England and St George

Yesterday I was invited to give a short talk at a St George’s Day reception in Parliament. Present were representatives of the Royal Society of St George.

I began by commenting that England to many in Parliament is the forgotten country. England is  so often unassuming and quiet. It was perhaps fitting that this particular event should take place the day after St George’s day as if an afterthought, however much it was uppermost in the minds of its keenest supporters. Events and bookings had conspired to let England take her place a day late.

April 23rd is memorable not just as England’s special day, but also as Shakespeare’s birthday. The conjunction reminds us of some of the richness of drama and literature that England has shared with the world. Our ancestors have been bold and enterprising,  innovative  and entertaining. We have given many sports,  cultural events and technologies to the world, and have been greatly engaged in exploring and bringing together the trading empires and outposts of our globe.

In recent years Labour did its best to fracture the United Kingdom with its lop sided devolution. England has accepted this settlement, where Scotland has a Parliament, Wales and  Northern Ireland have Assemblies, and England has no such recognition. The last government went half way to tackling the injustice in Parliament by preventing the Union Parliament from forcing onto England a law its MPs do not want, but fell short of giving us the complementary power to propose and advance legislation that England wants without needing the consent of the rest of the Union Parliament.

I did not renew my vows on a new English constitutional settlement in the 2017 election,  because the priority is Brexit. That is constitutional change enough for one Parliament. The people of England voted for Brexit by a larger majority than the people of the whole Union. England now expects their Union government to deliver.


  1. Fedupsoutherner
    April 25, 2018

    I am fed up with the other countries that make up the UK having a say in all matters concerning England. It seems the SNP take great delight in making everything difficult for England. Its like it’s their whole reason for existence. Who’s surprised that they have rejected powers offered to them after Brexit? I wouldn’t matter what was offered they would turn it down just to be awkward. We really must be allowed to be a nation once again. All this devolution has caused more problems and definitely more expense.

    1. henryS
      April 25, 2018

      correct, while we are breaking with the EU we should jettison Scotland and N.Ireland as well, it’s all costing us too much money anyhow, not to mention the ongoing political strife..N.Ireland with no government because they still can’t agree among themselves and Scotland who will never be happy until they are apart anyway- we don’t need it and would be much better off just by ourselves

    2. JimS
      April 25, 2018

      I agree. What sane person says “We need more laws!”. To the extent that devolution is useful it should be at local authority level.

      I would go further. All parliamentary candidates should do ‘the knowledge’ i.e. be able to name every act on the statute book. Perhaps then we might get the Great (Blair) Repeal Bill, removing all Blair’s ‘1000 new laws’ at a stroke?

    3. Lifelogic
      April 25, 2018

      I am fed up with excessive cross subsidies from England for the regions and their endless winging about lack of money from Westminster despite all this feather bedding. England, who essentially pay taxes to fund the “free” Scottish University Fees, yet cannot even send their children to Scotland and make use of these. Yet EU residents can do, is this going to change on Brexit day? Or will it continue for many years under some Brexit in name only fudge?

      “England now expects their Union government to deliver”. indeed but who can have any confidence in this under socialist, visionless, remainers T May and (highest taxes for 40 years and still increasing) – P Hammond?

  2. Eh?
    April 25, 2018

    Mrs May flew the flag of our dragon, laughed, joked, held hands, warmly embraced several times, and actually kissed Trump. Yet no, that is pure fantasy, it was Macron, President of a nation which does not speak English. England is no longer worthy of keeping a dragon.

  3. Andy
    April 25, 2018

    The people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly against Brexit – having been promised, just two years earlier, that remaining in the Union was the only way to remain in the EU.

    The people of Northern Ireland – who have far more to lose out of Brexit than any English person – also voted to remain.

    And the people of London – a city which is 20 years ahead of most of the rest of England backed Remain too. Showing the future is of a United Kingdom lumbered, by the old, with a Brexit that the young do not want.

    It is also ironic that we celebrate St George – a man who never visited England. Whose claim to fame is ‘battling a dragon’. I suspect the dragon story was a porky of the sort of proportions that even Vote Leave wouldn’t consider.

