Who is trying to divide the UK?

One of the worst features of the hopeless 2017 Parliament was the way the government with no majority seemed to think it needed to reach out for the Union to the SNP in Scotland and to the Republic of Ireland. In both the Brexit talks and on wider issues the government revealed a fear that the Union was in some way in danger, and then thought it could strike a deal with political forces pledged to break up the Union or following a policy of trying to split it for their own advantage.

It was first strange to think the Union was in danger. After all, as good democrats the Union Parliament had recently provided a once in a generation referendum on Scottish independence to the forces in Scotland that did want to break up the Union. After a long and lively debate the Scottish people decided by a healthy majority to stay in the UK. The SNP themselves confirmed this was something you only did once in 20 or 30 years.

The UK always made clear to the Republic of Ireland that they could keep the Common travel area with us when we left the EU, so they would have a special relationship with the UK. The UK always offered tariff free trade to the whole EU, so Ireland could work with her partners to secure that prize she wanted. All the time the government kept the goodwill of most Northern Ireland MPs – and its own backbenchers – it had a majority. Many of us wanted a more robust approach to the EU’s attempt to force us to a bad settlement by unsettling the Union.

The more the Prime Minister genuflected to the Republic of Ireland and to the SNP the more the EU reckoned the UK was nervous and weak, so the more they held out for unreasonable terms in the withdrawal talks. The EU saw Scotland and Ireland as ways to keep the UK under EU laws., making concessions on fish, budgets and much else. They worked well with those who wanted to break up the UK.

The more the agenda was settled by the EU and the anti Brexit forces, the more the government’s natural unionist allies in all parts of the UK felt sidelined.

The EU of course had much form in trying to damage the Union. It always wanted to play up differences between Scotland and the UK. It promoted lop sided devolved government. It tried to deny the existence of England, seeking to split our country into regions and even experimenting with a region which put Kent and parts of Northern France together.

One of the EU’s biggest mistakes which led to the historic vote to leave was its refusal to recognise England in the way it promoted Scotland. One of the previous governments biggest mistakes was to panic in public about the Union and then deny England a proper place at the table over the EU. As I regularly asked when the UK government rushed to consult Scotland about the negotiations, who spoke for England? A successful union depends on the goodwill of all parts of the Union including England. The more that is devolved, the more England needs her own voice in government to keep the balance.

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    Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Again, your party’s been in power since 2010.

    Again, Cameron encouraged his own MPs to stand in the Commons and clap for the odious Blair when he announced his retirement

    The party you belong to is the threat to our union.

    The EU would like to dismantle the UK. The SNP would like to dismantle the UK. Northern Ireland nationalist parties would like to dismantle the UK. Plaid Cymru would like to dismantle the UK. Your party has bent the knee to all of these organisations

    The Tory party is the real threat to our nation, our freedoms and our liberties for it has embraced progressive politics, cultural Marxism, feminism and genuflected to both BLM and the………. Stonewall

    Now BLM authoritarianism is being rolled out across the entire public sector your leader’s silence on this issue suggests approval.

    I for one can see that your party is no longer what it once was. It has have become fraudulent and deceitful in the way Labour still continue to portray itself as the party of the offensively titled ‘white, working class’.

    It almost feels the future of this nation now rests with a handful of decent, moral Tory MPs who I believe still reflect the majority view who abhor all that this country’s been turned into by a tiny political class and its vile project to remodel this nation

    Your party’s actions and complicity in the extremist developments of what we are now seeing is nothing less than repugnant and an act of the most appalling political and moral cowardice that will eventually lead to the disintegration of our world

    Reply I did not join in the clapping for Mr Blair

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

      According to everyone’s favourite person called “Peston”, Robert Peston, in the Spectator, Dominic Cummings is returning to normal duties at No. 10 on Monday

      Mr Peston says Dominic Cummings had an operation in late July has been convalescing in the north of England.

      Maybe he will locate the Prime Minister’s backbone. You start to wonder if he ever had one.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        Cummings is the PM’s backbone and now (Since CV19 infection) his brain too.
        Great to have Cummings back, you can see the mess without him.

        • Stephen Priest
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          You should watch this in You Tube

          Hydroxychloroquine, evidence of efficacy Dr. John Campbell
          •27 Aug 2020

          Belgium. Low-dose Hydroxychloroquine Therapy and Mortality in Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19: A Nationwide Observational Study of 8075 Participants (International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, 24 August)

      • Hope
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        To answer your question JR, Michael Gove appears to be the answer today. Your own MPs saying/writing how his digital cave in over the Irish border gives everything to the EU and more held in the wretched N.Ireland protocol so theEU has power over regs, laws etc.

        Everyone and their dog knows how traitor may has tried to stitch up our nation from leaving the EU through the WA and protocol. You might recall May repeatedly saying/lying, no deal better than a bad deal? Brexit means Brexit? Why is she still in your parry and why has her husband been rewarded along with other MP traitors in your party who did everything to act against the pubic mandate to leave the EU over four years ago??

        Good grief your Fake Tory govt is treacherous as it is useless.

        Do you want to comment on the immigration figures out today? Highest on record since 1975 from non EU countries! Add to the highest number of asylum seekers, illegal immigration and failed deportees.

        • Everhopeful
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

          And in the face of left wing lawyers govt. is totally unable to return any illegals.
          Can this govt. actually DO anything other than what the opposition tells it?
          Does its majority count for nothing?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

          Of course the immigration figures are as you say.

          Nigel Farage was quite clear, that after exit, the UK would proudly welcome people from the Commonwealth in the place of those from the European Union.

          He was quite correct.

          But do remember that only three percent of the Commonwealth’s people are in Aus, NZ, and Canada.

          • Mike Wilson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

            You appear to be pro immigration in general.

            Can you tell me why we appear to need all this immigration. And please don’t say ‘the ageing population’. The population has increased by about 6 MILLION people in the last 10 years of TORY GOVERNMENTS. Surely this is enough to look after a few old farts living longer.

            Have the houses and infrastructure been built over the last 10 years (Mr. Redwood?) to accommodate this truly MASSIVE increase?

            Martin, is there any limit to how many people you would allow in?

            Do people born here have any right to a say in this matter?

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

            Those are the Dominions, different from Commonwealth countries.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

            So aren’t India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Kenya etc. in the Commonwealth then, Lynn?

            They turn up at the Games, don’t they?

            Farage specifically mentioned India too.

    • agricola
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Yes if conservatism continues in its present direction after 31st December2020 they become political dust for me too. They need to find their cohones.

      • Hope
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        31st December will mean the UK is perpetually under EU law, regs, level playing field and control with Gove’s digital treachery concerning N. Ireland.

        Therefore no need for a UK govt. as EU will have the UK in vassalage forever!

        • agricola
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          Nothing like an excess of optimism.

        • Everhopeful
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          Please could someone elaborate?
          I have been dreading the final “stitch up”..is this it?
          We have not, nor will really leave?

    • Peter Wood
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink


      I agree your criticism of the Conservative Parliamentary Party is justified; I don’t think it applies to the whole Conservative Party. And here lies part of the problem, central office ‘selects’ the member for each constituency, this is wrong because the individual knows to whom his/her allegiance is owed.

      The more recent issue is that of weak, inexperienced, leaders, without a guiding set of conservative principles. It appears that they make decisions based on latest focus group opinion polls, rather than an in-depth analysis and comprehension of the causes of issues.

      The Conservative Party, as all our political parties, have, over the last 60 or so years, encouraged a dependence culture on State largesse. So often we hear the question ‘ ..and what is the government going to to about it..’ . This is the way to socialist totalitarianism. This culture must be reversed.

      • SM
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        If there is a working Conservative Association in a constituency, CCHQ does not ‘select’ the candidate. Candidates do however have to go through vetting and training procedures run by CCHQ; local associations simply would not have the means to investigate dozens of candidates, nor would they be able to contact every candidate to ask who was interested in applying for the selection procedure.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

          CCHQ doctors the list from which you can choose, and if you do t choose their favoured candidate, they suspend the Constituency Committee. Let’s face the fact that the poor quality of many MPs is entirely the fault of CCHQ. We demand the right to choose from our own shortlist!

    • Simeon
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      ‘Decent’, ‘moral’ MPs would not remain in the party you rightly identify as being a key element of the problem.

      Sadly, there are too many who have misguidedly voted, and, I have little doubt, will continue to misguidedly vote for the ‘least worst option’. And on top of this, you have many, many more who are even more misguided and actually believe that the substance of UK government over the past century or so – with varying views on its style and emphases – is broadly correct, and so more or less happily vote for one or other of the inevitabily awful options.

      In other words, the root of the problem is The People, or rather, the root of the problem is The People ruling over The People. Treating the individuals that make up a society as a lumpen mass is democracy in its essence. Until there is a decisive move away from The People ruling The People towards people ordering their own affairs, first as individuals, and then as freely associating groupings cooperating for mutual benefit, the tyranny of stupidity will continue.

      Democracy, producing the governments it has, has the effect of elevating the lowest common denominator, rather than ‘more than the sum of its parts’. Of course, it also has the effect of consolidating the power of those that possess it, who, it may be observed, are insulated from the iniquities of governments to a large degree, whilst benefitting from the cover democracy affords them. Democracy: Power to the People? Nothing more than an elegant deception.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      When Joh says “the EU wants” what ever does he mean?

      That a consensus of it four hundred plus million people want that?

      That the twenty-seven leaders, the European Council, at its head want that?

      That the hundreds of MEPs want that?

      I think that rather, he alludes to an imagined persona, representing some fanciful conspiracy, but nonetheless believed in by the manipulated amongst the population here.

      • miami.mode
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        MiC, it’s colloquialism.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        The EU citizens have little say in how the EU does what it does.

        I note you slur all who think and vote differently to you as “manipulated”
        Typical of the left and reason why you lost the last election and will lose the next one in 4 years.

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        M i C, you’re one of the ones that keeps on insisting that the EU is a single market and thinks and acts as one

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          Ooh, you’re doing it too.

          • Anonymous
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 3:20 am | Permalink

            You’re like nailing jelly to a wall.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        The EU is a legal personality. Did you not know that?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          So is a ship.

          Your point is?

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

            Is it only you who does not comprehend that the EU is therefore an entity? So JR can write ‘the EU wants …’

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

            Oh, you mean like, “the solar system wants to move closer to Orion”?

            Ah, all is clear now, Lynn.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink


    • Fred H
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      ‘the future of this nation now rests with a handful of decent, moral Tory MPs ‘


      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        Farage is not able, he simply does not have the wherewithal. If you knew him you would know that. He has punched above his weight running the UKIP lobby group, and I am grateful for all he has done.

        • Hope
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

          Lynn, withoutFarage there would be no vote for Brexit, no chance of escaping. Fake Tories have done their level best to prevent leaving or acting on the will of the public mandate for over four years! They are currently rewarding Clarke, Hammond, Vazey with extra pension and title to carry on their good work! Even May’s husband gets a reward!

          Who in their right sound mind would sign up to the WA or protocol? JR and chums even voted for it! Tories even helped “Red Ed” get elected after making warnings about him, ridiculing his policies then enacting them!

          Cameron appointed former labour ministers to posts including EU fanatic Odonis, Milburn and others to quangos that he said he would set alight! Were there no former Tory politicians available?

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

            Without UKIP ….
            you must start giving credit to those MPs who fought for a fair referendum question (no yes or no) while Farage was Commissioning ‘No’ merchandise i.e expecting to lose!
            In addition you must acknowledge that every piece of legislation including the repeal of the Treaty Of Rome was achieved by Tory, Labour and DUP MPs. Not one UKIP vote was needed.
            Abusing those literally heroic MPs who stood their ground in a tiny minority is not clever. Attack the enemy not your own lifeline!

