Last night’s debate

 

Last night was a wake up call to the reality. On current polls the SNP will be clearly the third largest party in the next House of Commons. They will make all sorts of demands on England designed to undermine the Union.

Labour has no answer to this problem. We clearly need justice for England, which only the Conservatives are willing to talk about and address. Labour and the Lib Dems remain silent on how England’s Income Tax should be settled once Scotland decides her own. The winner last night was the Conservative party.

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182 Comments

  1. Old Albion
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Don’t kid yourself !
    Justice for England is not some wishy-washy English only voting stage. Justice for England is equality, fairness and democracy.
    No political party is offering that (even UKIP’s manifesto has ignored England)
    I don’t know who the ‘winner’ will be. I know who the losers are. The English.

    On a personal note; there is no polical party that will gain my vote.

    • Bob
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      @Old Albion

      “On a personal note; there is no political party that will gain my vote.”

      That’s the spirit! do nothing and wait for the day when there’s a party whose views provide a perfect match to your own.

      • Richard1
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        Exactly. It’s a nonsense not to vote or to make a protest vote because there isn’t a party which matches you perfectly. The question at this election is a simple one – do you want Labour with Ed Miliband as PM propped up by the SNP or not? If the answers no only a Comservative majority will stop it

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          Who are you to tell us what the question is?

          It’s actually that kind of unbearable arrogance from both the Tory party and the Labour party which has driven many people to either not bother at all, or look for an alternative.

          • Hope
            Posted April 18, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

            BBC admits two thirds of the audience were left wing, according to the Express article today. No wonder Cameron chickened out.

          • Richard1
            Posted April 18, 2015 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

            Really? Who else do you see as a possible candidate for PM after the election? (%age probabilities if possible)

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 19, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

            You miss the point, Richard1. For me the primary question at this election, as at the preceding four general elections, is not which pro-EU politician I would prefer to become Prime Minister, but how I can best use my vote to help get us out of the EU.

      • Old Albion
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Do you suggest I vote for a party that refuses to acknowledge the political existence of England?
        You may not care about England, but I do. It’s my number one priority.
        I’m waiting for a political party that shares my view. Hope that’s O/K with you!

        • James Matthews
          Posted April 17, 2015 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

          What about the English Democrats? Do they not meet your criteria or are they not standing in your constituency?

        • Bob
          Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

          @Old Albion
          You probably have candidates from the LibLabCon the Greens, UKIP and possibly the English Democrats too?

          It’s your choice, to vote or not to vote, but have a think about the above list and which party might best represent you. You should cast a vote, even if it’s for a local independent or even the Raving Loonies. It’s an expensive business standing for Parliament without the resources of the LibLabCon party machine behind you and candidate’s lives often go on hold while they go out knocking on doors to put their case to the public. Your vote might just enable an independent candidate to retain his £500 deposit and encourage them to have another go next time, thereby at least keeping alive the possibility of change from the moribund state of our so called democracy in the event that people eventually spark up from their present torpor.

          Top tip: Don’t take the manifestos too seriously – use your intuition.

          • Max Dunbar
            Posted April 18, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

            Very good point about the deposit Bob and one that would not occur to most people.

        • DaveM
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 6:53 am | Permalink

          OA – there’s always the English Democrats. I too am disgusted by the treatment of England. However, as I posted the other day, we have to take what we can get and pray that it will lead to more. It has done in Wales and Scotland, so no reason why it won’t in England. Particularly when the non-English MPs start affecting us at the Final Stage.

          Don’t give up – my position’s changed a lot over the past 6 months since the referendum and the fudging of EVEL. I’m now moving firmly into the independent England camp, which means hoping the SNP do brilliantly for starters!

      • William Gruff
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        Bob:

        That’s the spirit! do nothing and wait for the day when there’s a party whose views provide a perfect match to your own.

        Much better to continue the present farce by voting for those who are the problem and thereby allowing them to continue to claim that their undemocratic activities have a democratic mandate, eh Bob?

        That’s the spirit! Do nothing to change a thoroughly rotten system and wait for the day it all falls down around your ears.

        I am in the fortunate position of being able to vote for an independent who may make a decent MP, otherwise I should have to vote for UKIP, which I am reluctant to do, or ‘none of the above (spoil my ballot paper in other words).

        What part of ‘none of the above’ don’t you understand?

      • Hope
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        JR, justice for England was promised by Cameron on the steps of Downing Street last October, fudged and watered down by Hague and now not worth the ink in the Tory manifesto. We should have EVEL by now if your leader could only keep his word, just once perhaps. SNP grown in stature by Cameron’s lack of negotiating skills. Perhaps on the other hand it was a clever way to help the EU divide our country without it or Cameron getting the blame?

        If predicted growth figures are correct then more money wasted on overseas aid. I read today that as much as £3 billion wasted on consultants and fat cats. This sum in itself would be enough as a contribution from the UK to feed the starving and vaccinate etc. the other £11 billion could help the World Health Service.

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Just about to say the same thing. You should give up John. Your leader and your party have had five years to address the English Question and deliver justice to England and have done absolutely nothing. Zilch. Eleven years before that in opposition after Labour introduced their asymmetrical devolution act and the rotten deal handed to England, and not one word of protest, not a whimper, not even when Scots Labour MPs were imposing tuition fees on our kids, your constituents, that didn’t apply to their own and which you and your party, once in power, were only too happy to vote alongside your Scottish Lib Dum chums to triple to £9,000, knowing full well yet again they would only affect English kids.
      Cameron has already ratted on his promise of English votes for English laws, a sop in itself. He had no intention of keeping his promise made on the steps of Downing Street only seven months ago, it was a con.
      Your party’s obvious contempt for England is too great for England to get any form of justice John, ironic considering you hardly exist outside of it. Shame really because if it had cared a jot about England and had bothered to address the constitutional and financial discrimination against our young, our sick and our elderly whilst it had the chance, it could have been looking forward to a healthy majority come May.
      As it is, England will probably be handed over to Labour and the SNP in May which will hopefully finally bring about the demise of this so called union which favours everyone except the English. Bring it on!

      • William Gruff
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        JoolsB:

        As it is, England will probably be handed over to Labour and the SNP in May which will hopefully finally bring about the demise of this so called union which favours everyone except the English. Bring it on!

        I’m very much of your opinion and confident of a SNuLab coalition in three weeks’ time.

        Here’s to independence for England.

      • Hope
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        Better still it might help us get a true Tory party through UKIP when people realise that what Farage has been saying was correct all along. Sadly the talents and efforts of JR will be seen to have been wasted.

        Clarke claims in the Mail today that Tories are too right wing! He also comments the Tory spending claims are silly. What on earth makes him think like this?

      • Sam F
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        “Cameron has already ratted on his promise of English votes for English laws, a sop in itself. He had no intention of keeping his promise made on the steps of Downing Street only seven months ago, it was a con.”

        The Tory manifesto says “And we will give English MPs a veto over English-only matters, including on Income Tax – answering the West Lothian Question.” [pg 69] .. you have read it?

        • JoolsB
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 7:59 am | Permalink

          Giving UK MPs with English seats (there is no such thing as English MPs) an English veto is not the same and not what was promised by Cameron. It is a fudged, watered down version of what was offered which in itself was a sop and an insult to England. UK MPs squatting in English seats will only be able to do just that – veto any policies which Labour and the SNP try to impose on England but let’s face it, most MPs vote along party lines, not national lines and so Labour MPs will trot into the lobby and vote on whatever a Labour/SNP Gov tells them even if if it only affects England.

          Sadly what Hague has come up with is now fooling many people into believing it is the same as what was promised by Cameron when it is anything but.

      • Iain Moore
        Posted April 18, 2015 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        It will be interesting to see if the British political classes and the British media attempt to go through St Georges day next Thursday still ignoring English constitutional issues.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      It’s certainly a significant defect of the UKIP manifesto that it makes no mention of the issue, and that may well cost them some votes. St George’s Day as a public holiday is the most that the English would get in terms of recognition of England as a political unit. To me this is a quite inexplicable omission, even if there was continuing internal disagreement about the best way forward there could have been something in the manifesto but there is nothing.

      • Richard1
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        I caught the last minute of the debate – Farages’s summing up. He was talking the most extraordinary nonsense about how the Country has been taken over by ‘corporations’. What is he on about? UKIP is now with the Green Party in opposing any private sector involvement in the NHS and has backed away from its formerly sensible tax policies. UKIP a is a wasted vote and will let Labour in.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

          Yet there is something in what Farage says about the over-weening power of large corporations, just as there was something in what Thatcher said about the power of the trade unions at the time.

        • Robert
          Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          We have not had a free market economy but a Corporatist one. You might be enlightened by reading Dr Tim Morgan’s articles on his website. Certainly my experience in the City backs up many of his observations. It is not a socialist agenda as you suggest.

      • JoolsB
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        I stand to be corrected but I thought the bits I read in their manifesto state they will ‘insist’ Scots, Welsh & NI MPs will be barred from voting on English only matters which isn’t the English Parliament they promised granted. They say they also intend to scrap the Barnett Formula which will mean English issues are English issues with no Barnett consequentials with therefore no excuse for the part time non-English constituency MPs to meddle in English only business.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

          My mistake, on page 56 of the UKIP manifesto:

          https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/ukipdev/pages/1103/attachments/original/1429295050/UKIPManifesto2015.pdf?1429295050

          there is a picture of Douglas Carswell with speech bubbles:

          “English Votes for English Laws”

          “UKIP will end the unfairness of MPs from devolved nations
          voting on English-only issues.”

          What is missing is any reference to the idea of the English having their own separate and separately elected devolved parliament and government for England, equivalent to the arrangements that the Scots have had for fifteen years, or even the pledge of asking us in a referendum whether that was what we wanted.

