Finding England’s voice


The debate about the future of Scotland raises an even bigger debate – what will be the future of England? More and more people in England feel we are getting a raw deal, as the political classes concentrate on improving the offer to Scotland, and burnishing special arrangements for every part of the union of the UK except that of England.

I have tabled questions again asking who speaks for England?  When can we have the policy of English votes for English issues applied in the Commons? Why don’t Labour  MPs for Scottish seats recognise the long term political danger of voting for or against English matters when the same issues about Scotland  are determined by the Scottish Parliament in their own constituencies?

The last General Election saw the Conservatives win a comfortable majority in England. Because Labour MPs for Scottish seats intend to vote on English issues as well as Union issues, the Conservative leadership had to set up a coalition government for England as well as the Union. England now has to accept policies which were defeated in the English part of the General Election as a result. Conversely Scotland gets exactly what it votes for in big areas like education, health, local government, law and order and the environment because these matters are now determined by the Scottish Parliament. Scotland can be on the losing side in a General Election but still get much of the government  it wants through devolution. England can be on the winning side in a General Election, and still end up with a government it does not want thanks to the presence of Scottish MPs at Westminster. (All this of course is subject to the increasingly stifling impact of the EU on all parts of the UK)

England’s sense of grievance is sharpened by the persistent attempts of the EU and its Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters to deny the existence of England and to seek to split us up into a series of meaningless regions. They want Liverpool to accept government from Manchester, Sunderland to accept government from Newcastle, and Exeter to accept government from Bristol, as they seek to steamroller city identities into convenient regional administrative units. In my own case they  cannot make up their mind whether my area is the Thames Valley, the rest of the South-east,  Wessex, the south or some other monstrous bureaucratic birth.

England is the part of the UK least happy with the EU relationship. English voters will want to use any change in the Scottish relationship as further reason to change our subservience to the continent. More English people now want to have a voice, and for us to have more say over our own affairs, if everyone else in our union is allowed such freedom.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    The result alas is always yet more government, usually incompetent, and always expensive and delivering little. More at the top with the EU and the UN, and more at the bottom with devolution.

    The UK has a tax system that is perhaps the most complex and the most idiotic in the world, even most inland revenue staff do not remotely understand it. We have Cameron who has David Laws in his cabinet and who would have retained Maria Millar too from choice. Many MPs have over claimed expenses to a large degree. Yet now we have a proposal from Osborne to make it a criminal offence to make a genuine error on your tax return and put you in prison for it, all this without the need to prove any intent to evade tax.

    Why not just go the whole hog and make everyone who has more that say £5000 in assets a criminal nut on on temporary release, this providing they pay the government whatever sum they demand each month. A bar code tattooed on their head, giving their tax raising production numbers might help with administration.

    The BBC again this morning pushing the UN report that Clean energy will have to at least treble in output and dominate world energy supplies by 2050 in order to avoid catastrophic climate change. The impacts of global warming are likely to be “severe, pervasive and irreversible”. The weaker the Catastrophic AGW case becomes and the more disproved their religion then the more shrill and idiotic they start to sound.

    Perhaps do some research in to green energy (like nuclear fusion and exploiting some suitable tidal currents) but rolling out offshore wind when it cost so many times the price and then is only for intermittent (and thus much lower value energy) is completely bonkers.

    “Ending centuries of coal, oil and gas supremacy” they suggest and changing the laws of physic, economics and engineering of energy production at the save time. These people are largely in a dream world.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 5:44 am | Permalink

      Needless to say the BBC had no one sensible to challenge this agenda or put the Climate Realist position. Just reporters who do not seem to have a science A level between them, listening open mouthed and nodding their heads sagely.

      • arschloch
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        What on earth has this to do with todays topic? Indeed another day goes by with yet another LL cookie cutter comment with the same old stuff on IHT ratting, green crap, religion etc

        • lifelogic
          Posted April 13, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

          Well the government as still pushing green drivel, ever bigger government, endless over regulation and ever more EU – so why shouldn’t I respond they might wake up eventually just before they are booted out.

        • Excalibur
          Posted April 14, 2014 at 12:38 am | Permalink

          I, for one, read the posts of Lifelogic with interest. His erudition and range of perceptions are an invaluable contribution to our hosts clever analysis of most topics. This site would be the poorer without the added visions of Ll. Certainly the additional costs of layers and layers of government are a pertinent subject for England’s position were Scotland indeed to secede.

      • Hope
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Labour and Lib Dems, goodness me JR. Tory party at the heart of giving away this country to European foreign powers who have not been elected by citizens of this country. Heath had the practiced deceit as an art. Introduce the word significant and all claims prefaced with it could be made ie no significant loss of sovereignty or independence. However, you have made the point many times over how the EU has taken this from us by stealth including the recent financial service industry. But why has Cameron allowed this? An abundance of arrogance and zero competence.

        EU arrest warrant did not have to be implemented allowing (other EU regimes ed) to issue arrest warrants for offences that do not exist here and for citizens to be treated under legal systems alien to our own, help bypass a treaty change for a fiscal compact without anything in return, three line whip to prevent an EU referendum, no changes to the Lisbon Treaty 2010 after warning us of the dangers of it, more money taken from the UK tax payer for the EU, claimed an EU budget cut which means the UK pays more, allows EU citizens free university education while hiking the cost to its own citizens even though they get back less because of the increase, it goes on and on. No, on the facts, Cameron has not acted in England’s interest. In fact as we saw in 2012, he would rather have a jolly on the US presidents plane than consider the Uk budget.

      • stred
        Posted April 14, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        Talking of England’s fair and pleasant land, Sky News had a feature on PV farms yesterday. The (unsatisfactory ed) reporter interviewed a director of a firm building acres of panels in fields and claiming the huge subsidies. He stressed the urgency of providing the maximum coverage and that this was the best way to provide electricity and save us from disaster.

        There was no questioning about it being the highest cost by far, intermittent, only 10% efficient under cloud and for short days when needed most, and at best only able to provide a small proportion of national needs- all as stated in the DECC adopted book by their chief scientific advisor. Perhaps there should be some basic training for reporters before they are allowed to ask questions.

        • lifelogic
          Posted April 14, 2014 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          Indeed the things just do not work (currently) in economic terms but the economics is never ever mentioned.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 7:08 am | Permalink


      Agree with you about HMRC, I am still bashing my head against a brick wall trying to get a very simple situation resolved.

