The tasks for the new Parliament

I go to London  today in the knowledge that we face a period of constitutional upheaval. The new Parliament has to complete the settlement for Scotland, offered by all three main parties of the 2010 Parliament. It has to deal with the growing powers of the European Union, as the Euro area seeks to complete its political union on top of its currency union. Above all the new Parliament needs to tackle the problem of England.

The General election was mainly fought around the issues of the UK economy and England’s health service. The Labour campaign largely missed the main points that the new Parliament has to settle. The English NHS was not under threat of privatisation and cuts in the way Labour claimed. Labour’s popular offer of a freeze on energy bills was overtaken by tumbling oil and gas prices, and recommended a solution which is likely to make the energy position worse.

The Conservative campaign concentrated on the economy, with a popular offer of tax cuts. Conservatives also mentioned the question of England and the need for a renegotiation and referendum on the EU, though this did not become the main issue of the election.

Today the reality needs to set in. The UK’s union has been badly damaged by Labour’s lop sided devolution policies of the last 18 years, with Labour once again providing a lead in offering a more lop sided devolution in the Scottish referendum campaign which was cross party.  Conservatives have proposed English votes for English needs. The official party position offers England a veto over all English matters. I wish to see a positive power for England MPs to propose and decide budgetary, tax and legal matters that apply only to England ( with Wales and Northern Ireland where the matter is only devolved to Scotland).

Labour and Lib Dem wishes to delay justice for England by a constitutional convention should not be allowed to hold up English votes at Westminster. Nor should England accept just devolution to cities and counties. England herself needs to settle the distribution of the England block grant, to fix her own taxes where they are devolved elsewhere in the Union, and pass her own laws.

As pressing is the need to engage the Euro area in discussion, to ensure the UK is not dragged into their political union, and to extricate ourselves from many powers which have already been given away without referendum endorsement under Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon. As these Treaties are no longer separate documents, we need to review the full consolidated Treaty and seek exit from its federal controls, or negotiate trade arrangements and other co-operation agreements  in place of the Treaty.

The Greek crisis is revealing that of course the richer parts of the Euro area have to come to aid of the poorer parts. The rich parts have to stand behind the banks of the whole. The UK did the Euro a great service by staying out. Had we been in during the 2007-8 UK banking crash, I suspect we would have brought the Euro down, just as surely as we brought down the Exchange Rate Mechanism. It is now time the Euro area showed its appreciation of that wisdom, by agreeing we should not be part of the many controls and financial arrangements that a single currency area needs.

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34 Comments

  1. eeyore
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    Congratulations to you, and to the voters of Wokingham who have done good service to Britain.

  2. Old Albion
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Congratulations on your resounding win in Wokingham JR.

    Unfortunately Cameron is still failing to recognise the English problem. This is what he has said already today.

    He (Cameron)added his aim was to “govern on the basis of governing for everyone” in Britain and to “bring our United Kingdom together” by implementing devolution reforms in Scotland and Wales. He said he would pursue a One Nation agenda “if I am fortunate enough to form a government in the coming days”

    Still devolution for all, except the English.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    I agree fully with all you say above.

    The result is clearly excellent news, the dreadful vision of the (would be) landlord thief Miliband and SNP was sufficiently frightening for the English to sensibly allow Cameron to scrape hope. Cameron could of course have romped home had he been a real Tory and shown any positive vision.

    The electorate have shown their total contempt for the Libdem policies (policies that Cameron also alas seems to belief in). Policies such as all the green crap grants, the 299+ higher taxes, the ever more regulation, ever more government, ever more borrowing, uncontrolled immigration, ever more EU and ever more government waste (on idiotic things like green grants and HS2).

    Now Cameron is virtually free of most constraints perhaps he can distance himself from his dreadful wet tax borrow and waste record of the past five years and become (at least in part) a real Tory.

    We are, thank goodness, now rid of Ed Davey. David Laws, Danny Alexander and Vince Cable. Cameron should change the name of the Energy & Climate change department to the Cheap and Efficient Energy Production Department and put someone like Owen Patterson or Peter Lilly in charge of it. Then he could appoint someone who is the complete opposite of the anti-business Vince Cable to the business department and sort out the damaging employments laws. He could keep his £1M IHT threshold promise of 7? Years ago (rather than the new watered down & pension mugging promise).

    He will, I suspect, do non of this. This as I think Cameron is (in his heart and soul) just a Libdim but in the wrong party, we shall see.