          • Hope
            Posted April 18, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

            Better than Cameron’s broken promise.

      • The PrangWizard
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        To all of you UKippers who want justice for England I repeat what I have said many times; UKIP is just another Unionist party. As soon as it gains any real influence it will merge into the British Establishment and adopt its behaviours. You have been misled and betrayed.

        There is only one party which speaks for England, and only for England and campaigns for a true English parliament. It is the English Democrats, much ignored so far, and insulted by many who see it as a threat to their status quo, and because UKIP has had all the publicity, small and in need of money and support. Maybe now this will be realised and seen to be the only true party for English patriots.

        • stred
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink

          The UK is supported by a large proportion of Welsh, Northern Irish, and even Scottish population, who dislike their nationalists. How would the English Nationalists relate to this majority of the UK?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          It is a British unionist party, as its name implies, but it is not just another unionist party, as its name also implies.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        First and foremost, independence from the EU, Denis.

        The real reason why Britain is being broken up.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

          First and foremost, of course; that is the primary objective of UKIP according to its constitution and must always remain so. However for this election it has produced a manifesto which ranges widely onto other issues, but does not properly address this one.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear !!

  2. A.Sedgwick
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    There was a political chemistry between Miliband and Sturgeon, who is impressive and clearly shows authority from her years in running Scotland. It is inconceivable that they will not work together “behind the Speaker’s Chair”. She could be more significant than Ed Balls in a Labour “minority” administration.

    The involvement of the Welsh and Green parties demonstrates how ridiculously politically correct our general elections have become.

    As to Nigel – a voice in the wilderness. He said things Cameron should be shouting from the roof tops if he wants to be elected. Juncker has blown the nonsense of re-negotiation and time is running out for the Conservative Party to scrap this 2017 referendum dream in favour of a no strings 12 month vote. The only conclusion I can draw is that Cameron is scared of the historical implications of a referendum and the more it is kicked down the Brussels road the happier he is. Once again he has the majority in his pocket but in all probability he will blow it as in 2010. My vote remains for UKIP even though in my constituency it is regrettably a lame protest vote .

    • Timaction
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Oh how biased an audience can the BBC get and claim to be neutral. They were screaming support for the Green and nationalists! Same old tactics to try and smear and lie about Nigel.
      The average Joe and Gill will make up their own mind as to why the Tory’s were too scared to debate Nigel. He can’t be beaten on policy, especially our sovereign democracy, the EU and immigration. You couldn’t make up the stupidity of denying the housing crisis is not down to immigration! Everyone else can see and hear it with their own eyes. Roll on 8th May and the beginning of the end of the cartel!

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Spot on AS! Well said! But I just wonder who amongst the cerebrally-challenged will manage to see that for themselves and not just allow themselves to be conned again by the utterly discredited three big Westminster parties?

      Don’t you just hate it when politicians bank on ill-informed people not noticing an underhanded ploy when they see one, what they’re actually doing, or indeed what they really stand for.

      Nigel Farage must have known in advance was clearly going to be outnumbered in last night’s debate, both by the panel, and by the ‘representative’ audience, yet he still turned up, and it’s courage like that I admire. Not only that, he was the only one who made sense, and didn’t want to spend money the country didn’t have.

      Cameron decided he wouldn’t take part because he knew he would be up against it too, and had too much to lose. That is cynical and gutless, and by contrast to Nigel Farage, Cameron earns my contempt.

      The lefties rubbished the fact that the more people who come to the UK, the greater the demand for housing, and the more house prices will rise. That proved none were fit to govern. But the absentees denied the electorate the chance to hold them to account. I hope to God the electorate DO make a note of that in two weeks time!

      Tad

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        How many Conservative votes is Nigel Farage going to pick up ?

        He was the only person on that stage prepared to stand up for ALL right wing people.

        Otherwise they had no-one to represent them.

        The leaders’ debate should have been killed at birth after we got lumbered with Clegg the first time.

        Instead the people of the Left are being duped by Sturgeon.

        • zorro
          Posted April 19, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          Clearly so as Cameron wimped out. He doesn’t deserve to be PM if he can’t honourably stand up before all comers and defend his position. Maybe he should joint the yellow party – the Lib Dems…..

          zorro

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      You seem to have missed the rather obvious point that Ms Sturgeon isn’t even standing in the general election and so will form no part at all in a minority administration. That role will fall to Alex Salmond who is a far more divisive character.

      • A.Sedgwick
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        Wrong, Ms Sturgeon is the leader of SNP regardless of whether she is in the Commons.

  3. Anthony
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    We do need justice for England. I’m a fan of the Lord Strathclyde proposals, myself, but there is forever the question of “what is an English law?” as spending in other parts of the UK are “constitutionally” affected by what is spent in England. Until this question is resolved I fear progress on justice for England just won’t happen.

    Surely, the argument is simple. The link between English spending and spending in other parts of the UK was arranged to ensure that everywhere had roughly the same level of public spending on different government services, so that the UK government services were equal everywhere.

    Devolution has been introduced precisely to allow different parts of the UK to spend different amounts on different services. Thus devolution and the link between spending in England and elsewhere are inconsistent and the link must be removed.

    Given the likely outcome of the election, there will be a majority of English MPs in favour of this, while MPs in Wales, Scotland and NI are, I presume, likely to back it too. Having won this technical argument, plans for fairness for England can proceed.

  4. Gary C
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    There’s a reason for the SNP doing well. . . . . They are putting up a fight for their people.

    Whether they are or not the folk north of the border think so and are lapping up the march of the ‘yay let’s be independent pushers.’ I wonder how much independence they will have after being swallowed up by the EU ?

    It would appear to me the reason Conservative voters are walking is the continual promises of doing ‘whatever in the future’ in return for votes, the ice holding up this form of bribery is wearing very thin with many, action is whats needed yet action is lacking.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      You’re so right Gary.

      There’s something wrong with the notion that were the Scots to leave the United Kingdom, they would then be free to go in their own direction as a fully independent nation. The EU would have other ideas, as demonstrated by that nice Mr Junker, and they would quickly be subsumed. The Scottish nation state would be just another region.

      Yet try getting that message across.

      Tad

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      ‘Their people’ are the Pole Tax dodgers, republican supporters in the west of Scotland who hitherto supported Labour, Braveheart Scottish ‘patriots’ and the anti-English bigots who have always lurked here in the undercurrents.
      The SNP do not represent me and they do not represent the 28 out of 32 regions of Scotland that voted to reject their plans for the end of our nation last September.
      The SNP would also like to denude us of our nuclear defences. If they have their way then we may be entitled to use the acronym MAD in another sense, mutually assured destruction of the UK.

      • William Gruff
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        Max Dunbar:

        … our nation …

        Whose nation and what nation? My nation is England and my nation has a proud history of surviving Scotch attacks and prospering regardless.

        The SNP would also like to denude us of our nuclear defences.

        Whose nuclear defences? The SNP wants only to ensure that those who pay for them are protected by them. As an English nationalist I do not disagree with that sentiment.

        The ‘United’ Kingdom died in 1707 and has given off an unpleasant smell since. It remains only to bury what is left of the corpse.

        Here’s hoping for a SNuLab ‘British’ coalition and independence for England, and good riddance to Scotland.

  5. Know-Dice
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    The whole thing is just too scary for the English to contemplate…

    For sure Ed will do a deal with Nicola, regardless of his posing last night. The appeal of power will be just be too much for him, just like it was for Clegg.

    Sturgeon “speaks the speak” (very well) but will we [the English] allow her to “walk the walk”, it’s all very easy with other people’s money from the “magic money tree”. Remember the SNP tag line at their party conference “Stronger for Scotland”.

    What about the Welsh? I believe that they probably do get a bad deal from Barnett, so a readjustment for all UK nations should be a priority.

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      The Welsh might get less than Scotland per head from Barnett but they still get £1,300 per head more than the English. Cameron, Milipede and Cleggie have promised to enshrine it in stone so no chance of fairness there for England either. Only Farage has had the guts to says he will address the skewed Barnett Formula which if we get a Labour/SNP Government will see even more of English taxes going towards the socialist utopia promised to Scotland & Wales.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 18, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        Natalie has pointed out that this is a very rich country, the sixth richest in the world. So Leanne reckons there should be enough spare to give her the same as Nicola, and Nicola doesn’t raise any objection to that. Maybe what they both haven’t realised is that if they listen to Natalie and take her silly advice then pretty soon this will no longer be the sixth richest country in the world, instead it might be coming in as the sixtieth richest.

        There was something quite creepy about those three women having their group hug at the end of the debate.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      I can’t find it now, but I’m sure I saw one opinion poll indicating that overall voters in England had become perceptibly less hostile to the idea of the UK government depending on the support of the SNP in one way or another.

      Those who hate the idea will have to judge how best to vote to stop it happening, which could in some cases mean voting Labour in the hope that they will either get an overall majority or they will be able to form a coalition with the LibDems, or for others could mean voting for the Tories in the hope that they will end up in either of those positions. At the other extreme those who like the idea of the SNP having a strong influence will really have no choice but to vote Labour.

      • JoolsB
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Sturgeon is the media darling at the moment, Sky have not shut up about her all day. No mention of the democratic deficit of course or the fact that although n0-one outside of Scotland can vote for the SNP, having a part in Milibands’s Government will see them passing legislation on English health, education, local government, housing, police, crime, transport, fishing, which bizarrely SNP MPs will have no say on for Scotland. It doesn’t help we have such a feeble ‘Union comes first no matter what cost to England’ Conservative party. The best Cameron can offer in protest at the SNP is to say”it will be a merger between the party that wants to break up the United Kingdom and the party that wants to brankrupt it”. No chance of him pointing out the small fact England would be under foreign rule.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          If it happened, out of maybe 330 MPs backing the new government there would be about 250 Labour MPs elected by the English in England, so it would be roughly three quarters English rule.

