morning after the referendum that further powers for Scotland would only go ahead in tandem with EVEL, yet another broken promise. It seems the Smith report can be quickly rushed through on the promise of three desperate leaders without going through the house whereas Hague’s ‘report’ on EVEL is to be dragged along with no chance of it getting anywhere this side of the GE. How convenient it will come out next week just before the Christmas recess. Meanwhile, not a word about this insult to England from any MPs squatting in English seats.

    Although EVEL is a sop, it is a start but it seems we are even to be denied that. Come next May, England is likely to be governed by a Labour government it didn’t vote for, propped up by Scots Nats and the duplicitous Lib Dums, all insultingly legislating on English only policy and no doubt, all those pathetic MPs ‘representing’ English seats will carry on ‘business as usual’ and continue to refuse to utter one word of complaint about this insult to democracy. Not that EVEL will ever work anyway as long as the skewed Barnett Formula is in place and which your idiot leader has decided to cement in stone. Nor can MPs be UK MPs one minute and English MPs the next. How can the English MPs take the UK MPs to account when it would be themselves?

    Poll after poll shows the English want their own parliament the same as the Scots, Welsh & NI already enjoy, no more, no less, with our own English First Minister. The response we get from our self serving politicians is either England is too big and would be too dominant or it would create an extra layer of politicians. Both reasons are total rubbish and they know it. First an English Parliament would only be dealing with those matters which affect England, not the rest of the UK and as for extra bureaucracy, they know full well that if an English Parliament was created, there would be no need for anywhere near 650 UK MPs needed for the few remaining reserved matters nor 800 Lords and Ladies either.

    I despair for England because as long as we are governed by the Lab/Lib/Cons, England will never get a fairer deal let alone democracy. If those MPs who purport to care about the rotten deal England gets really do care, then how about demanding the people of England are consulted and given a referendum, you know one of those things Scotland and Wales have already been given three times. Anything else is an insult to England but what do any of our self serving UK politicians care about that? And we call ourselves a democracy!

  22. Timaction
    December 15, 2014

    I’m afraid the legacy parties are ALL out for survival and party above Nation every time. We hear your party talking about the balkanisation of England in line with EU thoughts of how you should proceed.
    Recent reports confirm that the EU makes more than half our laws so Westminster becomes more irrelevant as do the legacy parties.
    There is only one party that wants our sovereignty and democracy returned to these shores to Govern on behalf of its people.
    All we hear from your leader is some “talk” about if he was elected at some distant point we may get a chance to vote on the EU. No doubt after daily smears on the out vote from the EU funded BBC, CBI and main stream press who benefit from this dictatorship.
    Fisheries policies, immigration, common agricultural policy, £12 billion net contribution growing annually, unnecessary laws and directives costing billions to our businesses 92% who do not trade within the EU! I could go on.
    We have no voice and Junker continues to tell us we can’t control our own borders and how the Greeks must vote!

  23. William Gruff
    December 15, 2014

    The Conservative and Unionist Party has nothing to offer the people of England and the result of the next general election is irrelevant to us. Whoever wins will be thoroughly ‘British’, whatever that means, and determined to kick us, the English in particular in England, well and truly in the teeth, again.

    Vote Conlaberal? Not if I live for a thousand years.

    1. Timaction
      December 15, 2014

      The people are waking up and seeing with their own eyes the invasion level of immigration imposed on us without mandate by the LibLabCons. It is deliberate to stop us having feelings of nationhood, our patriotism, culture and history. That’s why Messrs Junker, Cameron, Milliband and Clegg want this.
      There is only one party if you want your Country back and all the other sensible policies. Just heard that there are 900,000 indigenous people using food banks in this Country whilst the legacy parties borrow to give away £25 billion in EU and foreign aid. This makes me want to weep at the gross arrogance of those in Westminster.

  24. agricola
    December 15, 2014

    Essentially you are absolutely correct. I want Westminster to close it’s doors to all but English MPs when matters pertaining exclusively to England are debated. I would go further and say that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have no need to elect MPs for the sole purpose of attending Westminster. They all have their own Parliaments and Assemblies who can attend Westminster when matters pertaining to them or the whole of the UK are debated. For the latter purpose MPs of all countries should all represent constituencies of roughly equal numbers of electorate, so blocking an obvious potential abuse.

    Labours opposition is pure self interest. They fear being reduced to a minor party in England. Their real problem is that they need to come up with something they can sell to the English. At present they only have an appalling history of failure.