      Problem is they use a clearing system for dealing with letters and phone calls, they push them out to any Tax office in the Uk to answer them, so far I have communicated with Cardiff, Belfast, Liverpool, and Bradford, all to no avail, they still keep demanding more, and more money, that is not even owed.

      Turns out they do not even have copies of their own correspondence on your file that they can refer back to (but you can), let alone copies of what you have sent them !!!

      Another Department which quite honestly is not fit for purpose, and certainly is not efficient in any way.

      Oh for a simple easy to understand system.

      • bigneil
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        Why should the HMRC keep copies of anything when , what is being proposed for the future is a simple “WE say you are wrong, so we will just take it directly out of your bank account”? . . .and nothing you can do. No argument. How would you prove anything. -Sad sad situation we are getting in.

        • stred
          Posted April 14, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

          Osborne and his next door neighbour have turned out to be the worst collaborators with the state machine, acting against the average citizen, who is usually just trying to make an honest living. And they have a strange idea that we might vote for them in order to keep out other idiots who might be as bad or worse. They will find out otherwise very soon. Someone should organise a boycott of any firm offering them employment when they lose their jobs.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      I think it ironic that the shrill voices pushing the consequences of AGW mutter not a word about the predicted 50% growth in the numbers of those responsible.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        Also the solutions they push – wind, pv, electric cars (with currently technology) clearly do not work, not even in C02 terms. Nor do they work in World political terms.

  2. arschloch
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    The jocks are like noisy irritating adolescents who are always demanding their “freedom”. Well give them it and break up the union. Given their historic inability to support themselves from the first time they bankrupted themselves with the Darien scheme (which led to the Act of Union) to the recent implosion of their banks. It will not be too long before, like the prodigal son, they come back crawling to our door and then we can renegotiate terms beneficial to those who will be paying for the next bottle of Buckfast.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      One of their first actions it seems will be to stop company boards appointing directors on merit and ability forcing them to have a prescribed “gender balance”. It does not bode well, sounds too much like Cameron’s idiotic socialist equal gender and pension idiocy.

      • Hope
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Clarke and other Tories shared the same platform as Labour politicians to promote the EU and he is in cabinet! Cameron thinks the public choice is between Labour and Tory when the facts show there is no difference, only cosmetic difference to implement EU law and regulation while giving away our nation state, values, customs and beliefs. Yet JR would like us to blaim Lib Dems and Labour.

      • arschloch
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        eh you mean like the coop, rbs, hbos and northern rock?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      “The jocks are like noisy irritating adolescents who are always demanding their “freedom”. Well give them it and break up the union.”

      Would that be all of them, or just the 25,000 who are members of the SNP?

      That’s less than 1% of the adult population of Scotland, so does your contempt for the jocks extend to the other 99% plus as well?

      Does it include the jocks serving in the British armed forces, are they all “noisy irritating adolescents”?

      Somebody needs to tell the English to calm down and refrain from hurling stupid abuse at people living in the north of their home island who are at present their fellow citizens, and have been for over three hundred years, and hopefully will continue to be in perpetuity.

      Obviously that advice could not come from anybody in the three old political parties, as those leading them have not only been prepared to see the English treated as fourth class citizens but have actively denigrated them and so whatever they said now would be very unlikely to go down well with the English, and in any case there are reasonable doubts about whether some of them are genuinely committed to keeping the UK together or they would secretly prefer to see it broken up for their narrow party advantage.

      On the other hand under its party constitution UKIP is committed to keeping the UK together while ensuring fair treatment of all its parts, and nobody could ever accuse Nigel Farage of wanting to do down the English in the same way they could and would accuse Cameron, Clegg and Miliband, so maybe he is the one who should speak out and advise the English to cool it.

    • Jennifer A
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      “Freedom !” (Arschloch)

      The truth of it is that simple. The English are hated largely because of biased screenplay. Much from the US and now much from our own BBC.

      It is rare to see a film or TV drama in which the English aren’t portrayed as being mean, spiteful, rude, sly, incompetent, brutal, scheming, cowardly, duplicitous…

      After a while we’ve come to believe it ourselves.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      Tried to buy a bottle of the fabled Buckfast at a supermarket in Glenrothes a few weeks ago. Searched the vast alcoholic drinks aisles, including the top and bottom shelves, to no avail and eventually sidled up to a member of staff to enquire where it was located. I was informed that they did not stock it. Having heard jokes (about) Bucky (words left out ed)over the years I was interested to find out what it tasted like. Is it drunk exclusively by desperate Jocks and are sales likely to increase after independence? However, sales of what some refer to as ‘wreck the hoose juice’ did rise after the sanctimonious killjoys of the Scottish Executive drew attention to it by trying to get it banned, as if the drink rather than their failed socialist policies were the cause of the alleged problems that this famous wine has been accused of. May the Union prevail and the tankers of Bucky continue to roll northward.

    • stred
      Posted April 14, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      We get Standard Life, BP, submarine and RAF bases, navy shipbuilding, and (if we are less lucky) RBS. Buckfast Abbey booze may have to relocate to Scotland. Mars bars have,unfortunately, already gone to Eastern Europe.
      And imagine the Sassenach’s (derogatory term for Anglo Saxons) pleasure in not having Mr Salmond and Mrs Sturgeon whinging about how we have done them down.

  3. Martyn G
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    It is now so long ago that the UK government agreed with the EU to the removal of England from the map that I forget which party was in power at the time. In response to an inquiry I made at the time to the EU ‘front office’ asking why I was categorically informed that England could have remained on the map had the UK government of the day so wished.

    Who else remembers that around the same time Wales was also removed from the EU map? I certainly do and the storm of protest in Wales and Parliament that immediately occurred which soon resulted in Wales magically reappearing on the map, accompanied by a bland statement by the EU that Wales had ‘accidentally’ been removed. It remains clear to me that the elimination of England was (and still is) by the deliberate and traitorous consent of Parliament, with which the EU happily concurred but cannot be blamed.

  4. Leslie Singleton
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    I think it should be made clear to the Scots that the Union cannot take any more devolution and that if they vote to break us up completely we in England would wave them Goodbye and immediately take steps to leave the EU. Does anyone have any idea why the Scottish referendum has to wait till September? They say that it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 6:05 am | Permalink

      Postscript–Scottish Labour MP’s voting even on matters that are unarguably English is of course ridiculous; but it has to be said that before the Tories became an endangered species in Scotland they were happy to do the same–but back then the Union was secure–prior of course to the insidious effects of the advent of the wretched EU. What a performance: but we in England must be of good cheer because we would manage spectacularly well on our own and Out. There is little doubt that our standard of living would shoot up. London and the South East would no longer be seen as the bad guys for a start, certainly not to the same extent as now, and would find it easier to carry the rest of just England. London would in fact grow by reason of the Scottish finance industry’s moving South which it would undoubtedly do. I hope Scotland decides to stay but there is no lack of mitigation if they do not. BTW, anyone know what title the Queen would have if the vote is to leave? Presumably it would be Queen of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island which is a trifle unwieldy but I so not see how it could be shortened.

