The cause of England

There are 18 Parliamentary constituencies in Northern Ireland, 40 in Wales and 59 in Scotland. In the last General election the Conservative party won 8 seats in Wales, one in Scotland and none in Northern Ireland. Conservatives won a substantial majority in England, taking 298 of the 533 seats. It was not enough to give an overall majority in the Union Parliament.  Owing to the way our Parliament works, that meant in England Conservatives had to share power with Liberal Democrats to govern English health, English education, English local government and other English matters. Meanwhile these issues in Scotland came under the control of the SNP who won the Scottish Parliamentary election,  in Wales under Labour who won the Assembly election, and in Northern Ireland under the Northern Irish parties.

Now that more devolution has been promised to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there has to be a settlement for England.  The polls do not point to a substantial  breakthrough for the Conservatives outside England, so the Conservative party will depend heavily on England for a majority in the Union Parliament. It would be quite unacceptable for Conservatives to win again in England, but for there to be no devolved power to English MPs to deal with the matters for England that are devolved to Scotland.  This will be especially true over taxation. Once Scotland has the power to fix her own Income tax, Wales has the power to fix business rates, and Northern Ireland the power to fix Corporation tax, England will expect powers to fix her own taxes too.

I look forward to the publication of the Conservative Manifesto setting out a policy to offer some justice to England. I also fear that the Labour and Lib Dem manifestoes will be silent on this weighty matter, hoping that it will go away. It will not go away. The SNP will make sure of that. As the SNP send new MPs to Westminster, they will do so backed by Scottish voters to improve  Scotland’s deal within the Union, and to demand more devolved powers. As they do so England will find her voice and expect some fairer treatment. Just as Labour took Scottish voters too much for granted in recent years when the SNP was upping its game, so today Labour and Lib Dems ignore England and refuse to listen to the reasonable demands of the English for English votes for English needs, let alone to the voices of those who want a separate English Parliament.

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  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Looking forward to the Conservative manifesto.
    Two items that Should convince the voters to vote Conservative.
    The first is the chance to have a say on the EU with a referendum.
    The second is the chance to get an English Parliament.

    Just a thought on foreign aid, when our Forces help, as they did in the Ebola crisis the cost should come out of the Aid budget.

    Reply Yes these costs shoulod come out of the aid budget. We made that point, and some of them did.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      The third reason is that the Tories are the only way to avoid the economic and democratic disaster of Miliband/Balls/Samonde & Sturgeon for England. Despite this still still no movement from Cameron’s daft Labour light, pro EU, greencrap, and ever higher taxes position. Nor, unsurprisingly, is there any movement in the polls.

      • Iain Moore
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        “Cameron’s daft Labour light, pro EU, greencrap, and ever higher taxes position.”

        Yes, in becoming Labour light, they have blunted the core conservative message, and in peddling ‘progressive ‘ polices are unable to attack Labour. Let alone the fact that Labour will always out Labour the Conservatives on Labour policies to spend other peoples tax money.

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        This is very true. Cameron should make sure his policies are based on common sense instead of the fantasy world that the LibDems and the Greens want. Thankfully more and more people are beginning to see the truth behind the renewables crap and can also see the saving to be made by scrapping HS2 and tackling immigration. Tackling health tourism should also be targeted much more than it is now. Farage made an important point on this during the TV debates. A vote to decide whether to stay in Europe is imperative. The greed of the Scots knows no end and we will not get a successful government for the period of the next parliament with such a mix. England has to have its own parliament to be fair to the people. Nobody has seen the actual manifestos yet and until we do we won’t know what is proposed. I am now thinking I may HAVE to vote Tory as living in Scotland I have always had to vote tactically. Whether it will do any good or not I do not know but one has to try. I would love to move back to England just to be able to vote for who I want to rather than who I feel I HAVE to.

      • Hope
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Look forward to Labour/SNP. Frankly the Tories are too late in their false empty promises. The public, quite rightly, do not trust or believe Cameron. More interested in the EU, overseas aid, gay marriage, mass immigration and tax rises. Openly insulting Tory supporters. They failed to deliver and will now pay the price. For how many years/terms is anyone’s guess. The Tories failed its supporters in England in preference for the EU’s devolvement of the UK. We have Osborne carving up England by stealth with Labour in Manchester, after the public rejected the mayor regionalisation of our country proposed by the EU. Let us hope in time UKIP will fill the void of the diminishing new labour Tory party.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 12, 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

          Well if you made a promise eight years then rat on it. Then not mention it for many years but, just before election, they put forwards a hugely inferior and vastly restricted offer. They do this without even giving an certain implementation date (and funded by mugging private pensions even further).

          What did Osborne and Cameron expect but richly deserved contempt?

    • Richard1
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Absolutely we must all hope that the Conservative Manifesto makes a dramatic proposal for Justice for England, which dominates the news for at least a week, to force the issue onto the agenda. This is a wide open goal and Labour and the LibDems are denying democracy in opposing and obfuscating the issue as they are.

      On overseas aid we should look for all possible fudges to get us out of this ridiculous commitment and save taxpayers’ money. One is as you suggest. Another is to allow private donations to be routed through some account which counts as being the UK govt. the UK has the second most generous donors in the world after the U.S. That should be part of the calculation.

      • Hefner
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Not true, in relation to the number of inhabitants, the first four donor countries are Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Netherland. One cannot pick up numbers out of one’s hat like this. It is simply dishonest. Check your facts, please, the conversation will be more fruitful!

        • Richard1
          Posted April 12, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          I said private donations. You are citing stats for public donations.

          • Hefner
            Posted April 13, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

            After checking the statistics of the OECD, which present public (ODA + OOF) and private contributions per country, the figures for private contributions from the UK are 2010 1593m, 2011 20610m, 2012 25620 m, indeed a net increase (I could not find the figures for the following years). But what appears tabulated as Private Flows is the sum of Direct Investment by UK companies in developing countries, Guaranteed Export Credits, Bank Lending, and Debt Relief.

            And finally as discussed in the Telegraph on 15/09/2012, a large fraction of ODA actually does not go to be “wasted” in developing countries but is used to pay consultants, mainly British ones in Britain.

            Don’t you think this is a slightly different image from what your original comment was trying to produce …

      • Hope
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        The manifesto is a meaningless document that cannot be relied on, nor is it enforceable. What happened to the promise of balancing the structural deficit by 2015? Spending cuts versus tax rises? Where was gay marriage in the last Tory manifesto? Mass immigration to help economic figures? Mass house building on rural England to accommodate mass immigration? The building of the useless HS2 across England? Now the Tories talk about chaos against their appalling record and failing to deliver on their promises. Cameron was right about one thing he failed to deliver and we should boot him out.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 12, 2015 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

          Alas Miliband/SNP is even worse, albeit only just.

        • Richard1
          Posted April 12, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          You think Miliband-SNP would be better?

          • Hope
            Posted April 13, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink

            No. They are nearly the same controlled by their EU masters. They keep giving away competencies to the EU ie main policy issues so there is less to debate and little difference between them. Hence they recently agreed an energy policy under the umbrella of the EU!

          • William Gruff
            Posted April 15, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink


            You think Miliband-SNP would be better?

            Not only better but best by far for England; undoubtedly very painful but, like all unpleasant medicines, very much for our own good.

            Here’s to independence for England.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      I’d need more than that.
      Along the lines (on your points alone) of:
      -an EU referendum WITH THE QUESTION WHICH WILL BE PUT, along the lines of “Do you wish to pool the UK’s law making powers, currency, national accounts and defence with those members of the enlarged EU including Greece and Turkey?”
      -Guarantee of an English Parliament with devolved powers identical to any current or future powers for the Scottish Welsh and NI Parliaments

      Or else it’s UKIP, come what may.

      Cameron made vague promises in 2010. Having backtracked on those this manifesto will have to be VERY SPECIFIC and detailed to have any credibility at all.

