Devolution

Yesterday I joined a debate at Local Government House on devolution, with the Greens, Lib Dems and Labour.

I explained how the grant of powers to the Scottish Parliament, promised for early in the next Parliament, necessitates justice for England. I reminded them that if Scotland is to settle her own income tax, there is no way England would accept a higher rate of income tax voted through with the help of Scottish MP votes at Westminster.

I argued that the artificial regions of England which some wish to create as governing units are unloved and unsuitable to be elected administrations. There is no great sense of South Eastern belonging nor any big outbreak of East Midlands feelings . England is a country of Counties and Boroughs, of ancient areas of local government that do not require Sunderland to accept government from Newcastle, Liverpool to be governed by Manchester or Plymouth to be governed by Exeter.

Governing areas need to be ones that command support and loyalty. People need to feel they belong to an area or place for it to have a government people will obey, shape and accept.

I drew attention to the idea that some Northern Councils working together should have influence over their local NHS budget. There have always been difficulties with issues that lie on the borders of NHS and Council jurisdiction. There are problems in some places finding sufficient Council places for care to allow people to leave hospital in good time. More common decision making between the NHS and Council social services could help.

How far would you go in offering devolved powers and budgets to local government? For it to work central government has to grant more power to Councils, and Councils have to show maturity in making decisions and accepting responsibility for what they decide.

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115 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Local as well as National Government needs total reform. We have pretty much done to death National Government, but not so much Local.

    I have little or no faith in proposals to Balkanise my country. As we have seen in the news, although this has gone mostly unreported by the State outlet, Local Government is a shambles and cannot be trusted. They are little more than fiefdoms for one party or another. This, as we have seen, has resulted in less than suitable behavior from those elected to ‘serve’.

    Creating ‘City States’ will only make matters worse. We need an independent elected HoC for England and England only. A reduction the the number of Local Authorities and more power to them. We need more direct democracy, where the people can demand and force Local Authorities to take action much like they do in Switzerland.

    It is not more power the Local Govenment needs, it is more, Power to the People !!

    • libertarian
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      Mark B

      Thanks for that, saved me typing. Agree with you 100%

  2. Richard1
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    We need to be careful of this Labour inspired attempt to obfuscate the demand for Justice for England by supposed devolution to English regions. It’s not just that England would not accept higher tax rates imposed by Scottish MPs. English MPs may want to demand lower taxes than Scottish MPs have imposed on Scotland. If tax is to be a devolved issue, then it needs to be devolved to England. We also need to recognise that devolution within England of eg NHS spending is a nonsense. The central govt will not allow eg the North East NHS to run out of money, there will be automatic transfers. The same is not – or should not – be true of Scotland. If Scotland messes up the NHS as Wales has done, England must not be required to bail it out. If power is to be devolved, responsibility must be as well.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      It has been implemented by the Conservatives – How is that Labour inspired?

    • Hope
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Well said, but devolution is about regionalisation not devolving power to the people. This is another con to rid the UK of nationhood or any national identity which is frowned upon by the EU. England cannot be allowed to survive it would be too strong to become a region of the EU superstate.

  3. Mark W
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Quite right. I live in the East Midlands technically by living in rural Lincolnshire. I have more in common with Devon or Suffolk than with Nottingham or Leicester. Hence an all England body would be fair to give rural areas a say. But letting some idiot region like East Midlands which stretches from just outside kings Lynn to Manchester be dominated by Nottingham, Derby and Leicester is unfair.

  4. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Sorry Jon, it is all short sighted. It is divide and rule with embroidery. The snobbery being perpetuated with CCG’s and the downing of other staff works in favour of those who would like to control and change our Country beyond recognition.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Sorry John with an h Dr Redwood

  5. alan jutson
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    The NHS is not a National Health Service now, it already makes local decisions on what to spend and who qualifies from the budget it is given, that is why we have the daft post code lottery of treatment and drugs argument from region to region within England.

    I see this underlined with Manchester being given so called freedom to make its own decisions yesterday by the Government.

    Why is it that most politicians at the moment cannot see the simple solution, which is Devo Max for all four Country’s of the UK, with all of them having exactly the same powers (or none at all)

    With only whole UK decisions being made on common ground within our existing Parliament building.

    Why is it that some wish to regionalise England, but not do the same for the others.

    Is anyone proposing that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are to be further regionalised with their own centres of self government.

    Let us face facts, devolution as we have it at the moment has been a disaster for the UK as a whole, no one appears to be satisfied until they gain complete control over their own separate Country’s once again, but then if they got independence, they will all moan they do not have enough income (tax funds) to pay for all the things they want.

    I really am getting very angry at the absolute stupidity of this political farce, when the answer is so bloody simple.

    Keep up the good work John, we may get there in the end.

    • Hope
      Posted February 27, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Alan, It is about regionalisation of the UK not devolvement in accord with the Eau wishes. england cannot be allowed to remain as it is because it would create nationalism and be too strong to submit to be an EU province. Do not allow Cameron to set the agenda for the election, change your voting habit to give them the kick they deserve.

  6. Ian wragg
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Pity Gideon doesn’t agree with you. As I pointed out yesterday, we are told Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire are to become super authorities with their own devolved transport and Nhs budgets. Who voted for this. We are aware that this is an EU requirement but not to be mentioned by the ruling class.
    Little by little you chip away at our freedom. I see immigration is up yet again.

    • Hope
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Higher than when Cameron entered office!! Like the debt and every other one of his failures and broken promises.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Ian – It’s not really my country anymore so I can’t get het up about devolution.