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        Queen of the Rump perhaps?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 13, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

          It’s a strange “rump” which is so much larger than the rest of the body; one of fantasies of SNP activists is that without Scotland the continuing UK, or England, would be just a “rump”.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        As far as Scotland was concerned I imagine she would be Queen of (the) Scots, until some in the SNP decided that the plan to keep the Queen as Head of State had served its purpose of swinging enough Scots towards voting for Scotland to be independent, and now that had been achieved they could start agitating for a republic.

        “There is little doubt that our standard of living would shoot up”

        Why do you believe that? There is no evidence that would be the case; and even if it was true, would you then start saying that it we got rid of Wales and Northern Ireland and most of northern England then “our standard of living would shoot up”?

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted April 14, 2014 at 1:52 am | Permalink

          Denis–If one believes something, one believes it and I am the last person to say I can prove what I have said; but take note that a significant proportion of the Scots simply hate us which doesn’t do much for the Team and we subsidize them. Your use of the phrase “got rid of” is tendentious and hardly appropriate because as I made clear and despite what I just said I do not want anyone to leave.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 14, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

            You are wrong to believe “we subsidize them”. I know that the English have been repeatedly fed that myth by certain Tory politicians attempting to garner extra votes in England at the expense of Labour, just as previously the Scots were fed the same myth that there was a “Union dividend” by Labour politicians attempting to deflect support from the SNP back to Labour, but it is not true.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      “… if they vote to break us up completely we in England would wave them Goodbye and immediately take steps to leave the EU.”

      How would “we in England” be able to do that, when “we in England” have voted in an overwhelming majority of MPs who are determined that we must stay in the EU? And why do you suppose that “we in England” must first wave goodbye to the Scots before we could vote in a majority of MPs who would want us to leave the EU, when it’s not as if the Scots are preventing us doing that?

      This is not just dangerous wishful thinking, it’s a complete fantasy; what would actually happen if the Scots voted to leave the UK would not be “we in England” taking steps to leave the EU, it would be Cameron begging for EU treaty changes just to deal with the legal consequences of the impending break up of the UK; and I expect that he would manage to get treaty changes of the kind he needed, but I also expect that other EU member state governments would extract a price for their agreement which would be damaging for both Scotland and England.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted April 14, 2014 at 2:06 am | Permalink

        Denis–Blimey, I seem to have got your juices flowing. You are the site archivist and very good at it but I often, as here, do not agree with where you go with the facts you come up with (though you have adduced few on this). Seems to me that if the Scottish Labour MP’s were the Hell out of it England would be governed by the Conservatives (leave alone UKIP) and does not our host keep telling us how EUsceptic that Party is? It is Scotland that likes the EU because so many in that country see “Scotland in Europe” as the answer to their dreams. They of course do not want to be “independent”, they just want to be disconnected from and no longer reliant on “us in England”. It would seem unarguable to me that losing Scotland would make it much easier for “us in England” to get Out, hence what I said about mitigation.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 14, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

          The evidence is that the Scots, the people not the politicians, view the EU slightly more favourably than the English, but only slightly; and as the supposedly much more eurosceptic English have so far been unable to get themselves more than a handful of MPs who will openly say that we should leave the EU, out of the 533 that they elect, the Scots returning 59 MPs is not a major obstacle to the English getting the England and rest of the UK out of the EU.

  5. Mark B
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    I am glad you have raised questions on this issue, but I fear it maybe too late. It is highly likely that we will have a Labour Government post 2015. And they will most certainly be looking to ‘Regionalise’ England. RedEd said as much sometime ago.

    It is good to see that:

    a) You seem to have changed your position on this issue.

    b) You have ay last looked at a map and seen England covered, mostly, in blue.

    What you do fail to mention, is how can this be best achieved. You have dismissed the idea of a separate English Parliament, as too expensive and, another layer of bureaucracy. I argue, that you fail to see that which is clear to the rest of us; something like:

    a) A ‘Federal’ UK, with independent national Parliaments for each nation.

    b) Turning the ‘unelected’ House of Lords, into a Federal UK Parliament, with equal numbers of Ministers/Senators for each of the Home Nations, thereby giving equal say on UK matters.

    As England is both bigger and far more populated, it would be natural to further sub-divide into regions (on our terms and NOT the EU’s) and devolve more power down to that level. This would mean that the North would be able to manage their own affairs far better, away from Westminster and, more importantly, Whitehall.

    But in truth; like everything this or that Government comes into contact with, it be created to suit them and NOT the people. For us to have a nation that has OUR interests at heart, we must look too ourselves.

  6. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    “English voters will want to use any change in the Scottish relationship as further reason to change our subservience to the continent.”

    I think you had better ask Commissioner Johannes Hahn about Scottish independence because he is responsible for the Directorate General of Regions (DG Regio). One of his remits is to manage the European Solidarity Fund (EUSF) which intervened recently so effectively in the flooding during the late winter months in the South Western Region (UK) which you already know a little about, I think. He is also, conjointly with EU Move, responsible for the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), which helps candidate countries to develop transport networks like HS2.
    Comrade, you really do have to realise that we are no longer nationalist and populist. Our future lies within the European Union which, ever expanding, is bringing democracy and prosperity to a wider Europe. It is important that we spread this message urgently before the May elections.
    Scottish Independence is a tiny part of this inevitable process. Mr Blair, at least, understood that.

  7. Dee
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    How would that work in these circumstance –

    A Scottish MP as PM deciding on policies for England
    The whip system controlled by the British government and when leaders of the main parties are Scottish MPs
    A Scottish MP as Speaker who is to decide whether or not something is only English
    Scottish MPs parachuted into safe seats who say they keep an eye on Scottish interests (Malcolm Rifkind for an example of this)
    MPs elected to look after the interests of the UK primarily (the whole system now) who will consider the UK as a whole rather than primarily England

    These are just off the cuff, but I’m sure there are plenty more reasons why EVOL wouldn’t work, including the West Lothian Question., which means nothing at all affects only England where spending is concerened

    What a bag of mess you suggest. A waste of Parliamentary time, storing up problems which will definitely occur and still a denial of the right of England to equal democratic rights in the UK. How democratic is your suggestion?