    • DaveM
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      The majority came from the Aid Budget. The problem with that was that DfID was essentially in control on the ground, and with respect, the people who work for DfID aren’t always the best people to be in charge in a situation like that! Not initially anyway.

    • Jagman84
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: Would a similar arrangement for “Health Tourists” be acceptable as very few seem to (or are encouraged) pay for their treatment? Since 2012, AIDS/Hiv treatment has been free of charge whilst in the UK. Similarly for diseases threatening the health of the general population.

    • Sandra Cox
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Reply: Yes these costs shoulod come out of the aid budget. We made that point, and some of them did.

      John, at the risk of bringing howls of indignation, might I suggest we also take the cost of treating the RoW on the NHS out of the foreign aid budget?

      Also, how about also ensuring that we effectively bill our EU partners for the true cost of NHS treatment for their citizens? They certainly waste no time or effort in billing us.

  2. Mark B
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    . . . England Conservatives had to share power with Liberal Democrats to govern English health, English education, English local government and other English matters.

    The funny thing about that is, and it has been mentioned before, is that the likes of, Danny Alexander, Lib Dem and Scottish MP, can vote in Westminster on these issues yet, cannot do the same in his own country.

    What we need is not EVEN but a major constitutional settlement along the lines of a Federal System. Each Nation having its own Parliament and the HoL turned into a Federal Government responsible for matters such as defence, foreign policy (EU competence), Energy (EU Competence), Environment (EU Competence) and Energy (EU Competence).

    The solution is staring you in the face.

    • DaveM
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink


      I’ve wanted a separate English Parliament since about ’98. However, that was when (up until last year essentially) the Scottish and Welsh Assemblies were more like a ‘Celtic’ version of the Dept for LG.

      However, in light of the creeping devolved powers and the SNP’s intent to affect English matters in Westminster, I’m more inclined to think that a better solution would be:

      Maintain the current Westminster set-up, but make it absolutely clear and black-and-white over which matters are UK Govt dept responsibilities and which are devolved.

      Have Scottish, English, Welsh, and NI Westminster MPs as MPs for the 4 countries, thus doing away with the extra layer of devolved govt. Also have First Ministers for each who are not part of the UK Cabinet – ie. the UK PM is not the English, Welsh, or Scottish First Minister. In other words, when the UK Parliament is not in session the MPs for the 4 countries go back to their capitals and Parliaments and look after their own countries’ matters.

      This would merely require a hall in Westminster for the English MPs to sit, and the creation of a couple of new depts in Edinburgh and Cardiff. It would also mean the Civil Service might have to reorganise itself a bit.

      The only problem with that is that the UK Cabinet would be pretty much composed of English MPs, but I’m sure some kind of formal or non-formal agreement could be reached to ensure all 4 countries were adequately represented.

      I’m sure others will see problems with this, but I see it as the easiest, cheapest, and fairest solution.

      OT – as I’ve been out and about listening to the BBC’s continuing non-stop PEB on behalf of the Labour Party, I’ve noticed a small thing.

      Labour, I thought, traditionally used local people to represent their local working folk. However, everywhere the outside broadcasts have been, it seems that the local Con, LD and Ukip candidates have appropriate regional accents, yet the Lab candidates all sound very Home Counties!!

      • Keith Morris
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        In order to bring about your plan, they would have to close the devolved legislatures in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. That ain’t gonna happen.

        Re: your last paragraph. As I asked my mum today, if Labour abolished private schools, where would they get their MPs?

        • DaveM
          Posted April 12, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Permalink


          My suggestion is that the devolved legislatures remain, but are ‘manned’ by the Westminster MPs rather than the whole extra raft of MSPs etc as they are now – that’s what EVEL proposes for England, so why can’t the other 3 work in the same way? They can even use the existing buildings. The system would be the same, just less people. That would mean more parity across all 4 nations.

          • Independent England
            Posted April 13, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

            That is not devolution. How can you devolve power to an MP elected at a UK general election?
            Dual mandate MPs is as big a nonsense as English Votes for English Laws.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Indeed it is staring them in the face, and is the only way they can save their Union, but they are so short sighted they think making English people second class citizens will bribe the Scots to stay.

      In truth what I believe is going on here is nothing to do with the Scots, its the British establishment at war with the English, seeking to protect their privileged position, which they believe they would lose if the English got a Parliament.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        But the British establishment is predominantly English. Even if you allow for a somewhat disproportionately high number of non-English people in the British establishment, for various reasons, those who are English must surely still predominate given the much greater population of England. So it is a predominantly English British establishment which you think is at war with the rest of the English. Well, there would be nothing new about that; there was an intermittent running battle between the elites and the masses within England long before the annexation of Wales, let alone the unions with Scotland and Ireland, made it more complicated.

        • Steve Hilton
          Posted April 14, 2015 at 11:04 am | Permalink

          Although most MPs were born and bred in England (even allowing for the fact that quite a few MPs in English seats were born outside England), and have English accents, their mind-sets are British and never English. It’s the allegiance to the British state, rather than the English nation, that causes the problem. If they put England first, not only would England be better off, but the entire kingdom would too.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 14, 2015 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

            I think many of them don’t even see themselves as being primarily British, they are among the small minority who see themselves as primarily European.

        • William Gruff
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          Denis Cooper:

          But the British establishment is predominantly English.

          There you go again with that typically Scotch perspective Denis. The ‘British’ establishment is in no sense English, and no Englishman, which is what you claim to be, would say otherwise.

          That aside, do you care to expand on ‘ there was an intermittent running battle between the elites and the masses within England long before the annexation of Wales, let alone … ?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 16, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

            Part of being an Englishman is that you are fair-minded and open to reason, characteristics which you evidently lack.

            If you want to know about the past conflicts between the elites and the masses in England, read some history.

            That aside, have you noticed that the Russians have been testing our air defences, and that in the last incident our interceptors were scrambled from an airbase which we would no longer have if you got your way?

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      In addition to English matters only being voted on by MPs representing English Constituencies we also need equal representation. That is the number of constituencies should be reduced so that they all contain roughly the same number of voters.

    • William Gruff
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Mark B:

      Yet another advocate for a ‘federal system’. Two questions:

      1) Why is it necessary or desirable? (Please do not offer the absurd suggestion that we might otherwise see a hostile foreign power on our northern border.)

      2) How can it work without perpetuating the age old whines of the Scotch and Welsh, who cannot see that the ‘British’ government is in no sense English?

      Complete dissolution of the ‘union’ is the only sensible option.

      Here’s to independence for England.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        “Please do not offer the absurd suggestion that we might otherwise see a hostile foreign power on our northern border.”

        Of course not, because somebody calling himself “William Gruff”, who owns a crystal ball and can see very clearly far into the future, can provide an absolute guarantee that would never happen.

        • William Gruff
          Posted April 13, 2015 at 1:58 am | Permalink

          Denis Cooper:

          Of course not, because somebody calling himself “William Gruff”, who owns a crystal ball and can see very clearly far into the future, can provide an absolute guarantee that would never happen.

          That from the man who thinks – from a childishly simplistic comparison of population numbers – the English dominate the British political establishment, its state machinery, and Scotland, apparently unaware that a Scotch dominated coalition is a real possibility in less than four weeks’ time.

          I think anyone who has read just a few of your contributions knows not to take them seriously and I doubt that anyone thinks you’re anything other than Scotch (your logic is certainly typical of the Scots I’ve argued with in politics forums for nearly twenty years).

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 13, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

            So you’ve convinced yourself that I must be Scottish, despite the occasions when I’ve described myself on this blog as an Englishman of old English stock resident in England.

            You really are quite delusional, aren’t you? Probably driven over the edge by what seems to be an obsessive, irrational, even vicious, hatred of the Scots.

            Try reading the opening sentences of the article, which will inform you that 18 MPs are elected in Northern Ireland, 40 in Wales, 59 in Scotland and 533 in England.