    1. Edward2
      April 25, 2018

      Yet if you took the referendum vote on a constituency basis, Leave would now have a majority in Parliament of 200.
      Statistics, don’t you just love what you can do with them?

    2. James Matthews
      April 25, 2018

      No one promised Scotland that the UK would remain in the EU.
      Northern Ireland has the option of a border poll if it wants to remain in the EU,
      Scotland will no doubt get another independence referendum whenever the SNP think they can win it.
      Forty per cent of Londoners (about the proportion with Anglo-Saxon or Celtic ancestry) voted to leave. London remains part of England, much as you might wish otherwise.
      The old have as much right to a say as the young, Remainder ageism notwithstanding In any event they do not form anything like 52% of the population. They could not have won without huge support from the middle-aged and the young,
      St. George was a Christian martyr who died for his faith. It is hardly a revelation that the dragon is mythology.
      When did St. Andrew visit Scotland?

  4. duncan
    April 25, 2018

    The sovereignty and independence of the United Kingdom is an issue for the people of the United Kingdom, to be settled by the people of the United Kingdom

    The independence and sovereignty of the United Kingdom is not an issue to be decided upon by the PM of the UK.

    Our nationhood is not up for debate. It is not something this PM can use as a tool for negotiation as if it’s a commodity that can be bought and sold.

    People laid down their lives to secure this nation’s sovereignty and we have this so called leader called May dithering on these most important of matters

    We don’t need a PM who has zero faith in the UK, its people and its place in the world

    It is incumbent on all decent MPs of all parties to threaten this PM that if we do not leave the EU in the time frame laid out by law then she will be ‘deposed’ without a second thought

    May’s political career is absolutely irrelevant compared to the divine sanctity of this nation’s sovereignty.

  5. Epikouros
    April 25, 2018

    Devolution is a liberating process allowing more people to be closer to the power making process. Political democracy works best when the constituencies are smaller and so the constituents are more likely to be of like minds. The clan and tribal system worked quite well in that regard. Greek democracy would never have been born without its city state system and then lost again when they were forged into a nation. The creation of the nation states does not help to increase democracy and the coming of the EU and its like destroys it completely. What devolution allows is the practice of more diverse political practices. England is tending towards the right. Wales and Scotland tending towards the left. So comparisons of which practices work best can now be seen in a local setting whereas prior to devolution it was only observed from afar. What we learnt from afar predictably we find is being duplicated at home. The left as usual are making a complete mess of it.

  6. alan jutson
    April 25, 2018

    Amazing that we have rightly given independence to very many countries around the World, think Commonwealth, as well as giving some separation of powers to all those in the UK, but then most of our Politicians want us at the same time to be tied to the EU, where you cannot be independent, but are simply one of 28.
    Thus we are denying ourselves that which we have granted others !


    1. margaret howard
      April 25, 2018

      Given independence to many countries?

      Seeing Britain invaded them in the first place and forced them to submit to our rule this must surely be said tongue in cheek. And we only did it anyway after becoming too weak to keep them under our thumb.

      1. alan jutson
        April 26, 2018


        Almost every Country in the World has been invaded at some stage, even the UK in 1066 by the French, and before that the Romans, so how far do you want to go back.
        Times were rather different then.

        At least whilst in occupation we did develop an infrastructure and Government of sort which was fit for purpose when in foreign lands, which we then left for them to build on.
        Indeed many Countries still run the system, albeit modified slightly to suit more recent times.

        The Commonwealth is surely an organisation of voluntary members of Countries who place some sort of value on our/their colonial history.

        I believe we have much to be proud of in our relatively recent past history.

  7. eeyore
    April 25, 2018

    Mr Corbyn suggests that St George’s Day become an English bank holiday. But I don’t know whether that sort of national jollification is a very English thing at all, or whether it’s best left to nations with a less assured sense of identity.

    The government, meanwhile, has floated the idea of a Windrush Day on which we may all celebrate our new-found but glorious diversity.

    What both ideas have in common is the desire of politicians to be generous with other people’s money. In that spirit, therefore, I suggest a national Tax Free Day, when government collects no tax from any of us and we can, for once, be generous to ourselves.