        • Fred H
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          the point was that the future lay with a handful of Tories.
          I’m not at all sure. I cannot see them being re-elected, can you? A Farage movement could easily happen once again – he doesn’t need to be running the show, just presenting as a call to arms, so to speak.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

            Farage can’t see himself being elected – he does not even stand anymore, so certain is he. The Tory and Labour Parties gave him an open goal let’s face it, he argued what the majority wanted (proven in the referendum MIC and Andy before you whinge) yet he still could not win.
            Our hopes lie with the few in the Tory Party and those of us in seats with rubbish MPs need to upgrade them to bolster that number.

        • JoolsB
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          Don’t agree Lynn. If Farage has punched above his weight then it doesn’t say much for the current bunch of cohorts? I think many would love to give him a go but the one thing he does have against him is the the first past the post system which the Tories and Labour have stitched up between them.

          • Fedupsoutherner
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink


          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

            If he was any good he would win with the current system. That’s the proof he is not. The Country agrees with him on the Sovereignty issue, but we know he his limitations. He takes money for places on the Candidates list! So who can pay get the place (and seat) UKIP lost more MEPs from withdrawing the whip than all the other parties put together – they can’t even select! Don’t think that because Farage can hog the limelight (and take £250k pa for 18 years as a ‘Party Leader’ in the EU) that he could match JR even on his own specialist subject – Sovereignty, where we taught him the words decades ago.

    • Timaction
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. The figures released yesterday reveal another record year of net mass migration (300,000 +)imposed on the English without any mandate and against our wishes. We don’t want or need any more migrants whether lawful or unlawful. We are over crowded and in recession with millions out of work or about to be. Our health, education and other public services cannot cope with our own people, let alone those who chip up having contributed nothing. So if the EU imposed these regions etc, why have the Tory Government encouraged more of it with Mayors and regional area’s? When are the Government returning the (migrants ed) who are coming here from France? After 10 years in office your Government has simply no more excuses left.

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        and this government could stop this disgrace today…..its what the people have been shouting about for 10+years

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Stopping immigration and its propensity to overwhelm our services and increase livings costs. If not now then when?

    • Dennis
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      JR your reply – ‘I did not join in the clapping for Mr Blair’ what a lovely response, really went to the heart of Dominic’s post – I see your comedic skills are not slipping.

    • M Davis
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      The Tories have turned out to be totally against the indigenous British! Nothing like the Tory Party that I knew as a young voter. They were called Conservatives then. Goodness knows what they think of themselves now. I’m not interested any more!

  2. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    This continuing dividing and breaking up is going on day to day and has been for many years and it is not just in the EU/GB scenario. Small switches of evidence , reality cause and effect deliberate blocking of exits and entrances is an underhand method of ‘trying’ to take over and gain power.

    Who gives their countries over to others deliberately? Only those who cannot perceive that they are being guided by another set of leeches and are happy to fall in and be bled.

    • Peter
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      If this article is suggesting that separatist movements are just a result of EU going on manoeuvres then it is simply not true.

      Separatism has been a worldwide phenomenon which increased after World War 2, the end of empires and the fall of the Soviet Union.

      As more and more people identify themselves by who they are, and are not, secessions of people from each other will continue. In June 1945, the U.N. had 50 members. It began 2020 with 193.

      Separatism is a fairly obvious alternative to globalism. It appears rooted principally in issues of national identity — ethnicity, religion, race, language, culture.

      That said, England does seem to lack a body to fight its corner within the U.K. Perhaps this is considered unnecessary as England is so much bigger than all the other parts of the U.K. combined.

      However, that will not prevent many being upset when Scotland gets free university tuition and care for the elderly and England does not. The same with Wales and free prescription charges

    • Longinus
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      The major force dividing England is massive immigration despite numerous electoral promises to limit numbers from the Tories. They are finished once a true centre right party emerges. No-one wants marxist agendas and policies dictated by minority groups. Give us a democratic meritocracy.

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        Wise words which I fully agree with

        • JoolsB
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

          Spot on Longinus. The floodgates were opened into England deliberately by Labour to dilute England’s identity (and to rub the noses of the right in it) and the so called Tory Governments we’ve had since 2010 have done bugger all to address it. 95% of all immigrants to the UK settle in England. Here’s and idea, the SNP want more immigration – why not send all immigrants up there and let Nicola Sturgeon look after them but with not a penny extra of English taxpayers’ money.

          • Fedupsoutherner
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

            Jools they’ve tried that and they all leave Scotland and come down to England.

          • Dennis
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            Will they stay in Scotland? Probably ask for asylum in England, again.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            Labour had to import people desperate enough to vote for them. They ‘scoured the world’ according to Mandleson, the British working class were too cute to keep buying the same pup!

  3. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    You sure as hell speak for me. You speak for a England and we want you on a bigger stage to do that with clout, and I believe you speak for the United Kingdom.
    The Regional Government Referendum and the Scottish Independence Referendum say you do!

    • agricola
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      Lynn, the desire for regional government only comes about when national government becomes too centralised in its thinking. The Victorians and Edwardians, sewers and railways apart, did not confine their enterprise to London. Railways went everywhere, sewers started in Liverpool I believe. Industry sprang up everywhere that entrepreneurs lived, and a few of them were more careing of their workers than militant socialism ever has been. I would suggest we need to mobilise enterprise not to create more layers of governance unless it is enterprising in itself.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        The Regional Government REFERENDUM WAS DEFEATED BY 98%. there is no desire for Regional Government.

        • miami.mode
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          Actually, Lynn, the rejection was a bit short of 80% in the North East in 2004, but nevertheless it was another miscalculation by Labour who took their NE “heartlands” for granted. With their dogma Labour never learn, do they!

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

            Only if you exclude those who did not vote in favour.

        • glen cullen
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          And yet under this government we have more city mayors, regional mayors and regional assemblies…..and don’t forget the meaningless northern powerhouse which has achieved nothing

          • JoolsB
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

            Exactly – the Tories are just as guilty of trying to balkanise England as Labour.

      • Timaction
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, we need a lot less politicians of all types. Mp’s, Lords, Mayors, regional governments, Councils etc. Far to many are just busy bodies who have opinions on everything but knowledge on……. nothing. I don’t wish to insult Sir John as he is not one. However, an afternoon listening to Labour or SNP politicos puts us off for life.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      This is another Blair reign idea, which needs to be reversed

      The UK has lasted pretty well for 300 years until devolution

      This government continues to build upon pathetic laws and regulations rather than repelling them

      • M Davis
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Hear, hear!

  4. agricola
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    You ask who and tell us just about everyone. The EU on the principal of divide and conquer. Some in Scotland who historically have chosen to side with the enemies of England. Some in NI because they want a united Ireland. I must add that at times of real strife more have fought and died for the UK. Finally there were Labour, Lib Dems and assorted socialists from Wales who did not wish us to leave the largely socialist EU. Perhaps they feared that the conservatives in England would have the opportunity to become Conservative again. My jury is out on that one.

    The most distasteful situation came after the referendum when we discovered, but slowly, that we had a PM and civil service that were actively betraying the referendum result, because they believed we should remain in the EU. The ultimate gesture of arrogance. Opposition by the CBI was understandable, they did not wish to leave a cosy arrangement and find ways of maintaining their bottom line in a new marketplace. Time after31st December 2020 will be the arbiter.

    • agricola
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      As a PS I would add, who on the socialist left would choose to leave when they were getting their wishes fulfilled by dictat from the EU. Who would want to fight for their ideas in elections or the Commons when the EU was doing it for them.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

        The UK government has always sidelined England.
        As the biggest component of the union we have the least say.
        It appears that Covid response is being dictated by wee Kranky and Dublin has the final say on Brexit.
        You look weak and lost despite an 80 seat majority.
        Get a grip.

        • Fred H
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink


          • JoolsB
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink


      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        Hoey, Mann, Tony Wedgewood Benn (this nothing further left), Barbara Castle, Peter Shore, Dennis Skinner, Jeremy Corbyn! All lifelong anti-EU activists. There’s loads more but I think I made the point.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          Yes, anti-European Union beliefs are not a Left-Right matter.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

            Exactly, they are a Sovereignty and Patriotic issue.
            Joyce was a British citizen, and unpatriotic. That’s why he was hanged.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

            Would-be radicals on both Left and Right tend to be anti-European Union, perhaps because, if nothing else, it possibly appears to be a generally moderating influence.

            However, parties ranging from Syriza to Orban’s manage to form governments within it.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

            There is not 1 Parliament and therefore not 1 Government in the EU. Just an Oligarchy.

        • glen cullen
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

          I was brought up with an understanding that the labour party was fully against the EU and cheap immigration in favour of our own working class and was also hugely patriotic…..what ever happened to the labour party of the 70/80s

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

            Patriotic Labour was the alternative that Powell could support. Do you remember him urging Tories to vote Labour because this issue of self-determination trumped all others? We were listening to the short wave radio in Durban. My family were all in shock – the importance of remaining outside the ‘EU’ was apparent. (They were all WWII vets of course). Enoch saved the UK because one of the main parties remained patriotic, so they had to remain in treacherous step to beat us and our democratic system, until UKIP looked like taking the Zill from Cameron (not winning themselves but enabling us to sack Cameron). So he broke the step and we won! We must never allow them to present us with Hobson’s Choice again. And we must all be prepared to vote for either Party.

          • Everhopeful
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

            Neil Kinnock I believe.
            He had a Damascene conversion regarding the wonderful nature of cooperation between nations and all that rot.

  5. A doctor writes
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile in the real world the EU never refused to recognise England, and never once called into question the integrity of the UK. We left the EU months ago yet still you are obsessed with it, and make up fairy stories about its policies. Would you like the name of a good psychiatrist?

    • Longinus
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Read the piece, the EU tried to regionalise England and bring in local mayors. Would you like the name of a good optician?

      • Carlo Nash
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        Utter nonsense. The EU has never done this, it has no power to do it as well as no interest in doing it. Why do you obsessive Europhobes make up such nonsense? Are you trying to invent justifications for this Brexit fiasco? (Where are the German carmakers running to the rescue by the way?)

        • graham1946
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

          Why are you EU supporters so uninformed about your own project?

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

            Because otherwise they could not support it.

    • graham1946
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      EU Supporters – always a nasty quip or insult, never a proper factual debate.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      The EU maps do not specify England, but they do specify Scotland, Wales and Ireland! Nuff sed?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Indeed England to be broken up into regions and effectively destroyed.

      • miami.mode
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        On EU maps, Lynn, you just have to love the EU system of E road numbering. One of my favourites is the E22 which runs from Holyhead for 3,310 miles to Ishim, which is in the middle of Russia.

        If you ever drive around Europe utilising their numbering system you will quickly become disorientated.

    • Sam Duncan
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Oh, yes: it never called the integrity of the UK into question openly. But… “Europe of the Regions”, anyone? There are signs on public works all over Scotland proclaiming that they were funded by the “Scottish Government” in conjunction with the EU, despite the fact that the actual money came from British taxpayers. By laundering it via Brussels and Edinburgh, the rest of the UK has been neatly written out of the story. Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales had offices in Brussels, and vice-versa. Where was England’s? And, indeed, why should any of them exist when the UK was the member state?

      Scottish nationalism was a total non-story in 1972. They were firmly against joining back then, but just over 20 years ago changed their tune. I wonder why. Now they’re running things up here, came within 10% of breaking up Britain, and are saying it must be done because we’re leaving.

      Don’t try to tell me the EU has been no threat to the integrity of this country.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        The EU destroyed our Government, laws and caused our Monarch to become a common EU citizen, arraignable in her own courts.
        It did not ‘threaten the integrity of this country’ it destroyed it.
        We are the only generation since 1066 to have been defeated – we were not even allowed to fight. However in 2016, we recovered ourselves. Thank God.