          • William Gruff
            Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

            Denis Cooper:

            … out of maybe 330 MPs backing the new government there would be about 250 Labour MPs elected by the English in England, so it would be roughly three quarters English rule.

            Your ignorance of political reality is breathtaking. That you have a vote is terrifying. etc ed

    • Backofanenvelope
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      The Welsh National Socialist was complaining the other day that the Welsh got less per head from the English than the Scots did. She just brushed off the fact that
      the Welsh get more per head than the English!

      • Know-Dice
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        Yes true… 🙁

        I almost opened a “book” here on how many times she would say “austeriittyy”…

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Strange how they all advocate equality, until it applies to themselves. It’s a bit like their all-women shortlists. They just don’t get it, but it tells you all you need to know about the socialist mentality, that’s why I’m not one of them.

        Personally, I like the union, but dislike inequality, so want a fair settlement for all. How could anyone possibly see that as an unreasonable position, where there’s clearly is?

        Tad

  6. Ian wragg
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    What I found incredible was how Farage was shouted down when he pointed out that 1.5 million immigrants this Parliament is having a significant effect on house prices and rents. Only an imbecile would argue with that. It just proves the level of idiocy of our ruling class

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Farage – housing is driven by supply and demand, at present demand is being driven by immigration

      Sturgeon – All problems can be solved by cutting immigration can it? Compassion, spend more money etc etc EU immigrants contribute more to the economy than they take out.

      Sturgeon’s trite, simplistic, superficial, response paints all those seeking to control immigration as simpletons and xenophobes when in fact we are the few who see the bigger picture.

      The economy serves the populace not the other way round. Growth is not the only metric. Per capita output, security and safety, cost of living, availability of infrastructure and services and satisfaction of life count for more than the overall figure. These are adversely affected by mass, uncontrolled, indiscriminate immigration.

      Ms Sturgeon and others who would position themselves as progressive are so small minded in their politically correct outlook that they can not see opposition to immigration is about allowing us prioritise other problems ingrained within our society rather than fire fighting inadequately resourced services and infrastructure struggling to cope with a rapidly increasing population.

      No Ms Sturgeon restricting immigration to those who can really contribute will not solve all our woes but it will allow us to concentrate on other, more pressing home grown issues.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Another excellent post NS.

        Tad

      • JoolsB
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        It’s all very well for Sturgeon to act high and mighty over immigration when the vast majority of immigrants come to England. She and Labour will do nothing to curb immigration, why should they when it doesn’t affect Scotland and it helps Labour to continue diluting England’s identity and bring in more prospective Labour voters.

      • Old Albion
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Why would Sturgeon and the SNP care about immigration? They get a tiny trickle of immigrants, just like Wales. The vast majority of immigrants settle in England. ( I’ve seen it reported as 90%)

        • Sean Miller
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          95% would be nearer the truth.

    • Bob
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Four lefties vs Nigel Farage.
      – Outbreaks of applause for anyone who suggested borrowing and spending more – Glowing pride that one in four doctors have to come from overseas
      – Cold stony silence for any suggestion that we should prioritise our own problems

      What on Earth gave Nigel the idea that the audience was stacked?

      • A different Simon
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        “Four lefties vs Nigel Farage.”

        Next time they should tie Nigel’s hands behind his back or nobble him with a few beers beforehand .

        Dimbleby , who I’m not usually a fan of , did a better job than the woman on ITV .

        Whilst the audience was not representative of the population it may well be representative of the politically obsessed/motivated .

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          It was the Methodist Hall and they took away his gin!

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Bob,

        I just hope people in the ‘real’ audience in TV land – the ones Nigel Farage alluded to during the debate – see that for themselves, and aren’t swayed by the nonsense of the biased left.

        Tad

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        That’s maybe why I chose the name Fedupsouthener!! I am fed up watching things where the audience have been carefully chosen. Question Time get right up my nose and these debates are so staged it’s not true. Farage does have courage and more than the rest put together. He speaks for England and his question about do we want a national health service or an international health service was welcome in our household. We are fed up sending money overseas. I have just read that some speakers in third world countries are being paid £1000 per day! All coming out of the international aid budget. Is this what we are paying for? Farage is correct to say we should concentrate on our own people before paying out for the rest of the world. The amount of immigrants coming into Italy on boats at the moment is frightening and many of these people won’t stay in Italy but will do their utmost to get to good old Blighty! They will then receive everything we do but the difference is, it’s us that’s paid for it and us that will have to go to the back of the queue for housing. My vote is with Farage until Cameron does something useful.

        • Sean Miller
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 7:43 am | Permalink

          Farage does not speak for England. HIs mind-set is firmly British, not English.

          By the way, it’s ‘southerner.’

    • Ralph Musgrave
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Proves the level of idiocy of the politically correct, I’d say.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        I often wonder what would be the level of UK wages were we not swamped with people from failing countries coming to the UK for a better life?

        I venture wages would be higher, thus giving even more of an incentive for some of our less inclined workforce to take gainful employment. Housing might also be cheaper pro-rata with more people able to pay, and less of a demand. Even the late Bob Crow had a handle on that one!

        So how do we tell them? How do we get that message across in a clear and easily understandable way?

        Tad

    • mitchel
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      @ian wragg.well the ruling class have benefitted from these effects of immigration,it is the tribalvoters (particularly Tory voters)that have been the idiots putting up for so long with a party that for a generation now has been masquerading as something it is not.

      The Establishment in this country has been gradually taken over by the left-a sort of Bolshevik evolution has taken place-The Tories have not effectively challenged this and as an Establishment party they have been largely consumed by it.Even after the massive deficit spending,continued mass immigration from both within and without the EU and gay marriage etc,I see from the press this morning Ken Clarke still claims you’re too right wing.I rest my case.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        If the Tories lose big in May, they need to get rid of people like Clarke, once and for all. Unfortunately, they will have failed to learn the lessons of the past, and if that means their implosion or disintegration, then so be it. It might be the only way to get back to what they should have been all along. They’ll only have themselves to blame.

        I got tired of defending people who then went away and did something that was alien to what I believed they stood for.

        Tad

      • Sean Miller
        Posted April 18, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        If Joe Stalin were running the Tories, Ken Clarke would still say the party’s too right wing. If it’s so right wing, why is he still there? Wouldn’t he be more comfortable in Miliband’s mob?

    • James Matthews
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Farage questioned the representative nature of the audience and on the face of it he may have a point.

      The corporation’s standard response is that the audience is chosen by an independent polling organisation. Well perhaps, but it would be interesting to investigate this further. For instance:

      Was it “representative” of the UK as a whole or just the local area? A London audience would be much more anti-UKIP than the nation as a whole, for obvious demographic reasons. The BBC has form on this (e.g. holding an any questions edition marking 50 years of the EU in Dublin!).

      What, if any, checks are made to ensure that people do not lie about their background and affiliations?

      Perhaps someone reading this knows and can enlighten us.

      Reply Recent polls show UKIP as low as 10%, so you should expect around 90% of an audience to be against.

      • Bob
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply,

        Prepare for a shock Mr Redwood.
        When QT was held in Clacton on the day of the by-election there was just a single ukip supporter in an audience of say 250, but on the same day ukip won 60% of the Clacton vote.

        I have a lot of respect for you John, so please don’t tell me that such lack of correlation was pure chance.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        Support for UKIP as a party, in terms of voting intentions as assessed by opinion polls, is now averaging about 13%; but that is not really the point, because support for many UKIP policies is much higher than that.

      • DaveM
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        To reply: by that measurement only about 5% should have been supporting the Greens. Which (I’m guessing – didn’t see it) is probably not the case.

      • David Price
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Slip of the tongue JR? You might expect 90% to be non-UKIP but that does not mean they would be anti-UKIP positions.

        Replky No slip. Of course UKIP has copied many ideas from Conservatives. In a General Election where UKIP is fighting hard to stop Conservatives being elected you cannot expect Conservatives to support or be keen on UKIP!

      • James Matthews
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply. A bit simplistic I think. 90% against UKIP – well just possibly, though much of the slippage is about tactical voting – people who know UKIP can’t win in their own constituency and are therefore going for the least worst of the others, but are you really suggesting that 90% are happy with mass immigration, don’t believe that immigrants place demands on housing, and want to remain in the EU, or even that 90% believe that money can readily be found for all the social spending that the other parties represented at the debate want? The way in which the audience behaved suggests that if they were representative all those things must also be true. The implications go well beyond UKIP if that is the case.

        Reply UKIP do not own Eurosceptic policies or attitudes!. They own their own brand and approach, which currently is a minority taste at 10-14%

        • James Matthews
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          Reply to reply to reply (again). No, of course UKIP don’t own Euro scepticism (though they seem to be its principle exponents – it is a minority interest amongst senior Conservative). That was not my point.

          To reiterate, an audience which the BBC claims was representative of the UK as a whole appeared, whatever their party allegiance, to be overwhelmingly pro mass immigration, pro-EU and pro increased public spending. If that truly reflects the balance of the views of the nation it belies opinion polls and is not just UKIP that should worry.

          A “balanced” audience would have included 30 to 35% Conservatives. Perhaps they were all so partisan that they would not support Farage, even when he was making points with which, in my experience and according to those who measure public opinion for a living, many of them agree.

          An alternative explanation is that Conservatives were not properly represented in the audience.

        • agricola
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          No one owns Euroscepticism, however they are the only party for whom it is clear overt policy. Both the Tories and Labour contain people who might wish to leave Europe, but for neither is it party policy. If you dig below the veneer you find Europhiles.