  8. Lifelogic
    April 25, 2018

    Interestingly we as have taxes designed to largely impact on the English. Stamp duty at up to an absurd 15%, the 28% CGT and the IHT at 40% (above just £325K) are all disproportionately levied on London and the South East and are hugely damaging. If you political power is reduced you get milked to provide for the more politically powerful regions.

    I had not even noticed it was St Georges day until after the event, so down played is this English Celebration.

    I have huge sympathy for the family of Stephen Lawrence, but do we really need a national Stephen Lawrence Day remembrance day to be created? Will the thousands of other innocent murder victims that have dies since then get on too? What was different politically about this appalling murder than many others. True it led to the appalling Macpherson report which perhaps contributed considerably to the increased in gang stabbing we see now in London. The police have largely give up on most crimes.

  9. DaveM
    April 25, 2018

    Your last sentence is hugely ironic Mr Redwood. The members of an English Parliament (which you reject as an idea) would ensure that the U.K. government listened to England. Instead it’s those MPs which are supposed to represent us who are making Brexit difficult because they represent their own interests and whichever chain of command they follow.

    England spent 20 years being “unassuming” and voting tactically to secure a referendum and the result thereof. And now that is being treated with disdain. We won’t be quiet for much longer.

    It’s now very obvious why the Conservative party has left Corbyn alone, so to speak. Without him at Labour’s helm your party would be wiped from Parliament at the next election if May and her EU-loving, England-hating cronies continue on their present trajectory.

  10. David Price
    April 25, 2018

    I can accept that the priority at the moment is Brexit, however England did not “accept the settlement” of devolution, “England” did not have a say in the matter.

  11. Bryan Harris
    April 25, 2018

    ” England now expects their Union government to deliver.”

    …but will they – as an insider, JR, you can tell us – Will we get the complete freedom from EU meddling that we so desire?

  12. Narrow Shoulders
    April 25, 2018

    I did not renew my vows on a new English constitutional settlement in the 2017 election,  because the priority is Brexit.

    The SNP, Plaid and Northern Iris parties do not share your view Mr Redwood. They continue to seek further concessions and to plunder English taxpayers through the Barnett formula. Do not desert us, there are few enough English MPs concerned about our equality as it is.

  13. Ron Olden
    April 25, 2018

    Wales also voted to Leave the EU by a larger majority than did the whole Union, and by only a very slightly smaller majority than England did.

    The miniscule difference that did exist, was dwarfed by the huge differences within the two countries themselves.

    England, however had larger variations in its’ regional voting patterns than Wales. Wales was more uniform in its’ Euroscepticism, and was in 1975, also less pro Remain than England.

    Indeed if you take out the seriously culturally distict places in Wales (Gwynedd and North Ceredigion), which are as different from the rest of Wales as they are from England, you would discover that in 2016, the rest of Wales was MORE pro Leave than England.

    St George was a Roman Soldier of Greek Origin. His father was from where Turkey is today, and his mother from Syria Palaestina.

    St George is Patron Saint of more places and causes than I can fit into this Comment Box, including ‘sheep’ ‘saddle makers’, ‘skin ‘diseases’, a ‘Brazilian Football Team’, ‘lepers and leprosy’, and some sovereign countries.

    As for England, its’ history and place in the UK, makes it an not an unsuitable Nation to have it’s own single devolved government within the United Kingdom. There’d be no point. England is too big a single proportion of the UK.

    If England wants ‘devolution’ (which I doubt it does), it needs regional devolved assemblies based upon its constituent parts which existed before it became ‘England’.

    It’s a characteristic of England, that’s it’s much more culturally, and historically diverse than people give it credit for, hence, considering it’s such a small place, the extraordinary variety of accents, appearance and dispositions of its’ people.

    The same thing applies to Wales and Scotland. Neither Wales not Scotland are suitable political, cultural, and geographical entities to be governed by their existing centralised Assembly and Parliament.

    These institutions govern artificially constructed jurisdictions, parts of which have much more in common with parts of England, than they do with the different localities within them.

  14. Bob
    April 25, 2018

    Any ideas what you will do to mark Stephen Lawrence day next April?

