Early work for the new Parliament – settling the UK constitution

56 SNP MPs will be demanding early action on the devolution of more powers to Scotland. They will be pressing on an open door, as the three main Westminster parties as they call them will want to honour their promises and to get this business out of the way promptly.

I hope the new government will be generous to Scotland in the powers it gives, and will want to add substantial fiscal devolution to the agreed list. The aim should be to let Scotland decide how more of her taxes are fixed and collected, and to spend that money in Scotland. This would all then be removed from the bloc grant from the UK.

To match this the new Parliament must also offer the same opportunities to England. Wales and Northern Ireland could choose how far they wish to go down the Scottish path to fiscal devolution, and how much they wish to stay with the bloc grant and common tax pool approach they currently use. The SNP MPs should see the fairness of England enjoying comparable devolution to Scotland’s, though England will exercise her greater self government through the votes of English MPs sitting at Westminster. The business of England and the business of Scotland are two sides of the same devolution coin, and need to be tackled urgently and together.

The new Parliament should also be invited to complete the unfinished business from the last Parliament to establish fairer boundaries with fewer seats for the next election.


  1. formula57
    May 9, 2015

    Quite right! And I see that the “Scotsman” newspaper of today tells us: –

    “The First Minister said she and the Prime Minister had agreed in a brief telephone call to meet “as soon as possible” to discuss the constitution”

    and so I was expecting that you too would be similarly busy with the prime minister (speaking for England). I hope Mr Cameron is not giving preference to our chums from north Britain.

    ( Scotsman link @ http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/cameron-to-hold-talks-with-sturgeon-on-uk-future-1-3767980 )

  2. Old Albion
    May 9, 2015

    MP’s in Scottish seats need to take a fair and honourable position when votes are required Re. devolved matters. They need to keep out of such votes that affect only England, or England, Wales , N.Ireland.
    I suspect they won’t……………….

  3. Mike Stallard
    May 9, 2015

    I sympathise a lot with the Scots. They are a very long way from London. The London city state has its own ideas, its own people, its own party machinery. First of all, it was the Conservatives who were seen as aliens. Then it was the Labour. If I were a Scot, I would want much more self government. Scottish laws for Scottish People.
    But I would realise that Scotland by itself will not work. The Scots joined up after the disaster at Darien. They need us. There is no need to go the whole hog: the Barnett formula is inviolable!
    The SNP seem to want to spread our money round their country. That is why Mr Miliband was not elected.
    Please keep the UK together!

    1. Lifelogic
      May 9, 2015

      I too sympathise with the Scots, the prospect of the lefty, high taxing, politics of envy, SNP getting even more control of taxation and borrowing must be a dire prospect for the Scottish economy. Still they only have themselves to blame.

      At least they do not have would be landlord robber Miliband in London to make matters even worse for them.

    2. Mondeo Man
      May 9, 2015

      Nothing compared to how far away the average American is away from Washington and yet they have no problem holding a huge country together.

      The Scots are spoilt brats.

      If they want to know what it’s like being disenfranchised then they need only speak to one of 4,000,000 Englishmen.

      If it had happened to them they’d be smashing the place up by now.

      Dr Redwood: Is Mr Cameron going to give special thanks to the Ukippers who turned coat to rescue the country ?

      Don’t you think he should ?

      1. Mark B
        May 10, 2015

        He owes people who can so easily be fooled nothing. And nothing is exactly for next 5 years is what they will get.

    3. Max Dunbar
      May 9, 2015

      We don’t need your sympathy, we need a Prime Minister who puts the SNP insurgents in their place and who defends the freedoms and rights of all British people including those who live in Scotland.

      1. Mark B
        May 10, 2015

        Max, you have elections next year for ‘your’ parliament. I, apparently, have had mine. For my pains I have, thanks to your fellow countrymen, have some 50 SNP (left wingers ed) who can vote on English only laws. Sit on English and UK Committees. Chair meetings of English and UK Committees and so on.

        You have a second bite of a cherry that is denied to me by the very PM that you want to stand up to the people that your fellow countrymen have just voted in to oversee me and my country. And you as him to help you with the SNP ?

        You are both fortunate and unfortunate. But we are where we are and we must now look at means to change things.

  4. alan jutson
    May 9, 2015

    Agree with your points, but as you say England must be included, and at the same time.

    Likewise there should be no attempt at a fudge (scrap the nonsense EVIL proposals) and set up a proper arrangement for England, and Wales and Northern Island if they want it.

    You simply cannot allow fiscal independence, with the addition of the Barnet formula or block subsidy as some sort of a safeguard.

    Time for a grown up debate about what are to be joint UK matters, and what should be dissolved.

    Fairness for all.

  5. alan jutson
    May 9, 2015

    Also time to resolve the new boundaries.

    1. Mark B
      May 10, 2015

      I 100% agree with that. I think that is the first job that needs to be done.

  6. Caterpillar
    May 9, 2015

    Yesterday the phrase “good working of UK democracy” was used, under the ‘One Nation’ post. Today though this seems to already have drifted to “though England will exercise … sitting at Westminster”, there is a vast gap between these two concepts. Whilst the second may be useful in the interim, there is clearly a need for the constitutional convention and consideration of federalism (presumably history teaches on home rule issues being ignored), MMP (or other), in parallel to the position within/out EU. Even if such ideas were to be rejected by the electorate it is important to give them due consideration.

    At the beginning of the coalition government the PM at least paid lip service to how libertarian and liberal positions could work together, and although follow through was mixed at least some consensus e.g. tax-free earning thresholds arose. He now needs to pay more than lip service to the electorate.

    “One nation” and “a greater Britain” has to recognize the success of the DUP and SNP, and give a place for those voices (Green and UKIP) lost in tactical voting and geographic dispersion. Without a serious consideration of home rule options and the electoral system, national conversations will disappear and regionalism will grow … given this the nation may as well just be bits of the EU. (When divided and ruled it doesn’t matter whether from London or Brussels).

    One can only hope that the PM will realise that actions now will go far beyond a single term in office, and define the, if any, future of the UK. The Government has both the short term and the long term to get right.

    [Finally, in talk of greatness, we should all remember that even in the 1950s the UK was still the 9th biggest country by population, it is now the 22nd.]

  7. Lifelogic
    May 9, 2015

    Indeed sorting out fair and fairly equal constituency boundaries was a big failure or the last term. The Libdems deserved to be decimated just for their refusal to do that (and for the absurd Ed Davey agenda).

    The BBC is getting very excited about the SNP in Scotland but does it really make much difference. It is just lots of lefty Scottish MPs with an SNP tag replacing 56 lefty Scottish MPs with a Labour tag. Both are pushing an economic agenda that will not work.

    The real question is how much English taxes they will be allowed to waste on top of the money raised in Scotland. One key is to ensure that we do not buy or subsidise over priced greencrap energy of them at other than the true market price. If they want energy at four times the going rate let them pay for it and see how the Scottish voters like it.

    Cameron needs to remember that the Tories are now essentially a party only of England and he needs to remember just how unpopular the Libdems policies on Europe, green crap, high taxes, the breakup and discrimination against England, the endless over regulation of everything, the mad HS2 and the ever bigger government. He needs to pretend he was not in favour of any of these and to become a real Tory for once, looking after the interest of all the EU but with a fair deal for England above all.

    He need to listen to the sensible 80? in his party for once instead of constantly kicking them and his supporters in the teeth as he did last time. He need to start to reverse his 299+ tax increases and his serial private pension mugging measures and to finally keep his IHT promise – within the month. It is five years late already. He need to become a man of his word for once and restore his credibility as much as he can.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 9, 2015

      He also needs to outline properly what he wants from the EU renegotiation. His Bruges speech was largely vague and vacuous politician talk.

      The supremacy of Westminster on all matters, free trade with the EU and the rest of the world and the control of our own borders and laws is the very minimum needed and supremacy of the UK supreme court. Cheap energy and no green crap and no carbon taxes. Vat is an absurdly inefficient and hugely over complex tax too.

      I cannot really see why the EU needs to pay anything much to the EU for that, it is in there interests anyway.

    2. Reynard
      May 9, 2015

      As a Scottish tory voter I felt a bit hacked off that we were effectively abandoned during the election campaign.But for the first time since ’92 I got the government I voted for.

      The tory vote is rock solid up here and can be built on with some care. It has also been detoxified during the referendum campaign where the likes of Ruth Davidson played a high profile role. Labour are absolutely gone up here with virtually no way back. The SNP occupy most of the political ground on the left as well as the ethnic nationalist nonsense but do not abandon the Scottish tories.

      And offer the nationalists FFA as soon as possible as they will have to reject it and this will destroy any argument they could ever make regarding independence.

      I looked at the Welsh results and thought how normal it all looked. A bit lefty, with a good tory showing, a handful of nationalists and a lone lib dem. It reminded me of growing up in Scotland in the 70s

      1. Lifelogic
        May 10, 2015

        The Scottish will need some Tory influence in the Scottish parliament to restrain the magic money tree lunacy of the SNP and protect the Scots from the economic insanity.