  7. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I will be in the minority on here but I do not agree that the granting of further tax raising powers to Scotland necessitates devolution for England. That should have happened when devolution was first given to Wales and Scotland.

    The change I would most like to see when Scotland starts to use its current and future tax raising powers is the ringfencing of Scottish tax for Scotland, that being her only source of income. She can become a high spend high tax environment if she chooses or she can become Greece. I do not wish to be on the hook for her doctrine.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      ‘I do not wish to be on the hook for her doctrine’.

      You are already on the hook for SNP/Labour doctrine (not all in Scotland) and no matter how hard you struggle to throw the hook, the barbs will dig ever deeper. I predicted that this would come to pass here on this site some time ago. Your only hope is to reassert the primacy of the Westminster Parliament and remove the Scottish Parliament completely. If you do not do that then expect to pay a far heavier price in the future. We can’t have two heads on one body.

      In short, remove the cancer of regional separatism, withdraw from the EU and halt further immigration. The UK parliament must assert authority.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 8:18 am | Permalink

        @ Max

        A devolved English parliament would likely be made up of proportionately represented MPs. You would not be guaranteed to get the government you think you are going to get.

    • William Gruff
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      Narrow Shoulders:

      You’re right and you’re wrong: you are in a minority and ‘the granting of further tax raising powers to Scotland [does necessitate] devolution for England’.

      Scotland’s tax raising powers are likely to start in May and South East England is most likely to be the principal target of the SNP’s Anglophobic bile. Ring fencing of Scotch taxes and expenditure is not possible until Scotland has no access to taxes raised in England, and that will not be possible until the ‘union’ is dissolved because a British government, meaning the English tax payer, will always be liable for any deficit reckless Scotch spending creates. The union cannot be dissolved before an English Parliament, with powers at least equal to that of Scotland, is established to represent the interests of the people of England.

      Ergo, ‘the granting of further tax raising powers to Scotland necessitates devolution for England’.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        @Wg

        I can not fault your logic but feel there is a less draconian solution. Ringfencing Scottish taxes and spending is the way.

        Greece has shown that EU countries are not on the hook for its debt (creditors yet, liable fot the debt no) so UK would not necessarily be on the hook for Scottish debt. Not having UK backing for its debt will cost Scotland more to borrow, which may concentrate minds.

  8. MickN
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    So let me see if I have got this right – 6 billion pounds is going to be given to a bunch of Labour councils to run their local NHS services.
    What could possibly go wrong.

  9. Old Albion
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    It is quite simple. If it is right for Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland to be given a devolved Parliament/Assembly. It is wrong for MP’s from those countries to vote on any devolved issue, when it pertains to England.
    This must be the sole right of MP’s in English constituencies. The simplest way to clarify this is to create an English Parliament.

  10. nigel
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    JR: What is the status and timing now of the William Hague proposals on English Votes for English Laws?

    • Iain Moore
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      How long is the grass?

      At the snap of their fingers they dismember England without so much as a by your leave to us. But ask for English devolution and tectonic moment of the landmasses looks speedy compared to their response.

      Those who live outside of Osborne’s city fiefdoms will not only be second class citizens as a result of Labour constitutional dogs breakfast, but are to be made third class, no Parliament to represent them, no city fiefdom to represent them , just a British MP if they can be bothered.

      There was a lot of too to over English Votes for English laws, about creating different class of MP in Parliament, but they seem to have no trouble of making English people third class when it takes their fancy.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        Fifth class, I think you’ll find: at the top of the heap, UK citizens resident in Scotland, followed by those resident in Wales, then those resident in Northern Ireland, then those resident in the English city fiefdoms, and then the rest of those resident in England at the bottom, fifth class.

    • JoolsB
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      There won’t be any English votes for English laws Nigel. Cameron ratted on his promise he made on the steps of Downing St. on the morning of the 19th Sept. Instead we are to be offered an insulting watered down version – English veto for English laws where Scots & Welsh MPs will still get to vote on English only matters at the final stage.

      • William Gruff
        Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        JoolsB:

        All to the good, and who has been disappointed (no one can possibly have believed other than that they were lying through their teeth and so no one can reasonably have expected anything but a watered down compromise aimed at preserving the status quo)?

        What England desperately needs is a SNuLab, red tartan McSoviet coalition government. The best way to achieve that is not to vote for any candidate backed by the Conservative and Unionist Party.

        • Mark B
          Posted February 27, 2015 at 4:53 am | Permalink

          When you look at the history of failed states, they go through a long period of decline, in which they become ever more desperate to reinvent themselves in order to stop said decline. Witness the Soviet Union and Perestroika.

          A Labour / SNP Government will most certainly accelerate the process, hopefully, bringing about such misery that, it will take just one spark to set the whole thing off. Remember, the UK population has a large influx of people from around the world that will ‘kick-off’ given the chance, as we saw in 2011.

          As you sow, so shall you reap.

  11. Matt
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Local democracy is rather dysfunctional at the moment. We have allowed ourselves to vote (when we do vote) in local elections based westminster politics and not local matters.
    The problem of safe seats is also more pronounced in local government, to the extent that there are entire safe councils.
    Without proper competition for control of local councils, there is a serious lack of accountability and of performance incentives.
    I don’t know who’s fault all this is but I’m not comfortable with granting more powers to local councils whilst it persists.

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    You make good points but the the reality of the situation (due to the lefty, 299 tax increasing, serial ratting, pro EU, greencrap, uselessness of this coalition) is that Miliband and the SDP + others are likely to stitch up a deal after the election. It is unlikely to be remotely fair to the English. After all the Libdums would not even permit fair boundaries for the constituencies.