            Do you think that each of the 59 MPs elected in Scotland is given 10 votes, so that they can outvote the 533 MPs elected in England? Or maybe they have to join with the other MPs elected outside England, and then each of those 117 MPs elected outside England is given 5 votes?

            So if we do end up with what you choose to describe as “a Scotch dominated coalition”, by which you presumably mean a coalition dominated by MPs elected in Scotland rather than one dominated by whisky, will that be because those 59 MPs elected in Scotland have multiple votes, or will it be because most of the 533 MPs elected in England by the English actually care so little about England and the English that they are willing to allow the 59 MPs elected in Scotland to rule the roost even if that is to the clear detriment of their own English constituents?

            If you really think that people in Scotland can somehow be held responsible for the poor electoral choices of people in England, repeated at general election after general election, perhaps you could explain why you think that?

          • William Gruff
            Posted April 14, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

            Denis Cooper:

            There is no reply link at the bottom of your absurdly simplistic nonsense so I must reply to my own post in order to address you.

            You’ve made that claim that you are English before, yet you persist in writing the sort of tartan tinted, (etc ed) drivel typically trotted out by Scots in defence of their view that they are dominated by ‘the English government’ at Westminster, when the reverse is very clearly the case.

            Given your all too obvious ignorance of recent ‘British’ political history, our present and past constitutional arrangements and the way in which our parliamentary ‘democracy’ is currently operated, I think it must be clear to everyone that you are the ‘delusional’ one, not I.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 14, 2015 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

            Well of course you could just call me a liar for claiming to be English, that would be at the level of your arguments. Not only are you deluded but apparently also demented.

          • William Gruff
            Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

            My apologies to my host at this particularly busy season, my thanks to him for publishing my comments, my respect for his tolerance, my admiration for his stamina and my good wishes to him in the impending election, however:

            Denis Cooper:

            Well of course you could just call me a liar for claiming to be English, that would be at the level of your arguments.

            Calling someone a liar is not an argument. Arguments prove a lie, not accusations and I like to think that I make arguments rather than accusations. I think that whenever I make an argument you make nothing more substantial than an accusation in reply. I could be deluded or demented or both, however, I’m certain that I have a firmer grip on reality than you.

            Try again but try harder, much harder, and do try not to sound like a Scot intoxicated by (deleted to save our host the trouble).

            Thread ended as far as I am concerned.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 16, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink


      • Mark B
        Posted April 13, 2015 at 5:53 am | Permalink


        I propose a ‘Confederacy’ not necessarily and Federal. I believe in a Union where the National Parliaments are ‘above’ that of the Confederate / Federal Government and lend certain powers to the Union Government. The Union Government would be made up of an equal number of MP’s, or Senators from each of the Home Nations.

        Many issues and powers would be dealt with by National and Local Governments with the people being consulted on any number of issues, eg tax, by the power of referendums. This is already happening in Switzerland and they have the disadvantage of having FOUR languages to work through. Although the UK has a similar number, English is more widely spoken.

        With the Scots, Welsh and even the n.Irish in control of all their affairs, the English who are more conservative by nature, will be able to throw of the worst of Socialism and return to a truly functioning democracy (Direct Democracy). The other Home Nations can descend into Socialism as much as they want. It will be at their expense in more ways than one.

        Keeping our Union together is important only as so far it keeps others out ! For far too long, foreigners both foreign and domestic have treated England and the English badly. Once matters become and England only matter, any fool who speaks against us will suffer at the ballot box. You only need to look North of the Border to see that.

        Sorry for the late reply. It was nice weather and I had my bees to sort out.


        • William Gruff
          Posted April 14, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          Mark B:

          Do you have a blog at which you explain how this interesting and original proposal is to work?

          I can see its merits – national parliaments ‘lending’ powers to a supra-national body with sub-national authority, presumably with the right to ‘unlend’ them when it suits them; the nine to ten million people of the little nations having three times the voting power of the fifty five million plus people of England (we can depend on the ‘Celts’ to be fair when considering their mutual interests against ours); the little nations somehow happily existing as ‘British’ Albanias, co-existing and sharing a currency with a Conservative England, all in the interests of preserving this wonderful ‘union’ of ours – what I cannot see how is how such a fantasy can possibly work.

          Unfortunately for you unionists, the inevitable outcome of the devolution process is dissolution. I’m sorry to prick your cosy bubbble but that is the harsh reality and no amount of clever and original thinking can alter things. The ‘United’ Kingdomwas a convenient political arrangement with no ethnic cohesion but is now an empty political husk with no purpose. It is dead; it needs only to be buried.

          Here’s to independence for England.

    • Hope
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Is this not the regionalisation of our country that the EU wanted? Cameron’s promise of EVEL in October is as credible as his EU referendum that he made a three line whip against in October 2011. I am sure Ed and Nic, Nicola, will break up our country per EU dictat.

    • acorn
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Bit of a snag Mark, agreed, a federal structure would make sense, with federal and state responsibilities defined, along with federal and state taxation systems to match the responsibilities. (With one Treasury issuing one currency using one Central Bank.)

      But; introducing a federal system in the UK, while railing against a federal system in the EU … er … bit hypocritical, perhaps? Not that we the people have any mechanism for changing anything at Westminster. Our government may as well be in China, for all the influence we the people have over what it does to us. Top-down elected dictatorship we are! Federal, (direct democracy) Switzerland or Federal (entrenched in its constitution) Germany, we definitely ain’t.

      • Mark B
        Posted April 13, 2015 at 5:55 am | Permalink

        I go for the Swiss model. See my post to William above.

        More Confederate than Federal.
        I do not believe that you can argue to leave the EU and then seek a remedy that prevents countries like Scotland wanting to leave our Union. Or England for that matter.

        • William Gruff
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

          Mark B:

          I do not believe that you can argue to leave the EU and then seek a remedy that prevents countries like Scotland wanting to leave our Union. Or England for that matter.

          I can see no inconsistency in arguing to remove one ‘union’ from another while arguing for the preservation of the former. Will you kindly enlighten me?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 13, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        No, not in the least hypocritical. There are many sovereign states around the world which have a federal structure but which are not proposing to legally subordinate themselves within some larger federation. And that is what federation means; you may have noticed that voters in the Crimea were asked the question “Do you support reunifying Crimea with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation?” Of course there are some people who positively want our country to become a federal subject of the EU, which is a legitimate view but one held by only a small minority who should not be allowed to impose it on the rest of us.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Indeed but Cameron has done so little on the entirely reasonable demands of the English. He just went round promising Scotland almost anything in a last minute panic just before the referendum vote. Rights that he had no authority from the English voters to offer. He still shows no signs of winning the election, nearly winning or even trying to win the election.

    One assumes therefore that the new arrangements will be stitched up by Miliband and the SNP. Let us hope there is finally some red meat in the manifesto, on lower tax rates, promoting growth, halving the state sector, cheap energy & a fair deal for the English – contrary to all his and Osborne’s indications so far.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      The numbers show that, assuming the Tories get just 8 seats again this time in the regions, they will need to win 60% of the English seats to gain a majority. Cameron pathetically failed to get fair boundaries (perhaps his biggest failing of many) so he has a voting system that is hugely against him.

      It can still be done but not with his current wet, Labour light, vacuous agenda.

      We need a fair electoral deal for the English, a promise of lower & far simpler taxes, de-ratting on inheritance taxes on 8th May, some real visions for growth, housing and jobs, sensible but selective immigration, far less regulation, cheaper energy, less green crap and HS2 waste, far less EU, far less government in general. Where oh where is any sign of this sensible vision?

      • William Gruff
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 1:35 pm | Permalink


        A SNuLab coalition is exactly what we need. Granted, it is going to hurt like hell but the English electorate needs a sharp jolt to wake it up.

        • Keith Morris
          Posted April 12, 2015 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

          Agreed, but we in England have been suffering since long before the devolution project began. I’m beginning to think we’ve become inured to it now, so a MacCoalition might not make a difference. The only way some of us will be jolted into even moderate anger is if live footie or the latest crap with ‘Britain’ or ‘British’ in the title is pulled from our TV screens. That and the fact that England has too many people who don’t know or care about the difference between Britain and England or any other nation in this kingdom, as long as they get their Giro on time.