    3. Richard1
      May 9, 2015

      The conservatives could and should rebuild in Scotland. They have taken over from the LibDems as 3rd after Labour and the SNP. Now the SNP are a purely left wing party the Tories should be able to eclipse Labour to become the right of centre and unionist opposition to the SNP. There is an excellent Tory leader in Scotland, Ruth Davidson. She should work on preventing Labour re-establishing. It’s an opportunity.

      1. libertarian
        May 9, 2015

        Richard 1

        I feel you are making the same mistake the SNP made. The independence referendum would have been won easily if the SNP hadn’t gone for a dual offer of independence/socialism. Likewise the conservatives of Scotland will make a big mistake if they try to reestablish a free market party and ally it to Unionism.

        We have just witnessed the greatest bloodbath in British political history an earthquake so large that the winners didn’t even believe it. That was engineered for the Tories by Lynton Crosby. His strategy. Have ONE message. It worked , that lesson needs to be learned.

        If I was a Scot I would be looking for Independence with a free market philosophy.

        Ruth Davidson must be given the role of rebuilding a Scottish free market party and it MUST NOT be called Conservative/Unionist.

        1. Richard1
          May 10, 2015

          There must be many sensible Scots in the homeland of Adam Smith who feel profoundly unrepresented now. Let them take a different name, but we need a revival of small govt free market conservatism in Scotland and to see that reflected at Westminster.

        2. bluedog
          May 10, 2015

          ‘Ruth Davidson must be given the role of rebuilding a Scottish free market party and it MUST NOT be called Conservative/Unionist.’

          Why on earth not? The old Conservative and Unionist Party was widely respected in Scotland, particularly in the country areas. At some point they would have called in a brand manager or marketing consultant who would have told them the name was too clunky. But it was self-descriptive, and that’s no bad thing.

      2. Max Dunbar
        May 9, 2015

        The problem with Scotland’s Tories is that they have become cud chewing herbivores. They hid under stones during the referendum campaign I remember, occasionally passing a wad of cash out to Labour for the Better Together campaign and hoping not to be noticed. We need a McTebbit to savage the SNP with.

  8. Ex-expat Colin
    May 9, 2015

    Sounds ok..and as such all the moaning/grizzling ceases?

    Will watch… with interest. Meanwhile the EU needs to be placed into a state that is not attractive to wayward countries/governments. The southern states of Europe are more than enough.

  9. Bill
    May 9, 2015

    Completely agree with this agenda.

  10. DaveTheRave
    May 9, 2015

    I agree in principle with this entry.
    However, if one had, like me, the misfortune to see last night’s Question Time, it is easy to appreciate the absolute, downright and frankly dangerous drivel spouted by many so-called Liberals and Labour politicians.
    One again I had decided to listen (I should have switched off), to try to understand, the repeated mantra of ‘The Left’ about the dangers of English nationalism, that the PM spoke unwisely immediately after the Scottish referendum last autumn in wanting EVEL as the beginning of a balance to devolution in the rest of the UK.
    The shear hypocrisy of LibLab ‘arguments’ is breathtaking, not only to English people, but all right thinking, intelligent people.
    Old career politicians especially, warn of the dangers of English ‘nationalism’ while openly encouraging others. They cannot disguise their one size fits all, paxEU stance, where nations the size of Scotland and Wales are looked at lovingly, patted on the head from a Brussels stance, while nations like England are not even granted nation status, because England is ‘too large’. Too large? How many times have we heard this in recent times? I’ve lost count. When is a nation too big? Is Russia too big? Try telling that to a Russian. Then they say England is collection of regions rather than a real nation. Well, Scotland is regional, so is Wales. Are they going to be broken up into regions?
    Of course, we all know what ‘The Left’ want to do with England, belittle it, deny its nationhood until we agree to formal regional assemblies. Scotland and Wales were given the opportunity to have assemblies, it was part of the ideals of Labour and the unLiberals. I don’t think in their wildest nightmares they thought that Scotland would now, so soon, be on the brink of leaving the UK. Who’s ‘fault’ is that? A country, or a region, granted any form of self government, has the potential in the long run to become independent from its ‘mother’ land. England has its historic counties, its councils already. They could work better, but to introduce another layer of government would be ludicrous.
    But ‘The Left’ have the temerity to blame the PM, who, to his credit, is only trying to be fair to the fifty plus million people in England.
    Let’s be clear, it’s Scotland’s choice if it wants to independent. The Scots speak of identity and they are right, of course.
    But it is, or should be, England’s choice to self determination too. I and many other people in England feel a strong sense of identity and have done for some time. Yet, apparently, people like are ‘little Englanders’ because we look at the EU’s present form with suspicion. Far from being small in our vision, I think the English are ‘internationalist’ in the truest sense of the word.
    So we cannot let the wholly inaccurate statements about ‘the dangers of English nationalism’ distort this truth.
    England has been treated with outright disdain for too long, largely from people within it, who see themselves British rather than English, as we saw last night on TV.
    I believe the reason for this is due to an innate weakness felt within the nation.
    Once we start speaking from a position of strength, which now we can, maybe those who have treated us, the people of England, with such derision might recognise this long standing elephant in the room.

    1. DaveM
      May 9, 2015

      Good post.

    2. Denis Cooper
      May 9, 2015

      Apparently Cameron does believe that Russia is too big, and he wants it divided along the line of the Ural Mountains – with the European part to the west in the EU, but the Asian part to the east outside the EU.

      1. JoeSoap
        May 9, 2015

        But he might change his mind now that he is not shackled to the Libdems 🙂

  11. Iain Moore
    May 9, 2015

    ” The business of England and the business of Scotland are two sides of the same devolution coin, and need to be tackled urgently and together. ”

    Agreed, but even though English people voted against being ruled from Scotland staring the chatterati in their faces, they are still managing to avoid the issue. Viewing constitutional matters from an English perspective is something they refuse to do.

    The BBC through out the election refused to initiate any debate on English constitutional issues, their presenters even after the election talk about devolution to the nations and regions of England, seeking to load the debate against recognition of England, and the post election analysis so far has only viewed matters from the perspective of Scotland. It is contortion art of some skill for them to indulge one side of the argument but to ignore the other.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 9, 2015

      The BBC is absurd as always with its essentially EU, big govenment and greencrap drivel agenda. Not a sensible scientist or economist to be seen on the BBC other than very rarely indeed.

  12. Richard1
    May 9, 2015

    I watched question time for the first time in a long while yesterday. Scotland dominated (despite it being less than 10% of the UK popn as pointed out by a panellist). Francis Maude attempted a conciliatory and magnanimous tone. But this was not matched at all by splenetic and partisan Alastair Campbell and Paddy Ashdown, both of whom talked about how ‘foolish’ Mr Cameron had been to talk about fairness for England, and how Cameron is responsible for the surge of nationalism in Scotland. Sour grapes of course, but advance notice that the left will try to oppose Justice for England and do not see any reason to have balanced devolution across the UK. It would be nice to implement the devolution settlement with cross-party support, but this kind of self-serving drivel must be ignored. It is essential that we have matched devolution in England, with English MPs taking on the extra role of deciding English issues once those have been taken away from the UK Parliament.

  13. The Prangwizard
    May 9, 2015

    I hope in considering and implementing this the PM will be very mindful that some of those who voted for the Conservatives did so in part to keep out Marxism of course, but additionally in protest at the aggressive intent of interference from Scotland too, knowing there has been weakness in the defence of England and an unfair devolution balance; thus we had a very large number of people voting in England for the case for England, many unconsciously.

    If the PM does not set out with vigour to get a settlement for England these voters and their support will disappear very quickly. He must begin immediately to think and speak of England, if he continues to use the word Britain or the UK when in truth the word should be England we will notice.

    We shall see in the next few weeks what Cameron is really made of, in this, the boundaries issue and in other things, and I am looking forward to finding out; he has a perfect opportunity now to act free of outside encumbrances and there are many other subjects I would like to see shown the light of day again. There are many injustices which need a remedy. We hope that Her Majesty is not dictating that protection of the Union is more important than democratic justice for England.

    1. Mondeo Man
      May 9, 2015


      Support lasting a short time ?

      Well Mr Cameron has 5 years. Whether he’s supported or not doesn’t make much odds now. The new front bench doesn’t inspire confidence – one of them dubbed the Tories ‘nasty’ and they’ve had to bat it off ever since.

      Dr Redwood isn’t on it by the way.

    2. Max Dunbar
      May 9, 2015

      Cameron is Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and as such he represents the people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as of England. England is the dominant force and always has been, therefore the power of England is a given and it cannot be compared to the other regions of the UK.
      England is the UK from the perspective of an outsider.

      1. Mark B
        May 10, 2015

        And from the inside that perspective is very different I can tell you. And it is the inside that matters.