        • Sean O'Hare
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply. “UKIP do not own Eurosceptic policies” Maybe not, but they are the only party advocating them.

          Reply Not so, and therein lies our problem! I and my Conservative colleagues are advocating a new relationship and an In Out referendum – it is our best chance.

          • Duyfken
            Posted April 18, 2015 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

            Reply to JR’s reply: So because your Conservative colleagues are advocating a new relationship etc, you imply the Conservatives, led by the unreliable David Cameron, are following Eurosceptic policies. That is disingenuous of you, since you surely have no indication to expect the Cameron clique which runs your Party, to advocate “Out” in the referendum which has been forced upon them.

            We still do not know what “new relationship” Cameron is aiming for or what his red lines may be. You are just trying to get us to accept a pig in a poke.

      • JoeSoap
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        So whom were the Conservatives shouting for? Nicola or Miliband?

      • stred
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps the BBC commissioned the selection of the audience to be in proportion to the those politicians participating. In which case three would be extreme left wing tax, borrow and spend, pro greencrap and immigration. One would be left wing, tax, borrow but conceal as investment and spend, while apologising for arranging for the extra 3% of immigrants voting for him. Four pro EU no referendum.

        Only one would be for reducing expenditure on the EU, Scotland and EU fast trains while cutting unskilled immigration and paying the saved money on the NHS and student grants. No wonder he had little suppor.t Even those selected as Ukippers may have been Dave Spart types giving false information.

        Also note that the only BBC news items on Farage’s contribution were the complaint about the audience composition and denial by pointing out that selection was subcontracted to a polling firm. They are really giving the EU good value for the money.

        • stred
          Posted April 17, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

          I forgot to mention that the BBC naturally made sure that no questions were chosen about the renewable energy and the slight problem that it does not work, or that Milliband was the first minister who started the process of increasing energy costs and exporting industry- a subject which Farage could have stated unarguable facts and figures.

      • Hope
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        I thought Dimbleby stated it was representative of the parties present. Therefore 80 percent socialists and extreme left wing. Not representative of the the area or country. This is in accord with BBC impartiality.

        Your comments are desperate JR. Polls also show Cameron cannot get enough seats, based on your previous blog there is no point voting for him because he cannot become PM!

        Flint had it right today Cameron did not turn up for the job interview. In normal circumstances the candidate would not get the job.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        SNP support is what? a max of 4 % of the UK population, yet their audience supporters were noticeable by their volume. So there is no way that audience was representative. How many white working class males were there? How many from social housing estates in the North who wouldn’t be able to afford to travel to London? To pretend that audience was balanced is a nonsense.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply – The Greens have less support yet they got more applause.

        And what of the cross-over where Farage was saying things that Tory supporters would like to hear ?

        If I were still a Tory supporter I would have been intensely frustrated by Mr Cameron’s failure to represent me.

        Expect that 10% Ukip share to rise. At your cost.

        The only person with the balls to stand up for rank and file Tory opinion was Nigel Farage.

        And it’s about time someone stood up to the BBC !

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        The audience wasn’t left per se but it was very right on and worthy. The worm did not deviate when anyone was discussing unilateral disarmament or spending other people’s money. Both of these issues have been debated and won but the worm found against popular belief. Only the worthy would feel that way.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      I couldn’t agree more Ian!

      Tad

    • English Pensioner
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      How anyone can suggest that the demand for housing does not increase as the population increases is totally beyond me.
      But I suppose the “Laws of Supply and Demand” have been cancelled so as meet the current need for political correctness.
      Perhaps basic economics needs to be taught at school instead of some of indoctrination about the EU and Global Warming.

      • Sean Miller
        Posted April 18, 2015 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        The Left has always been in a struggle against human nature, and reality in general.

      • Vanessa
        Posted April 18, 2015 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        English Pensioner – And if you read MoneyWeeek there it will tell you that our “growth” is delusionary with most of our jobs now filled with low-paid unqualified immigrants. Our well educated, qualified English are running abroad as fast as they can. This is not the way to fly to the top. Also it argues that the MPs are now making a career of bashing the City of London. This is madness when it virtually single-handedly pays our bills. The piece says that no other country in the world clobbers the one industry which that country excels in. BUT WE DO. Sort it, don’t destroy it.

  7. backofanenvelope
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Interesting that last night we had one conservative and 4 socialists. When David Cameron was on, we had 2 conservatives and 5 socialists. Perhaps next time the socialists should have to draw lots to keep the numbers even.

    • Vanessa
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Not having seen the “debate” all I can say about the politicians is that they are ALL left-wing” Socialists. That includes Cameron and all his followers. I do not recognise any policies of importance which are conservative. This used to mean SMALL government and LOW taxes !!

      Look at Putin when he came to power – he REDUCED taxes to 13% as the country was weak and broke. This resulted in a waterfall of money into the coffers. It is not rocket science. When you lower taxes and PEOPLE believe they are fair then we pay them with no avoidance. This tory government is so far off the common sense and history – I don’t know where they have been living in the last 20-30 years.

  8. Iain Gill
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Nigel was correct about the audience. The loud participation of the SNP supporters in the audience was way beyond their real support in the country. The BBC are beyond a joke.

  9. Ted Monbiot
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Remarkable hand picked audience which was supposed to scientifically reflect poll ratings of the various parties.
    So where were the thirty five per cent Conservatives and twleve per cent UKIP supporters?

  10. Chris
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    I was very puzzled by Dimbleby’s remark that the audience was balanced through a selection process carried out by an independent organisation. I listened to Adam Boulton on Sky interviewing the individuals who posed the first two questions to the panel. He asked them what sort of selection process they had had to go through, and they replied that they simply sent in their proposed question to the organisation, and were apparently selected on the basis of that. Boulton double checked on this, and they seemed to confirm that they were not asked anything about their leanings/way they were likely to vote. Not good enough BBC, and worthy of an investigation. The proof was in the pudding i.e. it was abundantly clear that the audience was not balanced.

  11. Iain Moore
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Justice for England? Apart from yourself who is going to raise the issue? The party you might think would raise the issue, the Conservatives , won’t while they are the Cameron Conservatives, so Labour won’t have to worry about being embarrassed about their constitutional discrimination against the English coming from Westminster, neither will that have to worry about the BBC ever raising the issue , etc ed

  12. libertarian
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Dream on John

    If you think the Tories came out of last night with any credibility at all you are seriously misguided.

    What last night showed

    A large number of people in the UK will vote for extreme socialist parties purely because they promise to give them something for nothing

    The Conservatives have completely, totally and utterly failed England

    The Conservative Party has by far the most to gain by supporting England yet once again they disdainfully ignore us preferring to prance about pretending that One Nation has any kind of relevance to anyone. Pretending that keeping the UK together is even remotely possible after the complete total and utter dog’s breakfast they made of devolution.

    What really really astounds me is why no party in Scotland and England has arisen to champion free markets and small state. Interestingly the SNP caused their own downfall with the devolution vote by tying an independent Scotland to socialism.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Music to my ears lib!

      Tad

  13. English Pensioner
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    The debate was a farce because two of the parties represented there are not available as a choice to English voters. They had a debate in Scotland where just the parties standing in Scotland were represented, why can’t the English, too, have a similar debate?
    What has happened in these debates has shown how the English, the majority in the Union, are being ignored more and more and are losing out to the other parts. This is what could happen in the next parliament.
    As the only conservative present last night was Farage, with the rest of the panel and a large majority of the audience clearly being left wing, the whole thing stuck me as a put-up job by the BBC to show off its socialist credentials.
    I will support UKIP, even though I know that where I live a pro-EU Tory will be returned as usual with a huge majority.

    • Sean Miller
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      There’s no ‘could’ about whether England will continue to lose more to the other parts of this kingdom. Whoever is in office on May 8, we will suffer.

  14. Liz
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    A politician with passion will always trump those who don’t have it and the SNP have passion in spades – this is much of their appeal. The Conservatives have sometimes given the impression that the British, and certainly the English, are not their first priority but the EU and Overseas are. It is difficult to negate this impression over a 4 week election campaign.
    Having so many socialists in an elecion debate was probably not a great idea from the Conservative’s perspective. However the broadcasters were thrilled!

    • Iain Moore
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      This general election has been the Scottish General election , the rest of us seem to be bit players, and will remain that way unless the Cameron Conservatives can steel themselves to mention, what has been the unmentionable word amongst them , England. Unfortunately Cameron has had to have our nations name dragged out of him in the time he has been leader of the Conservatives, so not much chance we will hear him mention us in this election.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I doubt that this debate will have any clearly noticeable effect on the outcome of the election. As usual Tory supporters may selectively pick up on one or two opinion polls which seem to show a Tory bounce, while as usual opponents may emphasise one or two polls which seem to show a surge for Labour, but as usual when taken overall the polls will show no statistically significant response.

    However if I’m wrong about that, and the debate does significantly shift public opinion, I very much doubt that it will be in favour of the Tory party when you have had four out of the five speakers joining together to repeatedly condemn “austerity” and “Tory cuts”, and only Nigel Farage trying to inject a small dose of realism in the absence of both Cameron and Clegg from the discussion.

    You have made your own stalwart efforts to present the reality of what has happened with public spending over the past five years, JR, but others in your party have not been so energetic and they have allowed gross misconceptions to become embedded in the national psyche. With only three weeks to go, less for postal votes, it is too late now to start trying to educate the public about the economic and financial reality.

    As for the current Tory tactic of warning that the SNP would make excessive demands on Labour, clearly that is not such an alarming prospect for many voters in England who actually agree with much of what Sturgeon says, wrong though it is. Moreover Miliband was very clear that he would not allow the SNP into a coalition government, and while of course he could renege that unambiguous pledge will serve him for the moment.