      • M Davis
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink


  6. Andy
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    The reality is that nobody except England has a voice.

    Scotland overwhelmingly rejected Brexit and overwhelmingly voted for the SNP. They are ignored by this Tory government – elected by a minority. And the 2014 referendum was ‘once in a generation’ on the basis of the status quo. I’m sorry but Brexit negates that – because Scots were told in 2014 remaining part of the UK was the only way to be in the EU and that turned out to be a significant fraud.

    Not a single MP from a Northern Ireland constituency – not even the DUP – voted for the Tory withdrawal agreement which puts a border down the Irish Sea and requires customs paperwork to be completed for goods being sent within our own country.

    Even Wales is now talking much more openly about independence.

    So who is divided the UK? MPs like Mr Redwood.

    • graham1946
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Any border down the Irish Sea is the demand of Brussels not London,

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Andy, go to your ‘beloved EU’.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        He’s not qualified to.

        We’ve done them a favour and they don’t need to take our dross anymore – nor should we be taking theirs but Boris has turned out to be a fake.

  7. Dave Andrews
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    The more ground you give to the nationalists, the more they want.
    If I was in Scotland or Wales I would wish the national assemblies were abolished, not so much because I’m a unionist, but more because I didn’t want yet another tier of government.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink


      Excellent point

    • DavidJ
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink


  8. Adam
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Every constituency is represented by an MP. The UK was already devolved into Counties before the Blair Govt.

    Devolution represents clusters of common-interest groups. Devolved groups tend to be defined by sections of UK territory, yet interests cross internal land borders. Similarly, each defined devolved land contains folk with interests opposed to each other.

    Govt exists to serve the interests of its people. Devolution was supposed to represent people’s interests more powerfully, yet often it divides needlessly.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Devolution was designed to appease the political bodies and elites of Scotland and not its people

  9. Peter van LEEUWEN
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    This is interesting: Now the EU gets the blame for a disunited UK!
    Up to now the answer for using the term dsiunited UK has always been – no we are very united, see the % of people voting for parties which supported the leave vote in 2017.

    The EU has actually already lost some interest – Mrs Merkel had a talk about Brexit by the 27 ambassadors later this week removed from the agenda, as there was nothing new to talk about.

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      “Mrs Merkel had a talk about Brexit by the 27 ambassadors later this week removed from the agenda,”

      What democratic process put her in charge of the whole show?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        @the halfyear rotating chairmanship. From July to the end of the year it is Germany’s turn.

        • Sea Warrior
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

          So difficult keeping track of all these EU presidencies!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        The rotating presidency means that Germany will get its turn too.

        • Fred H
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          do they need a turn? Doing just as they want without. Puppet strings easily pulled.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

            Germany unilaterally and according to EU law, illegally, recognised Croatia, it war-time fascist ally. The EU Kow-towed.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

            There is no such European Union law.

            Foreign policy in such matters, as in by far and away most areas of law, is for the sovereignty of the member nations.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

            Of all the nonsense you post on here Martin your claim that…There is no such thing as EU law is the most nonsensical.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

            I missed out saying… ” in this area” after “EU law”

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          You are delusional.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      PvL – As expected the EU is run by Germany with France and the Netherlands clapping from the side line…

      Will they be “taking the knee” for Mutti?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        See my comment to Stephen Priest. All countries get their turn.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      well it would have reinforced the notion of leaving!

    • Tabulazero
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      PvL: the EU will get the blame for everything. It has been the plan for 40 years and it will continue to be the plan for the foreseeable future.

      You would think that a party who has held the levers of power for more than 10 years and which enjoys an absolute majority in Parliament could somehow have something to do with the state of the Dis-United Kingdom, wouldn’t you ?

      Have you seen an ounce of introspection from the luminaries of the Conservative party like our gracious host?


      Frankly, if you are a moderate voter in Scotland or Ulster, the sad fact is that your voice or values do not matter in a Parliament controlled by an extremist Conservative party which looks more interest in ideology than actually running effectively the country.

      Your ability to influence the political debate is close to zero, with a Prime Minister selected by 0.3% of the population and, despite his promises of the contrary during the hustings, intends to implement the hardest form possible of Brexit in order to placate the extremists that have taken over his party and purged all moderates.

      Ministers and Secretaries of State are not selected based on their respective abilities but whether they are true believers or not.

      Given all the above, one should not be surprised that leaving this mess of a political system behind could be a genuine proposition.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        How can an extremist party get an 80 seat majority?
        There is no sense nor logic to your ranting Tab.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted August 29, 2020 at 5:53 am | Permalink

          @Edward2: of course it is easily possible for an extremist party to gain a large majority, but it is also possible, as in your case, that a party becomes more ideological and extreme after winning a large majority.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

            I disagree.
            Most voters are in the centre of politics.
            The fringes do not contain enough voters to get a huge majority.

            What do you mean when you say ” as in your case”

          • Peter van LEEUWEN
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            @Edward2: “as in your case” = as in the UK

          • Edward2
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

            In the UK no extremist party has ever been popular.
            No extreme right or extreme left wing parties have ever got MPs elected.
            So your claim fails.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

            Sorryshould say Never
            Not ever

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      The age old plan was to break the U.K. into it’s constituent parts and dominate each. Don’t pretend you don’t know that. But you have failed. We remain united because we want to be, the EU is held together under duress.
      You know the U.K. was, throughout history made up of many more tribes defending their areas. Slowly we have amalgamated, the Picts and Gogoggin, for instance are incorporated into the Northumbrian Reevers, who themselves are now Geordies. We are down to 4 main groups now, English, Irish, Scots and Welsh, and as we speak, the amalgamation continues. Few Native Brits don’t have more than one of the 4 nations in their blood.

      • bill brown
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        Lynn Atkinson,

        EU held together udner duress? Kindly explain

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

          Well no EU member state is prepared to confirm that their nation wishes to remain in the EU. Several including the President if France have stated that ‘they know they would vote to leave’.
          The people’s and ex-democracies of Europe are held in this oligarchy under duress and the ‘leaders’ admit it.

          • bill brown
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 4:38 am | Permalink

            Lynn Atkinson,

            According to the EIU the average support in the Eu countries for the institution is 70% with Italy with the lowest support at 53% and Denmark being one of the highest.
            So, therefore I know that your assertation is incorrect and therefore you shold not be proud of your nonsense. (with no source)

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

            Bill brown – so then let’s see the EU implement the results of referenda – instead of holding a doctored second round to bamboozle the electorate as they usually do! Why don’t they test the huge majority support by holding an in/out Referendum somewhere? They told us why not, because the Italians, French And maybe even the Germans in a few months, would vote to Leave!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink


      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        @Lynn Atkinson:
        The EU ia not interested so much in the UK or to break it up. It is a club with voluntary membership and new countries aspiring to join. No sites.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

          You need to believe that. Self-delusion beyond repair.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

            @Lynn Atkinson: You have the right to think that, but there is an abundance of evidence. And I have witnessed the EU from within for quite a few decades now. If only you would take the trouble to make a more serious study of it using more independent sources. Just reading the Daily Express doesn’t qualify. 🙂

          • bill brown
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

            Lynn Atkinson

            your arguments are so superficial and not evidenced or sourced that it is really not worth the bother to argue about your so-called Trump postulations

  10. Adams
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Give us a PR voting system and then at least we would have a chance to stop the pernicious , failed Lab/Con seesaw that ensures that millions of us – in England in particular – stay unrepresented .
    Yes PR is not perfect but the record of FPTP has shown itself to be worse . MPs like yourself John are neutered by the current system . The continuing immigration scandal is just one example of the deliberate ignoring of the disenfranchised .

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      I suggest the New Zealand unicameral, two voted mixed member system is an improvement on FPTP.

      (The other issue that needs to be sorted is the amount of equal devolution to NI, Wales, Scotland and hopefully England, with a smaller U.K. Govt for what is not devolved which would presumably be defence and international relations – or.maybe everything).

      • forthurst
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        The only thing that is not an improvement of FPTP is the AV system offered by the Tory/LibDem coalition as a condition of the LibDems joining which was supported by Clegg and opposed by Cameron. This choice which was overwhelmingly rejected has been used ever since by the Tories including JR to claim the issue of electoral change has been settled and not wanted by the British people; that is a barefaced lie as AV is not PR; it is anything but. Neither FPTP nor AV achieves proportionality so what was the point?

        • Caterpillar
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink


          You are correct.

          You also answer your own question; the point for the LDs was to back track so they could have a turn in power, the point for the Tories was so they could claim as you indicate.

          I strongly suspect that if the NZ system (two vote mixed member PR with a % cutoff point, unicameral + non-political head of state) were offered to us, we would take it… no Lords, a constituency MP and PR all in one move… sigh.

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted August 29, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          Clegg was an utter fool agreeing to that AV referendum. He had Cameron over a barrel in 2010 and should have insisted on a change to PR without a referendum. A referendum is impossible to win as most of the many tribal Tory and Labour voters will vote against PR. At the moment they take turns at having absolute power on a minority vote. They aren’t going to give that up voluntarily.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Yes, nor will a right-wing government, elected by just one-fifth of the people be able to shove its policies down all of our throats either.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        Still want children and non citizens to vote then Martin?

        • bill brown
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          Edward 2

          You can do better than this

          • Edward2
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

            Thanks Bill.
            Always glad of your encouragement.

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          Martin doesn’t want anyone to vote. He wants his rules implemented.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink


          And that has no bearing on my comment.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

            Be better if you understood the way governments are elected in Europe and the UK
            Under 18 year olds don’t vote
            Non citizens don’t vote
            Voting isn’t compulsory
            And if you add all the votes for every party except the winning party then the all the others get more votes.
            It is simple stuff Martin.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        “Yes, nor will a right-wing government, elected by just one-fifth of the people be able to shove its policies down all of our throats either.”

        Yet I had to swallow what Blair did.

        You really make up the rules to suit yourself, Martin.

        An 80 seat majority was delivered against Corbynism. That we’re getting Corbynism x10 is rather unfortunate but the fact remains that Leftism was utterly rejected at the polls.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      To have a democracy, you must first ensure all candidate are selected by their constituent’s then elected by their constituents. Tie that in with any election funding coming only from those registered in that constituency. The democracy starts

      PR has shown itself to be more than flawed. MP’s are appointed by their gang leader, the constituents have no say. Then the smaller and noisier their gang is the better the chance they get to dictate to the majority. That just isn’t democracy.

      As Daniel Hannan once said on the run up to the EU elections, to paraphrase ‘you may wonder why I am not out and about canvasing in this election. It is because my party has me number 1 on their list, so there is no point. I will be your MEP’ To be fair to Daniel, he also thought it was a nutty system

      But the way our ruling class already dictates what a democracy is to ensure they maintain their power base isn’t fair either. The party system as it now plays out is corrupting on many levels not just in this country but around the World. It creates the divisions that stop progress.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Not ‘selected by their constituents’ – thats Carswells failed experiment that brought LIB Dem MPs into the House as Conservatives. They must be selected by the members of their party association.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Accept the referendum result. We rejected PR.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        No, “we” rejected AV.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          That was the most acceptable version of PR. That’s why it was put.

          • Caterpillar
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

            Lynn Atkinson,

            What is wrong with the NZ system of 2 vote mixed member proportional?

        • Caterpillar
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

          Well it had to happen at least once in my life – I agree with MiC.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      The MEP elections were a variety of PR. The upshot was that several MEPs covered the same constituency. I wrote to one of the asking a civil question (and pointing out that he and I had attended the same school). I never got a reply. If I write to my MP I can expect a prompt reply and a kept promise to answer any question for he or she doesn’t have an immediate answer to reply as soon as possible.
      My MP knows that my vote will be important at the next election.