    Reply I am proposing a government for England of English MPs only, at Westminster making decisions on all the devolved issues.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Question on Reply–Apart from the very obvious self-interest, does the Labour Party ever say anything cogent in favour of leaving things as they are–with Scottish MP’s voting on English matters but (in large measure) not vice versa? And you (not exactly alone!) wonder why I wonder why I should care what elected representatives have to say: we can speak for ourselves in the modern high tech world. The present system is in place simply because when it was instituted there was no alternative; not even a gleam in anybody’s eye.

      • Mark B
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        Some very good points raised there, Leslie.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      No, what the English need is what the Scots have already got, but apparently we English don’t deserve: a separate devolved government controlled by a devolved Parliament for the whole of England, not some fudge whereby MPs elected to the UK Parliament pretend to be looking after English interests, and not even if they are only MPs elected in England. That is the only clean and credible solution, so why are MPs elected in England so determined to oppose allowing the English to have what they so readily allow the Scots to have? Is it any wonder that some of the English are getting so ratty about this, but unfortunately blaming the Scots for something that which is the fault of the MPs they elect in England?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted April 14, 2014 at 2:09 am | Permalink

        Denis–Baloney–I agree with John on this

    • stred
      Posted April 14, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Presumably, the English MPs would not be paid any more for their parliament and use the same facilities. There would therefore be no cost, unlike the Scottish, Welsh and NI parliaments. As England would be paying for most of national expenditure, English MPs would be able to constrain any attempt by politicians acting for other parts of the UK. This factor could be named the ‘Redwood Trouser Hold’.

  8. alan jutson
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Simple John, you just introduce English devolution, and you make all four Countries follow the same rules on what they can do.

    You allow one day for UK affairs at the House of Commons (to agree joint policies)

    The other four days each Country can meet in their own Parliament, and decide what they want to do within the guidelines agreed and set out.

    All Mp’s expenses and salaries paid out of the separate Countries budgets, but with all following the same rules for allowances as any commercial business under HMRC guidelines.

    The English Parliament meets in the House of Commons, so no need for any new buildings.

    One thing is vital for the above to work, if those individual Countries want tax raising powers, there should be no financial subsidy from one Country to another, any financial arrangements should be on commercial terms.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 6:46 am | Permalink


      The above assumes that of course Scotland wishes to remain in the UK.

      If not then we remain as three Countries and wave goodbye to Scotland wishing them well, but with no financial support.

      • Hope
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Like the bail out of Irelnd I suppose? Cameron promised not to bail out any EU countries with directly or indirectly then came up with w stupid excuse that Ireland was our neighbour!

  9. Old Albion
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    JR. I welcome you showing an interest in this issue. It is for me the most important issue facing us right now.
    There appears to be a self imposed ‘blindness’ affecting the vast majority of MP’s in Westminster, where England is concerned.
    How about you ‘tabling a motion’ or (whatever you need to do) insisiting MP’s say England/English when it is that, to which they refer. It would be a small beginning but a beginning at least.

  10. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I tried to stop using the the term ‘rats nest’ some years ago. Worn out I thought. Its back again though and frequently. Westminster..theres a thing !

    I hope campaigners in Scotland for NO, influence the people who don’t want separation and who don’t vote. They being non political and in considerable cases feel severely threatened by the wasters of the SNP. Those that have hated us in England (and I know some) I don’t care about, other than I know they are going for broke….quite literally broke. Its all at our expense though…and I want to see that returned on a likely major failure.

  11. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    In a Radio 4 programme in the last few days I heard it argued that a vote for Scottish independent will stimulate the calls for an English Parliament. This is illogical because with Scotland out of the Union England becomes an even larger part and looses the Scottish MP vote effect as described.

    I would have thought Scottish independence would be of more concern in Wales and Northern Ireland.

  12. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    There is another big complaint I have over the consequences of Scottish devolution. The Scottish Westminster MPs now have less responsibility, and do less, but there is still the same number of these part-timers receiving the same remuneration from the public purse.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Not only that the Scottish MPs have smaller constituoncies than the English MPs. We need the reform that makes constituencies the same size in terms of the number ofelectors.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 14, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        How many times does it have to be repeated that the same electoral quota is now used in Scotland as in England? By law the primary aim is for the average number of registered electors per constituency to be the same north and south of the border, as closely as may be practicable. It is only because of the greater geographical difficulties encountered when defining parliamentary constituencies in Scotland that there are 59 seats not the 57 there would be on strict application of the electoral quota.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think there is any shortage of work for MPs to do if they care to do it properly; even if he recuses himself from all English-only matters, as he should, an MP elected in Scotland can still make good use of his time on the many important matters which are not devolved but are still reserved to the UK Parliament and government.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted April 15, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        That is not the point. Anyone can fill their days with useful and worthwhile activity if so minded.

        The point is the job you are required to do for the remuneration provided. Clearly the Scottish MPs are required to do less while receiving the same remuneration. They are being treated preferentially.

  13. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I look forward to the continuation of the Union, with Scotland a welcome and contented member.

    But a sound future for the Union requires that we all must think of ourselves primarily as belonging to the United Kingdom (which in a peculiar quirk with think of as being “British”) while concurrently, but subserviently, maintaining, even relishing, our association with our particular part of that Union. The government in Westminster must understand this, and govern accordingly so all feel it is “their” government.

    I know this will be a big ask for many, but it is necessary for the future of the Union. And in a broader context, the same concept applies to the whole world and the future of humanity.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Anyone can be, British nowadays, its such an over used and devalued term.

      I am English, and proud. My country is part of a political and dynastic union with another Kingdom, Scotland. However, we as people and a nation are not recognised and, when we vote, we vote predominately Conservative yet, we may have to endure a Socialist Labour Government, due to other Home Nations voters liking FREE stuff at others expense.

      This in my view is grossly unfair, and made even worse since the other Home Nations have a devolved Government.

      Being part of a Establishment and Political Class enforced Union, whether it be National or Supranational, is something I want to be free of.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted April 15, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        But how fine are you going to chop it?

        Will the Highlands and Islands like being dominated by lowland Scotts?

        Will the Cornish, Northumberlanders, those living in the Somerset levels, etc, like being dominated by those living within the M25.