    • Hope
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      This is only if you allow Cameron and Miliband to set the agenda to choose between them. Vote UKIP and get rid of the cartel.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 7:28 am | Permalink

        @Hope; “Vote UKIP and get rid of the cartel”

        Yes Hope, and we all saw what happened in 2010, voting UKIP, Green and any number of other “protest” parties didn’t change a single thing although it did quite effectively reinforce what you call “the cartel”. Nor has a any of the recent by-election results changed anything.

        At best, when casting protest votes, all that happens is the “cartel” pinch your policies, the SDP leant that 30 or so years ago, they would have got to their Nirvana a lot quicker had they remained within the Labour party and fought Militant. I suspect the same judgement will be made of UKIP eventually, had more eurosceptics stayed and fought the europhiles within the Conservative party people like you would have reached your Nirvana perhaps years before you (might eventually) do…

        • Hope
          Posted February 27, 2015 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          Your reply makes it clear that you are allowing Cameron and Miliband to set the agenda for you to follow like a sheep. When the turn out is decreasing and fewer people voting they will still be in power, look at the police Commisioners less than 10 percent of the votes to hold an office that no one wanted! This is their democracy. Carry on with your intransigent stance and not surprisingly you will get the same.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 27, 2015 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

            @Hope; “to follow like a sheep”

            But who are the sheep, the majority who stay and fight or those who give into the defeatist propaganda of a couple of squadies who have gone AWOL and thus follow, then do nothing but complain that their chosen cause is loosing the battle!

            “Carry on with your intransigent stance and not surprisingly you will get the same.”

            Hope, you call my comments an “intransigent stance”, but tell me, who is the closer to getting what we both I assume want -a referendum on EU membership- after 21 years of UKIP, you with your defeatist attitude towards the Tory party or people like our host who has stayed and fought from within?

    • A different Simon
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Idiot-1 gets a twenty something English Lit graduate environmental campaigner to draft U.K. energy policy .

      Then idiot-2 announces to great fanfare he’s going to “out green” all that have gone before him .

      If this cycle is not broken it will be fatal .

  13. Jerry
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    First. Thank you John for standing up for us English!

    “How far would you go in offering devolved powers and budgets to local government?”

    I’ll try and keep this short, you seem to be very busy ATM. Without major reforms of of the District council level of local government I wouldn’t want any (more) devolved powers to be given to them one bit, far to many of them seem nothing but self-serving and/or have lumped dissimilar conurbations together that broke natural ties between already existing communities for no other reason than a line on some bureaucrats map. Many of the decisions made at district level could be better made at the local town council (with perhaps better input from the parish councils) and/or county level.

  14. Bert Young
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Firstly I agree that Scotland cannot and should not have influence on the taxes in England ; England must not subsidise Scotland in any way – if they want a back door to independence ,let them have it . There are also many problems in the regionalisation of England ; some areas are very different to others economically and geographically , as such it is reasonable and fair for there to be differences in the way they are supported . Above all is the need to demonstrate that we are one united country and not a series of devolved powers .

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Where does all this end Bert? You get shot of Scotland and then somehow demonstrate that you are one united country and expect everyone to believe that? Not credible.

      • William Gruff
        Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        Max Dunbar:

        It all ends with independence for England.

  15. Liz
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I would not give any more powers to councils like Rotherham! At the very least there needs to be a more democratice system in local government than the “cabinet” one set up by Tony Blair which excludes most councillors from any influence within the council.
    An English Government within Westminster with British affairs dealt with in the House of Commons is the only just solution to the mess that devolution is turning into.

    • William Gruff
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Liz:

      Rotherham isn’t just about the local council. The crimes committed there occurred because those in several organisations, not just the council, were able to conceal what was going on. Demands for more ‘democracy’ are pointless unless they set out clearly what is wanted.

      I want far more transparency and genuine accountability in all areas of public life and for everyone holding a tax payer funded position to be personally liable for his actions. Further, we the people must have the ability to remove incompetent or criminal public servants from office, without compensation from the public purse.

      Re. ‘An English Government within Westminster with British affairs dealt with in the House of Commons … ‘:

      The Commons is the seat of English governance and not the arena for British matters. A British Grand Committee could meet in any provincial town hall or concert venue, as long as doesn’t have a duty free bar and subsidised restaurant.

  16. David Murfin
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    ” Councils have to show maturity in making decisions and accepting responsibility for what they decide. ”
    Some 60%+ of the electorate vote in general elections, and it was well over 70% not so long ago. In local council elections it is more like half that. The public needs to show greater involvement in and more respect for local decision making before local powers are extended. The present spate of scandals over what councils have taken responsibility for, and what they have avoided – have been allowed to avoid – and how their money has been spent does not auger well for devolved powers.

  17. DaveM
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    I would say that whatever you give to Greater Manchester you should give to the rest of the metro and traditional counties of England. As you said, they are an identity as well as a reasonable size.

    The danger is that if that was to happen, the ‘mayors’ (or whatever they might be called) would end up being young politicians placed by their parties to give them experience at local level. Ideally, those positions should be taken by an experienced and successful local who is independent of political party influence, and who has an interest in – and a genuine feel for – local matters and requirements.

    So, why not get rid of the PCCs (why anyone thought a politician would do a better job than a copper with 40 years’ experience is beyond me anyway), give all counties the same powers as Greater Manchester and Greater London, make the LG Minister the SoS for England, and implement EVEL now.

    You can worry about the tax side of it!!!

    Over centralisation (in any aspect of life) pleases no-one except accountants.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 27, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      @davem

      I would say that whatever you give to Greater Manchester you should give to the rest of the metro and traditional counties of England. As you said, they are an identity as well as a reasonable size.