      2. yosarion
        May 10, 2015

        From the perspective of a English insider, (mind your own business? ed)

  14. Ian wragg
    May 9, 2015

    I saw Ed Balls this morning. I think he was flat lining.

    1. Mondeo Man
      May 9, 2015

      Even I admit the news wasn’t all bad.

  15. Span Ows
    May 9, 2015

    The English Question (a.k.a. The West Lothian Question) needs sorting.

    Then an EU referendum date

  16. Denis Cooper
    May 9, 2015

    I watched Cameron say:

    “Governing with respect means recognising that the different nations of our United Kingdom have their own governments, as well as the United Kingdom government.”

    and try as I might I couldn’t recall any occasions over recent decades when the political class has shown any respect at all to the English nation, whose very existence they are reluctant to acknowledge and when they do it is invariably in derogatory terms such as “sour little Englanders”.

    And I don’t think trying to fob the people of England off with an EVEL or EVEN fudge is showing them much respect, the opposite.

    However I’m not sure that any of this really matters so much when there is now a high probability that within a few years the MPs elected in Scotland will be joining in the vote to completely remove all of them from the UK Parliament, without any pressing need to curtail their voting rights in the meantime.

    1. yosarion
      May 9, 2015

      Maybe you could ask your Boss John to clarify that he includes England in that speech about the Nations, I would hate to think him daft enough not to.

  17. fedupsoutherner
    May 9, 2015

    It will be interesting to see Nicola Sturgeon put under pressure to deliver after all her rantings. The SNP have had devolved powers over child care, health and schools, housing etc for a long time now and have not really done anything different.

    I fear it will be a giveaway for the feckless, and lead to higher taxes for hard working families. She will have to be careful because uncomfortable decisions often lead to dissatisfied votes as we have seen in England. Perhaps by giving her these powers it will make them unpopular amongst some. Bearing this in mind Scotland should not be given too long to implement all that they want. After all, they have been outlining what they will do for a long time . They must surely have some idea as the Scottish referendum must have given them time to work things out and decide how they would raise the money they need.

    England must have EVEL now and Scotland should have no say in English tax matters or any policy that involves England only. This has been said many times on this blog.

    Please let’s not forget the dire state of energy in Scotland and the fact that the English are all paying for Scotland’s wind turbines of which there are too many now for the grid to cope with and yet over 2,000 are still in the pipeline and many more being applied for all the time.

  18. Denis Cooper
    May 9, 2015

    Somewhat off-topic, I was struck by the fact that while Labour lost 8 seats to the Tories outside Scotland they actually won 10 seats back from the Tories, net gain of 2, as well as winning 12 from the LibDems. But this was nowhere near enough to compensate for the loss of 40 seats in Scotland to the SNP when the Tories were more efficient (or lucky) in stripping the carcase of the LibDems, winning a net 26 seats from them.


  19. Lifelogic
    May 9, 2015

    Perhaps Cameron could also address the issue of why the state sector is (on average with pensions included) remunerated at about 50% more than the private sector. Why for example do administrators in the NHS have to be paid £400K when even the very top level of surgeons in the NHS are often only getting £140K or less? Indeed why does anyone in the state sector need to get more than £142,500 the PM’s wage? They are not risk takers using their own money and not very many seem to be doing a good job or even competent job. Even issuing passports on time, answering the phone, replying to letters or collecting taxes efficiently seems often to be beyond them.

    He could usefully halve the state sector numbers too as so many do so little of any use and many cause actual positive harm and inconvenience to the public who pay their wages.

    1. Richard1
      May 9, 2015

      Most of these functions should be outsourced and put out to regular competitive tender. Budgets should then be subject to an annual squeeze so the most efficient providers are the ones to get the work.

      Maybe the BBC should get the same treatment. The license fee should be replaced with a subscription arrangement now conditional access technology allows it. The £4bn or so should then be used to commission independent production, with the core BBC reduced to pure public service broadcasting. The trust should be replaced with a proper board and the whole thing put under Ofcom like any other media organisation.

  20. Stuart B
    May 9, 2015

    John, FWIW I do agree with your priority list – obviously, constitutional matters must be settled before the main business of implementing policies can commence effectively. I have a couple of thoughts on who, exactly, you will be dealing with in the SNP.
    In biology, a successful parasite does not die with its host – it simply moves on to the next host. In politics likewise, ideas do not die with their vehicles – they adopt a new face, with a new host. The abrupt bloat in the SNP’s membership, and its wholesale adoption by the greater section of the Scottish electorate, seems to me a case in point. The transmogrification of the SNP into a whole-hearted home for Scottish socialism may have already taken place under the covers, but it will only become fully apparent in their dealings with our UK government. Ms Sturgeon has clearly stated that they are no longer looking for imminent independence, or even another referendum on that issue. I think it will become clear that, as the newly adopted host of a Eurocentric, technocratic Scottish socialism, one of their major aims will be to stay close enough and influential enough in the UK as a whole, to deflect us from any thought of leaving the EU. Mr Cameron would easily be able to call their Nationalist bluff by offering them, more or less, exactly what they were demanding not two years ago. They would refuse – not only because it would lead to a risible economic disaster in Scotland, but more importantly it would nullify their undue influence over Westminster. It would be interesting, to say the least, to see him try this..

  21. Javelin
    May 9, 2015

    Give the Scottish tax raising powers as well as borrowing and debt. Westminster understands they will screw the economy up but act like helicopter parents stopping their child falling over. It doesn’t help Westminster and it doesn’t help the child to grow up to be a responsible adult.

    Once the Scottish get a belly full of socialist debt and misery they will start voting Tory. The reason Tory’s don’t get voted in is that England constantly holding their hands.

    If I were Cameron I would address the issue head on. I would say to the Scots “I don’t agree with the SNP policies. I think it will wreck your economy. I will give you the power to wreck your own economy but that is your responsibility and once your economy is wrecked Tory politicians will come back and help you to run your country.”

    1. Mondeo Man
      May 9, 2015

      Javelin – The Left are masters at blame shifting.

      If SNP fails it will be because of the evil English. If it succeeds it will be because it is free from the evil English.

      Scotland needs a huge dose of EU style diversification and cultural enrichment.

      1. Max Dunbar
        May 9, 2015

        Spot on, the SNP will always blame the ‘English’. Maybe they will go back to voting for the ‘red Tories’ but that is about as much as you can expect here.

  22. Bob
    May 9, 2015

    You make some good points John, but in reality I think that the issue will be twisted by the bulk of your party with support of the bulk Parliament as a whole to push us along the Bakanisation route under instructions from our real government in Brussels.

  23. Kenneth
    May 9, 2015

    Fiscal autonomy for Scotland is now the obvious route, with the UK adopting a federal system.

    Having to live within their means will bring balance back to Scottish politics instead of the extremism they are now witnessing.

    It is also about time that the English get a government and tax system that reflects their voters.

    This could be a win-win all round with everybody getting what they voted for.

    1. Max Dunbar
      May 9, 2015

      Well we certainly asked for it here in Scotland although I’m not sure that everybody got what they voted for.
      There has always been extremism in Scotland, it’s just that it’s impinging on you now so you notice it. England has had a moderating influence on Scotland until now.

  24. Mark B
    May 9, 2015

    Good morning.

    Firstly, I would like to congratulate our kind host on his re-election to to Parliament as member for Wokingham.

    I would also like to thank, Denis Cooper for his sage words regarding polls leading up to the election. You sir have come out with much credit.

    On a slightly different thread here, it is good to see the return of uanime5 and PvL. Whilst I do not always agree with them, alternate views well put are always good to read. However I did not see, Bazzman. I do so sincerely hope he is OK, after the electorate gave their verdict on Socialism in this country. Well, South of the Border anyway.

    I would really like to have seen RedEd in Number 10. But alas, my fellow countrymen saw it differently. Clearly they do not have the same sense of adventure and risk as I do 🙂

    It is nice that the people of Scotland will have more powers given to them, especially since they were never offered them at first. It is also good that the people of Ulster and Wales may be asked if they too would wish more. Sadly I note, that the people of England, who this government have so much to thank, will not be asked anything. And until the people of England start demanding equality, they never shall.

    I shall be writing to my MP (Conservative – returned) to once again support our kind host on this issue. But that is all I can do. You see, unlike all the others in this so called Union, I have no real voice. Because I only have UK MP’s to represent me, not devolved ones.

    Shame about UKIP. All those votes and just one MP. Cannot blame the System ,as it is the same for everybody. UKIP need to look at what ‘they’ are doing wrong. But this place is not about them, even though they got 1 in 10 of the votes cast I believe.

    1. Mondeo Man
      May 9, 2015

      Mark B – UKIP didn’t do anything wrong.

      They took 30% of the votes that the winning party did. About 40% of the second party.

      That’s good.

      25,000 Scots = 1 seat for SNP

      4,000,000 English = 1 seat for UKIP

      That’s bad. Very bad (Whichever way you look at it)

      What really won it for the Tories was The Daily Mail’s hatchet job on Farage every single day over six months coupled with the Sturgeon/Miliband prospect. It’s great that Labour switchers did not listen to the BBC and went to UKIP regardless.