          • William Gruff
            Posted April 13, 2015 at 2:06 am | Permalink

            Keith Morris:

            You’re too pessimistic Keith. I’m confident that an English asset stripping coalition of Scotch dominated Labour and the SNP will run the country well and truly into the ground within twelve months, and then there may not be any giros.

            There are other sources of trouble too in our no longer green and pleasant land. Real trouble is not very far ahead.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      So finally we get an announcement on Inheritance tax five years late and what a pathetic, wet and restrictive one it is. Still blatant ratting on the £1M (£1.2M now in real terms) each threshold promised six years ago by ratter Osborne.

      This is £1M is just for a couple up from the £650K level for couples for estates of over £2 million you slowly lose this increase and there are other absurd restrictions. Worse still it is to be paid for by yet more pension muggings on high earners. It seems to have other silly restrictions too.

      The message is the UK is not a country for the rich unless you are non dom or want to spend a fortune on contrived and risky tax planning.

      Still it is probably all irrelevant as the Tories are clearly not going to get a majority as Cameron clearly does not want one. Perhaps they will not even be the largest party with this pathetically wet performance. Given these prospects what had the Tories got to lose from making a substantive promise?

      Why oh why are Cameron and Osborne so lacking in political vision?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        Osborne said on Marr just now “so only millionaires will pay inheritance tax” yet another blatant lie surely?

        It seems from the proposals that single people will still pay it with assets well below £1M. Perhaps he or JR could clarify?

        • JoeSoap
          Posted April 12, 2015 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          Not only that but the assets have to be a house. Also you should never pull more than £100k salary. After that marginal rates kick in very badly…

          The ladder to becoming moderately wealthy has really been pulled up from the days of 40% top rate, £260K p.a. into pension, CGT at 10%…. Getting the first million or so to become less risk averse and more inclined to invest in good projects will be much much harder for the next generation than in the 80s and 90s.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 12, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          Couples with less that £1M each will also still be taxes it seems. So “only millionaires” was clearly a complete lie.

          Perhaps the biggest problem with IHT is not so much the threshold but the absurdly high rate. Stealing 40% of people’s assets off them. This after they have earned them over a lifetime and already paid vast sums of tax on their incomes.

          That and the fact that government will certainly waste most of what they have pinch anyway on damaging or pointless drivel.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Not even a date for this IHT (inferior promise Mk II) to come in by. Can we assume May 2020 in the very unlikely event the Tories do get a majority?

      • Bazman
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        And again but if forgot IHT abolished for the riches children. Another vote winner? Are you sure?
        Low taxes, no employment rights, anti EU position, subsidy free energy production except for nuclear without pollution limits, massive cuts to the welfare state along with a reduction in public transport and massive road building scheme across the country coupled with almost no planning restrictions or regulation on house building.
        Tell us again. Its like saying to make a motorbike faster just put a 5 litre V8 in it. Doh! Why did we not think of that!?
        Sorry I missed your point again.
        Low taxes, no employment rights, anti EU position, subsidy free energy production except for nuclear without pollution limits, massive cuts to the welfare state along with a reduction in public transport and massive road building scheme across the country coupled with almost no planning restrictions or regulation on house building.
        You might need to tell me in another post as I have already forgotten your vote winning plan. Do tell John as he has not thought of this and might find it useful.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic – Peter Hitchens gives the answer to that question today.

        To be awful but not too awful.

        The intention is another Tory led coalition. So that the referendum can be reneged on without actually reneging on it.

    • Qubus
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Let’s face it: the Conservatives are very unlikely to win an outright majority. And the reason, I am afraid, is that DC has been a terrible PM. He threw away the last election with his silly inclusion of Clegg in the debate; he has alienated many core Conservatives with the gay marriage affair, not mentioned in the manifesto; he made the mistake of stupidly alienating many Voters with his description of Ukippers as ” fruitcakes and closet racists”, and now this total nonsense about three days per year volunteering. What happened to austerity?

      • Qubus
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        And I forgot to mention foreign aid and defence.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

          You also forgot to mention failing to make sure that the boundary changes went through. In 2010 the Tories got 7% more votes than Labour but while that was enough to make them the largest party in the Commons it was not quite enough for an overall majority. I don’t suppose we can know exactly how that inherent bias against the Tories and in favour of Labour will work out this time, but it will still be there to some extent.

          • Andy
            Posted April 12, 2015 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

            The Boundary Review is a damn disgrace. There is no excuse for all seats not being the same size +/- 5%. They should all be the same size as the Isle of Wight.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        Indeed and his Lisbon pre-election cast iron ratting yet the country is desperate for a proper Tory/UKIP administration. They have over 50% of the vote despite Cameron’s uselessness and Miliband’s even more uselessness.

  4. Old Albion
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Yes! I too look forward to reading the Conservative manifesto. You have hinted here before that it will contain something to address the English democratic defecit.
    I’m not holding out any hope. I fully expect some feeble version of EVoEL.
    ‘Mark B’ has shown you the solution to the problem, a solution i have personally been promoting for about a decade.
    Labour and Lib Dems will howl about an English parliament “breaking the Union” while conveniently ignoring the fact, the Union was broken in 1998 when Blair created lop-sided devolution to appease the Scots (that went well didn’t it ?)
    If England is not treated fairly by the end of the forthcoming parliament, I will be seeking Independence for England.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      Andrew Roberts in the Spectator last September gave this advice to Cameron:

      Do Nothing. The British people are a fair-minded lot; they will give you another term in office because you and George Osborne have delivered the best growth rates in Europe despite the monstrous overspending and boom-bust of the Blair-Brown years. Every newly incoming ministry since the war has been re-elected – except that of Ted Heath, which broke all the rules anyhow – and your one will be too. The old motto from your wing of the Tory party, ‘Trust the people’, will see you through.

      It he still living in this dream world I wonder only three weeks left and not mover towards the Tories at all? This as they have done nothing just as he suggested. Cameron is indeed another Ted Heath type.

      • backofanenvelope
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Doing nothing would be good. Just imagine that there was a very short Conservative manifesto that said, no tax cuts or extra expenditure till we have reduced the deficit to zero and made a start on reducing the national debt. Simple and to the point.

      • Bazman
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        I Think Mr Cameron needs to take a more extreme right wing view to win the election or at least a extreme Conservative one is his point? I would read it, but are now going down the pub and as I will not take on board one word of it as feel there is no need for reading anything as reading pollutes the mind with alternative wishy washy ideas and woolly thoughts.
        ” Right wing Conservatism. Its common sense.” Google shows no results to this funnily enough, making either deluded or original.
        You can have that one John. Put your own picture to it.

        • Mondeo Man
          Posted April 12, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          Enjoy your Babycham, Bazman.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

          But Mr Cameron is not trying to win your support Baz.
          You are not his target voter.
          You would count just as a heckler at the back.
          Can you think of any Tory manifesto that would achieve that miracle conversion?
          Because I can’t.

          • Mondeo Man
            Posted April 13, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

            Edward 2 – Unfortunately those who think like Bazman have had huge influence over the Tories.

        • libertarian
          Posted April 13, 2015 at 7:30 pm | Permalink


          Thats funny. I googled Left wing socialism, Its common sense. I got a hit too. Its said

          A bad day for left wing socialism, a good day for common sense

          • Bazman
            Posted April 14, 2015 at 6:28 am | Permalink

            You do not know how to use Google do you as if you did you would find ‘no results’. Have any of you worked out to stop file sharing yet? Ban the internet would work.

          • Ted Monbiot
            Posted April 14, 2015 at 6:51 am | Permalink

            I see parents of children who have downloaded from pirate sites have been shocked by letters arriving at their homes demanding immediate payment of money or having to face a civil court case.