    The real danger is that he will probably try to ‘win’ a very biased referendum on the EU.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      “The Conservative campaign concentrated on the economy, with a popular offer of tax cuts.”

      Well we shall see if Cameron/Osborne rat on this promise again (just as he did last time on IHT and the rest). This time he has no Libdems to blame or use as a fig leaf. With the huge deficit he is unlikely to be able to make tax cuts until he starts to cut the endless waste in government and limits immigration to people who will be net financial contributors to the exchequer rather than financial liabilities.

      Just a shame I chickened out of my plan to put a large bet on a Tory majority yesterday. Still, at least I will not have Miliband mugging me and my businesses and destroying the economy.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      I just heard the BBC political editor Nicholas Robinson deliver a gushing tribute to Ed Balls. He even described him as one of the most brilliant economists or something similar. One assumes he is “a brilliant economist” who thinks that stealing off landlords with rent controls, spending money on expensive greencrap energy, abolishing non-dom status, wasting money hand over fist on over paid bureaucrats and benefits, increasing taxes yet further to 52%, having a mansion tax and having price controls on energy are all jolly good ideas.

      It sound to me more like someone who is a complete economic ignoramus. It also rather raises questions about the quality of the BBC political editor. Yet another Oxford PPE man. Do they actually teach any basic economics in Oxford PPE or do they just call it PPE for a laugh?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Ball is yet another Oxford PPE man as well.

        • Richard1
          Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

          Yes that was rather odd from the sensible Mr Robinson, who’s succinct and excellent political analysis and commentary we have missed in this campaign. I wish him a speedy and full recovery.

          I think the ‘brilliance’ of politicians’ understanding of economics would be better tested by reference to their achievements or otherwise in office, than by reference to grades they were awarded in exams several decades previously. On this measurement Mr Balls would not score well.

        • Hefner
          Posted May 9, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

          Do you realise how ridiculous you all are, pulling all PPE graduates to a mud pond. Our host is himself a PPE Oxford graduate.

          Do you ever try to think just a bit before repeating your usual mantra? Or are you just repeating your preferred newspaper’s half-truths without trying to check your sources?

          Reading Mr Redwood can be “stimulating”, but certainly not your 299+ green crap dribbles!

          Reply I did not read PPE

  4. Brian Taylor
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Now I can look forward to the EU referendum.
    In 1975 I voted to stay in the Common Market.
    I will not fall for the few crumbs we were fed in 1975, and now we have, Blods, Twitter, and the rest of Social Media.
    Also English Votes for English Needs.
    Can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Javelin
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Congratulations. It was the economy wot won it.

    Now dismantle the BBC bias and get an EU referendum.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      It was not the economy what won it!

      It was the dreadful thought of Miliband combining with the SNP that was clearly totally unacceptable to most English voters. That and the fact that the policies the Libdems support – the green crap, the ever higher taxes, ever more daft regulation, the open door EU immigration and ever more EU and all disliked by the public.

      Alas not policies disliked by Cameron though. Cameron was just very lucky that Miliband was so unelectable and the vision of the SNP tail wagging the Labour dog was so truly appalling.

      • Lesley
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        My thoughts exactly.

      • Richard1
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        I think you should acknowledge after all your criticisms of him, that tactically at least Mr Cameron has played a blinder!

        • Handbags
          Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          Yes, apologies all round I think – but don’t hold your breath.

          Once a whinger always a whinger.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

            I did say he would just scrape home, but only due the useless Miliband and even more to the threat of the SNP to England.

            Cameron is a good and polished presenter but lack a JR compass. His policies have been essentially Libdem and these policies were not very popular with the electorate at all as we have seen.

            Let us hope (now free of the Libdems) Cameron can reinvent himself. I want to see a pro business vision, far less EU, far lower taxes, people who keep their promises, far simpler employments laws, no daft hs2 or Swansea barrage, cheap energy, no green crap, selective immigration, far fewer regulations and a far smaller state. We shall see how he gets on. Better that Miliband/SNP I agree but will it be much better?

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        Couldn’t have put it better myself!!

  6. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Tax cuts eh? Where is the money going to come for them? Remember you got to find £8 billion for the NHS and £100 billion for “infra structure”. Please do not say “growth” its evident that the rest of the world is starting to slow down again so thats hardly believable.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Growth will only come if they cut the size of the parasitic state sector down to size (and improve the quality and delivery) also cheap energy, lower taxes, functional banks and far fewer regulations.

      Will Cameron actually deliver this time and render the private sector able to compete in the World again?