      Divide and conquer. The classic political tool. Instead of focussing on the end game we will all now struggle to get “what they have got”.

      • DaveM
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        I see where you’re coming from, but if the leaders of all the fiefdoms could be collected together to form an English parliament it would give England a voice via a 1st minister and a SoS.

        Sorry – was a bit busy yesterday and didn’t have time to expand.

  18. JoolsB
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    John,

    Why are you all so afraid to do the obvious and sensible, not to mention democratic, thing and ask us, the English, what we want? Instead we have a handful of politicians squabbling in some back room over what suits their own and their parties’ narrow self interests rather than what is fair and in the interests of the people of England. Could it be because they know, but to choose to ignore, that poll after poll shows all England wants is the same as the rest of the UK already enjoys, i.e. a voice and it’s own self determining legislature? Nothing more, nothing less, just equality. Scotland & Wales have been consulted in more than one referendum whereas the English have never, not once, been consulted and the political establishment are determined that they never will be because they know the answer won’t suit them so to hell with England. And they have the gall to call us a democracy, they don’t know the meaning of the word!

    When we have the SNP governing England in May and England takes to the streets, the anti- English Lab/Con/Lib parties will rue the day they treated England with such contempt!

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      The devolution and ‘independence’ referenda should never have been conceived or carried out in the first place. These were decisions affecting the entire UK taken by a very small proportion of the population. The dissolution, not devolution, of the UK is a UK matter for all UK citizens and not one to be dictated by a tiny majority of people in an obscure northern region.
      As for the ‘England takes to the streets’, it has not happened yet and is unlikely to happen in any case as most of us do as we are told and don’t complain. Have you ever taken to the streets on any issues JoolsB?

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted February 26, 2015 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        ‘Minority’ not ‘majority’!

        • Max Dunbar
          Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

          This was a correction to another post.

  19. Iain Moore
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote to my MP……

    //Last night we got the BBC News giving the balkanisers of England more air time to peddle their city fiefdom cause , with Scottish elected politician , Danny Alexander , telling power gabbing city leaders to go for it, for they would find friends for their cause in the Treasury.

    So while we get some lame incoherent plans from William Hague as to how (not) to solve the West Lothian Question, something that is no more than a long grass kicking exercise, the Treasury is pushing ahead with plans to pre-empt any constitutional settlement for England.

    Labour is using the London assembly as an argument why there shouldn’t be devolution for England, for they argue there are already different powers in different areas. Of course this wasn’t the declared aim when they set up the London Mayor assembly, for if it was we should have all had our say in London getting an assembly . It will be many times worse if we get Osborne’s Mayoral fiefdoms across English cities.

    Just as Labour tried to get piecemeal regional assemblies to fracture England through local votes, Osborne is doing the same, via the back door, to England with his Mayoral fiefdoms. But Osborne can’t even get us to vote for Mayors, he is financially foisting them on us. Whatever Government we get, we always get them pushing for the balkanisation of England, why is that? Is there some hidden department of the British state whose sole purpose is to destroy England, a bit like the Scottish office, but in reverse?

    In a previous letter I have asked you, but didn’t receive a reply, when the Cameron Conservatives fracture England into a dogs breakfast of competing mayoral fiefdoms, what happens to all of us who don’t live in a city fiefdom , but live in a hinter land of nowhere? Where do we get our representation? Do we get annexed by a city fiefdom? Will we be asked if we want this?

    The Conservatives rely on English votes, but they seem to have nothing but contempt for English people and culture. A culture of civic representation through our Parishes, Councils, Counties and MPs, none of which they care very much about, Hampshire was established in 755AD older than most of the countries of the world , yet I understand Osborne is planning a city fiefdom in Southampton and Portsmouth, have we been asked if we want this ancient County abolished? No.

    People say they care about the Union ending, I do as well, for me it can’t end soon enough (and I was someone who was ambivalent about my British /English nationality) . The worst thing that ever happened to England was the Scots NOT voting for independence. At the moment there is a race on as which happens first, the British establishment destroys England, or the dis-United Kingdom ends. //

    I have yet to receive a reply.

    What we seem to be getting is the piecemeal fracturing of England, that none of us voted for, in fact people voted against Mayoral fiefdoms, that is going to be used to deny us a constitutional settlement for England, which not only create a second class English voter as a result of Labour’s constitutional dogs breakfasts , but a third class Englishman who doesn’t live in a City.

    I voted Conservative in the last election, right now I feel very cheated.

  20. oldtimer
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    This all sounds very sensible to me. How did it go down with the other speakers? Like a lead balloon? O did it did it receive enthusiastic endorsement?

  21. English Pensioner
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I’d be strongly opposed to any more devolution to local councils.
    They appear to be extremely expensive to run with probably some of the highest paid staff in public employment and also very high staffing levels. Where I live, there are three tiers, Parish, District and County, all of which have to consult with the others about doing something and it is difficult to find out who does what. In major issues, such as planning, the government can overrule their decisions and the government effectively sets their budget through the grants and council tax.
    Although I’m sure that the majority of such allegations are totally unfounded, there often appears to be a sniff of corruption in local government, largely due to the fact that it does not appear to have the same oversight as national government. Certainly some of the salaries and expenses seem totally unjustified. There is no longer the District Auditor to whom individuals could complain if they felt money was being improperly used. This perception of corruption is not helped by what has happened in Tower Hamlets and Rotherham.
    I’m not sure that devolvement of Wales to the Welsh Assembly has done a lot for the Welsh people, and to me, what has happened there is a good argument for not devolving responsibility to the regions. We already have some Welsh coming to England for NHS treatment, and as it is frequently claimed that we have a PostCode lottery with regards to some treatments, surely regionalisation would simply make this worse.