    1. Peter
      April 25, 2018

      I thought you were being sarcastic in saying there was to be a Stephen Lawrence day.

      I suppose nothing should surprise me these days.

      If it is May’s idea then it is timely virtue signalling to try to undo Windrush damage.

      1. rose
        April 25, 2018

        This is the cheapest, nastiest, popularity seeking stunt she has pulled yet. It reminds one of the time she tried to make herself popular by cutting back on Stop and Search, regardless of the cost in human life.

        What about a PC Blakelock Day, a WPC Yvonne Fletcher day, a Damilola Taylor Day, a Lee Rigby Day? This sort of selective gesture politics just stirs up division, bitterness, and resentment. And it reminds people of all the countless victims of mugging, rape, torture, murder, knifing, shooting, and bombing, whose names are not well known to us because the crimes were hushed up at the time.

        What a ghastly, tasteless gimmick. It won’t make her popular with anyone.

    2. Know-Dice
      April 25, 2018

      Nothing…except think about the 40+ stab and gun victims in London so far this year.

      For me it’s a PC nonsense, although it’s not PC to say that.

  15. agricola
    April 25, 2018

    Political Correctness killed St. George and left the dragon running loose. It has destroyed much of our humour, given us a guilt complex about much of our history, and destroyed police effectiveness in dealing with crime. When reporting crime many of our news agencies are fearful of announcing the colour of the dragon.

    The modern day St. George is feeding the dragon not slaying it. By putting an end to freedom of speech , the real hate mongers are left free to spread their filth. Yes in present circumstances we should have an English Parliament, the one we have at present, minus when appropriate those members representing constituencies other than England. How about turning St. Georges day into a celebration of our freedom from the EU or the death of an ultimate dragon.

  16. Adam
    April 25, 2018

    Devolution disunited the UK into clumsy fragments of exclusivity.

    Near-equal territorial authority already existed via MP constituencies, Counties & other levels. Laws further split to fit our population into clusters based on age, sex, wealth, work, parentage, behaviour & evermore complicated disciplines.

    More simple laws & less governing would be nearer harmony.

  17. Iain Moore
    April 25, 2018

    I looked but could not find a St George’s day message from the Prime Minister. I saw her announcement of a national Stephen Lawrence day, but nothing about St George’s day, did she forget about us English?

    1. Adam
      April 25, 2018

      23 June is a day of remembrance that speaks better for itself than George.

  18. They Work for Us?
    April 25, 2018

    Time for England to leave the UK and let the “Nations” get on with it, i.e support themselves in the style they can afford.
    There must also be scope for Wales to vote again on wether devolution is what they want the result might surprise us all.

  19. A.Sedgwick
    April 25, 2018

    If we effectively remain in the EU, which seems odds on, I would say the inhabitants of England would have a better future outside membership of the UK. Collectively MPs for England give very poor value for its residents in stark contrast to N.I., Scotland and Wales.

  20. margaret
    April 25, 2018

    Whilst you are being serious John they are just taking the mick.

  21. libertarian
    April 25, 2018

    The House of Lords should be scrapped and replaced with an English Parliament

  22. a-tracy
    April 25, 2018

    Splits and divisions were the plan and it worked, I’d rather have an English Assembly than the Lords, the Lords should be elected – even using the MEP election criteria and each party then using their Lords ranking to put their best people (those most productive and intelligent ) then if they don’t put the best people in and don’t remove them from top ranking less of them will be re-elected the next time.

  23. Blue and Gold
    April 25, 2018

    We never will be ‘a nation once again’. Due to Brexit this country is now, and will forever be, divided.

    It will be 17.4 million ‘ Little Englanders’ , against the other 50 million citizens.

    1. Pud
      April 25, 2018

      Remainers like to claim that everyone who didn’t vote to Leave must want to stay in the EU. Unfortunately for the remain side, the referendum asked if the UK should remain a member of the EU or leave the EU, instead of a simple Yes/No to leaving. This means that anyone who abstained didn’t support staying in the EU just as much as they didn’t support leaving.

      1. rose
        April 25, 2018

        Anyone who abstained was content to go with the final result.