        I agree there is a problem, but I do not agree with your solution.

  14. Richard1
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    If Scotland votes to leave the UK these issues can be resolved and a bonus will be Labour governments become less likely. If they vote to stay, which as a Unionist I hope they do, there is a superb opportunity for the Conservatives to occupy the logical and popular position: we don’t need an English Parliament with more costs, politicians and bureaucrats, just English MPs alone determining policies which apply only to England. No-one could challenge the justice of this and it would be very popular.

    I see it is reported that the IPCC says the UK must multiply subsidies to wind farms and other ‘renewables’ by a factor of 10 to c. £60bn pa. More good ground for Conservatives who should say clearly that such nonsense will not happen under them. Let Labour and the LibDems be the ones to champion the huge costs of global warming hysteria.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      “we don’t need an English Parliament”

      I strongly disagree; we do need a separate devolved government and Parliament for the whole of England, and it is typical Tory thinking that some fudge will be good enough for the English.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        Denis, you must know that what you wish for will not be the same as what you get – an ‘iconic’ modernist building or government quarter, hundreds more MPs and associated lackeys and civil servants, all at crippling cost to you the taxpayer.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 14, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think 2.5 pence per week for every man, woman and child in England would be a “crippling” cost, more like “trivial”.

          That’s taking the annual cost of running the Scottish Parliament, £69 million, and dividing it by the population of England.

          • Max Dunbar
            Posted April 15, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

            Denis, I really think that running a separate English parliament would involve more than just dipping ones hand in the petty cash box every now and again. Where did you get the 69 million figure from? Have you personally gone through the accounts of the Scottish Executive recently?

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      It’s a total myth put about by our self serving politicians that an English Parliament would require both more politicians and more money. The building is there for a start, the H of C and as for more politicians, only a fraction of the current 650 UK MPs would be required for the few remaining reserved matters. One of the reasons they refuse to countenance an English Parliament is because they know for most of them, the Westminster gravy train would come to an end.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

        You are talking from a logical standpoint JoolsB. The gravy train may just come off the rails but you will be smothered in the brown gooey stuff nevertheless.

        • stred
          Posted April 14, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          Any English MP would have to make clear that he or she would not stand for wasting taxes on a new building- or goodbye. The English can be as tight as the Scots if it is their taxes being wasted.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Permalink


      I think that the Labour Party and its leadership are well aware of the risks to them and getting the top prize of pretending to run running the country, if they should lose any of the Home Nations votes. That is why they want to partition England. Once into small semi-autonomous regions, they can still run their little Socialist Utopias and maintain their grip on power.

      • Richard1
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 7:42 pm | Permalink


  15. Pete
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Yes we are getting fed up with being lied to, ignored and ripped off by our own politicians for the benefit of everyone else. When do we get our chance to vote on whether we stay in the union? When do we get a date for this EU in or out referendum? Never is my guess. Our ignoble leaders don’t want any real democracy unless it’s guaranteed to suit their purposes. An independent England that is not in the EU would reduce their power and prestige. Not so much chance to swagger about with US presidents threatening war against other countries. Less throwing their weight about in the Middle East.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Permalink


      Did you know that, if a Council raises its council tax by 2% or more, they have to hold a referendum ?

      It is one of the better things that this Government have brought in.

      Unfortunately, the Councils just raise it to 1.99% to avoid doing it. So much for democracy and letting the people have their say. But it can be done, if they really wanted to let us. Which clearly, they do not.

  16. Tony Harrison
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, thanks for an excellent post, succinct and spot on – I agree with every word. I do so wish your views were reflected more widely within the Conservative Party – if that were the case I might even vote Conservative once more, as I did for many years.

  17. A.Sedgwick
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The odds remain that the noes will have it, but no doubt at a cost of more devolution and to the continued demise of democracy for the residents of England. New Labour contrived this full blown independence referendum, the likelihood of which became more evident during Brown’s PM tenure. Unfortunately the lack of political courage and nous by the then opposition ignored the West Lothian issue, when most south of the border saw the need for the end of the Scottish tail wagging the English dog. New Labour stitched up England with their politically driven devolution package and the Conservative Party did not have the gumption to unpick it.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Week after week Cameron was facing Gordon Brown over the dispatch boxes and not once did he question Brown’s legitimacy to dictate policy in England on policy areas that wouldn’t effect his own constituents in Scotland. Cameron just didn’t think that something was a bit wrong about it, in fact Cameron went to Glasgow and called us ‘Sour faced little Englanders’.

      Cameron had a chance of destroying Labour in England, but he completely and utterly flunked it. As you say, instead of unpicking Labours racist constitutional stitch up, he swallowed the whole shebang. The Cameron Conservatives seem to have absolutely no Constitutional policy, they accept without question the constitutional framework that Labour have decided.

      To see what the Cameron Conservative policy on constitutional matters is all you have to do is read the Labour party manifesto.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      I 100% agree. Well said.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

      Spot on A.Sedgwick. New Labour have consistently tried to destroy the country and break it up. The trouble is that they are succeeding for the time being and many play in to their hands in the understandable but misguided clamour for English independence.

  18. JoolsB
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Despite winning a 63 seat majority in England in 2010, the Tories have done absolutely nothing to address England’s grievances and with ‘there’s Scottish blood running through these veins’ Cameron at the helm, England has got no chance of being given a voice or recognition as a country in it’s own right any time soon.

    Whilst Cameron was pouring out his love for Scotland at PMQs last year and his desire for them to stay in the ‘union’, Frank Field asked very politely if there could be a debate, just a debate, on England’s future too. Cameron’s response was to very rudely slap him down admonishing him for ‘trying to nurture England’s grievances’. What an insult to every man, woman and child in England. We now know what Cameron thinks of England despite the fact he and every Tory leader since devolution has promised to address the West Lothian Question. Yet another broken promise from Cameron.

    And it’s not just Cameron. The whole supine Conservative party, who would not exist without England, have stood idly by and refused to demand any form of equality with the rest of the UK for their English constituents, let alone a voice or recognition. They have not uttered one word of protest at the blatant discrimination again their English constituents whether it be tuition fees, prescription charges, care for the elderly etc. Tuition fees were imposed on England only thanks to Scottish Labour MPs being whipped to vote for them without a word of protest from the then Tory opposition. In 2010 Danny Alexander and Jo Swinson were leading the charge on the Government’s behalf for £9,000 tuition fees even though their kids and their constituents would not be affected, all with Cameron’s blessing. Not a murmur when Blair appointed Minsters with Scottish seats to run English only departments such as health. The self annointed Brown had control of all English only departments whilst having no say on the same matters for his own constituents and yet not once did Cameron object.