  11. Mark B
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I am afraid I am in disagreement with our kind host on this. i do not believe the government gave in or felt it needed to make large concessions to the SNP, RoI and the EU. I believe it worked with them and to achieve the softest of BREXIT’s as possible. Of course, it could not just give in but, needed the likes of the aforementioned to put false pressure on the UK Government. This allowed the HMG the excuse of for a soft BREXIT or, as I believe it will soon turn out to be, EU-Lite / Association Membership. We will still be in and subject to their rules, paying as before through the International Fund via the Foreign Office, and propping up a failing political body that is manifestly hostile to England in particular and the UK in general. All so our political Lilliputians and CS can have an easy time of it.

    Shameful !

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      I fear you maybe correct

      • Iago
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Me, too.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      What a load of persecution fixation, victimhood-obsessed silliness.

  12. bill brown
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    Very interesting hypothesis of the EU trying to split the Union, but about as much a supposition as thinking China would not impose Chinese legislation in Hong Kong.

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Bill, you obviously never heard at the time a senior EU politician (Martin Selmayr) was reported as saying that Northern Ireland would be the price the UK was going to have to pay for Brexit. Others have denied he said this. He, interestingly, has never denied it, he’s simply declined to comment.

      • bill brown
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink


        One comment does not make a policy as outlined by Sir JR

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          It does in an Oligarchy!

          • bill brown
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

            Lynn Atkinson

            the Oligarchy is your invention it does not actaully exist

        • Edward2
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

          But it sets the tone
          As was, I suspect the intention.

  13. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    As you say England is not represented in a singular form anywhere. The SNP MP’s in the HoC have proportionally more votes on English matters than English MP’s. English MP’s don’t get to say how Scotland is governed and run – That is called democracy?

    I have used this illustration before. Yorkshire has a larger population than Scotland, probably a larger economy, yet its representation in our Parliaments is less than Scotland’s.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Re your last paragraph, thank heavens for small mercies.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        do you fear Yorkshire having the powers Scotland has?
        At least we would hear of commonsense proposals and actions, unlike the regular nonsense from across the border!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        What, like lines painted on the roads outside houses, with the house number of those allowed to park there between them?

        And pedestrians being required to wait at zebra crossings, until a kindly motorist deigns to stop?

        And all fish-and-chip shops throughout the country being forced to close at normal people’s meal times, and compelled to fry in dripping?

        Oh yes!

    • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      @Ian @Barkham: in a country like the Netherlands with full proportional representation, such unequal representation would not be possible.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        You don’t have a Government or a country. What does it matter whether you vote or not? The Dutch people cannot sack their lawmakers.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted August 29, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

          @Lynn Atkinson:
          The level of your contributions needs some uplifting. Over here, misinforming parliament may already cost you your job. If you had learned Dutch or followed Dutch politics in a serious way (not via an acquaintance who “owns” 6 churches in the Netherlands), you would have been able to cite some examples from the last few years.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 29, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

          Don’t be silly, Lynn. This so-called seventy-five percent of UK law that was supposedly made in Brussels does not include family and divorce, nor Town and Country Planning. Nor does it cover crime and sentencing. Heath, education and professional standards are outside its remit, as are land, property and inheritance, along with most tax bar VAT. Defence and security are not covered, and nor are electoral matters nor media regulation. Driving and parking rules and penalties appear to be for us too, along with employment and trade union matters, except for health and safety. Notably, there is no European Union law on immigration from outside countries. It seems to be getting rather hard to find.

          The people of the Netherlands elect the parliament that makes all that and more.

          Surely the Leave campaigns would not mislead anyone though?

          • a-tracy
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

            Taking just one of those Martin,
            Just clarify – are you saying the EU has never had any measures or controls over what British children are taught in school, college or Universities in the UK, there are no EU ‘measures’ on what age children finish secondary education, or how many children per classroom, or subjects taught? No EU competencies on degree standards or exams? Nothing at all that our Education department has to fill forms in about, report to the EU on, try to match with EU alignments?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 30, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

            And he is wrong about employment matters.

  14. Old Albion
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    “One of the EU’s biggest mistakes which led to the historic vote to leave, was its refusal to recognise England in the way it promoted Scotland”

    Just like the laughingly named UK Gov.

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      +1. Why we English keep voting Conservative is the biggest mystery when just like the anti English Labour Party before them, they refuse to recognise England let alone the democratic deficit which exists against it.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Well, it might have indeed played well with English nationalists, if its institutions had addressed England as a nation more often.

      However, they would then have been accused of dividing the UK, no doubt.

      And, to be fair, I don’t recall there being any requests from anyone for this to happen anyway.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

        England is the only nation in the UK which is denigrated as nationalists when their citizens simlly ask for equal rights to the other devolved assemblies

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 29, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

          I’m sorry?

          Who was “denigrating”?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

            You know perfectly well what the left means when it says English nationalists.

  15. Lifelogic
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Indeed Tony Blair devolution was done appallingly for partly particular reasons. He clearly thought Labour could devolve power in such a way that he could retain the Labour power base in Scotland and Wales. It did not work, not even for Labour. It has been appallingly unfair to England who just get taxed to pay for everthing. We end up with even more government and were able to demand even more money or power periodically for their parliamently votes. It is a ratchet system that will surely go only go one way and further disadvantage England. Paid for largely by English tax payers.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      party political reasons!

  16. Mick
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    As I regularly asked when the UK government rushed to consult Scotland about the negotiations, who spoke for England?
    Nobody really speaks for England well not until we have our own Parliament for the English,

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      The UK is the English Empire.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        oh dear, oh dear ….. back on that theme again.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink


        Have a look at how the voting works and the subsidies.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        James I was a Scot who sat on the throne of England and Scotland. England never elects a socialist Government but always accepts the result when the Celtic fringe impose one on it – because it’s a national vote.
        Nice if the Scots would respond accordingly!

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink


          Blair governments would have been elected without Scotland’s MPs.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

            Was Blair Socialist? 😂😂 my husband was at school with him. Blair was a Tory upper middle class chap looking for a easy, lazy way to the top. So he took on the Socialists rather than compete in the Tory Party. Of course, like Major, May and Boris, he has no politics, just personal ambition at any price.

          • JoolsB
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

            Not quite true. The Tories have won the popular vote in England since 2001 but because unlike the rest of the dis-UK, the Government England chooses has to have a UK majority, it took until 2015 to get the Government of it’s choosing. Unlike the devolved nations, who after choosing the UK Government which predominately governs England nowadays, they then go on to choose a quite separate Government for themselves. So if England was allowed it’s own Government too, with pr, Blair would never have been PM and Scots MPs would not have been able to vote through tuition fees for England.

        • Iago
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

          Was Blair Socialist? etc. Yes, you are exactly right and about May and Boris, may God help us. With his slight abilities, Labour was the only way to go. However, I have always thought of him as as common as muck.

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink


    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      We absolutely do not want and English Parliament. It’s a trap so we abandon the U.K. Constitution which is the only thing that keeps us free. An ‘England‘ would be a brand new country with no history or traditions. Don’t fall for that one PLEASE!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        The only thing which keeps any right or freedom for the UK people is the fact that Parliament might wish to retain it.

        Parliament is supreme, sovereign, and can rescind whatever it wants with a simple majority vote.

        The UK’s freedoms are therefore among the most precarious in the developed world.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

          I agree that all Constitutional Statutes should require a super-majority to be repealed or amended.

          After the repeal of the Treaty of Rome (Which was passed on a simple majority and therefore should be repealed on the same basis) this is the most urgent legislation we require.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

            What higher law would enforce the continuation of that Act requiring a super majority?

            None – look what happened to the constitutional Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

            The UK would have to make Parliament subject to a higher authority, such as a constitutional convention.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

          Ridiculous nonsense.
          There are elections every few years.
          MPs want to be re elected so being horrible to the voters doesn’t work.

  17. Alan Jutson
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I have to say John the Government is not acting like it has a majority of 80, even traditional small c conservative policies are being overturned almost daily, devolution powers are ever growing, and so it would seem are the payments to these regions.

    Far too much notice and importance seems to be taken of very minor but noisy protest groups.

    Let us hope when finally the EU talks end and we leave the EU properly and start trading on WTO rules, we can get back to sorting our own internal priorities and policies out.

  18. Annette
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I agree with most of what you say, but have an issue with the Ireland of today & tomorrow.
    It is completely wrong to give an unconditional guarantee of a continuing CTA with Ireland. The CTA has continued whilst both countries were in the EU as neither was in Schengen, thereby ‘in charge’ of our borders (stop laughing at the back). The CTA has inevitably been abused for health tourism & voting in National Elections.
    The Irish TD has stated that he wants to quadruple the population, presumably by importing more of the current enrichment of foreign culture that the people of Ireland are currently ‘enjoying’. That’s 16m who will have the right to come here virtually unchecked, abuse the health service & vote in OUR elections. That’s not small fry that the Govt can choose to ignore, as in the past. The Govt has to realise that many of these replacement people are from countries where corruption, gangs & violence are a way of life. They are not coming to be Irish or British & adopt our values & way of life.
    As Ireland, currently, has decided to stay on the EU path to the new ‘superstate’, the pressures to join Schengen will increase. They already seem to have agreed to the redistribution of non-refugees. I doubt that they will get much choice regarding joining the EU Military arm. Ireland’s tantrums in the EU are only tolerated as it causes trouble for the UK. The EU will throw them under a bus a soon as their usefulness has expired soon enough.
    Resistance to the EU in Ireland is growing, but we cannot bank (yet) on them leaving. Funny how things are less rosy when a life on benefits (they’re now a net contributor) is ended. I wonder where else the restriction of benefits could be used to remove the pull facor & lifestyle ‘choice’?
    The continuation of the CTA must be conditional. It must be withdrawn if Ireland joins Schengen or further integrates into the EU. As ‘loving’ members of the EU, I see no reason now why they shouldn’t be treated as other members of the EU. 1949 is long gone. Time to properly tidy up.
    This is a gaping hole in our security if the CTA continues as is.

  19. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    “…. seeking to split our country into regions and even experimenting with a region which put Kent and parts of Northern France together. “
    That was no experiment — regional authorities were put in place by Prescot… but it was true that the communist council in Northern France had power over certain financial decisions for the south of England.
    The only reason the EU still permits national parliaments is because the EU doesn’t yet have direct tax raising powers — once that is achieved the EU will govern through the regions – That was always the goal.
    The Germans came up with the idea of regions, which mainly kept them and France intact, except at some borders, to destroy the unity of GB.

    Yes, the EU did make less of England to provoke differences, and devolution. It seems they prefer smaller units of people, except in Spain.

    It’s always been a question as to whether the EU played any part in the troubled times that saw us begging to get into the EEC… Their subsequent displays of a lack of morals suggests they could have been a player.

    Is it possible that EU influence is still behind the SNP’s desire to go it alone? – One wonders what was promised if the UK could be split up.

    Certainly the SNP always saw the EU as a better cash cow than England — They saw how places like Portugal and Poland received eye watering EU funds, and were greedy for some of that.

  20. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    In realty in the UK it is the MsM( in particular the BCC) that is creating a narrative that causes divide. Whether it is what some call race, ethnicity or cultural the divide is made and lead by the chattering class each with its own agenda. Primarily to be seen as a leader in its field, the agenda maker.

    The disappointment is that this Conservative Government shames us all by diligently following a made up divisive narrative seemingly to make itself popular. I like most people I know would prefer it sticking to the principles of real conservativism and release the people to excel and improve life for us all. A dynamic thriving free country creates wealth and security for all and is the best antidote to the naysayers.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      fastest finger first ( in particular the BCC) …. BBC

  21. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The 2017 Parliament was the best that I’ve ever seen.

    It is supposed to be sovereign, and for once people actually took an interest in what it was doing, instead of its being the useless, tame, Tory government rubber stamp that it now is.

    In more successful countries with happier, less divided peoples, their parliaments are generally not selected by FPTP, and so are more representative of the people’s views. Working for consensus is the norm, rather than shoving an often minority policy down the throats of most of the population, as happens here.