  16. agricola
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Well, your last sentence is a bit of a stretch. We had four socialists, of which one was a total fantasist, talking about how much they were going to spend, but not one of them giving a hint as to how the might create the wealth they wish to spend. That will be left to the entrepreneurs who for other reasons cannot leave the UK.

    In the absence of the conservatives, the only logical reasoned and financially sound policies came from UKIP.

    I was disappointed with Dimbleby, in that he allowed other panellists to develop the racist slur, directed at UKIP, to the delight of some of the audience. Totally without foundation, heard it all before. UKIP is about numbers and quality, not about origins. None of the other political parties have an answer that is credible on immigration as the UK is experiencing it, and it is entirely logical to extrapolate that many of the problems in the NHS, Education, Housing, and Social Services flow from excessive numbers.

    The SNP confirmed their position as the nasty party, the tail that would wag the English dog given the opportunity. Sturgeon needs to be put firmly back in her Scottish box. The CC lady was pleasant enough but only relevant behind Offa’s Dyke.

    As someone who has always voted Conservative or abstained I find it infuriating that your leader was allowed to avoid the argument and particularly those subjects that concern me, the EU and Immigration. I await a credible argument from him as to why he wishes to condemn the British people to a life of subservience in a totalitarian state.

    On the basis of last night and your party’s absence, no one can be trusted to govern for the good of the country apart from UKIP. That will not happen this time round.

    • agricola
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      So what happened to the moderation, it is now 25 hours old.

  17. Ralph Musgrave
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    If the SNP really do simply try to “undermine the Union”, as suggested by JR, I’d favor a 2nd Scottish referendum and have done with it.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Labour undermined the Union to begin with. Another referendum will not help you wherever you may be in Britain but people in Scotland who detest the SNP will, of course, be in an extremely difficult position if Scotland becomes a totalitarian Marxist republic.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 18, 2015 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        The Tories undermined the Union to begin with.

        We would all be in a difficult position if Scotland became a totalitarian Marxist republic or anything on the road to that, which is one of the reasons why I am sometimes uncomplimentary about people in England who openly despise the Scots and say that would happen if they were left to their own devices, and then go on to urge that Scotland should become independent so that the Scots would be left to their own devices.

  18. Bernard from Bucks
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    “On current polls the SNP will be clearly the third largest party in the next House of Commons.”
    And the English, making up 85 per cent of the population of the UK, cannot do a single thing to change that. We will just have to live with it, but be warned, we will not take kindly to being dictated to by a bunch of unreconstructed Scottish socialists.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      And what, exactly do you propose to do about it?
      The Conservative Party have compounded the catastrophic damage done by Labour under Blair by appeasing and giving in to most of the demands of the far-left SNP despite a resounding rejection of the separatists’ independence campaign in Scotland last year.
      You have had Scottish socialists dictating to you since 1997 and done nothing. Back up your words with action of some sort.

  19. agricola
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Following last night’s debate the latest Poll predictions are as follows:-

    Tory 34% and 275 Seats

    Labour 34% and 294 Seats

    Lib/ Dems 7% and 46 Seats

    UKIP 14% and 2 Seats

    Greens 5% and no Seats

    This confirms that our constituencies are out of balance largely thanks to the intransigence of the Lib/ Dems and their contribution to democracy. It also confirms that our first past the post system is no longer fit for purpose. UKIP are the only party to have spotted this and offered an alternative, more democratic way of conducting our politics.

    • Bernard from Bucks
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Lib/ Dems 7% and 46 Seats

      UKIP 14% and 2 Seats

      And this is exactly what cannot be termed ‘fair play’ as defined in ‘British values’.
      It is this sort of thing that really turns off potential voters. Millions of people will not vote in May because they know their vote will make no difference. If they feel they are not being heard or represented, it can only lead to alienation, resentment, frustration and even less inclination to take part in a less than democratic process.

    • stred
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Agricola. Labour has also been helped by the 3.3% approx additional immigrants added to largely city population since 2010 and the huge postal vote which tends to be organised to their favour in these areas.

      Taking your figures and the SNP prediction of 43 seats on 46% in Scotland with 5.3m population and England at 53.5m, the following voting power is given as population per seat.

      SNP 55,813 = 67x, Lab 61,904 =60x, Con 66,181 =56x, Libdem 80,434 =46x, UKIP 3,745,000- 1x

      As most of the UKIP vote will be in England, the English voting non socialist will therefore be denied representation by a factor of 57 to 67+60+46=173 or a factor of 3.

      • stred
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Or 2.2 discounting Libdems as wishywashies instead of socialists.

  20. acorn
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    So. ” … how England’s Income Tax should be settled once Scotland decides her own”.

    Total UK Income Tax will still have to add up to circa £170 billion for 2015/16. If Scotland’s share goes down, will the English share go up? The Exchequer is planning on getting in £674 billion for 2015/16; will £113 billion of National Insurance contribution (the other Income Tax you start paying at income of £8,060 a year), have to quietly go up/down to compensate north/south of the border?

    The new Revenue Scotland has two taxes so far landfill and a new version of SDLT. Income Tax is next, then what; VAT, IHT, CGT? Anyway! What has the Union ever done for us (the English)? Federalise now I say 😉

    • acorn
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      OK Redwoodians, can you see what’s happening yet?

      Employment is going up, productivity, unfortunately is not but these are early days in our much delayed recovery from the 2008 crash. We lost three years due to Osborne austerity. BUT, he has seen the error of his ways and ditched the balanced budget by the 2015 election plan he had in 2010. (Thankyou Lord)

      That means the yearly “deficits” he didn’t reduce have caused there to be £200 billion plus, to remain bouncing around the private sector, creating demand for goods and services, which is creating jobs and increased income taxes and VAT etc. Don’t worry, the government will get it all back as taxes eventually. As long as you spend it that is, and not save it.

      The government can’t get all its yearly deficits back, if you keep saving its money of account. Not that anyone can reproach us for the size of our deficits or hold us to ransom for it. If other countries want to save our currency by flogging us them 60 inch plasma TVs, or them BMWs, well, that’s their risk not ours.

      JR, please don’t let Osborne give us a repeat three years of slash and burn austerity, it will kill the recovery again, just the same as he did in 2010. Do this for me and I will vote Conservative. I promise.

      PS. Don’t think that QE had anything to do with our current recovery. All it has done is raised asset prices for “capital owners” at the top end of town.

      PSS. I think I am getting the hots for Nicola Sturgeon! You have to admit she is a breath of fresh air and bloody clever with it. It must be the Scottish education system that makes their MPs considerably brighter than ours. 😉 .

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        Acorn – Ms Sturgeon isn’t nearly so scrutinised as Nigel Farage.

        Her economic policies don’t stack up and if viewed through a reverse PC looking glass she’d be called a Little Scotlander and a bigoted nationalist.

        The break up of the Union would be deemed a negative and xenophobic aspiration doomed to economic disaster.

        Well that’s what they say to us Ukippers and our feelings towards the EU !

  21. ChrisS
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Sorry, John.

    Your political leader aided and abetted by William Hague has reneged on any kind of equitable deal for England.

    If we end up with a Miliband Government with Sturgeon and Salmond calling the shots the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of David Cameron.

    First, he allowed the LibDems to renege on the boundary changes which are going to cost the Conservatives 20 seats. Those 20 seats are very likely going to be the difference between being able to assemble a right-of-centre coalition with an overall majority and not. He should have made it a resigning issue for the LibDems and Clegg in particular and threatened the break up the coalition over it.

    Secondly, he has backed Hague and his shabby devolution deal for England which is totally unacceptable and intrinsically unfair. The chances of ever getting a fair deal for England are non-existent unless the Conservative Party propose one. Clearly that is not going to happen while Cameron is leader.

    In the Westminster bubble the idea of keeping the voting options for MPs broadly the same holds sway. In England and probably Wales and Scotland as well, it is irrelevant. We already have two classes of MPs : Scottish and Welsh members voting on issues relevant to England while the reverse is not the case.

    In reality that concept is as dead as the Union. It’s just that Labour, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives can’t see it. I am sure that the majority of English voters would rather see an independent Scotland managing its own finances without subsidies from England.

    At the moment we are faces with Murphy and Sturgeon making incessant demands for more money from the English tax payer while the SNP make it clear that they hate everything to do with England and its non-socialist values. They are lucky that in Miliband they have a Labour leader happy to soak up money from London and the South East and send it North to Scotland in the form of the mansion tax.

    Everyone here knows that I am a Conservative and not a UKIP supporter but like our host, most of my views seem to be more aligned with UKIP than David Cameron.

    In the debate last night Nigel Farage asked whether the other leaders present could see the link between the shortage of housing and the arrival of 300,000 extra people in the UK every year. The link is absolutely obvious yet all Farage received in reply is a string of abuse. I suspect Cameron would not have acknowledged the link either.

    It has to be the case that if a net 250-300,000 additional people are allowed to come and live in the UK each year the country has to provide at least 100,000 extra housing units to accommodate them.

    That 100,000 units is roughly the shortfall we currently have !!!!!!

    Our only hope is that the very idea of Miliband and a Sturgeon/Salmond alliance will go down so badly in England that Labour’s vote suffers as a result.

    I have already heard on the TV that this is playing very badly for Labour in key marginals in England. That seems to be pretty much our only hope of seeing off a socialist alliance led by Miliband but with Sturgeon and Salmond pulling all the strings.

  22. oldtimer
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I steeled myself to sit through last night`s “debate”. I thought the choice of questions was good. The answers, for the most part, were poor. They revealed how remote from economic reality these leaders were, apart from Mr Farage. No doubt it has served Mr Cameron`s intent, by his absence from the stage, to display for all to see the alternative to a Conservative led government. I have no doubt that Mr Miliband will reach an accommodation with Nicola Sturgeon/Alec Salmond is that is what it takes to get into No 10.