          • Bazman
            Posted April 16, 2015 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

            Some have had scare letters this is true. Is this a good thing and what would happen if this became the norm?

  5. alan jutson
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    The only solution now devolution has taken place is to make it fair and simple to all.

    The only way to do that is have all four Nations with exactly the same rules.

    All you have to do is decide what will be under Uk joint control, the rest goes to each Nation.

    So bloody simple, I cannot see why has it not happened already.

    No need for an English Parliament building, you just use the Palace of Westminster.

    All this absolute nonsense about regionalisation just muddies the water.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      ‘…four nations with exactly the same rules’.

      Sorry Alan but it will never happen. A party such as the SNP feeds off discord and instability.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      The Palace of Westminster would already be occupied by the UK Parliament, the English Parliament and government would need separate premises. But if it was then deemed possible to reduce the numbers in the UK Parliament all or some of its extra buildings outside the actual Palace could be sold or rented out.

  6. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    For me the obvious solution is to grant the English the equivalent of what the Scots have had for fifteen years now, by establishing a separate and separately elected devolved Parliament for the whole of England to pass laws just for England and hold a separate devolved English government to account.

    There are of course arguments against doing that and instead devising some fudge in which the English institutions would not have the easily recognisable separate existence they deserve but would be buried within the UK institutions, so why not directly ask the UK citizens affected, those resident in England, what they would prefer?

    • Hope
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      ThebEU are against nationalism. England would be too big and strong unlike Wales, Scotland and Ireland. I think we are either a UK or I would like English independence without a penny going to the other countries who seek to be free from us,

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        Well, it’s the UK which a party to the EU treaties, and that would still be case if we had a devolved English parliament and government.

        • William Gruff
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

          Denis Cooper:

          Well, it’s the UK which a party to the EU treaties, and that would still be case if we had a devolved English parliament and government.

          Again please Denis, in good idiomatic modern English.

  7. Steve Cox
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Well it’s been clear enough for a long time that there’s not going to be any sort of an election winning shift to the Conservatives in Scotland, Wales or NI, so if the party is going to win this election it will have to do so exclusively in England. Labour and the Lib Dems should have handed the Conservatives a tremendous electoral gift in their refusal to countenance an In/Out referendum on the EU or to consider seriously the hugely important issue of English devolution. So why on earth aren’t the Conservatives making hay while the electoral sun shines and running massive campaigns across England showing Miliband and Clegg refusing to give the English any choice in how they are ruled, be it from Westminster or Brussels? Why hasn’t the antipodean electoral genius, Lynton Crosby, picked up on these issues and focused the campaign accordingly? It seems to me that Cameron, Osborne (another supposed electoral genius) and Crosby are running such a lacklustre and dull campaign that they have lost interest in the battle already.

  8. The Prangwizard
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Are you attempting to suggest your party has not ignored England too? So far we’ve had half-baked proposals which have been kicked, with what seems to have been glee, into the long grass. Your leader’s promising words have proved to be of little consequence, just another of his PR stunts.

    Your party needs to publish a separate Manifesto for England, a few warm words in a Union document will not do, nothing happened with the last few. Your Unionist party must stop putting England in second place.

    The end to the Union is on its way simply because the people of England have been ignored and patronised, and insulted for standing up for themselves. We have not forgotten Cameron’s ‘sour little Englanders’ phrase. It will not be an easy path.

    Those of us who have been calling for a true English parliament will be proved right about the vital and overwhelming need for one very shortly. It is no good for you to shy away from it and promote the pathetic weak solution you have been advocating as if it were a solution to the problem; you will be walked over, as you have been so far.
    The promotion of EVEL has in fact weakened the English case, by diversion.

    If you believe in democracy for England you must call unambiguously for a true English parliament.

    This is an issue of principle, not of Party.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    On the matter of the Union or federal Parliament, once again I point out that it is a bicameral Parliament – the best arrangement for a sovereign Parliament, in my view – but with the members of only one of the chambers being elected by the people.

    Of course we wouldn’t want to rush into hasty decisions about this, but it is now more than a century since the Introductory Text to the Parliament Act 1911 said:

    “… whereas it is intended to substitute for the House of Lords as it at present exists a Second Chamber constituted on a popular instead of hereditary basis … ”

    and all that has happened is that we have changed the method by which the unelected legislators-for-life are appointed, it is still not constituted on a popular basis.

    My simple proposal, which I realise has not yet achieved widespread popularity to say the least, is that we should deliberately use the second chamber to partly compensate for the obvious unfairness of the method of election for the first chamber, by awarding seats in the second chamber to those parliamentary candidates who have come second in their constituency elections, so they become “Second Members of Parliament”.

    I note that the total prize money for this year’s Grand National was £1 million, but the horse that was First Past The Post did not win all of that, instead it was more widely distributed:

    First: £561300
    Second: £211100 …

    … and so on, even down the tenth horse winning £1000.

    • William Gruff
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper:

      My simple proposal …

      You’re on the road to recovery.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 16, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        Not simple enough for you, then?

  10. Sandra Cox
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    A few quotes from George Orwell – even more relevant now:

    ‘England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are
    ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt
    that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution.’

    “It is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a poor box”

    ” … however silly or sentimental, English patriotism is “a comelier thing than the shallow self-righteousness of the left-wing intelligentsia”.

    “It needs some very great disaster, such as prolonged subjugation by a foreign enemy, to destroy a national culture.”

    Unfortunately John, the enemy is within, and many of the left wing “intelligentsia” are squatting in the Conservative Party, ensuring Cameron throws yet another election, leaving Labour and the SNP to march us towards subjugation by foreign enemies.

    A credible English independence party looks more and more enticing!

  11. Iain Moore
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    I fear you are indulging in some wishful thinking. Cameron has shown little or no interest in English constitutional issues, despite the Conservatives relying on English votes, and despite the fact that there is much to embarrass Labour over their mistreatment of English people.

    As for English constitutional issues being debated in this election , again not much chance of that , for as you point out Labour and the Libdems don’t want to, the Cameron Conservatives won’t, for they have accepted the left’s argument that to mention the English is to be racist, and as the BBC and media come from the left, they too are wilfully blind to English issues, I know I have tried. The BBC has asked us to send in questions they would like them to ask politicians, and they of course filter out questions that doesn’t fit with their metropolitan world, so no questions about English constitutional issues. If any question about England is permitted through the metropolitan filters it will probably be a question to a Scottish elected politician about regionalising England.

  12. formula57
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    You say, “I look forward to the publication of the Conservative Manifesto setting out a policy to offer some justice to England” and you are quite right for as we know justice delayed is justice denied and the delay with associated tinkering we have experienced thus far is a cause for dismay. Thank you afresh for your own efforts to speak for England.

    And let us hope that the policy set out is something rather less timid and deficient than that indicated in respect of IHT, damaging too in its capacity to fuel ever higher and so more distorting property prices.

    After Blair’s first term the election slogan was to the effect “at lot done, more still to do” and not unnaturally the British people gave Labour another chance in default of any compelling reason to do otherwise. It would be sad to conclude the appropriate parodying message in these times for the government is “not enough done, too little worthwhile planned”.

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Christopher Booker has it spot on again today in the Sunday Telegraph.

  14. JoeSoap
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    I look forward to the publication of the Conservative Manifesto setting out a policy to offer some justice to England. I also fear that the Labour and Lib Dem manifestoes will be silent on this weighty matter, hoping that it will go away.

    The problem is, if there is only “some justice”, then UKIP voters will sense this as diluted and meaningless (which it would be). We will need some very specific, timed, concise proposals in the manifesto to make this work.

    Else you will be stuck working with Miliband in a grand Coalition, which might actually suit many in your party anyway. UKIP then become the real opposition and we hide or run away until 2020.

  15. Martyn G
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    John, you say “….backed by Scottish voters to improve Scotland’s deal within the Union, and to demand more devolved powers. As they do so England will find her voice and expect some fairer treatment”.
    But if the Conservatives get trashed in England at the GE, who then will speak for England? No one, I suspect, other than a small minority of honest politicians such as your good self.