    So, whatever, we are back to our customary British madness, and John seems relieved that that glimpse into sanity is behind us.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Of course. For the first time in your lifetime they were making decisions. What an indictment!

    • Edward2
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

      Works well in Italy lol.
      And recently in Ireland…5 months after the election and still no new government

  22. formula57
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Of course “England needs her own voice in government to keep the balance”.

    Time to ask afresh your previous PMQ (that as you will recall was responded to by the people’s Blue Boris himself whilst standing in for the Quisling) “Who speaks for England?”.

    Shift the ‘Lords to York (notion to be reinstated) and let the English Parliament (comprised as you have proposed hitherto of present MPs representing England) sit in its present Westminster chamber.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Lords to York is all smoke & mirrors

      The idea that our Lords would allow our MPs to seat in our capital in its ivory tower while they seat in the sticks is just ridicules

      • Fred H
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        York is hardly the sticks glen!
        A wonderful vibrant city, oozing with history, ripe for tourists and UK visitors alike. It reads as if you have no knowledge?

        • glen cullen
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

          You’re correct York is a wonderful place and I’ve enjoyed visiting many times, however I know a couple of people who seat in the other place that truly believe ‘robin hood’ is alive a well and everything north of ‘the gap’ is ecky thump territory

          My point was that they would only relocate to the same place as the MPs

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      No remove the Lords and replace it with a fully elected Upper Revising Chamber.

      Weird bit the Hereditary Lords are elected, albeit amongst themselves.

      Some one appointed by what can only be termed as a gang leader to lord over us has no place in a democracy. In fact it is quite disingenuous. if Government keeps insulting the People there is no wonder they have no respect for them.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        Just remove the Lords. Let the MPs feel the full weight of responsibility. They may grow up!

        • glen cullen
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

          What an interesting notion; it might just work and speed up government….They can’t blame the Lords; I like it

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            We don’t need a ‘Head of State’ after Elizabeth R either, I’m afraid nobody thinks Charles will hack it but we must not be threatened with Blair or May.
            The PM is to top job.

  23. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    It’s blantantly obvious John that this government and others bow to the will of Scotland and the other devolved nations putting their needs first. I was living in Scotland at the time of the independence referendum and to say I felt like an alien was putting it mildly. When Brown offered them a shed load of money to stay it was the start of a whole string of scenarios whereby England would be blackmailed. They don’t worry about costs up there knowing there is England to fall back on. Boris is following Sturgeon now and she is loving it. It works to her full advantage and makes splitting the union more likely now they can see she is more decisive than Boris. The Tory government is in trouble. Surely getting the votes they did in the election shows them that we are crying out for a true Conservative goverment and one that will stand up against the devolved nations when they say “More”.

  24. Fred H
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    off topic.
    from BBC website.

    Abolishing 213 smaller councils in England and replacing them with 25 new local authorities could save almost £3bn over five years, a report says. The report for the County Councils Network says one body in each area would reduce complexity and give communities a single unified voice.
    However, others argue bigger councils are unwieldy and undemocratic.
    The government is expected to publish its own proposals on overhauling local government in the autumn. Plans could include scrapping district and county councils in England in favour of fewer, larger authorities which control all services in their area.
    County councils, including Surrey, North Yorkshire and Leicestershire, have developed or are already developing plans to replace county and district councils in their area with a single body.

    • graham1946
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      The idea of local councils is to take decisions (where allowed by Westminster) closer to the people. May as well just leave everything to London, just as Jenrick has decided to bin local planning. Is the abolition of the 3 ‘assemblies’ mentioned? Didn’t think so. Minorities terrify national government. This is no more than the usual save a penny and spend a pound instead as we will just get more highly paid politicians who think they are PM.

  25. margaret howard
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink


    ” After a long and lively debate the Scottish people decided by a healthy majority to stay in the UK.”

    As so often in your blog you present only half the story. That referendum was BEFORE the infamous Brexit vote which has changed everything. In the ‘brexit’ referendum Scotland voted overwhelmingly to Remain by 62 to 38, rather more than the ‘healthy majority’ you mention of just 55 to 45 in the ‘Independence’ vote.

    Still, many contributors to your blog seem to prefer to ditch Scotland and go it alone.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      It was also based on a “pledge” which was torn up before the last votes were even counted.

      Had it been honoured, then unanimity of the Nations to leave the European Union would have been needed, and Scotland would have prevented that.

      And the Union would have been safe, and the country united.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        The rules concerning the referendum were clearly set out well before the day of the vote.
        Just more whining from you two.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

          The “Pledge” was instantly dishonoured.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

            Whose pledge – what power did they have to give such a pledge?

          • glen cullen
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

            Pledge made up by media

        • Tabulazero
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          Are you talking about the advisory referendumn that took place in 2016.

          It turns out that advisory does not necessarily mean advisory after all.

          • graham1946
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

            No, the one where the PM promised to implement what we decided and ran away dishonourably.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

            When a PM states that he will honour the result of a Referendum, even though it’s not part of our Constitutional settlement and is therefore advisory, The PM is honour bond to take that advice.
            May did not ‘get’ that!

          • Edward2
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

            Indeed Graham.
            I recall the famous leaflet sent to every home
            This is your decision.
            We will implement what you decide.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        MIC you are living in a dream world if you think staying in the EU would keep the country united. The SNP will never be happy as part of the union and they only get voted on because Westminster concedes to their every whim.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink


          If we English had lost the referendum we would have honoured its result and not walked out on the Union, which is the equivalent of what the SNP wants to do because it lost the referendum instead.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      It is not ditching them, it is letting them go on their own – they never stop whingeing about being so wealthy, wanting powers, refusing that Westminster should be the central government. So be it.
      Just don’t expect ANY sort of support from England – the EU will bust a gut to take them in(?).

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        I’ve been saying this for years and it was Margaret Thatcher who coined the phase ‘self-determination’

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        The Scots expect the English to offer the same terms as we offered the Irish ‘You can have a Republic and retain all the advantages of British citizenship without making any contribution at all.’
        What’s not to like?

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      The time to have objected to the EU referendum and its result was before it took place.

      Placing your ‘X’ on the ballot was also your pledge to uphold the result.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:01 pm | Permalink


    • Sea Warrior
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      And Gibraltar voted ‘Remain’ by an even bigger margin. (99-1, wasn’t it?) And yet they would rather stay British than cut the ties and join the EU in their own right.

  26. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I know you can’t belive the Daily Express, but here are some of its highlites today offerings.

    ‘Mr Barnier explained his efforts to broker a free-trade agreement are on the verge of failure because he cannot convince his opposite number David Frost to move closer to the bloc’s demands for a regulatory level-playing field and access to Britain’s fishing waters for EU vessels.’

    ‘France’s Emmanuel Macron, unwilling to offer serious concessions to Britain.’ What concession?

    The stumbling block, the UK’s red lines. As in the UK hasn’t surrendered its right to be self governing. The UK to date has not surender it right on who should makes laws and rules that govern the UK internally, as yet it has not surrender its rights to the EU for the control UK fishing waters. The EU says it won’t talk about a future trade until the UK conceeds to EU Governance, Laws and Courts.

    If that is really the criteria for talks why are they even taking place.

    But, with the flip-flopping of this Government we should all be concerned.

    The soundbite attitude by the EU negotiating team just goes to show how divisive the Worlds Political Class is in blustering their own personal ego. You could reason the Worlds problems all stem from this authoritarian attitude of a few and their disdain for permitting any form of democracy and freedom.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      What did it say about the weather?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        Rough on the Continent for the foreseeable.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 29, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        It said ‘those in the EU that used to live on the sunny uplands have been having a rough stormy season that now appears to be lasting a lifetime’.

  27. jerry
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    OT; So now we have the results of the research into how likely children are to be hospitalised, even die, due to having being infected with Covod-19 can we also have the results of the research into how easy/difficult it is for children to become infected with the virus, and once infected how contagious children are, how likely they are to pass it on to adults (of various age groups, 18-30, 30-50, 50-70, over 70s), and the hospitalisation and mortality rates of those adult groups so infected…

    With schools returning, a single family group could now be within several bubbles, not all complimentary to each other. An average family of 2+2 were both parents usually work will have (1) their own family bubble, (2) the fathers work bubble, (3) the mothers work bubble, (4) the elder child’s school bubble, (5) the younger child’s junior school bubble, and (6) should after school child minding be required – and this assumes the family remains at home when not at work/school and dose not frequent any social hospitality or leisure bubbles! That is SIX separate bubbles, and of course each and every child creates an age group/form bubble (twins could even be in different bubbles), so increase the above total by each additional child. Infection within any single bubble could result in one or all of the other bubbles becoming infected.

    Another govt fail, why is it safe for someone to return in the next 20 hours from Switzerland, that they do not need to self isolate for 14 days, but like magic if they set land in the UK after 4am tomorrow they become a public health risk – when a travel corridor shuts it should slam shut as soon as the announcement is made!

    This govt has not though the issue through, if they have they are taking a very worrying Trump like attitude – as might be said in times of US elections, It’s the economy virus stupid!…

  28. Alison
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    There needs to be an audit of monies passed from Westminister to Scotland, in particular the money for specific purposes, via the SNP Scottish government. From the evidence in the public domain that I’ve seen, it is unclear that all of is going where it should. This has been worrying many for a long time now. Examples that spring to mind are £89m for Police Scotland, but £32m passed on. £74m for emergency funding for Scottish Arts – has some £4m actually been paid out?

  29. William Long
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    It was of course the EU’s agenda to divide its member states into regions to dilute their national identities and they had an easy ride here with a ‘Union’ that was already falling appart.
    At the moment as you say, our Union is unbalanced with three out of its four constituents having devolved Governments, and one lacking it. I can see no sign whatsoever though, of the existing Government doing anything to change this,with the probable result that England will be only to happy to see Scotland drift away. I cannot see how it is in England’s interests for Scotland to stay if it does not want to.

  30. Newmania
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    A Vote Brexit was a vote to be poorer weaker ; generally sillier,and a decision to prioritise ethnic purity above prosperity services and security . It was also, as its yipping acolytes were endlessly warned, a risk to the Union, and so it has come to pass
    The Uk will now fragment, and few tears will be shed by the English Nationalists under whose heel we live. The deeper problem is that remainers , natural Unionists , will not be able to oppose Scottish Nationalist objections to the Brexit Party as,we feel much the same way.
    Without a friend left either side of the border , the Union would be better off put out of its misery. Northern Ireland has already been thrown in the sea by the Brexit Party for its own reasons .Sad really

    When I scrape around for any way in which things could be worse I am down to being thankful we are not at war …

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      We are at war.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Lynn.

        Of course we are dear.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          Is there no end to your lack of political correctness.
          First you use a dreadful comment aimed at me joking about the serious subject of mental health now here you use a sexist comment towards Lynn.
          Shame on you again.

          • Anonymous
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 3:33 am | Permalink

            I’ve a feeling that Martin and I would get along absolutely fine if we met each other not knowing who each other was.

            His comments often make me snigger like a schoolboy.

  31. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    It might suit our host to deflect the majority of responsibility for the ignoring of England and the people of England to the EU’s desk, but that is just dishonest.

    If the Tory party, of which Sir John is a senior member and diehard supporter, cared about England and English sovereignty and identity we would not be in today’s position. As I said yesterday Tories are appeasers, and this time preservation of the UK union is high on the list to be saved. If that means sacrificing and stripping out our wealth to give to Scotland then that is what they will do. They will also bend the knee to the Queen.

    It all amounts to ‘to Hell with England’. We must have change. We must have a true English parliament and as far as I am concerned if that means ending the union to achieve it, then end the union and quickly. After all what good does it do us. It is a romantic and economic union which has run its course.