  23. The PrangWizard
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Last night we saw, with the honourable and courageous exception of Mr Farage, a line-up of the Marxist future of Britain if Ed Miliband gets the chance to form a government.

    And can there be anyone now who is not prepared to campaign for a true parliament for England, to defend us against those who bay for blood and money from England and the English?

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Let’s stick it out together Prang Wizard. Labour and the SNP are the two parties that conspired to destroy Britain and they may end up in parliament ruling us in an axis of evil. Concentrates the mind wonderfully doesn’t it? Forget about ‘England’ because if you do that we all lose.
      Put it this way; to foreigners Britain is England and England is London. United we stand, divided we fall.

  24. Paul
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    “The winner last night was the Conservative party”.

    Oh dear, for a man of supreme intelligence, what a daft thing to say. The Conservative party were the losers last night. For Cameron to chicken out of a debate with four clueless lefties is a joke. The only winner last night was UKIP.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Indeed, Paul.

      Tory voters won’t have been sitting at home thinking “what a great tactical move by Cameron.”

      The would have been extremely frustrated that their point of view was going unrepresented – yet again !

      Except for Nigel Farage, of course. They would have seen him as heroic.

      After all. We’ve been yearning for decades for someone to tackle the BBC over its biased audiences.

      Far from being a Tory win this could cause Tory losses.

      And Nicola Sturgeon scores highly in the popularity states in England now. The Daily Mail is in a tiz about it today.

      The Tory voters are less scared of a Lab/SNP coalition than they were.

  25. John
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    There was a rich irony in the fact that the event that the BBC hosted was the one without Coalition representation. It was a proper metaphor for how they have covered conservative opinion these last five years. Where did they manage to get the audience from. If it contained ten per cent of Conservative and UKIP voters I would be amazed. My scepticism as to the value of these so called debates grows stronger with each one. After the student union level of last night it was refreshing to hear Christine Lagarde on the radio today. At last a serious adult .

  26. Kenneth
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Last night the BBC was publicly accused of loading its audiences in political debates.

    I have seen and heard too many BBC-hosted debates where the hands-up polls are at odds with national polling, so something isn’t right.

    I understand that Radio 4’s Any Questions does not attempt political balance but allows the venue to arrange ticketing on a first-come-first-served basis.

    However, for Question Time on BBC1 the BBC claims (at it did last night) that a politically balanced audience is invited.

    The problem is that there appears to be no mechanism for public scrutiny of this process despite this being such an important issue, especially in an election period.

    Surely, these public debates should be demonstrably free of bias, especially those carried out by a broadcaster with a far greater reach than any other.

    Obviously this issue, despite it’s crucial effect on the election outcome, will soon be forgotten as it needs a platform and I can guarantee that the BBC will not provide that.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Left-wingers are more aggressive and active than Right-wingers in seeking out ways to promote both themselves and their noxious views. Perhaps this explains the perceived preponderance of these people at political events. There is also the fact that Farage is a big box office draw and a focus for the hatred of the Left.

      • Kenneth
        Posted April 18, 2015 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        But how do you account for the hands up straw polls taken on the night usually being at odds with national polls? There is not shouting required when you put up your hand.

        • Max Dunbar
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          Because I suspect that people of a left-wing disposition will attempt to get most of the tickets for these events. As for the shouting, even if it were a ‘balanced’ audience, and there could be a number of different criteria used for this, the Leftists will always try to dominate proceedings and give the impression that their numbers are greater.
          Last years Scottish referendum proved this as it was entirely dominated by the separatists and yet they lost the vote.

    • Monty
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      The BBC is riddled with left wing bias. That would only ever be solved by getting rid of the people in that organisation, at all levels, who, by a process of recruiting eachother into the fold, have created, nurtured, and now established the leftist domination. You can’t fix the BBC unless those people are sacked, so stop trying to fix the BBC. Disband the whole thing, sell off the assets to the private sector. It isn’t even needed anymore.

      • agricola
        Posted April 18, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        There is an alternative to sacking. I would suggest breaking off News and Current Affairs and making it a stand alone commercial company just like ITV or SKY.

        The then residue BBC could get on with drama and wildlife programmes which it does very well. Any residual left wing bias might then get the message. It would also save a shedload of money for the licence fee payer. A win/ win situation.

      • Kenneth
        Posted April 18, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        Socialist/communist infiltration is not just restricted to the BBC. You can add the civil service (particularly the home office), Metropolitan police and some other police services, the legal sector and many charities to the list, not to mention union entrenchment in many public services and, of course the socialist/communist eu.

        To bring the argument full circle you can listen to Today programme and typically hear wall to wall left wingers coming from all of the above.

        • Max Dunbar
          Posted April 18, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          Agree Kenneth. The problem is that these people’s views have been aired so often and for so long now that they have achieved a shift of the center ground to the left. The result is that the datum and limits of reasoned debate have been altered through thought control of the general population with a high degree of success.

          • Kenneth
            Posted April 19, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

            Quite. We have been groomed to the point that extremism – like confiscating half of our salaries in taxation or removing children from their families because they were a member of a moderate party (UKIP) – has been painted as ‘mainstream’.

            It’s scary.

  27. alan jutson
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Have already made comment on the farce of last night under yesterdays post.

    Suffice to say the magic money tree believers who live in cloud cookoo land who want to borrow and spend even more than the £90 Billion overspend we have in the system at the moment, seem to have lots of support from those members of the general public who cannot it would seem do simple mathematics.

    Our educational system clearly has failed, if people cannot add up or do simple multiplication.

    Huge numbers of people it would seem are now being completely turned off of politics by the constant negative comments made by all Party’s against their opponents.

    Cameron may well rue the day he did not appear to defend his position, it was a free hit for all of his opponents.

    • REPay
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, few people relate to “billions of pounds” that is why the big spenders (frankly most politicians) can keep on promising more jam.The myth that a few rich people can magically pay for everything has taken hold and Labour’s populist rhetoric is playing well. I am afraid we will soon be edging back to the 1970s with Labour and Citizen Ed at the helm.

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the left want to simply abolish ‘austerity…’ that has never really happened.
      Who knew balancing the books could be that easy….
      The level of debate is beyond ridicule.
      We so badly need an politician who can articulate these nonsenses in a clear and simple way ..

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 18, 2015 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        We’ve already got one Kenneth, he’s called Nigel Farage. He makes more sense than all the rest put together, yet is derided by the non-thinkers.

        I bet Mr Farage knows how men like Nicolaus Copernicus must have felt when he tried to make people understand that the Sun didn’t orbit the Earth. He was denounced as a heretic, but was proven absolutely right in the end.

        The Tories have similar logically-thinking men in their ranks, but they seem not to have the right amount of working-class grit.

        I wish to Christ I had stood as a Tory when I had the chance. I guarantee I’d have had the place absolutely rocking by now, but we’d finally get some real direction and not be messing about trying to cosy up to every PC liberal leftie, and getting nowhere.

        Tad

        Tad

  28. Observer
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    If the winner was the Conservative Party then Cameron was the loser. If Farage had made the comments that Sturgeon did he would have been howled down as a racist!

  29. Gumpy Goat
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    All very well moaning about the SNP. What is really required from the Tories is a strategy how they are going to rebuild a constituency in Scotland which will return MPs to Westminster and the Scottish parliament

    • Know-Dice
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Pretty difficult that, with the bile that was spouted last night.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 17, 2015 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Given that the preferred term of abuse now being directed against Labour in Scotland is “Red Tories”, and they have sunk from 42% support in 2010 to just 27% while the real Tories are on 16%, there doesn’t seem much chance of any party succeeding in Scotland if it has, or it can even be grossly misrepresented as having, any association at all with the English Tory party. In fact arguably the most useful thing that the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party could do would be to wind itself up and make room for a completely new, entirely and unambiguously Scottish, party to emerge to challenge the SNP.

  30. Martin
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    It is all very well some on here moaning about the Barnet formula. What some on here forget is the cost of providing services in remote often offshore areas. There are incidentally plenty of people from England often on holiday who visit the Highlands and Islands and use Roads, Ferries, Railways and buses that would not exist if Mr Farage and his UKIP cuts came to pass. Don’t even think about falling ill in remote areas if UKIP’s cuts came to pass.

    P.S. Do residents of England know that they can get a bus (and tube pass) at age 60 if they live in Greater London? It only covers that area but it does have the best bus, tube and rail services in the UK!

    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/adult-discounts-and-concessions/60-london-oyster if they live in Greater London.

    • James Matthews
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Hmm. If I could get the Barnet Formula abolished at the cost of not visiting Scotland I would consider that the bargain of the century so far.

      But the cost of servicing the remote areas of Scotland is an excuse, not a reason, for the extra funding. Three fifths of the Scottish population lives in the central belt, no more scattered than elsewhere, and that is where the money is spent, particularly in Glasgow and its immediate hinterland.

      I am really looking forward to Scotland being offered full fiscal autonomy with no possibility of any fiscal transfer from the rest of the UK, just to watch Ms Sturgeon wriggling.

      • Martin
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        I have to disagree with your assertion.

        Living in a county that is a mix between urban and remote areas it is all too obvious (from the costs of bin collections and school transportation) the difference between the cost of providing services in urban areas as opposed to remote areas. I shudder to think what the costs must be for the islands. (I did post some figures on here before the 2010 election showing the the much higher costs of public transport between an offshore county and an onshore county.) Yes there is some unfairness even within Barnet areas where some areas pay more in tax than they get back. Even in England towns with Universities do better than those without from the public purse.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      See page 8 of the UKIP manifesto:

      https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/ukipdev/pages/1103/attachments/original/1429295050/UKIPManifesto2015.pdf?1429295050

      It refers to two UK Parliamentary committee reports urging replacement of the present Barnett formula with a system based on actual needs, which of course would reflect the greater geographical difficulties in Scotland and Wales.