    The odds are that the Lib/Dems, a contradiction of title and behaviour, will slide into oblivion or Brussels, however you care to define it.

    The problem for CMD is that the English expect unequivocal decisions and action. Not one of his strong points. Without it the field is left open to UKIP so get to it.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 15, 2014

      But Westminster actually spends most of its time debating matters pertinent to the whole of the UK, and not always according to a predictable timetable which would ensure that representatives elected to the devolved parliaments could be present when they should be.

      I suppose a modern solution could be to set up permanent video links from London to Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast with three large screens in each of the chambers at Westminster; and then for example the President of the Scottish Parliament could announce that proceedings there were now going to be interrupted to go over to London for the urgent statement on the overnight developments in Syria, with the members of the devolved parliaments being able to raise questions and take part in the debate, if they can catch the Speaker’s eye, and if there is a vote they will be able to vote remotely with their votes weighted to correct for the smaller number of electors that each member of the Scottish Parliament represents in that devolved parliament compared to the number they should represent in the federal UK Parliament.

      Or, we could just have the much simpler and workable solution of four devolved Parliaments whose separately elected members deal only with devolved matters, and one federal UK Parliament whose members deal with federal matters.

      1. agricola
        December 15, 2014

        Sensible debate scheduling and video conferencing seems fine for debating UK matters. In such a scenario there would be no need for a fifth Federal UK parliament because all four devolved parliaments in video session become the UK Parliament. A very good friend used to do this for technical conferences between his company in Wolverhampton and a customer in Seattle, and that was twenty years ago. Lets drag democracy into the twenty first century.

        1. DaveM
          December 15, 2014

          But who’d be the UK’s rep abroad? Maybe we should use Prince Harry. He makes our politicians look like a bunch of delinquent fools squabbling in a playground. If only there were such sensible people in government we wouldn’t have half the problems we have.

        2. Denis Cooper
          December 16, 2014

          I suppose that it could all be done by video links; not just when the representatives in the devolved assemblies were to take part in the proceedings at Westminster, but all of it. All the representatives in all five assemblies could stop at home in their constituencies, and just hold virtual meetings as required. Then all the buildings could be sold off, and there would be no expenses for accommodation of representatives or anything else other than the costs of providing the links, which could be paid directly to avoid any fiddles. That would seem to be the natural conclusion.

          Or, we could just accept the system normally used in countries with federal systems, that each of the assemblies should have its own set of separately elected representatives who are available all the time for their differing duties in their respective assemblies, and not try to penny pinch by double-hatting any of them.

  25. fedupsouthener
    December 15, 2014

    Cameron must do something regarding this issue. English people need to see that someone is looking out for their interests. Living in Scotland all we hear about is what Scotland wants and they are not interested in the rest of the UK especially as the SNP are in power here. If Salmond wins his seat then things will get heated. We are already talking about tactical voting here in Scotland to keep the SNP out. If they get to vote on independence again not only will it slow up growth in Scotland but it will be a nerve racking time for those living here once again. I note the SNP have not commented on the fact that their revenues would have been extremely low due to the impact low oil revenue is having at the moment. Where would they get the extra funding for their fantasies? The Lib Dems and Labour only have their interests at heart and couldn’t give a damn about this issue but we are watching with close interest. Good luck!

  26. Oli
    December 15, 2014

    This could be a good vote winner for Conservatives if it’s campaigned well in the Spring. Whilst I would advocate much further devolution for England – a full English Parliament just like in Scotland – only the Conservatives and UKIP are at least recognising the absolute need to put in place more robust democracy for England. Unfortunately many voters in England are still unaware of how poorly represented they are relative to their Scottish and Welsh cousins and how unfair this is. An informative campaign would highlight the obvious to many and would almost certainly show a ground-swell of support for greater English autonomoy.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 15, 2014

      Well then, let’s have a referendum in England on whether we want what the Scots have had for fifteen years, and thrash it out during that campaign.

      Then those of us who want a separate and separately elected devolved Parliament and government for England could put forward our arguments in support of that proposal, while those leading the Tory, Labour and LibDem parties could all join together to present their spurious arguments against it.

  27. Lifelogic
    December 15, 2014

    It seems Labour do not want candidates to discuss immigration. The advice seems to be change the subject if it is raised. I suppose they would also be well advised to change the subject if the deficit comes up, or the damaging wars on a lie, or Ed Miliband, Ed Balls, Gordon Brown, Tony Bliar, the regulation of the banks, no return to boom and bust, the English democratic deficit, the EU, the economy and the expensive energy green crap exaggeration religion.