  22. Mondeo Man
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Interesting that the left’s solution to the West Lothian question appears to be ‘break England up’.

    When it comes the the unity of Britain – bad.

    When it comes to the unity of England – worse.

    When it comes to the unity of the EU – FANTASTIC !

    We are apart form all other nations in that we are the only one not allowed to be nationalistic. Though I suspect we will be allowed to be enthusiastically nationalist when we are finally subsumed into the EU. In fact it will probably be compulsory one day.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 27, 2015 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Are other large EU countries regionalised by the EU? France, Spain, Germany, Italy? Why the desire to castrate England?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Well, it seems to be a bit of a fashion. I’ve seen EU candidate countries changing their longstanding internal administrative arrangements along regional lines before joining the EU, but it also seems that “regionalism” is not entirely restricted to the EU even though the EU promotes it.

      • Hefner
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        No need for that! Germany is a federal state since 1946, Spain, Italy and France have had regional councils for at least 20-30 years!

        It is not a desire to castrate England, just one to decrease the powers within the Westminster bubble, and give a bit more say to people outside the Parliament. Have you ever even considered that MPs cannot be knowledgeable on all, every and any topics? They have to rely on advisors, researchers, think tanks and similars. Those could be used at a more local level if some devolution were allowed.

        Are you so afraid of democracy that you cannot even think of changing even a bit?

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted February 27, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

          No not afraid of democracy and by definition if it was democratic I would have been consilted and had my miniscule say.

          We appear to understand democracy differently.

  23. Henry Kaye
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t trust local councillors any more than I trust our elected westminster government

  24. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    For the past 50 years, London has been subtracting powers from the counties. The awful loonie left under Neil Kinnoch didn’t help their cause. Neither does Tower Hamlets today. I do not see London handing powers back to the counties.
    I do however see DG Regio directing us into Regions like everyone else.

  25. Mondeo Man
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    The agenda setting BBC is responsible for bringing this non debate to the table.

    Attacking the licence fee is critical to loosing their grip on our democracy.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 27, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      @Mondeo Man; “BBC is responsible for bringing this non debate to the table”

      …and what of Ch4? Scrapping the TVL fee will do nothing to neuter their output, what will be the right wings next demand, censorship?!

      Anyway, the agenda was set by the PM and “No group” on the morning after the Scottish independence referendum, if not before, what with all the talk of DevoMax during the campaign and talk about EVEL/EVEN on that morning after.

  26. Francis Lankester
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Every now & again an issue arises which is originally purely created by the political class but then amazingly raises a lot of support & fuss-such is EVEL. Scotland controlling its own income tax would mean de facto independence, but the continuation of the block grant means there is no such thing as an ‘English issue’-taxation continues to be a UK- wide one.

    Just like the EU, it’s an amazing sight to see Conservatives doing exactly what our separatist and Brussels bureaucrats want insted of fighting back to unravel devolution (by binding the British nations back together). Conservatives ought not to be defeatists.

  27. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I happen to live within the Greater Manchester area and will be affected by the proposed changes. Firstly, the people here have never been consulted about whether they want this change or indeed a mayor. I have no desire at all to have some local politician in charge of an NHS budget for £6bn. What is going on here? This is being foisted on people by your colleague Osborne, willingly supported by the leaders of the councils most of them, regrettably, Labour.
    When the idea of a Mayor for Greater Manchester was first “agreed”, the local councils and councillors knew nothing of it; it was stitched up by Osborne and his newly found Labour leader pals. The role of the councillors was merely to endorse the fait accompli. We, the people directly affected, unsurprisingly, have had no say whatsoever. Is this what you mean by devolution to the regions? No wonder most of your party leaders want to keep us in the EU their masters in Brussels will ne proud of them.
    Perhaps tomorrow you will give us all your excuses for your party having reneged on your pledge to reduce immigration to the tens of thousands? Brussels will again be delighted with your performance.

  28. Ralph Musgrave
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Scots complain about being ruled by a far away capital city called “London”, where Scots have considerable clout, to judge by the number of Scottish accents in Westminster.

    Instead, they want to be ruled by a capital city even further away called “Brussels” where Scots would have almost no clout at all.

    I’m getting suspicious of these stories I keep hearing about Scots being talented.

  29. A different Simon
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Those of us in England and Wales must not betray those Scot’s who voted NO to independence .

    How about Scotland having a TRIAL period of independence , say 20 years ?

    During this period Scotland has to issue it’s own currency and transfer payments such as the Barnett formula are stopped .

    At the end of the 10 years and 20 years , the Scot’s get to vote to either continue being independent or negotiate it’s way back in ?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      That would be a real betrayal of the Scots who voted NO.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Germany had a trial period of twelve years in the thirties and forties. Look where that got them and their neighbours!

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Simon – If, after all this, they return bankrupt would the English have a choice in the matter ?

      (On present form probably not)

  30. Robert Taggart
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    The planned devolution for Manchester and its hinterland (‘Greater’ grates with some of us !) would actually be welcomed by Moi, providing…
    The District Councils were abolished – saving a fortune in staffing costs.
    One Councillor per seat – One hundred seat would suffice.
    Elections once every Five years – may just increase the turnout.
    Voting to be based on some kind of proportionality – in order to prevent a Liebore one party state.
    This may not command the loyalty of many – to begin with, but, loyalty be fickle – time to show some leadership.
    From a Tory perspective – they have little to loose around here – so they may do as they like !