      UKIP did remarkably well considering all the lies and the smear.

      What did they do wrong ?

      They dared to tell the truth. THAT’s what they did wrong.

      1. alan jutson
        May 9, 2015

        Mondeo man

        I have to say a lot to agree with in this post.

        Whilst they only got one seat this time, they came second in plenty, so if Dave (given a last chance by many) fails to live up to expectations, then expect Ukip to gain very many more seats next time around.

        Both Parties have got 5 years to sort themselves out.

        1. Mondeo Man
          May 10, 2015

          Alan – 5 years, by which time the referendum will have been held.

      2. Mark B
        May 10, 2015

        Since my post, I have learned that UKIP have taken South Thanet Council. If there is anything that has come out of this election that has put a smile on my face, this is it. Why ? Because UKIP have been approaching this all wrong. They thought they could just put up candidates and people would just vote them in. It hasn’t quite worked like that. Carswel has got in because he is known, trusted and liked by the people of Clacton. There is a lesson in that. You need to start to work the local and county councils. When people know that you have their interests at heart, just like the Scots believe the SNP have theirs, they will reward you with MP’s. In 5 years time, I would like to see Nigel Farage stand again in Thanet. And this time, I think he will win.

    2. Denis Cooper
      May 9, 2015

      Thank you for your kind words! However I’m now having to check back to see if anything I said in the past would be materially affected by the fact that all of the opinion polls were so wrong about the shares of the votes cast in the election.

      1. Mark B
        May 10, 2015

        Denis, you pointed out the fact that the Lib Dems vote share collapsed and collapsed early on. That proved correct. You pointed out that Labour were losing more to UKIP than the Tory’s were. That too was correct. You pointed out that UKIP vote was more or less steady, and although that in the end was a little of the mark, the propaganda against that party in the final weeks and the prospect of a SNP / Labour government must surely have tipped the balance. No one foresaw this.

        But all in all, you gave the best analysis. And you did it for free.


    3. Max Dunbar
      May 9, 2015

      Mark B.
      I hope that living in England is not going to be too boring for you now. However, if you would like a bit of risk and adventure then that can be arranged for you in Scotland. If you can’t wait for another General Election in England we have the Scottish elections for you in 2016. That will promise to be stimulating and exciting campaigning for you, especially if you support a party that is not SNP/Green. As we now live in what is, to all intents and purposes, a one party socialist state in Scotland then I would recommend that you campaign for either the Conservative Party or UKIP. You can be virtually certain of drawing a lively response from the guardians of our Peoples’ One Party Democracy.

      1. Mark B
        May 10, 2015

        Max, thanks for the invite my friend.

        But I shall campaign neither for UKIP or the Tory’s. I shall be campaigning, should I decide to go, for England to be given her independence from the Union for which I shall undoubtedly receive a very sympathetic hearing, and possibly a few votes. I may even make First Minister 🙂

        1. Max Dunbar
          May 10, 2015

          Mark B
          Don’t forget your sporran – and make sure it’s well filled with cash, £7.6 billion to be exact. The drinks are on you!

  25. Martyn G
    May 9, 2015

    “Trust the people” said Churchill. Despite the polls the people – and look at the coloured map of voting results – of England have entrusted Mr C to implement his promises, not least for a fairer deal for England.
    But will he be able do it or will the politicians real fear about stirring up English nationalism gather to prevent him from doing so? And if he did manage that, will he then demand that the name of England be restored to the EU map, as it so obviously ought to be?
    Meanwhile, Scottish, Welsh and NI nationalism is to be applauded but Heaven forfend that of English nationalism, which is to be feared and discouraged at all costs, as indeed it has been for the past 30 years or more.

    1. acorn
      May 9, 2015

      Martyn, there is no english nationalism to stir up. It doesn’t exist! Westminster and Whitehall can f**k with the english anytime, anyway they want with no reaction.

      If more than 0.1% of the english, ever planned to hit the streets in protest at the voting system, it could be easily quashed. The government would tell the BBC to schedule a double episode of Eastenders; where Kat Moon has it off with all the male characters she hasn’t had it off with yet! Problem solved.

      I have a page full of email from fellow number crunchers, asking me to explain how the UK voting system works; that it should generate the sort of result you would expect from some corrupt, tin pot African dictatorship.

      We are a laughing stock around the planet!

      1. libertarian
        May 9, 2015


        Good post. Agree on both issues

    2. Max Dunbar
      May 9, 2015

      Scottish Nationalism is more akin to (authoritarian socialism ed). The SNP are not really nationalists at all and England is indeed fortunate that it has not had to suffer the consequences of an SNP/Labour victory.
      English nationalism is quite different and cannot be compared to the SNP’s version of it.

  26. ian wragg
    May 9, 2015

    Don’t hold your breathy of Parliamentary reform or a concerted effort to keep the lights on.
    I fear CMD will see this vote as vindication of his policies and carry on pretty much as before.
    I am willing to wager that (Sturgeon? ed) gets all she asks for and we will underwrite their failure and England is ignored. We will continue to shovel loads of money at German and Danish windmill companies and until we have some regular blackouts nothing will be done to restore our base load capacity.
    It does make me happy now Cable is unemployed and his boss has resigned as leader no doubt waiting for a peerage and a move to Brussels.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      May 9, 2015

      I am sure many of the Libdims will get jobs in the renewables sector. Let’s face it, it wouldn’t exist without them! Cameron had better keep his word over subsidies for wind or else many people will feel let down.

  27. Lifelogic
    May 9, 2015

    How far should Cameron go to protect the Scottish economy from being destroyed by the lefty loon policies pushed by SNP & Labour? Perhaps he should given them enough rope and let them slowly learn how much damage these silly tax borrow and waste, bloated state, greencrap and anti “austerity” policies will wreak?

    How will he stop the Scots going bust or will he just let them? If they do go bust how will he protect England from having to endlessly bail them out? It will, in the eyes, of most Scots always be the fault of the Brits after all.

    1. JoeSoap
      May 9, 2015

      It certainly brings to mind the Greek situation…

    2. Max Dunbar
      May 9, 2015

      Straight to the point Lifelogic.

    3. fedupsoutherner
      May 9, 2015

      The nationalists have cause havoc in the UK and their prime reason for existing is to separate Scotland from the UK. They don’t just hate Westminster, many of them hate the English. Let’s not forget though that over 50% of us in Scotland (I am English living in Scotland) voted NO to independence and our wishes should be respected. Sturgeon should not be allowed any more concessions and should be told that Scotland has had its referendum and the answer has been given. Move on.

  28. JoeSoap
    May 9, 2015

    “Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York”

    We shall see whether this passage to Cameron as to Richard III – once derided as a malevolent schemer, but coming to be seen as an enlightened forward-thinking monarch.

    It would be encouraging to see your crisp narrative here played out in a swift, transparent and even-sided settlement. This is indeed an early test of your new government. There is no call or need for the prevarication and half-measures of the past 5 years. You have the mandate, now make the moves….

    Finally, the chips are down, there can be no more hiding behind LibDems…

  29. oldtimer
    May 9, 2015

    This clearly is a priority for the new Parliament. It will be interesting to see the extent to which SNP MPs put in the hours at Westminster once the devolution settlement has been put into place.

  30. JoolsB
    May 9, 2015

    “The SNP MPs should see the fairness of England enjoying comparable devolution to Scotland’s, though England will exercise her greater self government through the votes of English MPs sitting at Westminster.”

    With respect John, is this comment not misleading? Hague’s water down proposals of the promised English votes for English laws are merely proposing allowing MPs ‘representing’ English seats a final veto on proposed bills, nothing more than that. It’s meaningless as we all know as MPs votes along party lines, not national lines. SNP and other Scottish & Welsh MPs will still be able vote at various stages of the bill. I hope you will correct me on this and tell me I am wrong and that Cameron has finally seen sense in what is still an unfair and gross injustice to England.

    If that is the case, does your party propose an outright ban on 117 Scots, Welsh & NI MPs voting on English health, English schools and English income tax and all the other devolved matters which they can vote on for England but not for their own constituents? Thought not!

  31. bigneil
    May 9, 2015

    Firstly – congratulations.
    “Giving away powers” – extremely good at that.
    Keeping promises” – couldn’t stop laughing (sarcastically).
    “Boundaries” – with immigration figures at about 2/3rds of a million (but “tens of thousands” in your party terms) I’m glad that was the last sentence. I couldn’t have took any more.
    I’m reckoning your party will have let in another 8+ million in the next 5 years, that will have killed the NHS ( deliberately).

  32. Tad Davison
    May 9, 2015

    I wish the Scots well, and the English a fair and equal settlement, but full fiscal autonomy could provide a lesson in responsible spending. Aspirations are fine, but giveaways have to be paid for by somebody, and the trick as we have often discussed on this blog, is not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg, or make it take flight so that we get nothing. The spendthrift left have a nasty habit of doing just that, frightening away investors.