    What then will they then have left to discuss? Just their usual evil politics of envy, “fairness”, “equality”, “minories” such as women and Labour’s mythical magic money tree, one assumes.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 15, 2014

      Alas the Tories under current leadership are virtually the same.

    2. ChrisS
      December 15, 2014

      They are already preparing to fight the election on the NHS to draw attention away from all other aspects of policy in which they are woefully inept.

      Well before May voters will be thoroughly fed up with hearing Labour going on about the NHS. Anyway, as we have seen in recent days, Osbourne can counter any argument on the subject by throwing a relatively small amount of money into the kitty each time.

      After all, sound Conservative economic policy is always going to make it easier for Osbourne rather than Balls to provide for the NHS with more resources.

  28. Eddie Hill
    December 15, 2014

    I agree completely with Mark B’s excellent post.

    Just to be clear, you should beware of any assurances you receive from your leader and his government, because they have a track record of turning their backs on their assurances.

    Except curiously in the case of the promises they unwisely made to the Scots just before the last referendum, which they seem to think they are duty bound to deliver on.

    Given that they have repeatedly turned their backs on assurances given to the whole Union, assurances made in exchange for votes I might add, why do they feel so strongly about delivering on their assurances to the Scots?

    Just asking!

    1. Lifelogic
      December 15, 2014

      Indeed and the party leaders had zero authority from the voters in the rest of the UK to make these last minute, panic promises to the Scottish. So they have to right to keep them at all without authority from the people and should never have made them.

  29. They Work for Us.
    December 15, 2014

    Current politicians have to face an unpalatable fact (to them) that England has the majority by population by far, provides most of the taxes and most of the MPs.
    England could easily do without Scotland and perhaps we should wish them on their way, but treating them as a foreign country afterwards. I see Northern Ireland wants more money still and if it is not supplied there is a background rumble that the “Troubles” might return. England should announce a programme of withdrawal in five years or less, leaving NI to join Eire. Again Eire should be treated as a foreign country with no easy travel. England could be great again without being hobbled by hanger on devolved regions. We would of course leave the EU for a trade only agreement.
    We have the population and provide most of the money. Our power and influence should be commensurate.

    1. Max Dunbar
      December 15, 2014

      I agree with the last two sentences – so get a grip and exert some authority over those who would do us harm and divide our island.

  30. Peter Stroud
    December 15, 2014

    It has got to be understood by Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, that England is not only the largest country in the Union, but it creates more wealth than any of the others. Therefore it must lead on most matters that affect the entire union, and must have sole control over its own laws. But there should be absolutely no move towards regionalisation. We don’t wish for another level of government, with more paid politicians, and more supporting bureaucracy. We have far too many people paid from taxation.

    1. Max Dunbar
      December 15, 2014

      Well said.

  31. Denis Cooper
    December 15, 2014

    Off-topic, it’s quite amusing that on the same day that the Telegraph reveals Labour’s strategy to defeat UKIP over immigration – just don’t talk about it – the FT floats Tory “eurosceptic”, “Fresh Start”, ideas for duping the electorate over reform of the EU – “How to achieve treaty change without changing the treaties!”.


    And other connected articles referenced there.

  32. ChrisS
    December 15, 2014

    The single largest flaw which will destroy the Labour/Libdem argument for regionalisation is income tax.

    Now that the Conservatives have very cleverly obtained agreement that control over all income tax rates are devolved to Scotland, the same degree of devolution has got to be given to England.

    We know that regionalisation is only being proposed by the Libdems and Labour to safeguard their own narrow party positions but they will never be able to successfully argue that Income tax rates should be devolved to English Regions. Different rates in different regions of England would be ridiculous and would cause chaos

    Whatever happens, Income Tax rates will always be set for the whole of England so,
    ahatever the Libdems and Labour try to foist on us, this most important part of the budget will always have to be voted on by English MPs alone.

    There will therefore be occasions when a Labour government will not be able to get its budget through the house.

    Their Balkanisation plan will therefore fail at the very first hurdle and be shown up as the product of cynical party interest.

  33. Independent England
    December 15, 2014

    I am not expecting there to be much of interest in the paper. As ever it will be all talk and no action. TheTories need to listen to the expressed wishes off the English and give us honme rule.

  34. Denis Cooper
    December 15, 2014

    Off-topic, over-claiming from Osborne and Cameron about the reduction in the budget deficit is subject to some criticism from a rather unexpected quarter, here:


    “Why is David Cameron now misleading voters about the deficit?”