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      I’ve heard that Manchester is very Left-wing; so why not have Anschluss with Scotland? All that would be needed would be some sort of corridor up the M6.

      • Robert Taggart
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        NO – let EV4EL win the day !

    • Margaret Brandreth-J
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Greater grates with me. Lancashire is Lancashire, Cheshire is Cheshire!

      • Robert Taggart
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        Selnecia perhaps ? – as per the 1960’s – early ’70’s Transport Conglomerate – South East Lancashire North East Cheshire.

  31. behindthefrogs
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    The concern with the current devolution trend as exampled by Manchester is that it will spread to other areas of high population and leave the rest of the country isolated. Before any more areas are selected, we must have a plan that shows what happens to the UK as a whole.

    • William Gruff
      Posted February 27, 2015 at 12:01 am | Permalink

      behindthefrogs:

      … we must have a plan that shows what happens to the UK as a whole.

      There is no ‘UK as a whole’; there is merely the ghost of a dead chimaera, in every sense of the word.

      Start thinking of England and stop thinking of those in the ‘U’K who detest us merely because we are English. We have nothing in common with them, can make no common cause with them and have no future with them.

  32. Lifelogic
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    You make good points but the the reality of the situation (due to the lefty, 299 tax increasing, serial ratting, pro EU, greencrap, uselessness of this coalition) is that Miliband and the SDP + some others are likely to stitch up a deal after the election in a few day. This deal is very unlikely to be remotely fair to the English.

    After all the Libdums would not even permit fair boundaries for the constituencies.

  33. A different Simon
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    For a moment take a step back and look at the big picture .

    – Predictions are that the Conservatives and Labour will end up far short of an overall majority and that the SNP will hold the balance of power

    – Every special interest group from Devolutionist’s , NGO’s , Quango’s , EU , environmentalists , Local Councils knows the Govt lacks authority and is using this weakness as an excuse to play up .

    – The Govt has a track record of giving those who shout loudest what they want .

    – The Govt’s appetite for dragging us into conflicts has become inversely proportional to their successful efforts to disarm us .

    We are now behaving aggressively towards Russia who have done nothing untowards to us .

    – The Govt has made in clear to ordinary people that only the banks count and it is not their problem if ordinary people can no longer make ends meet .

    To use the correct 21st century spiel does that look like a “sustainable” situation to anyone ?

    Am I the only one who thinks the GOVT HAVE LOST CONTROL ?

    How long before we see a break down of civil order and rioting in the streets ?

    • William Gruff
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      A different Simon:

      Am I the only one who thinks the GOVT HAVE LOST CONTROL ?

      That happened a long time ago, which is why so many concessions have been made over so many years to what Americans call ‘Law Enforcement’ and the security services, as I’m sure every member of parliament knows.

      How long before we see a break down of civil order and rioting in the streets ?

      We’ve seen that for years. What I think you mean is ‘how long before the ordinary law abiding, tax paying vote casting man and woman loses patience and no longer fears a criminal record? Who can say. Given that they haven’t yet learned to think for themselves and vote for candidates other than the dross currently snuffling in the gilded trough for our truffles, I’d say don’t expect anything seminal any time soon.

      No revolution here today folks.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        How many people who comment on this site are prepared to take to the streets?
        It requires a fundamental readjustment of thought and all that we have been brought up to consider as acceptable behaviour. Many people take vicarious pleasure from watching lively demonstrations on TV but the leap from the armchair to the street is inconceivable to the ordered and obedient British mind. There are few exceptions.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 27, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          Max Dunbar; “How many people who comment on this site are prepared to take to the streets?”

          Very few I suspect, if for no other reason than once you take to the streets you have already lost the argument – otherwise why the need?…

        • William Gruff
          Posted February 27, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          Max Dunbar:

          Spot on.

  34. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    None of this in any way diminishes the need for the whole of England to have its own separate and separately elected devolved Parliament and government, like Scotland, as one component of a United Kingdom with a proper, rational, federal structure.

    • William Gruff
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper:

      You were doing well until ‘as one component of … ‘.

      A federal ‘U’K is not a realistic proposition, mostly because it is of absolutely no benefit to England (please don’t serve up your traditional old chestnut of ‘a potentially hostile state on our northern border’), also because it is unsustainable unless England is smashed into a dozen or more Scotland sized fragments called anything but England, which is unacceptable.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        A federal UK is a pipe dream for consensus woolly headed Lib-Dem types. But if you think that people in England have the guts to stand up for England think again. Your ‘No revolution here today folks’ comment says it all really. Prepare to be cut up into bite sized chunks by the EU and slowly digested. The only lifebelt available has HMS UK written on it. Stick with it or go down.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 27, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          Excuse me, I am not a woolly-headed LibDem type, far from it.

        • William Gruff
          Posted February 27, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          Max Dunbar:

          It’s not a question of ‘standing up for England’ or of taking to the streets or risking the opprobrium of one’s neighbours for public affray, it will simply be a matter of doing the only thing possible, because the ‘U’K is already sunk and the only available lifebelt has An Independent England written all over it and through it. A SNuLab coalition cannot but ignite a blaze of English national reawakening such that demands for an English Parliament will dominate the 2020 general election campaign, by which time the ‘U’K could well be out of the EU.

          There are interesting times ahead but it is a mistake to write off England as finished.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Of course I should accept your personal assurance that what has happened in the past over centuries would never happen again if Scotland reverted to being an independent sovereign state capable of forming its own foreign policy and making its own alliances with foreign powers. Or I could accept the same kind of assurance when offered by Alex Salmond.