    • acorn
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU. Socio-economically that is far more important to their respective citizens than some “union” that never has been anything of the sort.

      England and Wales voted to leave the EU and that decision should be honoured. The Withdrawal Agreement Northern Ireland protocol has put the EU frontier in the Irish Sea, around a defacto reunited Ireland (the Irish lobby in the US Congress will love that). Another frontier will be required between Carlisle and Berwick upon Tweed. Assuming that Cumbria and Northumberland don’t vote to become Scottish and take advantage of remaining in the EU.

      England and Wales could then leave the EU. But; I would suggest the previous nine government regional offices in England are resurrected with each of those regions gets a democratic management system the same as Wales currently has. Plus, each region should have its own sovereign tax base of at least 25%, possibly 30%, of the national tax yield that Westminster nor Whitehall could touch. 😉

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. I used to want equality for England within the union but as John’s party aren’t interested, I just wish Scotland would have the courage to vote for independence. They won’t of course. They know they couldn’t survive without the largesse of the English taxpayer courtesy of successive anti-English UK Governments who care nought about England except to see it as a cash cow for the benefit of everywhere else except England. I wish they wouldn’t keep grovelling on our behalf begging the Scots to remain. But they do because yet again, they couldn’t care less about what we English want, all they care about is maintaining their precious so called union.

  32. Jack Falstaff
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Well let’s just call it what it was.
    Theresa May is in great part the answer to the question posed in today’s heading.
    She sought a “Britain that works for everyone” and from then on every single thing she did appeared, either by dark design or sheer ineptitude, to have the reverse effect.
    A true Tory working in her country’s best interests she was most definitely not.
    Had she carried on, I even think there would have been grounds for an enquiry as to whom she was really working for.

    • DavidJ
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. The jury is still out on Boris…

      • Tabulazero
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        Highest excess mortality in Europe says it all.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      She wanted it to ‘work for the Germans too’ … they are included in ‘everybody’.

  33. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    1. Nicola Sturgeon betrayed Alex Salmond and now that will come back to bite her. She is a one trick pony too – the economy, the government departments and the Scottish NHS and Universities are all suffering. Oil? Erm… The Conservatives are on the mend up there too…
    2. Northern Ireland will not be cut off from us. But they risk being cut off from Eire. Why? The EU depends on quality checks at the source and these will not be recognised in Northern Ireland if we have a clean break on January 1st.
    3. We are far too London centred aqt the moment and this needs to be addressed. The LIb Dems show what happens when the clever clogs take over. Wokeness personified…

  34. A.Sedgwick
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    £2000 extra per Scottish resident through Barnet, who could not believe how the temporary measure had run away beyond his intentions. End the bribery it isn’t working. Let Sturgeon get Brussels to guarantee this subsidy. Gloves need to be taken off when dealing with her. Salmond got lucky in losing the referendum, a yes vote would have been a catastrophe for the average Scottish resident.

    No apologies for again saying that leaving England out of devolution set up the likely demise of the UK. The structure is totally flawed and again the HoL is beyond parody. My respect for the 66 year old Alistair Darling increased when he quit the silver service club, but only to be substituted with an 80 year old.

    For the UK to survive is has to be a full federal system, which means PR voting, a senate and an English Parliament. We ain’t going to muddle through, the EU is a ruthless clique, not unlike the Soviet Union, that has encouraged division whenever it could as you rightly highlight..

    • Mark B
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      I agree.

      • JoolsB
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        So do I. Well said A. Sedgwick. Unfortunately John’s party aren’t interested in what England wants.

  35. Rhoddas
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Talking about goodwill Sir J, I am very concerned about the state of the rental housing market.. Landlords could be left without any rental income for two years due to the Government’s eviction ban potentially costing property investors more than £20,000 each (Source NRLA).

    Opportunistic tenants will see an easy way of avoiding rent for years without comeback (guarenteed thanks to this left-wing decision) and just enjoy spending rental monies on enjoying life more. All the time the landlords move into debt and where mortgaged, thus become the problems of the lenders too.

    Perhaps a U-turn is necessary to make the balance between tenant & landlord fairer?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Indeed it is absurd. Landlord are expected to borrow more so that tenants can not pay rent. Many will never recover this rent from Tenants. Plus thank to the appalling Osborne landlords are already tax on profits they have not even made (as they unlike everyone other business cannot deduct interest costs) then again on gains at 28% that are not real gains at all. The government are just stealing off them. It is not sustainable they are an important part of the economy and needed for job mobility. This especially given the absurd stamp duty levels we now have.

      • ChrisS
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Well put, Lifelogic !

        How can successive so-called Conservative Chancellors so aggressively and deliberately decided to attack and damage a sector of the economy as conservative as the private rental sector ?

        It is hard to imagine a Labour administration considering doing more damage to every facet of the private rented sector than the Cameron and May administrations.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

          Also pushing the landlord licencing on to properties and not just ones with shared facilities now either. Another expensive and pointless parasitic job creation scheme. The bill for which is picked up by landlords and thus tenants.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink


    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Maybe the odd landlord might actually have to work for a living – horror of horrors.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        What on earth do you think landlords do? Houses do not find and maintain themselves, mortgages have to be paid, extensions built, boiler checked, tenants chased up for late rents, loads of government red tape, new properties found, tenants found, insurance to be organised and millions of other things too. Properties to be repaired after being wrecked by some tenants.

        Similar to renting out cars, vans boats, plant or running a hotel or any other business.

        Many sensible landlords are getting out of it now as not really worth it and the government and the courts are clearly now their enemy and effectively thieve off them.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          Plus unless this government get their act together we will have Labour in in four year who will be even worse and even more immoral in this respect. As we saw with Miliband and his I will be a landlord thief Tomb Stone.

      • ChrisS
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        A typical comment from you, MiC

        If, like me, you were a professional landlord, you would know that you just don’t sit back and take the money. Running a number of tenanted properties produces constant maintenance issues and changes of tenant with little notice given. Thanks to governments of all persuasions, a lot of paperwork in now generated for which we can no longer charge tenants any fee. We are also running the only kind of business in the UK where a Conservative government decided that legitimate financing costs (ie mortgage interest) cannot be offset against income.

        • margaret howard
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink


          Makes one wonder why so many of you go on choosing to do it!

          What you fail to mention is that the REAL reason most of you buy these properties in the first place is that you hope to make a huge profit after a few years of ownership. The money you make while waiting is just a nice little earner to stop you having to do some REAL work for a living.

          Beats having to get out of bed and commuting like the rest of the population.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

            Ever heard of CGT dear?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

            It is instead of a pension.
            Which Brown wrecked.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        I know someone who has built up about 15 properties over the last few years.
        They were bought one by one at auctions in a dreadful derelict state.
        He and some of his relatives did all the refurbishment work and renovated them back into family homes.
        He is a very hard working man out in all weathers working on the next project.
        Creating good places to live whilst the local council, local churches and trade unions do nothing.
        Despite these groups having loads of money.

        • a-tracy
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

          Good point Edward, how is a Landlord such as the one you mentioned any different from a housing association whose chief and employees gets rewarded at magnificent sums with public sector type pensions and ‘best employer in the U.K.’ awards – even though the properties they manage are often in a poor state, the estates grubby and run down, litter everywhere and overgrown, paint peeling, window frames rotting, they look after themselves certainly but they look after their tenants no better than private landlords, in London some of these estates are just dreadful, considering the value and location of the properties, the land around them, the parkland that goes to waste, they should be investing more in their tenants and the local area then themselves.

      • Peter Cousins
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        In my Company we have one tenant who has gleefully told us he cannot be evicted for ages. He is putting his monthly rent money into a deposit account and will be able to pay six months up front to a new landlord and still have lots left when we eventually get rid of him. Chances are we will struggle to sue him so a free ride from this Government.
        I fully understand the suspension of eviction reasoning, but this has become one sided with three months notice from when the process starts again and the protracted time to get to court.
        In fairness, most of our tenants are co-operating with us and we are sharing the pain, just a few mickey takers.

        • a-tracy
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          Why would you struggle to sue him Peter, can’t you use the small claim courts?

          • peter
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 5:50 am | Permalink

            requires finding him. Most don’t register with local authorities or have credit cards!

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 29, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

          …and when you get the Court Order, there is no money …

          • peter
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

            exactly – or 50p per week!

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        Obviously you have never owned or run a property company. Live off the taxpayer Martin? On a pension? Phew – don’t tell Andy!

        • margaret howard
          Posted August 29, 2020 at 12:31 am | Permalink


          Well it obviously leaves you plenty of time for your non stop contributions to this blog.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

            Margaret I spend 8 hours every day on politics, researching, organising meetings, lobbying, electioneering…. have done, unpaid, for 37 years now.
            I work full time as well. I seem to manage good productivity working from home.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      +1 on stilts!

  36. glen cullen
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I would suggest that it’s the Tory MPs inaction, which is dividing us

    Complacency and appeasement spring to mind

    • Fred H
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink


  37. Andy
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    If I lived in Scotland I would not have voted for independence in 2014 but would vote for it in the upcoming referendum. Yes, I know Johnson has said there will not be one – but, frankly, the Tories have so little support in Scotland there is nothing they can do to stop it.

    It would obviously be better to do these things cooperatively but Scotland should just declare independence if the English Tories block freedom.

    Scotland’s future as a modern European nation lies with the EU – which it will eventually rejoin. As will Northern Ireland when it reunites with the Republic.

    Sturgeon has had a good pandemic. She is a class act – and although the Scottish government has made mistake, care homes for example, her class leadership has starkly contrasted with the failings of the bumbling fool in Number 10.

    Everyday he’s in power is a nail in the coffin of the United Kingdom.

    Just when you thought mutant algorithms was his low point he finds another gutter to inhabit. Awful.

    Scottish nationalism is about pride in Scotland. English nationalism is about hatred of everyone else. And that’s why the Scot nats will soon succeed and why the Faragists never will.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      So you would want to be out of both the EU Market and the U.K. Market? Not the sharpest knife in the box are you?

  38. JimS
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    A better question might be ‘who is trying to unite the union?’

    I am not the only one fed up that so-called Conservatives constantly retreat on the battleground of the enemies choosing – “We are Left too, just not quite so much, please don’t attack us”.

    A good start would be to rid the statute book of everything Tony Blair put his hands on.

    • DavidJ
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      A good start indeed.

  39. Norman
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    The dark forces set on dismantling the Anglosphere know what they are doing.
    ‘Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no Physician there?
    Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?’ Cf. Jeremiah 8:22

    • agricola
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      They would first dismantle the UK to the point that the Anglosphere no longer want us.

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      You may have something there

      I don’t believe it to be by design or order but rather by inaction; remember that evil will prosper when good people do nothing

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 29, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

        By design! Long planned.

  40. BW
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    There are many things dividing this country. Politicians and their inaction being uppermost. Illegals immigrants. Enter the country illegally. And when the Home Sec tries to get rid of them there is always a last ditch legal challenge. So we have a 80 seat Majority. Change the law. Stop the gravy train for the lawyers for which very angry people in the country are paying for. Change the law so the Home Sec can deport those that have fled a friendly country are called what they are illegal economic migrants. Under the last government the remainers seemed to be able to change the law in 24 hours. Why with an 80 seat majority are our government so frightened to upset the mob that is dictating policy as we go along.

    • Excalibur
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Salient points, BW.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 29, 2020 at 3:36 am | Permalink

      … Four star hotels will not be tolerated for queue jumpers when taxpayers are being made homeless soon.

    • anon
      Posted August 29, 2020 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      Again it is those who are providing services (paid by taxpayers) to the illegal immigrants that are likely more than not to be advocating the continuation of the system.
      The taxpayer/voter is not represented here, they have caught out by laws passed by those in power over years, which mean they pay with no say.