    When they can’t find money for their pet projects through taxation, they go elsewhere and as a blind, they often use the phrase, ‘borrow to invest’ which in itself is not a bad thing, but when borrowing is used for everyday expenditure, it tends not to make so much sense.

    We will see the outcome of the new round of post-election negotiations, but something tells me Ms Surgeon is about to get a rather rude reality check.

    Tad Davison


    1. Max Dunbar
      May 9, 2015

      I wish people would not ‘wish the Scots well’. It’s very irritating. Which Scots are being ‘wished well’? Look at the result we have just had up here. Are you being serious?

      1. Tad Davison
        May 11, 2015

        I don’t mean to irritate you Max, but I can’t see a problem with wishing the Scots well, even the ones who voted SNP and Labour. If some foreign power decided to invade Scotland, I would be in the first wave to defend the Scottish nation. That I think a lot of Scots have made a huge mistake in voting they way they did, is a different issue. We all make mistakes we regret, I’ve been married for 34 years.

        You and I both know if the SNP had their way, it would lead to disaster. I don’t wish that for the Scottish people, I wish them to see why it would be a disaster, and vote differently next time.


  33. a-tracy
    May 9, 2015

    Congratulations on your re-election.

    Could Cameron appoint two heads one pro-EU and one better of out of EU you and Ken Clarke say and just let you both do all the media including new social media teams inviting bloggers from all parties to express their views so that the Government doesn’t get bogged down in referendum rows. Two senior figures who are capable of keeping party discipline with good deputies like Phillip Hollobone? Take a lesson from Sturgeon she managed the SNP media campaign without standing herself as an MP.

    That way Cameron can concentrate on delivering for the UK.

  34. Chris
    May 9, 2015

    I strongly believe that electoral reform should be considered as part of this drive for fairer democratic representation. The BBC article on this is very interesting and it is based on data from the Electoral Reform Society. In this last election, the Cons would still have won, but UKIP would have won 83 seats (D’Hondt method of converting votes to seats).

    It is very significant for Cameron’s government that at least 4 million people have been denied proper representation, with only 1 MP. With almost 4 million votes, UKIP has one-third of the votes of the Conservatives (yet only 1 seat compared with over 300 for the Cons), and 40% of those amassed by Labour. It has more than two-and-a-half times the votes of the SNP and more than three times those of the Greens. UKIP also has 21 times the votes of the DUP, who have eight seats in Parliament.

    FPTP may have been regarded as satisfactory when we basically had 2 main political parties, but that is no longer the case. It is dangerous for our society not to have adequate and fair representation for large/significant sectors of society, and now is the time to address this situation. It is not something for sweeping under the carpet and Cameron would gain some respect if he were to make genuine efforts at righting this affront to democracy.
    It is obvious that the Greens have very legitimate concerns about this issue too.

    1. Stuart B
      May 9, 2015

      No. The votes just cast were cast in the context of a FPTP election. The electorate made their calculations accordingly, whether they voted tactically or on simple grounds of principle, whether they voted to exclude possible outcomes or encourage them. If you change the effect of their votes by implementing another system then they will alter their calculations accordingly. You just can’t make predictions based on past elections under our current system.
      The only rider to the calculations of the franchise is that, if the system, PR or whatever, is sufficiently complicated or obscure in its workings (and remember, for most of the electorate it doesn’t have to be that obscure), people’s votes will effectively acquire an element of randomness. We will then begin to see the kind of population distributions seen in natural phenomena where there is no element of ‘choice’ whatever – insect populations, cloud formation and weather patterns, plant growth, for example. If you want to run elections which defeat people’s choice, then go ahead by all means. You will soimply end up with statistical technocracy.

    2. Anonymous
      May 9, 2015

      Chris – Contrast how the Left would be behaving if faced with such a deficit in representation compared to the UKIP voters.

      In fact the only violence during the election campaigning was by the Left towards UKIP. Think just how angry they would be if 4,000,000 of their votes were being ignored.

      One can’t help think that the political and media establishments don’t care much for UKIP voters as they are just stupid, animalistic and not worthy of sufferage.

      In fact the reverse is true. We are the models of restraint, calmness under fire and full adherents of due democratic process.

      We are also more individualistic and braver than the bottlers whose suggestible minds were receptive to the insidious and unrelenting Daily Mail propaganda.

      1. Chris
        May 9, 2015

        I agree with you Anonymous. Further info re the voting demonstrates the serious flaws in our voting system in a multiparty society: 275,000 seats will gain the SNPs a seat in Parliament. However, UKIP has to raise just under 4 million votes to qualify for a seat (and the Greens 1.1 million).
        I suspect that there might well be some cooperation between Caroline Lucas and Nigel Farage – a formidable team and not as unlikely as it sounds!

        1. Mark B
          May 10, 2015

          I think you need to look at the Lib Dem vote for a better comparison. They got even fewer votes (7.9%) and 8 seats, UKIP got (12.6%) just 1. Both parties canvassed nationally yet one did far better than the other. How ? The Lib Dems are just as spread out nationally as UKIP are, so what gives ?

          UKIP need to look at what is it they are not doing right. Because if and when they crack it, they will be a major political force with those numbers.

  35. Bert Young
    May 9, 2015

    The real battle now begins . If the promises made to Scotland are implemented ” fairness” for all is the theme to be followed . I have no doubt that Conservative voices who have been rather silent on the issue of ” EVEL “, will not be as constrained in the future . You can’t give to the Scots what you don’t give to the Welsh or N.Irish ; at the same time such an approach cannot be at the expense of the English taxpayer . Taking a Federal attitude to this problem is all very well as Boris has stated ; the bottom line is England has as much disparity as the others and has to be given the same regard .

    Cameron has a tricky route to plot out if he wants to keep his Government in place for 5 years ; I simply cannot foresee his Backbenchers sublimating English priorities for this period of time .

  36. behindthefrogs
    May 9, 2015

    We also need equal size constituencies. It is very wrong that for every ten constituents represented by a Scottish MP an English MP represents eleven constituents. If equality existed the Scots would have at least five fewer MPs.

    1. Denis Cooper
      May 9, 2015

      I believe the last revision for the constituencies across the UK would have been before the 2005 general election, and that was on the basis of 2001 data on the numbers of electors, so many of them will now be out of kilter..

      For Scotland, that was the Fifth Review, the Sixth having been stopped before completion:


      That Fifth Review is here:


      “Rule 5 states that, for the first report of the Commission submitted under section 3(1) of the 1986 Act, ‘electoral quota’ means the number which, on the enumeration date in relation to that report, is the electoral quota for England (69,934 at June 2001, the enumeration date for our review).”

      That Review gave Scotland two extra seats because of geographical difficulties, making it 59 instead of 57, but that would be only a 3.5% difference.

      1. Mark B
        May 10, 2015

        The geographical argument does not stand anymore. Most powers are in Holyrood and not Westminster. They can mange with fewer seats.

  37. outsider
    May 9, 2015

    Dear Mr Redwood. A fair and enduring settlement will need to specify that UK-wide public spending such as debt interest, defence, security, FCO, international aid and EU contributions will in future be financed by UK-wide taxes – and how this is to be done.

    As a year one snapshot, any taxes that are devolved can simply be deducted from the central block grant. But this does not work in a dynamic situation where it would quickly become impossible to know what the pre-devolved tax rates would have raised. This is, as I understand it, the key problem with the Barnett formula, which was fine in the year it was fixed but became unfair over time because demographic changes have varied so widely between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    The UK should not sleepwalk into such a nonsensical situation again. At the very least, there will need to be a separate UK-wide Exchequer tax pool to fund all UK-wide expenditure.

  38. James Matthews
    May 9, 2015

    Fewer MPs? Not a good idea. The ratio between the payroll vote and backbenchers is already too low for a healthy Parliament.

    Fairer boundaries? Well better than nothing, but what we really need is PR.

    Here are the numbers of voters, by party, for each recently elected MP:

    SNP 26k CON 34k LAB 40k LD 291k GRN 1.1m UKIP 3.8m

    I don’t see how anyone who defends that can credibly claim to be any sort of democrat.

    (Worth noting , also, that most the agonising over the last few months would have been removed under an AV system)

    FPTP is a conspiracy against the electorate.

    As to the relationship between the nations of the UK , Cameron has a track record of appeasement and I fear that he will, at the expense of the English, concede far too much to the Scots in an ultimately futile attempt to save the Union. His family and sentimental attachment to Scotland and his terror of being the PM on whose watch the Union broke make him a deeply unconvincing choice as negotiator (I very much hope that I am proved wrong, but have every expectation of being proved right).

    EVEL/N is, in any event, a quarter-measure, but we must be grateful not to forgotten altogether.

    Reply The British people recently voted to keep FPTP. What is wrong with the idea that the person with the most votes in each co0ntest wins?