        I suppose you realise that your false argument that England is too large to be a component of a sustainable UK federation is one of the arguments used by those who want to break up England into bite sized chunks?

  35. Atlas
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Do away with local council Cabinets – their introduction was a retrograde step.

    John, are Osborne’s changes part of a slow introduction of the EU plan on regions into this country?

    • William Gruff
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      Atlas:

      We did away with ours in Fylde. They tried to slip it in unannounced, on a scrappy looking yellow slip, with whatever pointless local elections were held here last year (County Council?). I’m not politically active locally but I do stay in touch and I knew nothing about it, although it was not at all difficult to decipher the wording on the referendum slip as I read it out to my wife, with comments and to the obvious amusement of the polling station staff. Happily the voters of Fylde were not as stupid as the ruling Conservative and Unionist Party clique had perhaps hoped and they, like my wife and myself, voted to return to those dreadfully old fashioned and inefficient committees (comments on cabinet governance deleted by the author).

  36. They Work for Us?
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Most of the Political Class will fight tooth and nail to stop England, the major funds provider, to assert itself. We have no chance of saying “no” to mass immigration, HS2, the green blob, the EU etc without an English Assembly.
    I hope there will come a time when right wing conservative MPs will face Cameron on some of these issues and say “we will resign the Whip and vote for the country and not the party. If disciplined we will resign our seats and stand for UKIP or as UKIP leaning independents”, the end of the road has been reached, we are tired of prevarification and obfuscation.

    • William Gruff
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

      They Work for Us?:

      We have no chance of saying “no” …

      You can say no at any time.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        @TWFU; @William Gruff; “You can say no at any time.”

        Totally agree with William, the trouble for the ‘ultra-capitalist’ is that few of the electorate do so, and have not for the last 22 or so years.

        Oh and “TWFU”, far from conservative MPs facing up to Cameron, what they need to do is face up to those who elect them, if the electorate is unhappy then they will elect someone else, won’t they…

  37. Max Dunbar
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Closing down Local Government House could be an inspired move in the right direction. It is obviously the root of many of our problems. I believe that Thatcher stated in one of her books that the greatest enemies were the Unions and Local Government. Correct me if wrong please.

    • William Gruff
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

      Max Dunbar:

      Isn’t that a devolved matter for you?

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        As the Scottish Parliament is, in fact, devolved local government then Dr Redwood was quite right to include it in the debate at Local Government House.

  38. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Off topic: Oh no, now we are going to have UKIP boring everybody by pointing out that Cameron promised to drastically reduce immigration, in line with the wishes of the great majority of the electorate, and instead he has contrived to increase it. But what can we do about this, apart from using the opportunity of the next general election to vote for a party which not only says that it will reduce immigration, but actually means it?

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      For the average person the economic ‘boom’ will mean nothing if he has to share it with a lot of poor newcomers.

      When the boom turns to bust (as they all do) there are going to be an awful lot more welfare claimants to pay out to.

      I do hope those thinking of voting Ukip are not going to be suckered into voting Tory “because we must keep Labour out”

      That’s what we did last time !

      • Jerry
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        @Anonymous; For the average person the economic ‘boom’ will mean nothing if he has to share it with a lot of poor people lazing on benefits, refusing to do the work migrants are doing without complaint – not only managing to live and work in the UK but also sending some money home as well…

        When the boom turns to bust (as they all do) there are going to be an awful lot more welfare claimants moaning about no work even though migrants come many hundreds of miles across Europe and can find work (sometimes before they even leave their homeland).

        I do hope those thinking of voting Ukip are not going to be suckered into voting UKIP “because we can keep Labour”.

        That’s what some did last time, and look at the result, a coalition that could have easily put Gordon Brown back into Downing Street, it would have only taken a few more lost Conservative seats due to UKIP splitting the rights vote in marginal seats, but still no referendum – and to, think UKIP, boasted about causing such a mess the morning after!

        • Bazman
          Posted March 1, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

          The boom will also mean very little if rich employers get most of the cash as lets face it they will not share as we have seen. The pie gets bigger with more going to the few.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 1, 2015 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

            @Bazman; “…if rich employers get most of the cash as lets face it they will not share as we have seen.”

            Thanks for confirming that you want a redistribution of wealth – etc ed

          • Bazman
            Posted March 2, 2015 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

            We are already having one in the form of taxpayer money to employers to subsidise low wages and if you think I am killing myself with work to make the rich richer you are more deluded than you think.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 3, 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

            @Bazman; If you don’t want a job then fine (but please do not expect to live off the tax payer either..), but many do and even more are willing to be paid at the competitive going rate.

            Also what do you not understand Bazman is, governments have no money of their own, thus wealth has to be taken from those with who do have money -it’s called taxation, thus if the government is giving a tax refund then it is not a redistribution of wealth at all, those people receiving it are simply KEEPING more of their own money. Please feel free to learn some basic economics!..

          • Bazman
            Posted March 3, 2015 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

            How is a person to survive in this country on less than £400 a month no matter where that money comes from?
            Answer that one Jerry and if you cannot stop writing free market nonsense and simplistic tax statements such as it is a zero sum game. It is not.
            Either the employer pays or the state pays or the state subsidies the employer and the employees low wage.
            How else could they live here? How else Jerry? Five to room maybe passing those saving on to the employer. How generous of them! Maybe they could squeeze seven in?!
            Often the competitive going rate has no bearing on reality hence metal trade jobs advertised for seven quid a hour and when challenged being told that is the going rate. Many applicants? No. So it obviously is not its the employers going rate. Do you think I should work for this or just stop at home if I can afford too? Which?