  7. Ian wragg
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    It will be interesting to see what excuses we get when immigration fails to reduce. It will be interesting to see what CMD intends to negotiate from Brussels. This is the last chance saloon for the traditional parties and the voters won’t accept fudge and excuses again.
    Scotland has made it’s position clear. Give them full autonomy on tax raising and cut them adrift.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      I am really concerned that Cameron will give Sturgeon whatever she wants. It will never be enough and Sturgeon will go for another referendum next year. God, where’s the gin bottle?

  8. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    There was an attempt yesterday for the truth to be twisted again in my own professional life and I thought here they go again, trying to swing life around to doublethink . I know how accurate and correct I was and this can without a doubt be proved in any court but still there was an attempt to bully and change events round. These have been labour’s tactics .I hope that the Conservatives do not follow in the same vein and pursue fairness, justice and Britishness.

  9. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    UKIP and SNP both have three million voters – one has one seat, the other 58 ?

    20 year old student…not looking forward to a 16 year old version.

    I am pleased the Tories did well. I just hope they can pull together and knock down what has been built since Blair.

  10. outsider
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Congratulations, Mr Redwood. A one party Government that lacks the majority to ride roughshod over individual MPs should in many ways be a good democratic outcome. Perhaps EU negotiation will be given some backbone by some people who know the detail. Good for Britain (and perhaps himself) that Ed Miliband will not be in charge of our affairs. Pity that Ukip could not muster half a dozen seats. But a great opportunity for someone to challenge Labour as the best alternative to a Leftish SNP in Scotland.

    Thank you maintaining this unique daily, properly moderated website throughout the campaign. It must take a great deal of patience, hard work and discipline as well as a good and fertile mind – and some courage. If a few more MPs could muster these resources to maintain an intelligent dialogue with the electorate, Westminster politics might be held in higher regard.

    PS. You were right about the higher turnout in many places. Maybe that is one good result of a long fixed term and a long campaign.

  11. JoeSoap
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Well done!

    You now have the unfettered opportunity to re-engage with the 15% of the UK vote you lost to UKIP, as well as the approx 4% SNP vote.

    Heed those relative %s as you go.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I sincerely hope we see a true Tory party emerge with Tory values and not the twisted policies of Labour/Lib Dims. There is so much for Cameron to do to pull people back into the fold. I, for one, would come back if he brought back a real Tory party. He will be up against it with the SNP though because they won’t back him on anything. They are simply out for themselves as we all knew.

  12. Sandra Cox
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    John, congratulations on an increased majority!

    I am relieved to see that the Conservative Party appears to be seeing off Labour and the SNP, but we obviously need to continue to hold our breath.

    Re your first diary after the election, I know you’re busy, but your second sentence: “The new Parliament has to complete the settlement for Scotland …” and eventually: “…. Above all the new Parliament needs to tackle the problem of England.” really disappointed me.

    John, I know this might be high on your agenda, but the “problem” of England really has to be elevated in David “there’s Scottish blood in these veins” Cameron’s list of priorities.

    For me and many others I know, EVEN ain’t gonna do it. Equality with the Scots is paramount – at the moment, you have one seat in Scotland – Cameron’s Scottish Secretary? How about the equivalent for England? How about Dr Redwood for the job?

    Yes, let’s hope the Conservatives succeed in forming a credible government because the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about, but forget the people who put you there at your peril!

    I doubt you’ll ever get another chance to do the right thing!

  13. The PrangWizard
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Sincere congratulations to you personally and the Conservative party. I do hope your party gets an overall majority. I haven’t seen a result for yourself yet but I expect the news to be good.

    I hope generally we see some backbone in the new government, and as for England there should be no reason now to delay justice. I will continue to argue for a true English parliament but your English Votes cannot possibly be delayed or sabotaged. Given the favourable situation however, I would argue that the case for a parliament should be raised and if possible implemented. It cannot be assumed there will be another chance.

    There is no argument now for more concessions to the Scottish. It is England’s turn to get your party’s and Cameron’s attention and effort. It must be a priority and pressed forward. The Scottish voice ought to be much quieter this morning and from now onwards.

  14. Know-Dice
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Good morning Mr Redwood and congratulations on not only retaining your seat, but increasing your majority 🙂

    Can we have an “open house” topic where we can suggest to you the direction we would like to see this new Conservative government head it the next five years?

    Reply Good idea – probably tomorrow.