  41. agricola
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    The lack of an English Parliament is highlighted by some today. What is not mentioned is the lack of balance beween the devolved nations in their representation at Westminster.
    England has a constituency size requiring on average 72,200 electors.
    Scotland 67,200
    Wales 56,000
    NI 63,000

    So before we even start, the Westminster Parliament is numerically stacked against the interests of the English. All of the devolved nations send more MPs to Westminster than an equable idea of political representation should allow. Put another way, the setup at Westminster stinks of wheeling and dealing as does the Barnett formula of payola. A formula for balancing the national income in Scotland with that of England. Even Joel Barnett declared it unfit for purpose.

    Finally I question again why we need all these talking heads. 250 is more than enough for circa 68 million people. The same number the USA have for 380 million people. Pay them well and ensure their talents would earn them a similar amount or more in the real world. We need above all the engineering and scientifically literate who know how to turn sixpence into a pound. Then there is the HoL, 100 maximum of retired expertise just to ensure we do not repeat the failings of history.

    Devolved members of the HoC would be asked not paticipate when English matters were being decided. Just as we the English do not participate in devolved parliaments. Discuss.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      The constituencies must be of equal size or we do not have a democracy we can trust.

  42. ChrisS
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Blair is responsible for the present impasse over Scottish independence. History shows us that if you grant any kind of devolution, all it does is promote demand for more. Eventually, you get to the situation we are in viz a viz Scotland today.

    Whatever the government says, it will be impossible for Westminster to resist the demands for a second referendum in Scotland after the next Holyrood elections if, as seems likely, the SNP steamroller continues towards an overwhelming majority.

    In the meantime, Westminster politicians of every party have been running so scared of the Nationalists that they have completely failed to get to grips with the disaster that is the Scottish economy. Their only solution has been to maintain the Barnett formula, despite its late author saying it was out of date and was never intended to last more than 18 months.

    The result has been gross inefficiency, ridiculous over-spending by the SNP on benefits not available in England, yet all paid for by English taxpayers who have no say in what Sturgeon does with £15bn of our money.

    English voters fail to understand what a rich and successful economy England has : Pre-Covid we have almost no deficit at all because the headline deficit figure is made up almost entirely from the huge sums we pay out to subsidise the failed economies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Island. This totals more than £39bn per annum.

    In per capita terms the differences are really stark :

    Deficits per head of population :

    English current account deficit : £ 218 per person
    Northern Island : £ 5,089
    Wales : £ 4,275
    Scotland : £ 2,863

    England and Wales are clearly recognised as one unit however Scotland and NI are increasingly wanting more freedom and political control. That is fine, and I’m sure that few English taxpayers would mind if there was a United Ireland and an independent Scotland, given the £25bn they cost us every year. Whether Eire, given the option, would want to take on NI, or could even afford to, is another matter. I doubt whether German taxpayers would want to pay for another lame duck in the EU !

    As for Scotland, if the SNP can convince Scottish voters to back independence, they should leave and relieve us of the burden. Whatever the outcome of the inevitable second referendum, Westminster should grant Scotland complete fiscal control on condition that
    Holyrood raises all the money it spends inside Scotland.

    Only then will the hard-working English taxpayer see the benefit of our economic success.

  43. Tabulazero
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Knowing that the UK’s initial approach to the trade negotiations was to divide the EU and play one member states against the other, your tirade against the EU is particularly funny.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      That is just nonsense.
      ThecUK offered a tree trde agreement to the EU chiefs but they are out to show member states that you get punished if you dare to try to leave.
      Approaching Germany and France to try to get a deal done is a very sensible way to get the unelected EU chiefs to see sense.

      • Tabulazero
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        This approach has already been tried numerous time under Theresa May and failed everytime.

        Do you draw any lesson from this ?

        • Edward2
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

          She didn’t have any real enthusiasm for a free trade deal.
          She was a remainer like you.
          Do you draw any lessons from this?

          • Tabulazero
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 12:02 am | Permalink

            Yes. I draw the lesson that your ideology prevents you from learning from your mistakes.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

            My ideology?
            Teresa May said she wanted the UK to leave the EU when she became PM
            Then she did the opposite.
            I didn’t vote for her.
            I have no lesson to learn from her.

      • Happy
        Posted August 29, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        We voted to leave – we did not vote to do another deal with them

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      There were, of course, no instances of Barnier receiving missions from those seeking to derail Brexit. Were there?

      • Tabulazero
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Barnier received his brief from the 27 head of states representing the constituent member states of the EU.

        He ultimately reports to them.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

          Nonsense he is appointed by the Commission
          He answers to them.

    • agricola
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      The UK, May, Civil Service approach was, “You EU make the running, tell us what you want and we will lie through our teeth for as long as possible to ensure that the umbelical EU-UK exists when we claim to have left you”. And boy oh boy didn’t she just.

      This, May and the Civil Service did, but thanks to media scrutiny, the ERG, and numerous ministerial resignations, the big lie became untenable. The UK electorate emphasised their position with the aid of Nigel Farage and the EU election. We all now await confirmation that Boris meant what he said when trusted with power at the last election. Tabulazero, you will have to wait a hundred years to rewrite the history of our EU departure.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      EU state etc under the illusion they could conclude a trade agreement with us unilaterally. They have all learned something of what they have signed up to!

      • Tabulazero
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        For the record, you are mistaking member states and David Davis who famously predicted during the referendum campaign that Britain would negotiate individual trade deals with other EU countries.

        Has it happened?


        • Edward2
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

          As you well know the UK cannot negotiate trade deals with European nations until after it has left the EU.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

            EU members have lost the ‘competence’ – remember the acquisition communataire? The EU oligarchy has that competence now.
            Portugal were shocked!

          • Tabulazero
            Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

            Since it takes two to tango, the UK will not be able to strike trade deals with member states after it leaves the EU.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

            Japan didn’t have a trade deal with the EU until recently.
            Notice any shortages of Japanese goods in UK and Europe over the last 50 years?

          • Tabulazero
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

            Notice the large car manufacturing plants the Japanese car manufacturers had to build over the years in the UK to service the European market.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

            You talk only of cars.
            And that was only a decision to do with the ease of logistics.
            They felt worldwide production plants would anchor them into their major markets.
            It is trend for German and UK car companies too.

            Japan sold hundreds of billions of yens worth of different products in the many decades before this fabled trade deal was signed.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        The European Union could.

        It would just lay down the terms, and the UK could either carry on under them or blockade itself.

        Interesting – it would get Johnson off the hook, wouldn’t it?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

          😂😂 blockade itself when we simply continue trading under WTO and gain £13 Billion pa from the EU for access to our market!

        • Edward2
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

          Why would the UK (or the EU) blockade itself?
          You are being all silly again

  44. Peter Parsons
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    One of the arguments put forward for voting No to independence, including by some Conservative MPs, was that it was the best chance Scottish voters had of remaining within the EU.

    How exactly has that worked out for them?

    • formula57
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Was it not reasonable to suppose when offered that it was the best chance?

      Life is, however, full of surprises. Most Scots would know that, I expect.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        Maybe it was, but now it has proved to be a false promise, is it not reasonable if some Scots wish to re-visit the question?

        • dixie
          Posted August 29, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

          It wasn’t a promise.

  45. Everhopeful
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    All agents of the Left wing are desperate to break up the Union.
    The EU has always wanted to dismantle nation states…regional assemblies, London assembly etc. They were planning to have them everywhere! ( Prescott got his fingers burned when the leaden proletariat realised that all assemblies meant was another expensive layer of govt. and more politicians).
    It was a route map to achieving a federal Europe.
    They even wanted to make the south east corner of England part of France!!!

  46. BJC
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    This country has had its confidence severely knocked over the last 40+ years. Like an abused partner, successive governments have bowed to the EU’s will and told what they can and cannot do and how they should do it, with threatened and actual punishment if they should fail. Instead of challenging the bullying EU, we’ve slowly been ground down and succumbed to demands that others treat with contempt and our vibrancy has been dimmed by self-doubt. Our lives have become a drudge dictated by the powerful, greedy and dissatisfied. It doesn’t help that the Brexit “negotiations” have been designed to ensure we’re doing little but tread water.

    The government needs to rise to these challenges in key areas by presenting a strong, inclusive vision of a future that will bind us together, and refuse to pander to the divisive and emotional blackmail of the Left. The likes of the SNP, BBC, unions, XR, BLM, etc are supremely clever at the black art of propaganda and in conflating issues solely to force the government to waste time and energy chasing its tail. In reality, it’s the raison d’etre of the Left to divide us, but it’s the timidity of government itself that has triggered the surrender of its precious powers to these well organised single-purpose groups that now infiltrate every aspect of our lives, so it’s incumbent on the government to rediscover the confidence in its own abilities to Take Back Control.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 29, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      well said!

  47. DavidJ
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    The first step in fighting back against those who wish to break up the UK must be the reversal of Blair’s devolution, which was surely intended to suit Brussels, with the intent of a total breakup.

    Let’s keep the UK the United Kingdom, hopefully free from the incessant whinging of Sturgeon.

    • ChrisS
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Sadly, we cannot put the Holyrood Genie back into the bottle even if we wanted to.

      As a result of Blair’s devolution, spending in Scotland is out of control and all Westminster seems to want to do is keep allowing Sturgeon to put her hands into English taxpayer’s pockets to pay for it all, in a hopelessly ambitious attempt to try to avoid upsetting the SNP.

      As well as an unhealthy degree of contempt for English taxpayers, Sturgeon is laughing at us.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink


  48. Andy
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    There’s an interesting YouGov poll today about returning to offices – which coincides with the demand of ‘senior Tories’ that we all head back. (Senior Tories is basically newspaper speak for Iain Duncan Smith and a small group of malcontents associated with him
    by the way).

    Anyway the ‘senior Tories’ have warned that workers at home are more likely to get their P45s. Of course there is no actual evidence for this but it is a theory – but then so was Universal Credit and Brexit and they’ve not exactly turned out as ‘senior Tories’ proposed.

    The YouGov research shows a majority in every working-age age group favours workers continuing to work at home. Only amongst over 65 – mostly retired people – does the largest number favour a return to offices. So people who can mostly sit at home watching Countdown in the safety of their own homes think it is okay for everyone else to take the risk and return to the office.

    The Baby Boomers really do not get it. Hard rain is coming.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      For every one worker from home there is a p45 in the post to a young person who supplied the City.

      (I’ve been a key worker throughout lockdown btw.)

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        Where an employee works is between the employer and employee. It’s got nothing to do with the government. Yes, if people work from home more it will impact some in city centres, but it will also open up other opportunities elsewhere, such as local parades and high streets, and if people aren’t spending money commuting, then that money can be spent elsewhere in the economy.

        • a-tracy
          Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

          Most of the people I know ‘working’ from home Peter are in the public sector. That actually has a lot to do with government as they work for them or in jobs ex-government offices that are now ‘private’.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 29, 2020 at 3:41 am | Permalink

          It is when the government is providing furlough (directly or indirectly) to keep the whole going !

          5 million unemployed to support soon. Those railway infrastructure costs and lease agreements will still have to be paid for – they don’t just suddenly disappear.

          Mr Smug@Home is going to have a horrendous tax bill to pay soon.

          Then there are the social and political upheavals of this (don’t forget) unprecedented economic catastrophe.

          • a-tracy
            Posted August 29, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

            If you want to see what happens to a town when the offices empty check out Altrincham in Cheshire once a vibrant, thriving busy Town full of workers shopping on their lunch break, full car parks, bustling restaurants, department stores, now its just used to get into Manchester but now people dont even need to get into Manchester the trade will reduce further.

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted August 29, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        @Andy: Please do allow some exceptions Andy. As a babyboomer and previous international employee I already worked from home >90% during the nineties, we called it “teleworking”. Communication with e.g. a British collegue had to be done by telephone and fax.
        I smile that younger people (including my children) have now discovered and experienced the benefits of working from home. Obviously, they will continue to do that, when their jobs allow for it. Over here, it is stimulated by employers and the digital infrastructuer more than allows for it as well.