    As I said yesterday, when England get’s a Labour government foist on it in 2015, whether she votes for it or not, who are intent on breaking England up into regions, the Conservative party will be every bit as culpable for standing by both in opposition and then in government and doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to address the rotten deal England gets both constitutionally and financially from successive anti-English UK Governments post devolution.

    All Cameron cares about is his legacy and not wanting to be remembered as the Prime Minister who saw the break up of the so called ‘union’. He is so afraid of Scotland voting yes, which they won’t, that he will offer devo-max at any price making Scotland virtually independent whilst keeping all the benefits of the English purse strings. Meanwhile he will continue to ignore the growing resentment which is growing in England at his peril because it won’t be the Scots who finally break up this so called union but the English when they say they have had enough of a union which they get nothing out of except the bill and UK Governments of all colours who shaft them at every turn.

    This will be Cameron and the Conservatives’ legacy and one they will deserve for treating England with the same contempt as Labour and the Lib Dums.

  19. The Prangwizard
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    And yet, and yet – no mention of a parliament for England. I have read your answer to my ‘reply’ yesterday, but we are where we are, and Scotland has got her own and there is surely no possibility of ‘dual mandate MPs’, although I may not quite understand what you mean by them. It could be a sorry attempt to hide the conflict in your position.

    It seems I may be correct, you are so intent on preserving the Union that you will indeed do everything possible to prevent the establishment of an independent and true parliament for England, for fear that such will be the end of it. You would, rather, have the English alone suffer some second-class cobbled arrangement for their governance to limp along weakly, to be taken advantage of as now. It will not work, it will lead to dispute, maladministration and continued resentment, indeed it is more likely to help the regionalisation you mention above. If we had a parliament now such could be stopped.

    I fear you do not believe in the true self determination of peoples, only your definition of it. Your arguments for preserving the Union are looking ever more desperate, the case for a true English parliament is clear, embrace it.

    Reply I want the Engllish Parliament restored to Westminster, with each of us English MPs conducting the government of England without the help or interference of MPs from elsewhere in the UK.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

      Where are the outstanding people that you have in mind to fill the new English parliament with? You will just end up with the sort of third rate dross that we have in Scotland. The entire country is in a mess and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

    • Monty
      Posted April 14, 2014 at 12:23 am | Permalink

      Reply to your reply- Doesn’t look good enough. English MPs in Westminster would not be able to table debates and legislation.

      • The PrangWizard
        Posted April 14, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        If MPs in Mr Redwood’s so-called English parliament are not directly elected to that role and no other, it will be a pretence, a deceit, yet another perpetrated against the English by the British Establishment; let’s not hide it, they do not like us, they do not like they way we think and live our lives. The ‘we know best’ attitude is everywhere, they barely recognise it in themselves.

        The ‘dual-mandate’ MPs will I imagine merely be the same UK MPs elected as now in the English constituencies who will ‘wear two hats’. A complete nonsense, laughable – they indeed may be required to wear hats or labels in debates as at the moment almost none mention England or ‘the people of England’, when they are debating matters English only, they avoid it like the plague. They say ‘the country’ for example, we don’t know which country they are talking about; indeed some wish to hide the truth, that they are only talking about England.

        A trick to buy time, to buy off those who may accept second best. A cynical one, because the hypocrisy remains. Scotland has a true parliament, England will continue to be denied one.

        Will there be a First Minister under Mr Redwood’s plan, will there be Ministers for all the Departments of England? Will there be a reorganisation of the civil service? I, for one, am not prepared to accept second best.

        And people of England, fear not, the British Establishment is happy to shake hands and dine with alleged former terrorists, murderers of the innocent, to grant amnesties to known killers, so let them not pretend they are the upholders of right, justice and the rule of law. They do not have the moral high ground.

  20. Iain Moore
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood you have at long last begun to ask the right questions here, but nobody asks them in Parliament.

    All your British MPs squatting in English constituency seats on votes that rely on English people have completely abandoned English people. I cannot think of an instance where a Conservative MP has got up and asked Cameron when he is going to pull out his finger and deal with Labour’s racist anti English constitutional stitch up. He has time to give the Welsh more powers, he glibly offers the Scots Devomax , he wrecks his voting base with Homosexual marriage on the basis of equality, but where English people’s equality is concerned none of you , when you cross the threshold of the Palace of Westminster, care a dammed about English people’s equality.

  21. Kenneth
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    The unbalanced voting system between England and other UK nations, designed by a Labour government, is blatant gerrymandering.

    In addition, the allocation of MP’s constituencies gives an unfair advantage to the Left.

    The last 2 Labour governments have expanded immigration from those more likely to vote Labour (not just the entrants but their future generations too). This had no authorisation from the English People.

    To cap it all, the eu has imposed extreme left policies on us.

    What happened to democracy?

    • bigneil
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      “What happened to democracy?”
      It did the sensible thing and emigrated.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

      This is ‘democracy’. Does it work for us? Has it just been another ……ism? Does it, in fact exist. Maybe a return to absolute rule by the monarchy would be worth a try again. At least we would know where we stand.

  22. William Long
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    The points you raise are the reasons that for me, a vote for independence in the Scotch referendum is something much to be desired: I do not see the issues surrounding English democracy being addressed for any other reason. Even then, experience would indicate that some sort of fudge is the most likely result but at least the Westminster government would be forced at least to think about the problem.

  23. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I came across Kipling’s ‘The Beginnings’ on another blog and thought it appropriate to your theme for today:

    It was not part of their blood,
    It came to them very late
    With long arrears to make good,
    When the English began to hate.

    They were not easily moved,
    They were icy-willing to wait
    Till every count should be proved,
    Ere the English began to hate.

    Their voices were even and low,
    Their eyes were level and straight.
    There was neither sign nor show,
    When the English began to hate.

    It was not preached to the crowd,
    It was not taught by the State.
    No man spoke it aloud,
    When the English began to hate.

    It was not suddenly bred,
    It will not swiftly abate,
    Through the chill years ahead,
    When Time shall count from the date
    That the English began to hate.

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted April 15, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      But, BT – it be everyone else who hates us !…
      The Celtic whinge – always wanting our money.
      The French – forever foremost foes.
      The Romans – Perfidious Albion.
      The ‘Continentals’ – for our spoiling of their plans.
      The other Commonwealth countries – for having once been ‘under our thumb’.
      The ‘Cowboys’ across ‘The Pond’ – for our always looking down on them.