  15. Richard1
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Well congratulations to Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne and others on such a great result. I wasn’t inspired by the campaign at all, as many weren’t. But as I hoped and expected, the Strategy targeted at the relevant marginals has worked. People have also had the sense to take note of the terrible risks of a leftist Labour-SNP govt.

    This must be the end of socialism in the UK. The Labour Party will surely now reject Union dominated leftism and try to move back to the centre. Let’s ignore the drivel about Scotland. OK the SNP have done well, but it’s a small proportion of the total electorate. The fault for their rise lies squarely with the Labour govt which introduced the foolish and unfair devolution settlement. Let’s move to devomax or whatever it’s called. But we must have Justice for England as part of it. Let the Scots set their own tax – but we don’t want SNP MPs then deciding English and Welsh taxes.

    I suggest the new govt puts through fair votes – equal sized constituencies – on a three line whip in the first session of the new Parliament. I’d also suggest getting rid of the silly fixed term Parliament act.

    Amidst all the Labour-LibDem sour grapes wrongly accusing the Comservatives of a negative campaign let’s remember the only really unpleasant campaigning in this election – by the SNP in Scotland.

    Congratulations Mr Redwood on your re-election. Backbench Conservative MPs will have a crucial role in the new Parliament and we look for continued succinct and rIgorous analysis and comment – and wise guidance for the new Govt!

  16. Chris S
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Very many congratulations to our host, David Cameron and everyone in the Conservative Party for their stunning achievement in winning an overall majority.

    As a Conservative supporter I could not be more pleased. Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander have gone and Miliband and Clegg will be out by the end of today. Politics is the most brutal of occupations.

    It is very disappointing that amongst the celebrations Esther McVey has been the most notable Conservative casualty. If I were Cameron, Esther would receive one of my first phone calls. An appointment to the House of Lords and a promotion to cabinet rank would be offered.

    Turning to the future, Scotland voted overwhelmingly for an end to austerity and an increase in public spending. This has to be addressed and quickly. The only way to achieve this is to call Sturgeon and Salmond’s bluff and offer Full Fiscal Autonomy for Scotland and a proper and equal federal system for all four home nations so that we have proper EVEL and everything other than defense and foreign affairs are devolved.

    The offer must leave no wriggle room for the SNP to be able to blame England for their own future failings and we will need to be generous and make bridging payments to cover the £7.5bn hole in the Scottish budget.

    I would offer to cover the deficit on a 20% annual decreasing basis for five years to give Sturgeon time to grow her economy to cover it. This is what she said she could do during the campaign. I suspect they will accept the deal because it means they don’t have to face another referendum they might lose and it avoids the difficult issue of finding an alternative currency to the pound. There would have to be an undertaking to allow another referendum if England Wales and NI vote to leave the EU.

    Boundary changes and a change from first past the post should also be on the agenda but I suspect the latter will not be. It cannot be right that UKIP have been so disadvantaged while the SNP is now greatly over-represented on roughly the same share of the vote. Green voters also have a right to be disappointed at the outcome.

    Then of course we have the EU negotiations and the referendum to look forward to.

    Other EU leaders and Junkers must be horrified that Cameron has won an overwhelming mandate and they will have to change their tune on accommodating the changes that the UK requires. If not, Germany and others are going to have to dig deep to make up the shortfall in the EU budget.

    Bring it on !

    • CdBrux
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Re: Esther McVey: I agree with you she is a loss, however I would not agree to sending her to the Lords – it’s a common heard complaint that having the Lords as a consolation prize, a sort of old politicians club, is far too establishment and gives arise to contempt.

      It’s not on the agenda, and would not be my priority, but eventually I would like to see the Lords numbers reduced to between 200 & 400 and with a minimum 33% cross benchers. Ex MP’s could maybe have a max term of 5 or 10 years to help keep the numbers down and get some rotation

  17. DaveM
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    “Conservatives also mentioned the question of England and the need for a renegotiation and referendum on the EU, though this did not become the main issue of the election.”

    Not for the politicians maybe, but for a large chunk of the electorate it was the main issue throughout. Ukip’s vote share (and if you’re honest Mr R, a large number of Con voters who might have been tempted to vote Ukip) reflects that.

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    “As these Treaties are no longer separate documents”

    Yes they are still separate documents, all listed in the EU’s collection of treaties:

    http://europa.eu/eu-law/decision-making/treaties/index_en.htm

  19. Henry Mayhew
    Posted May 9, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations on your victory. Looking forward to your continuing contribution to this country.

  • 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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