      2. James Matthews
        April 25, 2018

        Remainer arithmetic is a wonderful thing. B&G also counts all those residents ineligible to vote as on the remain side. We are indeed divided. The Brexit vote didn’t cause that division, it merely reflects it.

    2. DaveM
      April 25, 2018

      Yeah ok.

      My money’s on the 17.4 million. They’re not frightened of going it alone.

    3. Man of Kent
      April 25, 2018

      Please do not forget that the 52% voted leave and just 48% to remain .

      The results were reported on a constituency basis , and would have resulted in a
      Leave majority of over 200 in the Commons on a first past the post basis .

      There has been little movement outside the Westminster bubble since , so I wouldn’t get too far out of your EU comfort zone or it might be a little prickly , particularly in this county !

      1. Andy
        April 25, 2018

        The results were mostly not reported on Parliamentary constituency basis. They have since been extrapolated to suggest how constituencies would have voted but that is just an educated guesstimate it can never be certain.

        1. Edward2
          April 25, 2018

          Bit like your regular project fear predictions of future doom then Andy.

      2. Blue and Gold
        April 25, 2018

        Typical remarks of a Brexiteer… Jurgen Klopp says the most sensible things about why leaving the EU is wrong.

        I’m delighted that most of you are angry. No way will you get the Brexit that you wanted.

    4. Edward2
      April 25, 2018

      Only approx 16 million can be called “other”
      For all you know those that did not vote might all be leave supporters.

    5. alan jutson
      April 25, 2018

      Blue and Gold

      Did all the others who did not vote support Remain then, I think perhaps, just perhaps not.

      Hence your assumption that the majority are against leaving is absolute nonsense.

      On exactly the same basis as your calculation criteria, an even larger majority is against remaining.

  24. English Pensioner
    April 25, 2018

    I only saw one mention of St George’s Day in the Media, in the Daily Mail it referred to the Royal baby being born on St George’s Day.
    Otherwise I saw/heard no other mention, certainly not on the BBC. It’s time for English devolution and our own parliament.

    1. Iain Moore
      April 25, 2018

      Indeed, same here, I couldn’t even find a message from the Prime Minister. Its as if the English have been culturally cleansed from scene. The British establishment have control of the media and Parliament, the English they view as a threat to their well filled toughs, , so they make us a non people. They will celebrate any and all cultures bar the English.

  25. ian
    April 25, 2018

    There never be anything like an English parliament while voting for English political parties, voting for Independent English politicians without parties, will automatically give the English voters an English parliament more a tuned to the English people and their wishes for a better economy, bigger saving on waste with bigger tax cuts and much better services, roads and railways and a bigger say in how the world goes forward, as England again become a leading light for the world.

  26. ZachC
    April 25, 2018

    Next thing will be the second leg of the Liverpool game when thousands of liverpool fans are expected to travel to Rome, some probably to extract some kind of revenge for the way the Rome fans behaved last evening- of course this would be a big mistake and would only go to further damage our relations with the rest of Europe ..perception is important, i know, and they will talk about the return of english hooliganism for weeks to come..that on top of the windrush debacle…probably not the best time to put our image out there to be further ridiculed..

  27. ian
    April 25, 2018

    If there had been independent English MPs in parliament after the ref, the UK would have been out of the EU the next week after the vote, now with parties control things nearly two years on your no further forward than when you started and could go on for many years to come with big bills to pay to the EU, many more arguments to come between the parties, establishment and big businesses with media in the middle with there two pennys worth and all about nothing, I don’t think trade was ever mentioned in the ref leaflet but now that’s the one thing political parties and the rest are using to scrap Brexit and pay billions of pounds to the EU at the same time.

    In this world, you get what you vote for.

  28. mancunius
    April 25, 2018

    “England is so often unassuming and quiet.” Indeed, it is impossible to imagine a group of English National Party MPs hurling noisy, agressive anti-Caledonian insults across the floor of the House. I sometimes wonder if the SNP’s MPs realize their bad-tempered bawling can be heard and viewed on tv: an unedifying but most instructive sight.

  29. stred
    April 25, 2018

    The BBC had a whole feature on Breakfast for St Patrick’s Day and others following. And that was for a country which chose not to be British. They will not speak of the country that they broadcast from and which pays most of their licence income.