  31. majorfrustration
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I despair. We have the conservative party who will not face up with any real sincerity to the issues which concern voters – immigration, EU, health tourism, social benefits etc and then we have the Labour party which is into spend mode whatever the result on (mainly English) tax payers. Can you wonder why the interest level of voters is a rock bottom.

  32. Tad Davison
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    My wife has just said an interesting thing about last night’s debate. She said it’s clear that the country needs a woman to run it, and she could see why people would want to vote for Mrs Sturgeon.

    So there we have it. etc ed
    Tad

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      No doubt Sturgeon would deny the comparison but she has clearly copied Thatcher, and with some success. It’s just a pity that her ideas are so misguided.

  33. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    let’s get back to the stark reality – figures from the ONS, reveal that the deficit for the calendar year 2014 came in at £101.8bn, some £3.5bn higher than in 2013 and the Government’s debt now tops £1,600bn. No wonder those left-wing fantasists can’t see a problem with the deficit, your chancellor can’t either.

    I should be grateful if you would explain to me how the declared spending cuts of £25bn can be achieved by reducing spending by £1 in every£100 – both statements come directly from your party’s leadership. You told us earlier this week that spending was £732bn. I make 1% of that £7.32bn not £25bn. Looking at it another way if £25bn is 1% of government spending then they must be spending £2500bn. What is your explanation please?

  34. ian
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    The quick we go under the better, its better than death by a thousand cuts, that way we can right off all the debt and all the agreements which people in this country hate and start a new, we have done it before we can do it again, I say first in first out because most country like us are going to have to go broke because we are run by thickos, just get on with it.
    I have workout the housing association deal, its for banks to magic up money so they can get some fees and interest in on back of hard working people for nothing and also try to get the con party some votes, its bankers first.

  35. ian
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    If we go broke most of oversea people will leave.

  36. charlotte marshall
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Couldn’t bear to watch last night. All that screaming. Then the Three Graces, Tax, Spray and Spend. And the Group Hug!! The usual rhetoric for a fairer society and no particular idea how to pay for it. Meanwhile our hills are festooned with useless seagull slicers and we wear our coats to bed in winter. The lights might go off in the next few years. Oh, and NHS Scotland does use the private sector – a relative had an op the other day when he couldn’t be fitted in anywhere else. Very good care apparently.

  37. Mondeo Man
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    “The winner last night was the Conservative party.”

    Quite possibly the Blue team outflanked the Red team and are celebrating in the communal baths.

    Yippety do !

    The conservative minded public went without voice and representation – yet again – and are the real losers here.

    Party politics before country as usual !

    Anyway. The news according to the BBC seems to be that Nicola Sturgeon has huge amounts of respect and support and that the English people they interviewed (including Conservative ones) are rather envious that she can’t be their PM.

    Far from feeling threatened this policy of disengagement might have backfired.

    The lady’s arguments need to be taken apart. Not ignored.

  38. John C
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    The winner last night was the BBC, which got across clearly its propaganda message that the country is overwhelmingly left-wing in its sympathies, and is waiting impatiently to rid itself of the “Torrries”. The audience was so far left-wing as to clap Milliband politely, but to cheer the socialist women, even the absurd Bennett.
    Poor old Nigel Farage, hissed and groaned at for offering common sense, was left alone at the end to gather his notes while the socialists gathered and hugged each other at what they assumed was their triumph. No doubt the BBC mentally joined in. A shameful evening for British “democracy”.
    At least Cameron, though he would have grown pink with supressed anger, would have provided some counterbalance, but the 45 to 50 percent of voters who are generally to the Right were left feeling grossly under represented, and perhaps deeply concerned at the Left wing media takeover that continues apace.

  39. Stuart B
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    The real question is, do the BBC favour a Labour overall majority, or do they prefer a Lab-SNP pact? Having dropped all pretence of impartiality, if one of these two outcomes materialises, they will certainly be able to say, with some justification,

    ‘It’s the Beeb wot done it!’

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      It’s the inappropriately named ‘liberal intelligentsia’ Stuart. The BBC is awash with the Notting Hill types swilling wine, eating cheese, and debating fine art. Talk about detached! I would love to see how they might have fared in the solidly working class area I was born and brought up in!

      I’d give them a full five minutes!

      Tad

  40. Martyn G
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Many, perhaps younger than me, seemingly do not recall when decades ago the name of England was removed from the map of Europe. I remember it well, not least because Wales was also removed from the map at the same time. There was an instant torrent of outrage at Wales being removed, followed by rapid political action to get it put back on the map and it soon was, with an apology from the EU claiming that it was an ‘administrative error’ to have removed Wales. Not one single politician said one word about the removal of England and when I queried it via the EU website I received a message telling me that it was the will of Parliament that this had been done.
    So wise up, people, England has been ‘disappeared’ and will never be seen again as a country in its own right. So far as the rest of the world is concerned it still exists but only outside of the EU (see http://www.mapsofworld.com/united-kingdom/ . I am convinced that there is a visceral hatred of England and all things English within many parts of the EU (England has form at dismantling past dictatorships) and do not forget that it was a past Conservative politician who stated that ‘the most dangerous form of nationalism is that of the English’.
    No politician to my knowledge has or even could give a coherent answer to the question “why it is acceptable and indeed desirable that it is right to proudly claim to be Scottish, Welsh or NI but not English without being accused of being a ‘little Englander’ or even racist”? That is so blatantly unfair that one has to question why it continues to be the case – especially so with hardly a peep from the Conservatives who rely on English voters to stay in office.
    Let’s face it, everything points to England being regionalised (or worse) and continue be treated as the UK (should it survive) milch cow for as long as possible. I truly despair – does anyone know where Drake’s drum has been hidden because it is now very much needed!

  41. Chris
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    The BBC has apparently given the Daily Express (reported today) a breakdown of the political allegiances of those in the audience who actually professed to having such an allegiance (the system therefore can be easily abused by those not wishing to reveal their true leanings).

    Also besides getting in some SNP and PC audience members the BBC invited people from part of London to apply meaning that this audience was not representative at all of the UK as a whole. As this was meant to be a national debate with a balanced audience, not simply one representative of the London area, it would appear that the audience selection process did not fulfil the criterion of balance which was required.

  42. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    The closing scene on the platform of last night’s debate said it all: the three Left wing ladies hugging each other, with Ed Miliband looking on benevolently, while Nigel Farage stood at the far end of the platform looking extremely pissed off.

    We now know how this monstrous regiment of women will behave in the next parliament.

  43. petermartin2001
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    The way things are going it looks like the days of the UK, in its present form are numbered.

    There is, IMO, just one possible solution which could pull the fat out of the fire and hold things together. That is to have a federal system of government.

    There could be 4 national assemblies, or Parliaments, based in London, Belfast, Edinburgh, and Cardiff for England, NI, Scotland and Wales. Then there would have to be an additional Federal Parliament. For it to be generally accepted, outside England, it would be better if that Parliament were not in London but somewhere more Central in terms of the UK as a whole. There could even be a small area which could be designated Federal territory and which wouldn’t count as being part of any of the constituent countries.

    Some Cornish, and maybe those in the North of England too, would want their own Parliament. And, of course, there’d be no reason why they shouldn’t have that under a Federal arrangement if that’s what they wanted.

    • petermartin2001
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 12:04 am | Permalink

      PS I’d include the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands in the Federal structure too. That’s if they wanted to be included. If not they could just go off, do their own thing, and stop calling themselves British!

      • Sean Miller
        Posted April 18, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        If they have any sense, they’d continue to avoid the Divided Kingdom parliament, federal or not, like a plague.

  44. Ian B
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    The Parliament has had ample time to sort this out. The Tory Party has been in office for five years, and has not used the opportunity to even start to create a fair constitutional settlement for the UK and deal with the West Lothian Question, apparently because it was considered more important to ban colourful cigarette packaging, censor the internet and create gay marriage, apparently purely to pander to noisy special interest groups.

    Well, now the SNP are going to inflict their revenge on England and are actively rubbing their hands and gloating over what they plan to do to the rest of us. I hope Westminster’s MPs- and the Conservative leadership- are satisfied with what you have wrought; the determination to maintain a now broken system- devolution broke it, as Tam Dalyell predicted all those years ago- has resulted in an inevitable disaster. The Constitution is broken. You have had five years to fix it. You have had five years to make a simple declaration that devolution is federalism and must be applied to all citizens equally; but you did not.

    But don’t worry, look at your great achievements. All our cigarettes are now hidden in cupboards and looking at naughty pictures on the intenet is more difficult and you prevented us having a say on the EU. Congratulations on the Coalition’s grand legacy.

    Reply Lib Dems and Labour refused to help us enact justice for England – we did try

    • Iain Moore
      Posted April 18, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      “Lib Dems and Labour refused to help us enact justice for England – we did try”

      If it was an attempt, it was a very half hearted one. It was a case of Mr Clegg will you ….no….Oh alright then. You never took the argument to the country to electorally embarrass Labour and the Libdems, it was all end of Parliament after thought by William Hague who has lost his interest in politics.

      The lack of interest in English constitutional matters by the Cameron Conservatives can be seen by the number of times they raised the issue while in opposition. They didn’t, even when faced with the embodiment of the West Lothian Question in Gordon Brown anointing himself Laird over England. Bot once did Cameron raise the issue in PMQs.

      So please don’t tell us that the Conservatives tried, for they haven’t for they could never be bothered to.