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      What makes you think the Conservative party speaks for England? Despite owing their very existence to England, not one of them, with the odd exception such as our host, can bring themselves to even say the word England, let alone speak for it. No voice, less money, only our kids pay £9,000 tuition fees, only our sick pay for their prescriptions and not one word of protest from any of them, not even when Scots and Welsh Lib Dums were voting in favour of tripling tuition fees which did not affect their own constituents.

      The wet, liberal bunch of MPs calling themselves ‘Conservative’ have proved they care no more about the rotten deal England receives than the equally anti-English Labour and Lib Dums. Whatever we see in the Conservative manifesto, one thing is certain, their idea of justice for England will be a fudge and an insult to every man, woman & child in England.

  16. A.Sedgwick
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    In short it is a complete mess.

    I would just draw your attention to the point that if the SNP achieve the landslide majority expected that is a de facto vote for independence, should be treated as such and the Conservative Party should honour the wishes of Scottish residents by saying so in their manifesto.

    • formula57
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Exactly! If I were in Cameron’s place post the election I would bestow upon Scotland exit from the Union by 1 July and demand SNP support pro tem. We are, after all, only dealing with timing, not outcome.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Excuse me, but over 50% of us didn’t vote for independence and don’t want it. Don’t forget the many Scots who are embarrassed by the SNP and what they are doing to Scotland. Many of us are English who are living here and never thought that the political situation in Scotland would ever become so dire. A lot of us would love to move back south (I would go tomorrow) but because of Salmond/Sturgeon and their bid for independence we can’t easily do this because this has put a lot of people off moving into Scotland and has shattered the house market in the South of Scotland. All in all, a complete disaster for many. Of course, living in Scotland we have no choice but to accept the extras we get free up here but many of us would rather be paying a small contribution to dental fees, prescriptions etc especially when many of us have children paying their taxes in England and not getting a fair deal.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        Fed Up – Interestingly Scottish independence was not mentioned anywhere in the 2010 manifesto, yet – hey presto ! – we got one completely out of the blue.

        There was no “It was cause instability and scare the markets and investors” from the likes of Blair then.

        When it comes to a referendum on the EU, however, it’s “Ah. The time is not right.” or “Hush. Be patient. Wait until 2017.” – later, children, later.

        How can our removal from the EU possibly worse for our economy than the dismantling of the Union ?

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Treating the result of a General Election as anything other than what it is, a vote for certain parties to govern the country for the next five years, would be unacceptable. Of course the SNP will demand that a favourable result for them should be treated as another referendum verdict.

      • Monty
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        “Of course the SNP will demand that a favourable result for them should be treated as another referendum verdict.”
        And they’ll be right. Independance for Scotland is the flagship policy, and raison d’etre of the SNP. If the Scots voters give them a mandate to sit in Westminster and govern Scottish affairs, they will have underwritten the agenda of the SNP.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      How would it be a de facto vote for independence?


      a) Thanks to the FPTP system the SNP could easily get a landslide in terms of seats won without getting a majority of the votes cast; and in any case

      b) Not all those voting for the SNP necessarily agree with independence.

      • A.Sedgwick
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        a) FPTP has become flawed democracy, the two main parties have locked themselves into it for their advantage. We, the electorate, have benignly accepted its shortcomings and maybe this election will show why it should have been ditched long since.
        b)Somewhat contradictory, e.g. if I vote for UKIP I want out of the EU, similarly with SNP I would suggest. Its voters must recognise this conclusion and risk.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 13, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

          It may appear contradictory, but even with UKIP it is claimed that a significant chunk of its supporters do not actually want to leave the EU, and I should think it might be an even more significant chunk of present SNP supporters who do not actually want to go with them the whole way to independence. Rather they will support that party now, rather than others, in the hope that it will extract the best possible deal for Scotland but still within the UK.

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Denis. Got it in one.

  17. alan jutson
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    You look forward to the Conservative manifesto !

    Amazing isn’t it, after 5 years of knowing when we are going to have the next election, none of the major Party’s have yet released a Manifesto.

    Given the performance of your leader and senior Ministers so far John, I do not hold out much hope that the language/message will be much different.

    I hope I am wrong.

    Looks like Liam Fox according to his article in the Mail on Sunday has the same view given his comments.

    I hope the Manifesto pledges are clear and simple, not just an over complicated mish mash of pledges, that lead to total and utter confusion.

    Sad fact is that all of the manifesto pledges of all of the Party’s will not count for a bean if we do not get a Party with an overall majority.

    You should have it in the bag, the fact that you may not even get power with a coalition says it all about your Party’s failure to get its message across in any meaningful way, to millions of ordinary people.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Alan – Actually the message (from between the lines) has been loud and clear.

      That’s the problem for the Tories.

      (Peter Hitchens believes that another federalist Tory coalition is the ulterior plan.)

  18. ian wragg
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I assume we will be able to get a copy of the manifesto from the fiction section of WHS.
    regardless of the coalition, except for doubling foreign aid the 2010 document was the biggest load of rubbish ever written.
    What about the defence of Britain.
    What about open ended immigration, at what point will it stop.
    Yesterday another Tory clown was spouting on BBC that we are ….paying off the deficit…
    shouldn’t someone explain to him, you reduce a deficit and pay off a debt. If they don’t understand that they should lose their seats.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      I share your exasperation; most of our MPs are useless including the legacy party leaders.
      Our host is one of the exceptions but he supports them and so must accept some responsibility.

  19. David Price
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    I hope that consideration for England and its people will be more than a simple bullet point in a manifesto. I am not confident of proper progress based on the outcome of the outgoing Mr Hague’s exercise. Neither am I convinced that Mr Cameron sees the issue as any more than a useful differentiator in the general election to be shelved soon after.

    For me the issue is quite simple, devolution for Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland cannot be rescinded so now a proper job has to be done for England, not yet another botch to keep the politicians and lawyers happy.

    If you also want the union to survive then a proper job of federation will also need to be done, a chance to demonstrate to all how a modern, sustainable union can be put together.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      ‘Devolution for Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland cannot be rescinded’.

      Really? Who says so? Gordon Brown?

      • David Price
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        There is already too much of Welsh and Scottish parties demanding what England does and how much it should contribute to their support.

        I am neither Scottish or Irish and although having Welsh ancestors have never resided there, so I don’t feel entitled to take away a freedom they have been granted. That is not to say the those people might not chose to delegate powers back to a representative federal government.

        I only feel entitled to demand an equal treatment of the country I was brought up in and whose economy I have contributed to.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Well, we demonstrated that over a hundred years ago with the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900:

      “Whereas the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and under the Constitution hereby established … ”

      We did it for the Australians then, we just have to recognise that we now need to apply something similar to our own case.

      • David Price
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        22 pages is all it took for Australia. The latest Conservative manifesto has 89 pages and for all the professional gloss offers nothing so tangible.

    • Bob McMahon
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Actually, devolution can be rescinded, although no Westminster party would even think of suggesting it. As someone (Blair?) said, power devolved is power retained [by Westminster].

  20. David Murfin
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    If a federal system is adopted, and the Celtic nations must raise the revenues to pay for their spending programmes, they will soon have right wing parties, but they won’t be Conservatives. Scotland might find itself with a SNIP opposition dedicated to cutting tax and spend. If the 7-leader debate showed anything, it was that the left wing minor parties can easily see where spending is desirable and popular, but have little idea how to raise the money other than try to take it from those who do.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      No genuine opposition party would be allowed to exist in Scotland under the SNP and even now it is questionable in the current climate here. Post-war Eastern Europe provides an example of how things would turn out.