    1. henryS
      April 26, 2018

      Yes but St Patrick was an Englishman or Welsh.. first went over there as a slave

  30. Andy
    April 25, 2018

    I enjoyed President Macron’s speech to Congress.

    He stood in the lion’s den and took aim at the petty nationalism of Trump and Brexit.

    He is flying the flag for freedom, for liberty, for the future.

    Vive la France!

    1. mancunius
      April 26, 2018

      He was flying the flag for Macron. He rather fancies himself as a pocket de Gaulle.
      All the French people I know loathe this poseur and his empty, graceless, pseudo-liberal rhetoric. It needs little courage to criticise a President to his political enemies in Congress.
      Btw, your self-hating cultural cringe is risible. The French I know would eat you for breakfast.

  31. Martyn G
    April 25, 2018

    I want my England back! The scurrilous, treacherous agreement by the UK government those years ago to allow the EU to remove the name of England from the map disgusted me and still does.
    I sense that most of our politicians would rather eat rusty nails than being England back into being. Why do they hate or maybe fear us so? Alfred the Great, who fought all comers to establish England, must be spinning in his grave.

    1. Andy
      April 25, 2018

      Can you tell us what the England you’ve lost looks like?

    2. Ed Mahony
      April 26, 2018

      Every generation has said that, going back to the Britons of Stonehenge.

      Let’s use the short time we got by being romantic about our country in a positive way.

      Not forgetting that St George was a soldier and a martyr who believed strongly in God (the Christian God) and Heaven and that we can make our world – and the UK – more Heavenly if follow God – the Christian God – and will, and not our own.

      (If things have got worse, it’s ultimately, because ‘God is dead’, metaphorically-speaking – to borrow from Nietzsche – that’s the real reason for our country’s woes.

      1. Ed Mahony
        April 26, 2018

        Austria is a great example of what happens when a nation abandons Christianity (for man)

        When Austria was a nation of deep faith, it gave rise to the divine music of Mozart (a devout Catholic whose music evokes the joy, order, beauty, mystery and passion of the divine). And it gave rise to the stunning architecture of Mozart’s home town, Salzburg, with all its beautiful churches and buildings.

        Go forwards in history, after Nietzsche claimed, metaphorically, ‘God is dead’, and you get the Nazis. And instead of beautiful divine music like Mozart, you get the screaming sirens of Stuka bombers. And instead of beautiful buildings, you get Nazi bombs destroying buildings. (And exact same can be said about Communism).

        Love, beauty, order and joy for hatred, anger, chaos and destruction.

        1. Ed Mahony
          April 26, 2018

          And during WWII, Winston Churchill named his personal aircraft Ascalon after the lance with which Saint George slew the dragon.

          Churchill certainly played his role in slaying the dragon of Nazism.

          1. Ed Mahony
            April 27, 2018

            Lastly, I’m at war to try and revive true patriotism in England, because true patriotism is what makes a country great (in the best sense of the word). Not cheap, secular/heathen nationalism, like in Nazi Germany (or anti patriotism like in Communist countries).

            Joan of Arc was the great patriot saint. She’s like a female St George. But we in England had our Joan of Arcs, collectively, not in one person, during The Battle of Britain, where our brave men and women on land and in the air, slay the dragon of the Luftwaffe, using spitfires as ascalons in the conflict.

            Medieval Britains believed strongly in a Guardian Angel guarding over England. That angel was working over-time during WW2, and in particular, The Battle of Britain. But it requires faith. And we can thank the many decent Protestant and Catholic men and women of England at the time who prayed hard for our country to be delivered from the dragon of Nazism.

            For God. Queen + Country. And family.

  32. Helen Smith
    April 25, 2018

    Is there another country in the world whose citizens are labelled racist for flying their flag?

    Had I been given a vote on Scottish independence I would have voted yes just to get them off my back.

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      April 25, 2018

      Helen, can you please wait until I have sold my house and moved back to England? I am fed up to the back teeth of seeing the Scots being given vast sums of money to give their citizens freebies that the English could only dream about whilst moaning and berating the English all the time. They truly are an awful lot.

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