    1. James Matthews
      May 9, 2015

      Reply to reply. The British people were offered AV (not PR) as the alternative to FPTP. Both the major Parties, in the interests of maintaining their duopoly of power, campaigned against it. Many supporters of those parties will have voted against it because, like their Party leaders, they prefer a system which unfairly favours their particular views and/ or tribal loyalties. This is the same mind set that for many years led Protestants of different sects to agree it was OK to disenfranchise Catholics. Normal human behaviour it may be. Fair democracy it isn’t.

      I don’t know whether the outcome would have been different if the offer had been full PR on (e.g.) the Dutch model, but its appeal is more straightforward than AV (which even some liberals rejected on the grounds that it was a second rate offer which, if accepted would prevent the reform that was really needed).

      What is wrong with a system that the person with the most votes in each contest wins is that:

      1. The way in which the contests are divided is completely artificial and inappropriate for elections which are about national, not local, government. It is also open to abuse (see LIbDem blocking of boundary changes) and to remain even nominally fair it needs boundaries to be changed frequently in a way that amply demonstrates how artificial they are. It was, perhaps, the only feasible system in the 19th century, but things have moved on and:

      2.It disenfranchises millions of people. Look again at the comparison of votes to representation in my previous comment. That really should be sufficient evidence.
      At least five million whose votes counted for next to nothing. There will also have been millions of others who will not have bothered to vote, or voted for a party which did not best represent their views, because they new that under FPTP their vote could not possibly make a difference.

    2. DaveM
      May 9, 2015

      To reply.

      FPTP I believe is the right method, but there has to be some acknowledgement of the millions of votes which won nothing. The ballot box is our way of speaking, and all recent elections have sent pretty clear messages over the EU and immigration. The Conservatives weren’t elected purely on the economy – everyone knows full well that protection for England and the EU/immigration were major factors.

    3. ian wragg
      May 9, 2015

      People didn’t vote for FPTP, they voted against AV which as you know is entirely different from PR.
      It is scandalous that the system is so obviously rigged against incomers. This could be remedied with some PR seats being allocated ie 500 constituencies and 150 PR, this would be far more equitable. Then again FPTP has destroyed both Liebour and Tory north of the border so maybe it will spread like cancer.
      Good to see Cable on the dole, very anti British and anti business.

      1. Chris
        May 9, 2015

        Quite right re PR and AV. The D’Hondt method advocated/quoted in one of the newspapers today demonstrates how UKIP would have had 83 seats, the SNP 25, and the Cons about 75 fewer. The Cons would still have been the largest Party.

    4. agricola
      May 9, 2015

      Reply to Reply.

      When you have two to three main parties FPTP works reasonably well. When there are more it can begin to look like a shabby representation of democracy. SNP with 56 seats from 1,454,432 votes against UKIP with one seat from 3,881,129 votes does not look good.

      How about placing 25 seats outside the constituency system, but allocated in proportion to the national votes placed, minus the votes achieved by successful candidates.

      The total ineffective vote for the Lib/Dems, UKIP, and the Greens was 6,617870.
      Divide it by the 25 seats results in 264,714.8 votes per seat. Now divide the votes cast for each of those parties by 264,714.8, less the votes for successful candidates.

      Lib/Dems 1,975,774 divided by 264,714.8 results in 7.46 seats , say 7.0
      It was difficult to get the total votes cast for successful candidates in the case of the Lib/Dems so I hold my hands up as to accuracy.

      UKIP 3,591,725 divided by 264,714.8 results in 13.57 seats, say 14.o

      Greens 1,050,371 divided by 264,714.8 results in 3.96 seats, say 4.0

      My figures may be open to challenge but it is a principal I am trying to illustrate. Other parties were too small to count. Such a system might allow all those six million voters to feel that their vote counted, which in the long term might enhance democracy. We think of ourselves as the cradle of modern democracy so why not tweak it for a better end product.

    5. Mondeo Man
      May 9, 2015

      Reply to reply

      I understand your point. This is why I think, under a FPTP system, the encouragement of tactical voting should be illegal during election week.

      It has created huge and unfair distortions – also we’ve yet to hear any special thanks from your PM for the many people who held their noses and sacrificed their UKIP votes.

      What we’ve seen is a huge rejection of Leftism, Hampstead Heath socialism and political correctness – a shift to the right would be a good reward. This should be achievable. But the look of the front bench doesn’t bode well at the moment. And why aren’t you on it ?

      1. Chris
        May 9, 2015

        Also FPTP means that there is this disgraceful focus on a small number of marginal constituencies in order to win the election. What a mockery it makes of democracy. How can they call it representing the will of the people? Rubbish.

        1. James Matthews
          May 10, 2015

          Actually not just a small number of marginal constituencies, but also a small number of people in special interest groups within those constituencies, with whom the major parties try to ingratiate themselves by tailoring policies to suit. That gives these groups enormously disproportionate power and is inimical to good government for the majority.

        2. Mondeo Man
          May 10, 2015

          It should also be made plain to the electorate that there is no such thing as a tactical vote.

          Once you have made your choice you are no longer a supporter of the party you left but of the one that you voted for.

          This lasts for 5 years.

    6. bluedog
      May 10, 2015

      Your assessment of Cameron’s position seems right on the money.

    7. stred
      May 10, 2015

      Reply tp JR. For someone who has been sidelined and ignored by the mainstream Blairite leaders in the dominant parties your attitude to PR is surprising.

      The very word ‘parliament’ should mean a talking shop that turns reasoned argument into law. To exclude large proportions of the electorate from the debate is a disgrace to the name. The international community must no longer look to the UK as an example. When the British and Americans won 70 years ago they made sure that the electoral system in Germany would allow reasonable voices to prevent any totalitarian from taking control again, and set up a highly successful state.

      Another advantage of PR is that the electorate would not be saddled with an single MP from one party, who would be unsympathetic to their complaint against a particular injustice. If there were alternative MPs in a constituency, then we could go to the one that would be sympathetic to our cause. How could anyone who sees the folly of building a huge windfarm on the South Downs ask for help from their Green windmill champion?

      Also, in Scotland there is a division similar to that in Ireland at the end of WW1. To divide the country would be a disaster and to disenfranchise the majority of unionists because they are divided would be another one. If they were given a federal government with proper PR, the problem would be solved. The nationalists only obtain votes because they wish to milk the southern English or alternatively, if they left the UK, t he Germans. Given tax raising and spending, they would suddenly become as fiscally responsible as the Irish.

  39. DaveM
    May 9, 2015

    Quite right.

    Constitutional reform MUST be high on the agenda, and it needs to be done properly with cross-party representatives as soon as possible.

    This Union cannot go on like this any longer. The Scots have spoken (twice) and the English have cleared their throats very loudly in response. The English have also made their views very clear over the EU via their EU, local council, and GE voting. Over to you. This could be your last chance to make it work AND make history.

  40. Peter Stroud
    May 9, 2015

    The bill to endure more equal sized, and fewer constituencies must be a priority. The LibDem U turn on that move was petty revenge by Clegg, because of the defeat of his Lords bill.

  41. Peter van Leeuwen
    May 9, 2015

    Giving Scotland more tax-raising powers is easy. More difficult will be: Is a Brexit worth it breaking up the UK in the process.

    1. JoeSoap
      May 9, 2015

      There is no connection between the two.
      Scotland voted to stay in the Union, albeit narrowly, so the logic dictates a devolved federal Union.
      The UK might or might not vote to stay in the EU, but as a WHOLE, not in parts. Had the Scots viz SNP wanted the situation to be the other way round, they should have requested a hold on a Scottish referendum until post-2017.

      The Scottish referendum was held in the full knowledge of the consequences of a possible exit of the UK form EU as a whole.

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        May 9, 2015

        The SNP has made that connection often! (double lock referendum)
        Convincing the Scots that they must just do what the Tories say might not be easy.

      2. Mondeo Man
        May 9, 2015

        Scotland got her vote on the Union promptly and despite it not being a manifesto issue.

        This issue – the break up of our country – had to be at least as economically perilous as Brexit and yet it didn’t stop them from trying it.

        When it comes to a referendum on the EU it’s “It’s not time yet.” or “Wait until 2017”

        Excuses, excuses, excuses.

    2. Bob
      May 9, 2015


      “Is a Brexit worth it? breaking up the UK in the process.”

      Was that a typo Peter? Did you mean to write”breaking up the EU”?

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        May 9, 2015

        Of course no typo, and while some hope to break up the EU, just look at their dismal track record.

        1. bluedog
          May 10, 2015

          Brexit is not the cause of the potential break-up of the UK. The instigator is the EU which seeks weak dependencies not powerful nation states. Wait until that view takes hold, and it will. The Scots have persuaded themselves that EU hegemony will be a better bet than UK hegemony. Without the EU this would not have happened.

      2. ian wragg
        May 9, 2015

        the sooner the EU implodes the better and I’m sure it will in my life time. I’m 70 btw.