  21. Francis Lankester
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    But there is no ’cause of England’-this is only playing the game of those who want a federal (dis)United Kingdom in a federal Europe with regional government in England. We Conservative usually know well the law of unintended consequences, but ignore it at our peril here. The rush towards EVEL is to a cliff. The answer is not the rampant defeatism evident here, but to fight back by repatriating power & prestige to our national parliament, and to restore our overall pride in being British (and win more seats in Wales & Scotland).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps but in the mean time we will have Labour/SNP for five years + all thanks to Cameron’s abject failure of vision and Libdem/Labour in all but name agenda.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      I want a federal United Kingdom so that it will remain a United Kingdom and with England intact and recognised as a political entity, one component of the four components of the federation, rather than broken up into EU regions; the idea that we could reverse the devolution which has already taken place is a fantasy, and any attempt to do that would surely lead to the break up of the United Kingdom. Do you really think that when nearly half of the Scots are prepared to vote for complete independence from the United Kingdom there would be the slightest chance of them meekly accepting the abolition of their devolved Parliament and government?

      But I want nothing to do with a European federation, whether that would be a federation of what are now the sovereign EU member states, or a federation of cities and regions as some would prefer.

      • Max Dunbar
        Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        Deluded ideas about a federal state are simply another form of appeasement and a continuation on the road to ruin. Stop the rot now. So far, despite the referendum result in Scotland, there have been nothing but concessions to the people who would like our country partitioned.

        • David Price
          Posted April 13, 2015 at 7:40 am | Permalink

          Max – How do you suggest this is done? Maintaining the current political attitudes means England will be carved up. Better to block that outcome by working for an English parliament and government within a federal UK.

          The majority will of people in Scotland was certainly for the union and the union should therefore support that desire, but it is clear the separatists will do all they can to force independence and the needs of the English and everyone else will be ignored by those who are playing their game.

      • William Gruff
        Posted April 16, 2015 at 12:09 am | Permalink

        Denis Cooper:

        I want a federal United Kingdom so that it will remain a United Kingdom …

        You don’t know what you want because you have no idea how to get it nor how to maintain it. You say you ‘want a federal ‘United’ Kingdom’ simply because you can see that the ‘status quo’ is unsustainable but cannot make the intellectual leap to the inevitable conclusion.

        Our host would delete me if I told you what you want but I’m sure the more perceptive of his readers have a very good idea.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 16, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          You should stop making such a fool of yourself.

    • Bob Jameson
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      The Conservatives winning more seats in Scotland and Wales? That’s the best laugh I’ve had all week.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Well said Francis.
      It’s a pity that so much of the debate is conducted along lines that the separatists have contrived to push us along.
      All true patriots whether Sots or English must combine under our national flag, the Union Jack, to defeat the virulent scourge of fifth columnists in our midst.
      One sovereign parliament for all British subjects and the abolition of the so-called Scottish Government. This subversive and expensive institution must go, and go it will in due course whether peacefully or by force. We simply cannot allow our country and our kingdom to be torn apart and destroyed by these malevolent and divisive forces of the Republican Left and their implacable allies.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 13, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        The Scots were allowed to vote in a referendum on whether they wanted a devolved parliament and government, and the result was in favour of that proposal. As a matter of principle, something which has been agreed directly by the people in a referendum should not normally be reversed without their direct consent in a fresh referendum. At the moment I can’t see any realistic prospect that if a referendum was held the Scots would vote to abolish their devolved institutions, can you?

  22. Peter Richmond
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I am presently visiting friends in the Irish Republic and have learnt that the wife of one who is a university lecturer here has been awarded a large grant from the UK overseas aid budget to study violence against women in various countries in Africa and south Asia. Now the lady in question is no doubt competent and the outcome will be judged a success in due course. What I don’t understand is why a UK university did not secure this grant. I would have thought at least one of our many universities would have been just as well able to do this project. Are UK universities excluded from bidding for such grants, I wonder?

  23. libertarian
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    There will be NO solution to the “England problem” in the Conservative Party Manifesto.

    Every thing is going according to plan for the “One Nation” Tories. That nation is a federal Euroland . England will be broken up and regionalised so it doesn’t need an assembly or parliament .

    Meanwhile that diminishing number of people engaged in politics and or voting will continue to play out the old 19th century class rivalry and tribal politics schtick without every having an original idea or responding to 21st century challenges in a 21st century way .

    My prediction is that the Tories will be the largest party and as long as they can entice whats left of the LibDems & DUP into coalition they will form the next government.

    Just once before I shuffle off this mortal coil it would be great to experience some real LEADERSHIP in politics. Someone who wants to radically simplify government and prioritise public services in a meaningful way.

  24. Max Dunbar
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I hope that you have not entirely forgotten the almost half a million ‘English Tories’ (the Conservative Party being equated with being English by separatists) who voted for your Party in Scotland at the last election Dr Redwood. They deserve to have their voices heard too.
    Incidentally, Labour’s vicious anti-Conservative campaign in Scotland has come back to haunt them. They are now referred to by republican extremists as Red Tories.

  25. Bert Young
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I am very pleased JR has raised this issue again . Scotland , Wales and N.Ireland each want more control over their affairs ; this being the case it is only reasonable – and natural ,for England to have the same condition. England cannot be held to ransom on this matter and I regret very much that it spells the break up of a Union Parliament . This has not been brought about by the English ( although it was very foolish for the Party Leaders – prior to the Scottish referendum , to promise all sorts of give-aways to the Scots ) ; it is now being driven down our throats principally by the stance of the SNP.

    A system of protection must be put in place in the workings of the new Parliament to protect the rights and equality of the English ; as things stand I see no other alternative than EVEL . As far as the SNP is concerned they must heed the outcome of the referendum and either surrender to the value of an equal Union society or get out . I suspect the “Union” case would win if push came to shove , however , protection for the English has to be put in place first .

    Others have mentioned our independence from the EU . Of course we must retake control over our own affairs but to achieve this will be a more drawn out affair than the immediacy of the SNP threat .

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Who is being protected against whom? We are all British citizens in this small island and have one monarch. Why should one group of citizens have to be protected from another group allegedly in another area of the country. The whole thing is absurd.
      As for the breaking of our country, it was Labour who initiated it in the first place was it not? Where do most of Labour’s MPs come from?

      • William Gruff
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

        Max Dunbar:

        As for the breaking of our country …

        Whose country and what country?

        My country is England and I will do what I can to prevent the break up of England. If your country is not England, I don’t care what happens to it, as long as it does not work to destroy my country, in which case I will do all I can to destroy your country.

        Here’s to independence for England.

  26. Tad Davison
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    All I can say is, it’s up you Mr Cameron. Fairness for each country in the union, and the wish to have an equal stake in it, is very close to the hearts of everyone I talk to on this matter, not just the English. Anything less is divisive and therefore counterproductive.

    If you take the time and the trouble to read what highly informed people are saying, such as the many contributors to this blog, you will be in no doubt as to what you must include in the Conservative manifesto. A Conservative party that had been true to the values we once thought it stood for, would have been unstoppable. Instead, it seemed to want to cosy up to the liberal left, rather than give positive leadership in key areas. People like strong leadership. Woolly liberals need not apply.

    If on May the 7th, it all goes down the tubes, I will get no satisfaction at all in saying I told you so, for it would mean that the public have learned nothing, and gone back to the disastrous policies of the past. Indeed, I would be worried. Worried for my children, for it is they who would have to pay for the economic and constitutional incompetence of previous administrations, and it would have been a chance lost to start to turn the tide, and prevent the balkanisation of the United Kingdom that I suspect others privately seek.

    England expects.

    Tad Davison


    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      I think it will indeed be a total disaster. The Tories will surely recover a little but U think not enough. All thanks to the dreadful, libdem, pro EU, greencrap, serial ratting leadership of fake Tory Cameron throwing two sitting duck elections.

    • Bill
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink


    • Max Dunbar
      Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      The first sentence is a cracker Tad!

    • William Gruff
      Posted April 15, 2015 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      Tad Davison:

      ‘tad naïve?

      Some of us were aware of the possibilities more than thirty years ago.

