Thursday, July 11, 2013

Equal Citizenship: a fair deal for Scotland, Wales, Ireland and England


Comments in a number of papers about the proposal to give MPs representing English constituencies a veto over legislation which only affects England have been misrepresented the plans as some kind of attack on Scotland and Wales. This is absolute nonsense.

The proposals are part of a package which will also see further powers devolved to the Scottish and Welsh parliaments. They are designed to ensure Equal Citizenship.

Cast your mind back to the disgraceful imposition of "Top up" fees on students in England by the Blair government in 2004. This did not affect students in Scotland because this aspect of education policy in Scotland had been devolved to the Scottish parliament.

The majority of Members of the Scottish Parliament voted to make alternative arrangements for students from Scotland, and Top-up fees were not imposed at that time on students from Scotland. MPs from England had no vote on this and nor should they.

But by the same token, fairness ought to have demanded that MPs from Scotland did not vote on the equivalent measure for England. But they did. And the measure, which was a breach of Labour's 2001 manifesto every bid as bad as the Lib/Dems' more recent broken promise on student fees, and which was opposed by the majority of MPs representing England, was imposed on students of England thanks to the votes of MPs from Scotland.

This was a constitutional outrage.

There are a number of ways this issue, once known as the "West Lothian Question" could be corrected. One would be to scrap the devolved assemblies and go back to a unitary UK - I don't know anyone who supports that.

At the other extreme, if the UK were completely broken up, which I don't support, it would resolve the problem, though if Scotland votes for independence the "West Lothian Question" would still affect Wales and Northern Ireland - perhaps we'd have to rename it the "West Powys Question.".

A  second solution would be an English Parliament. There used to be a few very vocal supporters of this idea but the public appears not to be keen on the idea of another layer of government, which might, other things being equal, mean perhaps 500 more politicians.

The third solution, which is what the government appears to be about to propose is to give MPs representing England, as a group, more say over laws which only affect England. The effect of the measures which are apparently about to be proposed in the near future will be:

1) To devolve more powers to the Scottish parliament, and more to the Welsh Assembly bringing it roughly into line with the Scots parliament, and

2) Introduce a "fourth reading" stage for "England Only" legislation, e.g. bills which only affect England because in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the issue has been transferred to the devolved assemblies.

3) The fourth reading will involve an "English Grand Committee" consisting of all the MPs representing seats in England and will ensure that legislation which only affects England requires the support of a majority of those MPs.

Note that this not only does not affect the right of Wales or Scotland to determine their own affairs, it increases it as more powers are devolved.

The only people who suffer from this would be the Labour party, whose blatant and ridiculously unfair gerrymandering of the constitution a decade ago would be corrected.

They will whine that it's not fair that a Labour government with a small majority over the UK but no majority in England might not be able to carry out their policies in England on the issues which have been devolved.

This is absolutely and utterly ridiculous: Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If the issues concerned can be devolved to Scotland and Wales without destroying the UK, they can be devolved to England without destroying the UK either.

If MSPs from Scotland can decide on, say, tuition fees in Scotland without being told what to do by MPs from England, then MPs from England can make the same decision for tuition fees in England without being told what to do by MPs from Scotland. If an issue has been devolved and Labour don't have a majority in England, they should not be able to impose that policy in England unless they can persuade enough MPs for a majority in England to vote with them.

33 comments:

Toque said...

Equal citizenship?

England is the only nation in the UK which has never had a constitutional vote on its future. Wales has had three; Northern Ireland has had two, and; Scotland has had two, with a third referendum scheduled for September 2014.

Where's the equality in that? Why should the Scots and Welsh have two parliaments to shout for them while the English only have one?

The English veto won't provide England with a political voice. Non-English constituency MPs will still debate and vote on English legislation, and the UK Cabinet, comprising members elected outside England, will still design and control the policy agenda for England.

The people of England have the same right to self rule as the other peoples of the UK and - in the spirit of equal citizenship - the Government should ask us how we want to be governed.

Independent England said...

'A second solution would be an English Parliament. There used to be a few very vocal supporters of this idea but the public appears not to be keen on the idea of another layer of 500 more politicians'

Do you have any evidence for that statement?

This poll taken by the BBC in 2007 found that 61% of English people want their own English Parliament:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6264823.stm

Kenneth said...