        1. fedupsoutherner
          May 9, 2015

          Yes, the situation with Greece and their bail out has gone very quiet. I understand they are to come up with more austerity measures to satisfy the banks by Monday.

          1. DaveM
            May 10, 2015

            Don’t forget the French GE in ’17. Especially if the UK has an ‘OUT’ result in a referendum and they see that it does us no harm at all.

            Odds on a Le Pen-inspired, Sarkozy-sponsored French in/out referendum by 2020??

    3. James Matthews
      May 9, 2015

      Assuming that to be a real dichotomy (which it isn’t), the answer would be yes.

  42. Max Dunbar
    May 9, 2015

    So although we now have a Conservative UK government, Scotland is likely to have, ultimately, a fiscal policy more extreme even than that which would have been imposed by Labour had it won the election.
    The boot is on the other foot now. The far-Left SNP were salivating at the prospect of being able to dictate extreme socialist policy to England in the expectation that they could dominate a compliant Labour government using their usual bully boy tactics. Now is the time for the Conservative Party to get the boot into the SNP. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from humiliating that pack of foul subversives opposite you. Don’t give them an inch. They will take their seats in a UK parliament. They must not be allowed to behave as an extra-parliamentary parliament within a parliament.
    The same proportion of the Scottish electorate voted for the SNP at this election as at the referendum, roughly 37%. Don’t let them do any more damage. ‘Lock’ them out of power.

    1. JoeSoap
      May 9, 2015

      It’s called shooting yourself in the foot. Perhaps both feet.

    2. fedupsoutherner
      May 9, 2015

      Max, your comments are music to my ears.

  43. Demetrius
    May 9, 2015

    What will be crucial is the question of monetary and fiscal issues. If devolved entities are using the pound sterling then they cannot have unlimited fiscal autonomy. Whatever other powers they have will be affected by this. The UK government must not have other entities creating money for which the UK will be fully liable.

    1. JoeSoap
      May 9, 2015

      No they definitely shouldn’t be allowed to create money. The ECB (English Central Bank) should see to that!

    2. Lifelogic
      May 9, 2015

      Will they be allowed to borrow, mortgage the county and tip it down the drain, largely on complete nonsense? If so they surely will do.

  44. agricola
    May 9, 2015

    Fiscal devolution is a good idea. With it can go the responsibility of balancing the Scottish budget and them being responsible for their own debt and borrowing. We cannot have them playing Greece to our Germany.

    English votes for English business in Westminster is an absolute demand. Only our own home grown socialism can be allowed any influence over English matters.

    Yes to fair boundaries. You should also look at constituency sizes to reduce the size of Westminster. 100,000 constituents per MP would give us 388 MPs in England, 12 MPs in Northern Ireland, 41 MPs in Scotland and 23 MPs in Wales. More than enough if you look at the USA as an example. Depending on the degree of devolution the fringe countries of the UK choose, they might only be required in Westminster for UK business.

    Do not forget all the other promises made on the way to power.

    A referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017. Be very firm as to who can vote in this, the neutrality of the BBC, and no funding or interference from the EU itself.

    Personal Tax allowances raised to £12,500.

    Doubling of hours of Free Child Care.

    £8 Billion PA extra to the NHS. Please get some professionals to look at how they spend it.

    Revival of Right to Buy.

    Green Belt protection. It should never have been considered differently.

    Freezing commuter Rail Fares.

    £0.40 tax rate to £50,000.

    IHT abolition to ceiling of £1 Million. Get rid of it altogether.

    The opening of 500 more Free Schools.

    I would add as a priority the establishment of a low cost energy policy, with a Don Quixote attitude to any new windmills and the programmed reduction of subsidies to existing ones. Have a successful five years, the country needs it.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 9, 2015

      Just get rid of the subsidies for wind and pv both new and old if for contractual legal reasons you cannot stop subsidies existing then just tax them to achieve the same instead instead.

      They were always just a way of diverting taxes into private pockets. I have no sympathy for all those who colluded in all this.

      The neutrality of the BBC – that will be a first!

    2. Lifelogic
      May 9, 2015

      SDLT at 12% is an absurd tax on buying or moving house.

      47% income tax at £150+K is far too high too even for maximum tax take.

    3. Mondeo Man
      May 9, 2015

      How about a tax rebate on commuter fares and costs ?

      1. Lifelogic
        May 10, 2015

        Indeed it is clearly a cost wholly incurred to do your job after all. MPs get the cost of travel as a tax free Expenses payment after all in most cases!

        Reply As do other workers who have to work away from their home base. If you have to go to work in another office of your company one day, the travel is reimbursed by that company.

  45. Michael Cawood
    May 9, 2015

    No No No – Scotland has had more that enough devolution already. The power of the Scottish government should be rolled back, not increased.
    I live in Wrexham, NE Wales and the Welsh Assembly is clearly a complete waste of money and I would vote for its abolition. Residents around here have little support for the Welsh Assembly.

    1. JoeSoap
      May 9, 2015

      Same thing as Scotland. Raise your own taxes and spend them. However much or little you wish. Or get rid of the Welsh Parliament altogether and be part of the Westminster settlement with England. Not the best of both worlds, sorry!

    2. Max Dunbar
      May 9, 2015

      The Welsh and Scottish parliaments were a foolish and misguided idea. They will be abolished, it’s just a question of how long it takes and how much damage and ill feeling is generated until this happens.

      1. bluedog
        May 10, 2015

        Max, abolition of Holyrood is permitted under the Scotland Act 1998.

        In a practical sense, how could that be done? What agency of the UK could arrive at Holyrood with a set of padlocks and shut the members out, closing the Scottish Excutive offices down too? Would the Scottish police take orders from the UK govt. to do this? Would Scottish regiments assist the police, if ordered? Whilst I can only agree that devolution has been an utter disaster for the UK, the problems inherent in ending the experiment could lead to an even greater disaster in terms of civil unrest.

        Two other thoughts. Given the extraordinary surveillance powers of the British state, it seems unlikely that Sturgeon or Salmond ever make an announcement that is a surprise to Cameron.etc ed

  46. yosarion
    May 9, 2015

    The English Red Line is. no EUSSR Regional lines through English soil, that’s why we have to have a parliament of are own.

    1. ian wragg
      May 9, 2015

      You had better tell Gideon as he is beavering away at Balkanising England under EU direction. Why else his northern powerhouse nonsense.

  47. Denis Cooper
    May 9, 2015

    I don’t know much about this Esther McVey who narrowly lost her seat last week, but I noticed that a leading Tory MP called for her to be put in the House of Lords:


    “Sacked Wirral West MP Esther McVey should be given a seat in the House of Lords after being booted out by voters, a leading North West Tory claimed.

    Nigel Evans, who was re-elected as Ribble Valley MP, said on BBC television: “Let’s get her into the House of Lords as quickly as possible.”

    A seat in the House of Lords – gifted by Prime Minister David Cameron – would allow Ms McVey to return to a ministerial position without having to face the ballot box again.”

    As it happens I would agree with that, except I would put her there not because of whatever special merits her colleagues may believe her to possess but simply because 18,481 people in the constituency voted for her to be in Parliament and she came second in the election; moreover I would not install her there permanently as another unelected legislator-for-life but as the elected Second Member of Parliament for Wirral West just until the next general election, when she might perhaps stand again and hope to get back into the Commons.

    However she was a “loser”, albeit by only 417 votes, and that suggestion would open me up to accusations that I wanted to turn the House of Lords into a “House of Losers”.

    1. Mark B
      May 10, 2015

      No one can accuse you of turning it into House of Losers. That was done long before you and I were born.

      But it should be abolished and turned into a Senate.

  48. Martin Connor
    May 9, 2015

    Many congratulations on your re-election Mr Redwood.

    With regard to ‘settling the UK Constitution’ in the context of the EU, I’d like to suggest an approach to the issue of the EU Referendum. I think it’s vital to recognise that there is a big job to do before we persuade a majority of British citizens of the need for a fresh relationship with Brussels via a referendum which can be won. There’ve been reform movements previously in our history and I believe we need such a movement now in relation to our EU membership and for it to start as soon as possible. The aim would be to create a broad alliance of citizens concerned about our democracy and which transgresses party political loyalties and therefore mitigating the inevitable accusation that this is all just the work of the ‘Tory right wing’! It will take time to educate and persuade the public of the need to restore our democracy – 2017 is not that far away and the fact of a Conservative government will not translate into a vote for exit/acceptable renegotiation terms in an EU referendum without considerable work. So here are a few suggestions:

    Visioning – the movement could be badged something like ‘The Campaign for Democracy and Prosperity’. It may well catch on with citizens in other EU countries who feel the same as we do. Another benefit of badging in this sort of way would be that immigration would rightly become a secondary issue to the restoration of our democracy from the EU and eventually – post a successful referendum – political parties would have to explain their immigration policies and be unable to hide behind EU obligations. But a vision statement won’t be enough – we’ll need to paint positive scenarios of a post EU-full member life centred on wider trade and prosperity. We’d also need to deal with the ‘its all too difficult and could cost 3m jobs’ brigade – that should be perfectly possible with a combination of research into the legalities of EU withdrawal and concentration on other benefits – such as the fact that out of the EU we could do our own economic appraisals of EU proposals and come to a rational judgement as to whether we’d want to join with any of them.