  27. Bill
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    The self-interested and delusional SNP seems bent on wrecking the Union. How is it that the media give N Sturgeon respect and N Farrage little respect when the principles of independence they argue for are almost exactly the same?

    If Miliband wins, we are in for economic rubbish and the pet projects of H Harman and others of her ilk. But maybe the Union will be saved at huge economic cost.

    If Cameron wins, we are in for economic sanity but what will he concede to the parties with which he has to work? Clegg seems willing to have another go but my preference would be an alliance with Northern Irish politicians. The Union ought to be saved but, if it is not, then the break-up ought to be on terms favourable to the English who for far too long have overpaid the Scots. How would a diminish England, with Welsh and Northern Irish connections, fare in the world once it shook itself free of entanglements with the EU? The answer is that it would finally have lost the glories of the 19th century and become a small moderately prosperous country like some of those in Scandinavia.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 13, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      England embarked on the path to its 19th century glories in the 18th century, and that success was directly related to the English-dominated British Parliament having taken legal control over the territory of Scotland in 1707 so that England no longer had to worry so much about its back, and could in fact enlist willing Scots in the service of Great Britain with mutual advantage.

  28. peter davies
    Posted April 12, 2015 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    UK democracy due partially to EU directed ideas and the design of devolution by new labour is a mess. This could be fixed by returning to the single tier of politicians MPs only who work in their devolved assemblies on devolved business leaving the english based MPs in W’Minster.

    Other than that its the simple exclusion policy you described before though I suspect if Labour get in next month as a minority govt backed up by the SNP the matter will probably be bought to a head first once things start going pear shaped when politicians will be forced to act.

  29. Atlas
    Posted April 13, 2015 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Agreed, John.

  30. Jon
    Posted April 13, 2015 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been waiting for the political divide when the Conservatives say they are for English Votes for English Needs to set a real ivide between the parties. Still waiting, think it may not be a pushed.

    Whatever the reasoning, not talking about it won’t take it of the agenda with the aggressive SNP MP’s in Westminster. I thought this would be a big issue the Conservatives would fight on, apparently not.

  31. Gareth
    Posted April 13, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    I see that the Labour manifesto talks about greater powers for Scotland, Wales and the English cities & regions. I hope the conservatives support a United England and not this butchering Labour seem to have planned.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted April 14, 2015 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      It was the Cameron Conservatives, under that great constitutional expert Osborne , foisted on us the City Mayoral Fiefdoms. I was pretty fed up of waiting for the Cameron Conservatives to raise English constitutional issues, but speechless that it was the Conservatives who initiated the balkanisation of England by the back door, that went against the English electorates wishes.

      • Alan Dean
        Posted April 14, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        You shouldn’t be surprised by this bunch of ‘Conservatives’. They’re really a bunch of metro liberals who’d be happier with their Guardian-reading pals in the Fabians and the Labour party.

      • Alan Dean
        Posted April 14, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        Maybe when Cameron goes, he’ll be replaced by someone who remembers which country the party owes its existence to.

        • William Gruff
          Posted April 15, 2015 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

          Alan Dean:

          Cameron is not English and owes no allegiance to England.

  32. Iain Moore
    Posted April 14, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    “And we will introduce English votes for English laws, answering the longstanding West
    Lothian Question in our democracy”

    And that is it, that is all the Cameron Conservatives have to say about English democracy. An after thought, that is all it is!!!!!

    I understand that the Conservatives are losing their electoral base in England. Well serves them right.

    Have the Cameron Conservatives bothered to think where they will go when they lose England?

  33. ChrisS
    Posted April 14, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Well, here it is.

    I have copied and pasted the entire section on English Devolution from the Conservative Manifesto and it makes pretty poor reading.

    Our host must be exceedingly disappointed in this watered down substitute for proper Devolution for England.

    Under these proposals, English MPs may be able to block some measures from being introduced by a Labour/SNP government but they are totally unable to initiate any form of legislation on any subject whatsoever without getting it through the entire House of Commons where Sturgeon would ensure it would be voted down by Labour supported by Salmond and his block of Socialist MPs

    What kind of Devolution settlement is that ?

    None at all !

    This goes nowhere near meeting the terms of Cameron’s Downing Street Declaration.
    I am disgusted that a Conservative, yes, a Conservative Prime Minister should be prepared to settle for this sham.

    We will give English MPs a veto over matters
    only affecting England
    We will maintain the Westminster Parliament as the UK
    and England’s law-making body. But we want Parliament
    to work in a way that ensures decisions affecting England,
    or England and Wales, can only be taken with the consent
    of the majority of MPs representing constituencies in
    England, or in England and Wales. We will end the manifest
    unfairness whereby Scotland is able to decide its own laws in
    devolved areas, only for Scottish MPs also to be able to have
    the potentially decisive say on similar matters that affect only
    England and Wales. We will maintain the integrity of the
    UK Parliament by ensuring that MPs from all parts of the
    UK continue to deliberate and vote together, including to set
    overall spending levels. But we will:
    change parliamentary procedures so that the detail of
    legislation affecting only England or England and Wales
    will be considered by a Committee drawn in proportion
    to party strength in England or England and Wales.
    add a new stage to how English legislation is
    passed; no bill or part of a bill relating only to
    England would be able to pass to its Third Reading
    and become law without being approved through a
    legislative consent motion by a Grand Committee
    made up of all English MPs, or all English and
    Welsh MPs.
    extend the principle of English consent to financial
    matters such as how spending is distributed within
    England and to taxation – including an English rate
    of Income Tax – when the equivalent decisions have
    been devolved to Scotland.

    • Alan Dean
      Posted April 14, 2015 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      It’s all very well all MPs having the same rights in terms of discussing and voting on any business in the House, but what about their responsibilities to their constituents? Surely in any legislature, all members must have the same degree of accountability to their constituents as well as identical rights within the legislating process.

      Here’s something Clegg said in the House of Commons on May 18th 2011:

      “In a modern democracy, it is important that those who make the laws of the land should be elected by those to whom those laws apply. The House of Lords performs its work well, but lacks sufficient democratic authority.”

      Somebody should have told him that his statement could apply equally to the Commons.

    • Monty
      Posted April 14, 2015 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      “English MPs …. are totally unable to initiate any form of legislation on any subject whatsoever without getting it through the entire House of Commons where Sturgeon would ensure it would be voted down by Labour supported by Salmond and his block of Socialist MPs”

      Couldn’t agree more. It is a paltry, shabby, half measure.

      • ChrisS
        Posted April 15, 2015 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        Monty, what is in the manifesto is not even a half measure !

        The fact that my post, highly critical of the PM and party policy, received no reply from our host tells us clearly what he thinks of the proposal.

        It would be totally unreasonable for us to expect any criticism of the manifesto from our kind host during an election campaign but I’m quite certain that after it’s all over and Cameron is back in Downing Street ( the alternative is just too terrible to contemplate ) the campaign for a truly equitable settlement will resume.

        We could possibly, just possibly, live with an amendment that would allow the Grand Committee to propose legislation or England alone or England and Wales where appropriate.

        I am hoping that the end result will mean that a coalition or looser arrangement between the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionists, supported by the small number of UKIP members will be enough to command a majority in the Commons.

        At least that way the LibDems, Clegg, or more likely his successor, can be put firmly back in their box.

        That would be an entirely appropriate reward for Clegg reneging on the boundary change bill that was firmly written into the 2010 Coalition agreement.

        Had the boundary change bill gone through and with Labour facing almost total annihilation in Scotland, we would have been looking forward to a clear Conservative majority.

        If we are faced with the LibDems in Government, any coalition agreement must allow for full cabinet responsibility including sackings if the LibDems try breaking the agreement again.

        If they have only about 25 MPS left, Clegg, if he’s still there, surely won’t be able to demand the DPMs job and even the most inept LibDem MP will have to have some kind of government job, probably as a PPS !

  34. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    What the Conservatives have not yet done is tell the SNP that either they support English votes for English issues or the promises made in THE VOW will be broken.

  • 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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