  24. forthurst
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    The present constitutional settlement is a total disgrace. We’ve had a whole succession of reorganisations each one a dog’s breakfast starting with Heath’s totally unnecessary Local government Act 1972. How much more of this rank amateurism are we supposed to tolerate? Why were our politicians so inept that they would look on helpless in the face of the destruction of our engineering industry by Communists intent on revolution and spiv accountants intent on short term profits? Now our politicians are presiding over an uncontrollable (migration ed), the breakup of the UK, and our incorporation into a totally undemocratic and spurious entity whose apparent ambition is to provoke a war with Russia. Our politicians are worse than useless.

    The present arguments about English affairs would never have arisen, if Westminster had not meddled in matters of local concern which traditionally and appropriately were undertaken by the counties: e.g health, education are properly matters for those directly affected by the services provided. The husbandry of Somerset Levels is a local matter and none of the business of a quango or the European Commission. Politicians are constantly trying to correct their previous errors by imposing further erroneous solutions on top of them; it it had been up to them, instead of repealing the Corn laws, they’d have introduced subsidues for bread. Now we have a PM who thinks he is going to negotiate with Bulgaria and Luxembourg about our future governance. Where or when will it end?

  25. Lesley
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    A small mean point; but I hope if they leave the Union then they also get treated as not living in the UK and they can’t get a Sky TV package like so many of us expats!

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink


    “English voters will want to use any change in the Scottish relationship as further reason to change our subservience to the continent.”

    What English voters may or may not want will be treated as largely irrelevant until they come to vote at the next general election in May 2015, and will return to being largely irrelevant immediately after polling day if we are foolish enough to vote in the official parliamentary candidates of any of the three old parties all of whom habitually regard the English people with contempt bordering on loathing.

    In the meantime, shortly after a “yes” vote in the Scottish referendum it would be the present Prime Minister, Cameron, who would have to seek EU treaty changes not to repatriate powers to the UK but to deal with the legal consequences of the impending break up of the UK. Anybody who thinks that his starting point would be to put in a notice that the continuing UK intended to withdraw from the EU presumably hasn’t noticed that he is totally committed to keeping us in the EU at all costs, and would not only want the continuing UK to remain in the EU but would also want Scotland wangled in as a new member state, or failing that he would want Scotland to remain part of the EU Single Market in one way or another. And the governments of the other EU member states would very likely agree to something that he wanted to ensure that trade was not interrupted or impeded, but also very likely their unanimous agreement would come at a price which would be damaging for both Scotland and the rest of the UK.

  27. Michael Clark
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    There has been an abject display of constitutional irresponsibility by David Cameron in not insisting on a 60% turnout on the Scottish referendum and a 70% majority for the overthrow of the United Kingdom as presently instituted. Are we really to witness a 300 year union of the two kingdom to be decided by a minority vote? It is an utter disgrace. The referendum result should be declared null and void and The Queen having been ‘deceived in her grant’ by her Prime Minister should require him to return to her his seals of office.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

      And nobody has so far mentioned that this could precipitate civil war/insurrection within Scotland.

  28. Bryan
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    The Barnet formula gives Scotland a larger slice of the tax take.

    The elderly in Scotland get free nursing care, home care and residential care.

    There are no prescription charges in Scotland, or indeed in Wales and NI

    Apparently it is too expensive for the English (am I allowed to call us that?) to be given the same deal.

    Time England got a much better deal!

    Do we really care about the Union? What do we gain from it?

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Also our kids are the only ones saddled with crippling £9,000 tuition fees.

      • Monty
        Posted April 14, 2014 at 12:16 am | Permalink

        Indeed Jools. Only the English kids are singled out for punitive fees in Scotland. And never a word was raised against that in Scotland.
        If that situation had been reversed, English Universities would have screamed blue murder to stop the discrimination against Scottish kids.

        This is an example of the chasm between us. For our own good, we need them to go.

  29. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Who would Andy Murray play for in the Davies cup? You can deal with the bureaucrats very well John so long as you don’t fall off beachy head :you can see it coming.

  30. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t it amazing how over the years UK politicians have managed to create this situation where large numbers of UK citizens would actively welcome the break up of the UK, even though that would actually be harmful to the interests of all of them?

    • Mark B
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      The UK is a political and dynastic construct, and I have very little affinity for it. Especially when those that we here in England, refuse to acknowledge us, and denigrate us (Little Englander, not Little Scotlander etc.) when we do not want to play their game.

      Either way, I think this marks the beginning of the end.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted April 13, 2014 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

        I have a great affinity and fondness for England. I am upset when I hear this bitter talk. We have all been betrayed.

        • Mark B
          Posted April 14, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink


          I said ‘UK’, not England.

          • Max Dunbar
            Posted April 14, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

            Thanks Mark B.
            What I meant was that, as a Scot, I have an affinity for England and therefore feel sad when I read that the UK is regarded with disdain. I do not want the nation and my family, more than half of whom live in England, broken up and I am prepared to do whatever is necessary to prevent that from happening.

  31. Martin Ryder
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I am an Englishman living in England. I have always been a Unionist and was proud to serve, many years ago, in the British Army. However I am now coming around to the idea that Mr Salmond seeks to do me a favour.

    What if England was to become independent, not only from the European Union but also from the United Kingdom?

    Firstly we would be rid of most of the hordes of socialists that inhabit the northern and western parts of the kingdom; though they might migrate to England once the reality of independence hits them.

    Secondly the Irish problem would be someone else’s. Perhaps the two parts of Ireland could kiss and make up or the northern Irish could join with their kinsman in Scotland. I am sure that Mr Salmond would soon sort the problem out.

    Thirdly Her Majesty could call herself Queen of England without there being a fuss. Fourthly there would be no chance of a Gordon Brown come back. No doubt other benefits would soon become apparent if, finally after 300 years, England could be free again.

    I would be sorry to see the Welsh go but you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. Vote ‘Yes’ for independence for all of us.

  32. Martin
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    “Scotland can be on the losing side in a General Election” – wrong – Scotland does not have a block vote rather it has a first past the post system (for Westminster) that favours SLAB. First past the post deprives the Conservatives of Westminster seats from Scotland. (15% of the vote gives 2% of the seats).

    With PR in Scotland SLAB have ended up in opposition after the last two Holyrood elections.