    • Ian B
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 1:32 am | Permalink

      Mr Redwood, thank you for your reply. I can only respond myself that there hardly seems to have been much enthusiasm for solving this problem from the Conservative leadership. Any constitutionalist can see what an immense problem it is- it was brushed under the carpet when Devolution was enacted, and even now even those who care at all talk of vague compromises. It is simply not right that we have a quasi-federalism in which different parts of the Union have different settlements, with England having no settlement at all. There are MPs in the House who, to varying degrees depending on where they are wield power to which they are not themselves subject. Westminster has failed all the peoples of the Union very badly indeed.

  45. Richard
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    “We clearly need justice for England, which only the Conservatives are willing to talk about and address. ”

    Absolutely correct that we need justice for England but it will not be addressed by the Conservatives.

    The Conservative Party leadership is so Europhile that they would prefer England to suffer under an asymmetric devolution in order to ensure that Scotland remains in the Union and vetos any attempt at exiting the EU.

  46. David Price
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Despite your bringing the need for just treatment for England to the fore, the Conservative manifesto does not address the issue of justice at all despite Cameron’s fair words the morning after the Scottish referendum.

    The Conservative Party appears to do all they can to preserve the union but at the cost of England while within England the needs of London are put above the rest.

  47. ChrisS
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    In the unlikely event that Cameron is in a position to do it after the election I hope that he will see Thursday’s debate as the last straw and take an axe to the BBC current affairs department and the senior management.

    The Liberal left and their sympathisers were very quick to condemn Nigel Farage’s comments about the make up of the audience but he’s been proved exactly right now that the BBC have been forced to admit that 2/3 of the audience were selected because they were left-leaning whereas the real figure across the country is at the very most 45-50%. We must also have considerable doubt as to whether the 20% “undecided” were really in that category. Somehow I doubt it.

    After the first debate, Allegra Stratton on Newsnight came out really strongly in favour of Miliband’s performance. The group I was watching with were beginning to wonder if she had been watching a different program !

    After polls suggested that Cameron had done best she came back on and was backtracking as fast as she could trying to insert some balance.

    The utter disgrace of the way the BBC conduct current affairs broadcasting has been laid bare. Several years ago I attended Question time and was staggered at the manipulation of the audience and the choice of questions and questioners.

    Because there very few non-white faces in the audience ( it was held in Dorset ) the production team clearly massaged the event to position as many black and disabled people in the front rows as they could muster and also ensured that two questions were asked by a husband and wife with the same ethnic surname. That could never have been a coincidence.

    I complained to the producers but, of course, my email was ignored.

  48. Fred
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    No one should accept the SNP having any say on England’s issues at all. Be prepared to make some noise and take to the streets in this constutional cock up, a fit up of the English.

    The Declaration of Right states
    … No foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate hath, or ought to have, any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm.

    The Scottish have their own Parliament, no one in England can elect them or unelect them, this make them foreign and subject to the law of the above.

    Expect trouble NO ONE should accept any of this. Demand and English Parliament and equality, Stop being second class in you own Country!

    adjective
    1.
    of, relating to, or derived from another country or nation; not native:
    foreign cars.
    2.
    of or relating to contact or dealings with other countries; connected with foreign affairs.
    3.
    external to one’s own country or nation:
    a foreign country.
    4.
    carried on abroad, or with other countries:
    foreign trade.
    5.
    belonging to or coming from another district, province, etc.
    6.
    located outside a specific district, province, etc.
    7.
    Law.

    of or relating to law outside of local jurisdiction.
    of or relating to another jurisdiction, as of another nation or state.

    Origin of foreign
    Middle English
    Old French
    Latin

    Synonyms
    1, 3. alien.

    4. international. 11. extraneous, outside.
    Dictionary.com Unabridged

  49. Ian B
    Posted April 18, 2015 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Here is a suggested way out of this mess. The Conservative and Labour parties should agree that, following the election they will form a National Government. Whatever result there is, there will certainly be a Tory+Labour majority. They should make it clear that the sole legislative action of this NG will be to solve the Constitutional problem, by creating an English Parliament, to sit in a separate seat to Westminster, not in London, and to equalise the devolved powers of all the assemblies- Scots, Welsh, Northern Irish and English.

    Once done, the NG would then dissolve itself and a new election for the UK (“federal”) parliament” would occur, as well as elections to the new English Parliament.

    This will solve the West Lothian Question once and for all and end Ms. Sturgeon’s dreams of wielding power without an electoral mandate.

    Reply Great joke. Labour have no intention of giving England any independence

    • Know-Dice
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      A “Grand Coalition” sounds great, but the reality is that the two main parties are too far apart to get an agreement on anything.

      Milliband has already said that he would not trust the British people to make the correct decision on Europe, so will not even consider an EU Referendum…

      The only common ground is that neither will push for EVEL or EVEN or the English Parliament that we deserve…

    • ChrisS
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Absolutely right reply.

      The facts are that we are never going to get a satisfactory constitutional settlement for England unless the Conservatives get an overall majority under a different leader.

      On a slightly different subject, for the first time during the campaign I saw some feistiness in Cameron on the Andrew Marr show this morning.

      Whether this was because of the constant interruptions by Marr, panic over the opinion polls or a genuine effort to get points over with determination doesn’t really matter. He at last demonstrated that he actually really does want to win a second term.

      As for Sturgeon, she has set things up nicely for a second referendum.
      Something has to change first, she said then there has to be a mandate for one.

      Well,the change will be the near- clean sweep in Scotland at the expense of Labour. The mandate come from going into the Holyrood elections next year on a manifesto proposing another vote.

      No UK Government could then realistically turn down a request after she undoubtedly wins the 2016 election with an overwhelming majority.

      Good riddance, Scotland.

      • Independent England
        Posted April 19, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Quite honestly if the SNP gets a big majority of MPs then I don’t see the need for a second referendum. The Scottish electorate will have given the SNP a mandate to declare UDI.

    • Ian B
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      It’s the way I tell ’em. 🙂

  50. Independent England
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Anyone could have predicted this. If the Tories leadership had listened to you John then we wouldn’t be in this situation although I disagree with your dual mandate MPs proposals.
    We need an English Parliament now. Not dual mandate MPs but a genuine English Parliament with an English Executive and English First Minister.

    • Chris S
      Posted April 19, 2015 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      On the subject of a separate English Parliament :

      As we have seen with the devolved English regions that Labour proposed, amongst the people there is no appetite whatsoever for yet another layer of politicians.

      Although any Politician worth the name can talk for every waking hour, It’s obvious that dealing with purely UK matters with everything else devolved to Members of four devolved National Assemblies cannot be considered a full time job.

      It would make much more sense and be a lot cheaper for the four National assemblies to send some or all of their members to Westminster for a couple of days a week to deal with UK issues. The numbers would need to be adjusted, obviously, so that each member coming to Westminster represents an equal number of citizens.

      But why would the people of the UK want to pay for all the running costs of Westminster when it would be lying unused for five days of the week ?

      The Palace can clearly double as the English Assembly and save everyone some money.

      Our MPs can easily work for three days of the week on English matters and retain their full salaries. for doing both jobs.

      Members of the existing devolved assemblies will obviously argue to retain their full time jobs. Fair enough : if the Scots and Welsh voters want to retain two separate sets of representatives that’s fine, the citzens of those countries will be paying for them. Given an opportunity to vote on the issue, the people might even be prepared to continuing to pay both sets of politicians doing part time jobs full time salaries.

      Somethink makes me think that they won’t !

      • William Gruff
        Posted April 21, 2015 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

        Chris S:

        As we have seen with the devolved English regions …

        Nice try but not quite nice enough. We haven’t seen anything ‘with the devolved English regions’ because there are and have been none. There is a mayor and an assembly of twenty five members to ‘represent’ more than eight million people living and paying taxes in Greater London (Compare that with the numbers comprising the assemblies and parliament representing about the same number of people living in the little nations of the ‘U’K.) but no one in his right mind would argue that London is a ‘region’ of the ‘U’K with devolved powers.

        I think you’re alluding to the referendum in the North East of England. That failed only because Geordies hate Mackems and vice versa, despite something like twenty five million pounds, or more, spent by central government on the ‘Yes’ campaign, with just one hundred thousand pounds allowed to the ‘No’ campaign . I lived in the ‘region’ at the time and voted in the referendum and it was not a failed exercise in devolution; it was an overwhelming rejection of the same.

        … there is no appetite whatsoever for yet another layer of politicians.

        More rubbish. The people of the ‘United’ Kingdom voted for ‘another layer of politicians’ in 1997 and have not called for it to be dispersed. That layer was created with the various devolution acts. All that remains to be done is to fill the gaping lacuna over England.

        Nice try but try again and try much harder.

  51. Chris S
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    The Prime Minister complained this morning that the SNP “is not coming to Westminster to help our country but to break up our country”

    That’s a bit rich, coming from the man that contributed a great deal towards creating the situation !

    Allowing Clegg to renege on the Boundary changes without any penalty set up the situation : just think how things would look today were the Conservatives likely to gain the predicted additional 20 seats !

    Then we have the panic and bribery of the Scots with our money in the final days of the referendum campaign.

    Had Milband, Clegg and Cameron not fallen for Brown’s carefully set trap, the SNP would only be sending 50 MPS to Westminster for a year or so without the ability to interfere on matters related to England. We would then have been shot of them for good.

  52. Iain Moore
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Pretty cross with the BBC seeking to claim that the Conservatives raising the issue of SNP dictating policy for a Labour Government , will create English nationalism .

    I thought that claim was pretty outrageous and have registered my complaint with the BBC.

    Apart from the fact that the English have been incredibly tolerant out the constitutional discrimination enacted against them, and had more than enough justification to raise up against it, it is a prejudicial comment the BBC would never permitted to be made against any other group.

    It looks like the BBC is going to go through this election without bothering to debate English constitutional rights.

  • 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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