    Research and publicity – a strong research team would be vital to counter initial media and party political negative bias. Some areas for research and quantification of evidence could be 1) The Rotterdam/Antwerp effect (surely overdue – it would probably show our trade with the EU to be far less than the ’50%’ usually trotted out by pro EU types) 2) vested interests, both personal and organisational (such as how EU pensions to people like Messrs Kinnock and Mandelson depend on their continued commitment to all things EU 3) the funding by the EU of NGOs such as Greenpeace and the WWF which many people think are ‘independent’, and spelling out how some very large corporates benefit from specific restrictive EU Regulations whilst smaller organisations cannot compete 4) the EU’s democratic deficit – how only the unelected European Commission can propose laws and how many times – and on what subjects – we have been outvoted on matters of high importance to the UK 5) the truly horrific cost to the UK as a whole of compliance with EU laws – from my own experience in the energy industry the costs of legal advice, HR, IT and new equipment are huge and the general public and many politicians are unaware of all this. A research team could look at compliance costs across all sectors and make people aware that the cost to us of EU membership far exceeds our annual £19 billion membership fee. This would help in terms of national democratic choice as well – we would show that compliance cost savings could be used for say tax cuts or increased NHS support. Publicity of data should perhaps aspire to the stature achieved by Migration Watch – their findings of fact tend to be accepted across the board, it’s only the conclusions drawn from the data that are sometimes disputed. So once the EU campaign has reliable data it can be publicised and if critics say things like ‘this is all very well but it ignores the benefits of our EU membership’ then we can ask them to list and quantify any benefits – which they won’t be able to do.

    Leadership and breadth of people – we need a chairperson who is well regarded across the population – a James Dyson type, supported by not only Business for Britain but also representatives from SMEs, particularly younger entrepreneurs who can really relate to young people and, from their own direct experience, indicate the onerous effects and cost of EU regulations. Also surely there are current or ex Labour party members, perhaps known to yourself, who could be persuaded to join and help convince people that the campaign is so important that it can be supported across party political divides.

    I think this movement should also continue in some form beyond a successful referendum as a means of publicising new EU laws and their likely effects. That would help prevent any resurgence of pro EU membership proposals in years to come.

    Mr Redwood I don’t know whether your position as a standing MP would allow you to initiate this and involve those of us outside the Westminster village who have much to contribute (voluntarily if necessary) based on our own knowledge and experience – and willingness to personally help fund – a properly governed campaign. If not then perhaps you could persuade someone else to take it forward!

  49. Mike Elliott
    May 9, 2015

    The core purpose of the SNP are to be separatists, not devolutionists. In the medium term there is therefore no devolved authority they will accept as final. Any agreement will be allowed to run for a few years and then they will come back for more until they get separation, or are unelected by scottish voters. Their purpose in westminister is to stir up resentment of scotland by the english to drive this agenda. I would give them full fiscal and borrowing automony within a currency framework and let them do what they want. Then when they separate it will be easy to manage. In the meantime explore what scottish voters want and find the cracks in the SNP’s policial stance, just as Lynton has done against Labour in this election.

  50. Jon
    May 9, 2015

    Couldn’t agree more. We can’t go back so lets go forward together but with varying degrees of separation for the nations that want it.

    1. Jon
      May 9, 2015

      Where say Wales wanted to retain more under the UK they can continue to vote on that with England. The UK has changed and I think we need to more with it if we are to retain the Union overall.

  51. Matt
    May 9, 2015

    I read some of the comments here on the voting system with a degree of dismay. The same dismay I feel toward the SNP.

    We had the referenda, the people have spoken. It’s done.
    Scotland had it’s referendum on independence. They voted against. I was hoping they’d vote for and then leave us English in peace, but they didn’t and that’s that.
    The UK had its referendum on changing the voting system to STV or AV as it was called at the time. The people chose to stick with FPTP. I voted for AV.

    Both these issues are, to my mind, settled for at least a generation. It’s over. We lost. Time to move on.

    There is a clear moral case for FPTP over PR as under a FPTP system you choose a representative, not a party. STV/AV preserved this, but created a de-facto double-vote for the supporters of weaker candidates that some (not me) objected to and those objections have merit. Also I think there was a sense that AV was seen by the politicians supporting it as a step towards PR and some worried about the proverbial slippery slope.

    Clearly the unfairness, morally and financially, of the current devolution arrangement needs to be resolved urgently, without the balkanisation of England, but we shouldn’t give Scotland independence in all but name as they voted against that.

    There is legitimacy on both sides of both arguments and that’s why we had the debates and the referenda. I would have preferred the reverse result in both cases.
    But it’s over now. Let it go.

    1. Mark B
      May 10, 2015

      I agree we vote for a representative who is a member of a political party. The problem is though, the Legislature and the Executive are one of the same body of people and the Executive can create various jobs or Whip representatives to vote for it. Until this scandal, and it is a scandal is resolved, FPTP is seriously flawed. Not that I would get rid of it.

  52. christine constable
    May 9, 2015

    John, I hope you will work with others in the Conservatives to Champion the cause of England, her democracy, her nationhood, her culture and her right to parity of esteem within the Union and within Europe.

    For far too long the English have been playing third fiddle to the Nationalists of Wales and Scotland, WHY is Scottish and Welsh nationalism paid for out of public funds; showered with their own Parliaments and funding systems; their respective cultures celebrated? When compared to the politicians repeated denial of England (as a nation) and Englishness. Labour worked hard when in power to try and break our English nation up, we don’t want the Conservatives to continue with that hatchet job.

    England now needs a democracy worthy of the name and the appalling discrimination of the English, in terms of her funding within the Union and English control over taxation is now sorely needed.

    I sincerely hope John you will be part of the awkward squad in making sure England has a fair settlement in any further UK Devolution.

  53. bluedog
    May 9, 2015

    Let Federation Now! be the cry, Dr JR.

    Labour’s position in Scotland within the old unitary state was under pressure before Blair crumbled and partially devolved the UK to save Labour. Partial devolution isn’t working and the English electorate has finally realised they are on the wrong side of the West Lothian question. The Scottish electorate has just put in a third world performance by reversing the position they took with the indyref less than a year ago.

    A federation may therefore be the last chance to save the Union. But nothing is guaranteed.

    However, this is where Mr Cameron’s tame Australian, Lynton Crosby, may really be able to earn his emolument and do something of eternal benefit to Britain. Indeed, it is impossible to imagine that Crosby has not already broached the idea of a federal UK to Cameron in conversations about the SNP. As a former adviser to the Howard conservative government in Australia, Crosby knows the workings of a federation backwards.

    Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and that man maybe Crosby.

  54. Chris S
    May 9, 2015

    The Scottish outcome cannot be ignored, nor should it.

    We need to offer Sturgeon two alternatives :

    1. Continued Austerity as per the Conservative Manifesto, the Devolution changes already offered in the Pledge plus the continuation of the Barnett formula. No changes or improvements should be offered.

    2. Full Fiscal Autonomy and an end to the Barnett Formula but with annually reducing transitional payments from the rest of the UK over 5 years to cover the £7.5bn hole in their budget.

    I would allow Sturgeon to make the choice but the terms would not be negotiable or reversible.

    Any halfway house will leave us exposed to an ever-increasing transfer of English Taxpayers cash to Scotland while they will continue to blame us for all their own failings.

  55. Steve
    May 9, 2015


    Congratulations on a win against all the odds. I watched (again) the TV series West Wing season 7 the other and Santos was discussing how banning lobbyists was the key to his agenda and would allow him to pass all the bills he needed to.

    For lobbyists, read BBC.

    Your government needs to deal with the BBC as early as possibly in the parliament. Decriminalising license fee non payment if you must be subtle, but having seen how viscerally they campaigned against you at this election you can afford to leave it beyond the first year – especially with the European referendum coming.

    1. Steve
      May 9, 2015

      – that should read ‘can’t afford to’.

    2. Mark B
      May 10, 2015

      Make the BBC embrace Pay-Per-View technology. Remove the License Fee. Reduce the amount the BBC has to charge, say £50 per year, free if your a pensioner. Why should the poor be forced to pay the salaries of the the rich celebs and executives ?

  56. Tim
    May 10, 2015

    Good points John – yes the Scots should get devolution but so should the English.

    The PM and the tories need to remember that it was England that rose up in the election against the naked partisanship of the SNP trying to dictate to the Union and not just Scotland. We can placate them only so far; in terms of the UK, the SNP is a small minority.

  57. Robert Taggart
    May 11, 2015

    Solution = EV4EL – whether ‘EVIL’ or not – for those of the Celtic Whinge !

Comments are closed.