    • ukretired123
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Hard rain is coming?
      Just get used to it Andy like we had to roll with it – it’s water not a problem unless a snowflake.

    • agricola
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Sorry Duncan not Douglas.

  49. JoolsB
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    With respect, no-one is doing greater harm to this so called union than the politicians and the Tories in particular who have been in power now for 10 years. The English were put at a great disadvantage in the late 90s both politically and financially when Labour, for reasons of pure self interest thinking they were creating their own little Labour fiefdoms, gave Scotland, Wales & NI their own self determining legislatures but deliberately left England out In order to carry on using their Scots & Welsh MPs to keep them in power in Tory voting England. And what have the Tories done since they have been in power to address this democratic deficit, this affront to democracy? Absolutely zilch.

    People I talk to are now waking up to the rotten deal England gets from this so called union and which this Government just like the one before it chooses to ignore. They are asking why when England is the only net contributor to the UK coffers, is it only our kids being clobbered with £9,250 tuition fees, why only our sick have to pay £9 a pop for their sometimes lifesaving medication and why is it only England where social care is in crisis.

    My Tory MP is a joke. When questioned on this by me, his response was ‘yes and we’re paying for it’ but has absolutely no intention of sticking up for his English constituents as NONE of your peers have. He tried to fob me off with the toothless sop which is EVEL and an insult to every man, woman & child in England such is the contempt he and your colleagues hold us in. Even you John, who I have much respect for, purports to speak for England but does not back equality, i.e. an English Parliament or equal funding. Only the two hatted approach which is not good enough. As your Government have given more and more powers to the devolved nations and Boris promises even more, it will not wash that the UK Government can carry on acting as an English Parliament too. Nor will it stop a Tory voting England having a Labour/SNP Government foist on it against it’s will.

    The ‘pandemic’ has opened many peoples’ eyes to the way England is governed compared to the devolved nations. Even though you all do your hardest to avoid saying the word England, it is becoming blatantly clear that only England had to abide by the UK Governments’ rules and the rest do what they want with the help of English taxpayers’ money..

    If you want to avoid your beloved so called United Kingdom from splitting up then you and your colleagues need to recognise that England must be given equal status and we become a federal UK. Either that or end devolved assemblies/Governments. I know 650 self serving MPs refuse to acknowledge there is a problem because the obvious result would be a dilution of their powers and a massive cull in their numbers. So they carry on ignoring the rotten deal England’s young, sick and elderly get but one thing is for sure John, the lion is beginning to roar and the status quo is no longer an option. Nor will they thank a Tory Government for continuing to sit back and do absolutely nothing about the rotten deal England still continues to get from a party that would not exist if not for them.

  50. John
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Tory government after Tory government has denied a voice for England and to this day refuses to give us representation in this union. I served in the British army but would not lift a finger in defence of it now.
    England demands recognition.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Good man. We need more like you.

  51. Tabulazero
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    The best way to fight the break-up of the United Kingdom is proportional representation.

    Moderates voters in Scotland or Ulster have no say in or sway over the policies of the current British government which is itself in thrall to Brexit extremists.

    Hence the appeal of the nationalist vote.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      You are devious. You hope that the extremists will hold the balance of power. If Democracy does not deliver what the biggest majority want, they will get it by other means.
      Your choice!

      • Tabulazero
        Posted August 29, 2020 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

        I guess compromise is not a word that is part of your vocabulary

  52. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    But nothing has happened in that regard. Infact the UK Governement is actively following Scotland in its Coronavirus measures, and is likely to concede to Scottish demands for either keeping us tied to the EU or anothger referendum.

    The question is- where does this lead the majority UK vote in England?

    • zorro
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      Vote Tory get SNP!


  53. BillM
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    I do believe it was the late Robin Cook once Labour Foreign Minister who once stated there was no country called England. We, in the UK, were either Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish or British.
    Statistically in England, the population numbers 56 Millions of a UK total population of 66.27 Millions (2018). So, 85% of the UK population are not English but British?

  54. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    The Leave vote was produced by the efforts of the very core of the British Establishment, and over many years.

    Seeing people in public office on your TV now and then might make them part of the media establishment, but that is a completely different thing, a mere metaphor.

    • UKQanon
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      Your understanding of British Establishment and mine are worlds apart.

      I have not had a TV for eight years and it is the best decision I ever made.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      The entire media and ‘creative’ industries were entirely pro-EU.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      The UK establishment is a remain club.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 29, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      Martin, ‘the very core of British establishment’? Who exactly is in this core you speak of. Most of the British establishment were and are ‘remain in the EU’ and they still wish to deceive the public.

      The British establishment went behind the peoples backs into secret little meeting rooms to sign agreements such as the Lisbon Treaty without a word. It was never explained what they were signing up to in the Maastricht Treaty or the Lisbon Treaty with the UK public and this was part of the problem and left a vacuum.

  55. glen cullen
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Reported in Express today – Brexit U-turn: How Gove’s proposal ‘keeps Britain subject to EU rules’

    That will divide the country more than a UK split

  56. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    @Longinus: Not having an “England entity” ( like a e.g. devolved England parliament?) is a purely national issue, the EU couldn’t be less interested!

    These regions exist all over the EU, and e.g. in my country, the Netherlands, they have no effect at all on our national identity!

    It shows the usual attempt to blame the EU for anything and everything! It is really time you went and become the country that can no longer use the EU as its scapegoat for everything. Little doubt you will keep on trying though.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Pieter the EU will not be around much longer for anybody to blame it for anything apart from the devastation and ruin of the European Peoples – for the 3rd time in just over a century. This blind obdurate demand for position of overlord of the entire continent an then the world. No capacity to learn demonstrates the idiocy of the eletists.
      Nuts in May (as we say in the north).

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 29, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

        @Lynn Atkinson:
        Your faith in the end of the EU sounds familiar to me, having read it for decades in British eurosceptic sources. Why does it never come to pass I wonder.

  57. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 9:30 pm | Permalink


  58. a-tracy
    Posted August 28, 2020 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    “The UK always made clear to the Republic of Ireland that they could keep the Common travel area with us when we left the EU” – why did you? Does it work both ways? What benefit is this for the average UK resident?

    When Southern Ireland gained Independence from the United Kingdom what did they lose? All of this support they are said to have from America with leverage against the UK? English/American descendants are by far the biggest group in America? What is this power play here?

    What is stopping your government looking out for Englands fair rights/fair share John? WHAT? Or Who?

    Why are only English grads paying 9% graduate tax, why are Scottish, Welsh and Irish grads not paying it? What extra tax do they pay to cover this expense?

    You have a sizeable majority, we’ve seen laws change quickly what is stopping your party creating laws to enable you to keep your manifesto pledges? What is stopping you precisely from sending illegal channel crossers back to France we are still in the transition period?

    Why were Ex-MPs that voted against the previous manifesto promises given positions in the Lords with big rewards for dishonouring your voter bases X? As Martin and others keep pointing out, you do have the power. 80 is a big majority. Show us the true colours of our Conservative MPs so we can see what support we English electors have from them please.

    We’re just all getting sick of the excuses, inaction and attempts to pass the buck.

    • Ed M
      Posted August 29, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink


      ‘What benefit is this for the average UK resident’

      – We must be patriots and history is part of patriotism and who we are.

      The Duke of Wellington and Edmund Burke were both Irish but of course both unionists as well and loyal to The Crown. Many Irishman – Catholic and Protestant – died under The Duke of Wellington at The Battle of Waterloo.

      But links with Ireland go much deeper than than Wellington and Waterloo – for unfortunate reasons but also for good ones too from both the distant past and from the more recent – but Wellington and Waterloo sum up how interlinked the people from these islands really are – including with the Irish overall.

      • Ed M
        Posted August 29, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        Edmund Burke (and Wellington / Oscar Wilde / WB Yeats) is my protege – mixed Catholic / Protestant background with both English / Irish / Angl0/Irish blood – but Conservative, Unionist and loyal to The Crown.

  59. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 29, 2020 at 1:21 am | Permalink

    The EU wants do side-line nation states and promote smaller, regional units for local government, akin to the German Leander. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are about the right size but England would need to be broken up into regions (Edward Heath and John Prescott have both attempted regionalisation).

    Luckily we about to say goodbye to such nonsense. We will be able to defend our fishing waters with patrol boats and maybe the odd warship. We might consider withdrawing our recognition of the European Commission. If it isn’t prepared to negotiate in a reasonable manner, what use is it to us?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 29, 2020 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      +1 withdrawing recognition of the EU Commisssion means not recognising the EU. Now there’s a thought! After all they don’t have a place at the UN table and we now do (legally).

      • bill brown
        Posted August 29, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        Lynn Atkinson

        And you think that would make any difference, nonsense

    • bill brown
      Posted August 29, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Lindsay Macdougall,

      You are making these statements with out any quotes or sources a bit like your friend Lynn Atkinson on whatever obejctives the EU has for the UK. Without sources or quotes it is very difficult to take any of your contributions particularly seriously or more than just individual presumptions with no link to reality.

  60. bill brown
    Posted August 29, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Lindsay Macdougall,

    You are making these statements with out any quotes or sources a bit like your friend Lynn Atkinson on whatever obejctives the EU has for the UK. Without sources or quotes it is very difficult to take any of your contributions particularly seriously or more than just individual presumptions with no link to reality.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 29, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      People are entitled to their opinions bill.
      This isn’t a University essay site where Harvard referencing are required.
      You obsessional demands for links and references is tedious.

      • hefner
        Posted August 30, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        ‘People are entitled to their opinions’. Indeed they are, and similarly people should be entitled to say that those here who ‘discuss’ in an adversarial way all opinions simply based on who might originally have written them without any semblance of understanding what could have been the point in those, should be taken for what they are, ridicule Aeolus-like characters who let their goatskins full of wind bring a bit of rancid air on these pages.

        Ooh how I like this Odyssean-tinted remark! Well done hef. (Just to save you E2 some efforts at writing something intelligent).

        • Edward2
          Posted September 1, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

          You are so aggressive hef.
          But please carry on demonstrating your superiority and huge intelligence for us all to enjoy.

          • bill brown
            Posted September 1, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

            Edward 2

            This is not something you will be able to do unfortunately<

      • bill brown
        Posted August 31, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

        Edward 2

        an your obsessive interference is a real pain, have you got no better to do?

        • Edward2
          Posted September 1, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

          I shall carry on making comments I feel are appropriate bill, just like you do.
          With the allowance of our kind host.

          Freedom of speech.
          Different opinions.
          It is what democratic debate is all about.

  61. Stred
    Posted August 30, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Another subsidy to Scotland from England is through electricity prices paid by 95% of the rest of the UK. The Scottish government has decided to power their country with 100% renewables by this year and currently has enough wind generation for two Scotlands. They also encourage solar though the amount available is meagre in the North. Their coal powered station was closed and the remaining nuclear stations will close in a few years. They have one small gas power station.
    As wind supplies two thirds of their renewables and onl works for less than half of the time, Scotland relies on the English grid to keep it going but this is mainly gas and nuclear power which is currently costing a third of the guaranteed price going to the wind generators which are increasingly offshore. Electricity prices have risen by a factor of three over the last sixteen years and are continuing to increase. The director of the Scottish energy directive has now moved to chief executive of the Climate Change Committee and they plan to foist the same expensive and impractical plan onto England and Wales.

  62. bill brown
    Posted August 31, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Edward 2

    an your obsessive interference is a real pain, have you got no better to do?

    • Edward2
      Posted September 1, 2020 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      You’ve put this in the wrong position again bill.

  63. bill brown
    Posted September 1, 2020 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Edward 2

    This is not something you will be able to do unfortunately<

  • About John Redwood

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

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