    1. zorro
      December 15, 2014

      I suppose that we should be grateful for small mercies in the credibility stakes… He was last year, as the article mentions at the end, claiming that ‘We’re paying down Britain’s debts’….. which is, of course, total nonsense as the public sector debt has risen 60% under his stewardship….


    2. JoeSoap
      December 15, 2014

      I think I could live with this if they stated (and our host) GDP growth as inflation-adjusted and per capita. It is yet another facet of the dishonesty amongst politicians which requires greater transparency.

  35. Lindsay McDougall
    December 15, 2014

    “We want England (and/or England, Wales and Northern Ireland) to be in charge of all relevant issues, from new laws to matters like Income Tax rates and tuition fees.”

    I am glad that you included that …. and/or …. There is no way that we should encourage Wales and Northern Ireland to go the same way as Scotland. We are going to have trouble with SinnFein in particular and Stormont politicians in general. Their Barnett formula settlement is even more generous than of Scotland, yet they expect more in order to avoid welfare austerity and the loss of public sector jobs.

    No way, Jose. England had to brave the loss of public sector jobs before the new private sector jobs came in. There is no reason why Northern Ireland should get special treatment. Also, both SinnFein and the DUP want to reduce corporation tax to the Irish level within Northern Ireland, with the fall in revenue covered by England. Again, no way.

    1. JoeSoap
      December 15, 2014

      Not only that – Scots uni graduates, as well as EU graduates from Scottish Uni s who have “picked up” English, can move south and undercut English graduates because they have no tuition fees to pay back.

      1. JoeSoap
        December 15, 2014

        So perhaps Ed Mili can put that in his pipe and smoke it as an example of immigrants undercutting the local labour force?

  36. Dennis
    December 15, 2014

    “This week we expect the government’s White Paper on justice for England.”

    That’s good but when will we get one on justice for all the other countries which now we treat unjustly by unfairly creaming off their resources, ecocapacities, skilled personnel etc.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 16, 2014

      What an extraordinary, totally irrelevant and illogical, comment.

  37. The PrangWizard
    December 15, 2014

    Here’s an example of how one Tory MP doesn’t mention England. Nadine Dorries, Member for Mid-Bedfordshire to whose blog you link, has been speaking in the House in the debate on Fire Fighters Pensions. She said ‘…if the …. can apply in Northern Ireland, in Wales, and in Scotland, why can’t they apply in the UK’. Note, not ‘in England too’, as one would expect in such a sentence, but ‘in the UK’.

    How is this to be explained, is she just a sloppy and lazy thinker and speechwriter -surely not – or does it show her personal political view not to mention England , or is it that Tory MPs are under some sort of instruction to avoid the mention of England in such a context.

    How is it to be explained?

  38. formula57
    December 15, 2014

    England must have the same deal as Scotland and those who would deny that to the English will be required to give reasons!

    Can we assume that the Deputy Prime Minister has not seen fit in the weeks he has had available to reply to your letter asking about his party’s support in Parliament for immediate measures to give justice to England?

  39. Max Dunbar
    December 15, 2014

    There are only two things that really matter; mass immigration and regional separation.

  40. DaveM
    December 15, 2014

    Mm. This looks like familiar rhetoric from a centrist pro-EU politician. FN currently around 29% in some polls.


    Seems Europe might become united after all. AGAINST those who are trying to force unity upon us.

  41. Steve Cox
    December 16, 2014

    I hope that whoever handles the advertising and campaign publicity for the Conservatives nowadays realises what a wonderful gift the Labour and Lib Dem attitudes on EVEL are with a general election less than 5 months away. The famous “Labour Isn’t Working” adverts back in 1979 were highly effective in getting the message across and helping secure Mrs Thatcher’s first term in office. Something similarly snappy and to the point saying that Labour and the Lib Dems won’t let the English people decide their own laws could be worth a lot of votes in May.

  42. Iain Moore
    December 16, 2014

    Today I gather a bill is being presented to Parliament for EVEL. This the BBC sought to hijack by having Prescott on the Today program peddling his discredited balkanisation of England , and when you might think that this might merit a phone in on the BBC’s Radio 5 live, we instead get one a sporting celebrities.

    Of course Labour the Libdems and the BBC can get away with this because the Conservatives are either so inept at engaging with the electorate they are now only good for Westminster games, or else Cameron Osborne and Hague’s heart really isn’t in this , so letting Labour and the BBC bury it then it is fine by them.

  43. Atlas
    December 16, 2014

    Agreed John.

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