  33. Vanessa
    Posted April 14, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    The legacy of this unnecessary referendum is that the United Kingdom will never be the same. The feelings of many people, should the result be very close either way, is that, an large minority of Scots hate the English so much that they wanted to leave or if they vote to stay that there is a huge minority who do not want to be any part of England.

    And will this be the end ? If the result does not go the way Salmond wants will he have another referendum in, say, two years time (as per the EU) and again and again until he gets what he wants?

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 14, 2014 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      You are correct that Salmond will have more referenda until he gets the ‘right’ result. That is why a close win for the Union is dangerous. Ideally, Salmond has to lose badly and have no safety net of Devo-max to land on, but at present it looks to be a narrow result either way.

  34. Atlas
    Posted April 14, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Agreed John. The West Lothian problem must be addressed.

  35. Richard Woods
    Posted April 14, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    The whole problem that we have to live with is the stupid way that devolution was handled, pasting in another level of separate government on Scotland, Wales, and N Ireland.
    What should have happened was devolving specific country measures to the MPs from England, Scotland, Wales & N Ireland sittingas separate chambers of the HoC, for those purposes. (Where they sat would have been their decision, but never should that fraud-ridden and wasteful monstrosity in Edinburgh have been built.)
    Such a decision would have avoided the W Lothian question and given the English a proper say in english affairs.

  36. petermartin2001
    Posted April 14, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Because Labour MPs for Scottish seats intend to vote on English issues as well as Union issues, the Conservative leadership had to set up a coalition government for England as well as the Union. England now has to accept policies which were defeated in the English part of the General Election as a result.

    The Tory party does have a seat in Scotland won by David Gordon Mundell. Since 2005, he has been the only Conservative Member of Parliament representing a Scottish constituency (Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale).

    So how does he vote?

    I’d hope he does vote on all issues. Not just the ones pertaining to Scotland. That’s what being a Unionist is all about.

  37. uanime5
    Posted April 14, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Why don’t Labour MPs for Scottish seats recognise the long term political danger of voting for or against English matters when the same issues about Scotland are determined by the Scottish Parliament in their own constituencies?

    What dangers would these be? It can’t be the English getting an English Parliament because this won’t have any effect on the Scottish parliament or powers of Scottish MPs at Westminster.

    The last General Election saw the Conservatives win a comfortable majority in England. Because Labour MPs for Scottish seats intend to vote on English issues as well as Union issues, the Conservative leadership had to set up a coalition government for England as well as the Union.

    As long as parliament represents the UK, rather than England, winning a majority in England doesn’t give the Conservatives the right to do whatever they want in parliament.

    Also if the Conservatives don’t want to keep losing general elections because of a lack of support outside of England they should try to create policies that might appeal to non-English voter, rather than trying to punish them for not voting for the Conservatives.

    England now has to accept policies which were defeated in the English part of the General Election as a result.

    Conservatives policies were defeated in a large part of England as well, so it would be unrepresentative to try to force Conservatives policies on areas which voted against them.

    Scotland can be on the losing side in a General Election but still get much of the government it wants through devolution. England can be on the winning side in a General Election, and still end up with a government it does not want thanks to the presence of Scottish MPs at Westminster.

    Then introduce an English Parliament and devolve areas such as education, health, local government, law and order, and the environment to it. Of course since they’ll be fewer things to do at Westminster we can easily justify substantially reducing the number of MPs.

    They want Liverpool to accept government from Manchester, Sunderland to accept government from Newcastle, and Exeter to accept government from Bristol, as they seek to steamroller city identities into convenient regional administrative units.

    But forcing all of these cities to accept the government of London and reducing the power of their local councils to remove their regional identity is somehow okay.

  38. theyenguy
    Posted April 15, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    An inquiring mind asks … What Voice?

    The Mail reports that one in ten of England’s 400 registered bathing beaches will fail new EU standards, according to Environment Agency projections.

  39. Stephen Gash
    Posted April 20, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    It is somewhat irksome that sixteen year-old Scots are considered more worthy than adult English folk, to determine the future of the UK.

    The English, as a nation, have never been consulted about how they want England governed in post-devolution UK. Only the counties Durham and Northumberland have been given a referendum. The sensible people there resoundingly rejected regions, but nevertheless regions were imposed across the whole of England, the reason given being that the ‘no’ voters rejected democracy, that is an elected assembly, not an assembly itself.

    Contrast that with Scotland which had a referendum on a Scottish parliament way back when Thatcher was Prime Minister, in 1979. Scots rejected the idea then. Those favouring a Scottish parliament blamed the rule used at the time, that at least 40% of the electorate would have to vote ‘yes ‘ in the referendum. Then within three months of Blair coming to power in 1997, Scots had another referendum where 60.4% of voters turned out, of whom 74.3% voted ‘yes’, that is 44.9% of the total electorate. The Scots gained their parliament.

    Wales had had three referenda on its assembly, the last being in 2011 when 35% of the Welsh electorate turned out to vote for increased assembly powers. Of these 63% voted for increased powers, that is 22% of the total electorate, and of course the assembly now has increased powers.

    Using the same rules applied for Scotland and Wales, the English would certainly gain an English parliament. This is precisely why we are never asked.

    Regions are the single most unpopular option among the English for governance in England, with support being between 9-20% of those polled. Incidentally, this approximates the proportion of people in England who declared themselves to be British only in the 2011 census. The British comprise a minority across all of the so-called United Kingdom. However, Labour still insists that regions will be what the English will get. It now has a policy of imposing regional ministers, without a referendum. Ministers are planned for cities too, despite city mayors being mostly rejected in referenda held in several English cities. Labour stronghold, Liverpool, imposed a mayor without a referendum.

    The Tories are not completely innocent. They plan to regionalise benefits and services, thus imposing regions via the back door.

    Devolution was never about empowering Celts, and was (and still is) only ever about dismantling the most EU-sceptic nation in Europe, namely England. Once England’s sovereignty as a nation is erased, English law that protects the individual from the state, can be replaced with European/Scottish law that protects the state from the individual.

    Thereby, the English will be disempowered, stateless and under the EU yoke, exactly where Cameron, Clegg and Miliband want us to be.

  40. Fred
    Posted April 20, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    We do not want ‘English votes on English Matters’ The British politicians like you will decide what is an English matter. It ism con to try to make people think the problem has been solved and we all go back as before.
    You are working for someone and it is not the English.
    Redwood is a front man, a false pied piper.
    It is the hidden enemies that have crippled England and we need to learn how to spot them.

  • 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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