  39. a-tracy
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Gosh it’s bad enough with say Chester taking its big chunk out of the tiny Cheshire West and Chester Borough when Cheshire was split into two and leaving its smaller towns in Chester West in a complete state whilst the City benefits, how would this distribution work? How do smaller hospitals, hospices get their fair share when the main City has control and is biased maybe because of where the key decision makers live i.e. protecting their local hospital services and closing others down. This is always the biggest problem for me in local councils, just look which areas get green areas protected and fences put around and areas none of the Councillors live in get all the houses and no green space protection or creation.

  40. Terry
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I believe that Councils should be devolved power and be able to set their own budgets but only if socialists are banned from sitting on them and that those of working age receiving more in benefits than they pay in taxes should be disenfranchised from voting in the elections.

    Come to think of it, that’s exactly what I would like to see in a General Election. Such principles would ensure an end to the bribery that precedes all General Elections. Rule Britannia.

  41. acorn
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    The power is where the money is.

    Local government spends about a quarter of total government spending, circa £175 billion this year. They will get about £27 billion from Council Tax and a similar amount from Business Rates. Most Councils can make a good bit extra from fees and charges, circa 50% of the CT. That leaves about £110 billion to find for true local government independence

    Which just happens to be what the government gets from VAT. Problem solved??? Can you imagine Westminster / Whitehall giving up that sort of fiscal power to Local Government??? Neither can I.

    This revival of the Greater Manchester Metropolitan County is ironic. Thatcher created it, then did away with it – along with the other five Metro Counties and the GLC – ten years later, when they became Labour Party power bases.

  42. Boudicca
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    No action to balkanise England should take place until and unless we have an English Parliament which can debate the issue on behalf of the English people, free from interference by the Celtic devolved countries/regions.

    When asked, in a Referendum on a regional assembly, Northumbria rejected it. When asked in Referenda about regional city mayors, they were rejected. Osborne is now imposing one on Manchester.

    We cannot trust the MPs in Parliament to look after the interests of the English people. They’ve failed to do it for a decade and a half, and they’re failing to do it now.

    We need an English Parliament.

    • William Gruff
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

      Boudicca:

      When asked, in a Referendum on a regional assembly, Northumbria rejected it.

      That’s not correct. I lived in Northumberland, in Berwick-upon-Tweed, at the time and the referendum applied to North East England, not Northumbria, which does not exist and included Yorkshire when it did, and the people of Yorkshire, which with ‘Humberside’ is a ‘region’ almost as populous as Scotland, were not included.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 27, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        At its height, when it existed, Northumbria also included a stretch of what is now Scotland, up to and around Edinburgh.

  43. Iain Gill
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Immigration up again…

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      IQ down according to recent research. Educated and numerate people are leaving in greater numbers than they are coming in.

      This can only end one way.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      As if we needed a few phony government statistics to tell us that Iain. The usual weasel ‘net’ figures of course.

  44. forthurst
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    “England is a country of Counties and Boroughs, of ancient areas of local government…”

    Not really. Probably true until Edward Heath created his synthetic local authorities, encouraging others, later to further excesses. The first step in reordering local government is to recreate the status quo ante. We identified with our counties of yore because we humans are territorial; we identify with real places, not those artificially created by bureaucratic cartography.

    Local authorities should be reponsible for local matters; education, healthcare, social services, public housing are local matters but Local authorities are encumbered with continuous meddling from Whithall; this discourages able people from joining local decision making and substantially increases the costs of administration whilst detracting from accountability.

    We do not need a Parliament for England any more than one for Scotland or Wales. It was noticeable that in the Scottish Independence poll, that West coasters had a different consensus from East coasters, so not all Scots think similarly because they identify as Scottish. The best approach would be, having devolved all legitimate local matters to local authorities, to allow the existing ‘national’ parliaments to wither on the vine. This could further be encouraged by abolishing the indefensible HoL with its appointed parliamentarians and replace it with a second chamber based on membership drawn at the (old) County level.

    France had administration at the Department level although since the EU, they were regionalised as well; the Departments were equivalent to our counties and the similarity is due to us both being old countries, long since forged from old kingdoms. Germany as with some other European countries came lately to nationhood, with local government at the prior Principality level. There is no reason for us to create pretend ex-Principalities.

  45. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted February 27, 2015 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    ‘People need to feel they belong to an area or place for it to have a government people will obey, shape and accept.’

    Indeed they do. Or you don’t have a functioing society .
    Please tell that to the Home office minister that has spectacularly failed to tackle sky high immigration.

    I’m not sure how your statement can be squared with your partys policy that has permitted the equivalent of a city the size of Hull to settle here last year. A party that has devalued British citizenship to the point that it is handed out like confetti. If this isn’t a matter to consider resignation on I don’t know what is.

    When is this lunacy going to end ?. How many low skilled migrants can a small country take before it’s services collapse ?. Do we need to find out before our Mp’s do what they are paid 60k pa to do and sort it out ?

    Since your party came to power over a million people have settled here.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted February 27, 2015 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Maybe its time that the Home Office and Foreign Office were re-named and amalgamated. Any suggestions?

  46. ian
    Posted February 27, 2015 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    I see 329,000 people made the right decision, m. heseltine great plan, they think more people will vote for the con party in regional election, it all about voting and power, you the people do not get a say and never will. All party are for it apart from ukip and you can forget english parliament never happen.Happy voting.

  47. Know-Dice
    Posted February 27, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Devolution for Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and now the NHS for Greater Manchester, all very fine.

    But, what happens when they over spend (as they will), will it be the English “money tree” that has to borrow and fork out?

  • About John Redwood


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

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