This article is full of hyperbole, but it unfortunately ignores a number of crucial points:
1) Changes in the amount of money distributed to the devolved administrations are currently based on changes to 'devolved' spending areas in England. Often a particular piece of legislation will carry public sector funding implications, and thus, until such times as the Barnett formula is replaced, it is actually rather reasonable for non-English MPs to be voting on these pieces of legislation.
2) The boundary between primary and secondary legislation is often rather arbitrary. Any minister in the UK executive will still be able to make secondary legislation - which may be substantial - regardless of these plans for the House of Commons.
3) The legislature provides the executive. It does not make sense if the executive can carry a vote of confidence in the legislature on macroeconomic issues and defence, but not on education or roads. There is only one executive. At the very minimum, a separate English executive is needed, but since it would be rather strange to have two executives drawn from the same legislature really what is needed is a separate English legislature - and what really is the problem with that? Cost is red herring as the cost would be shared over 50 million people.

JUST ENGLISH said...

"A second solution would be an English Parliament. There used to be a few very vocal supporters of this idea but the public appears not to be keen on the idea of another layer of 500 more politicians."
How can you say an English parliament is not very well supported when the English have not been asked? The Scots and Welsh were asked ,we English should be shown the same respect. Why would there be another layer of MP`s when they are already sitting in English constituances,i think they could probably find time in the week to deal with English only issues whilst still serving the UK government .

Anonymous said...

I'm pleased to see the first flickers of recognition from the establishment, acknowledging there is indeed an 'English problem'
Eventually you will have to concede there is only one answer. A Parliament for England. The good news is, if it's done properly far from creating "more layers of politicians and cost" it will produce a massive saving in politicians and costs.
Remove all Scot, Welsh and N.Irish MP's from Westminster. Currently this would save the salary and expenses of 117 MP's
Those MP's remaining would become the English Parliament. Personally i don't see the need for 533 English MP's and would suggest a cut to around 400. Another huge saving.
Then create a 'Senate' in place of the House of Lords. Removing 800 Lords would create savings of many millions.
Replace them with 'Senators' as the UK Federal representatives for any reserved matters. No need for 800 or even 400. for this task.
There i've just shown you how to resolve the problem and make enormous savings. Why not ask all of England if they agree?

Old Albion

Chris Whiteside said...

Toque - I would not be averse to giving England a referendum on the idea.

One part of England was given a vote on a regional assembly - the North East turned it down by a massive majority after a "No" campaign based on the argument "vote against another layer of politicians." I believe that the same would happen if there was a proposal to set up a separate English parliament.

Why do I think there is no great enthusiasm for the idea of an English parliament? Because during the decade since the student fees outrage I have never once, when knocking on thousands of doors during election campaigns, had a voter tell me on the doorstep that they want an English parliament.

More scientifically, the demand for an English parliament has never once shown up on the radar in any opinion poll which asked people what are the most important issues facing the country.

Kenneth - your first point raises an intelligent point of concern, but there is a better solution than retaining what amounts to second class status for England within the Union.

Rather than MPs from outside England vote on proposals which only affect England because in their own constituencies the relevant issues have been devolved, this problem could also and far more effectively be addressed by a periodic review of the impact and fairness of the Barnett formula, a review in which MPs from all parts of the UK took part.

Just English - if by "an English parliament" you mean the MPs representing English constituencies should spend some of their time sitting as a body to deal with England only issues, that is a proposal for which I have argued for in the past and still support, and the proposals the government is about to announce appear to be a major step towards precisely that.

Anonymous - there are still very significant UK wide issues like defence, trade, foreign affairs, immigration and the budget. We need a UK wide elected body to deal with these and I don't think a single-chamber senate of the size you suggest would be ideal.

Kenneth, on your second and third points:

I agree that the secondary legislation issue needs to be tackled, but getting the issue of primary legislation right needs to be sorted out first and moves us a long way in the right direction.

I don't agree with your third point because any vote of confidence in the UK government has to be a UK wide vote in which MPs from all parts of Britain can vote.

I presume that the proposals when published will make clear that a future government cannot make a "fourth reading" vote by English MPs into a vote of confidence: I believe that the existing rules governing votes of confidence would already imply this.

Even if they don't, for any hypothetical future government which had a majority in the House of Commons as a whole but did not have a majority among English MPs to make a vote on England only legislation by MPs representing England into a vote of confidence would be an act of political suicide: it is just not going to be an issue in practice.

Anonymous said...

Was the vote in the North East a result of not wanting another layer of politicians or about not wanting England broken up into eight regions?

Perhaps consideration should be given to replacing the House of Commons with an English Parliament, and the House of Lords with an elected executive, made up of representatives of the four home countries, responsible for overseaing defence etc.

Just a thought that would not require "another layer of politicians."

Anonymous said...

Which is what I (i'm not another anonymous i signed Old Albion) suggested

Old Albion

Toque said...

Chris, the regional assembly was defeated for other reasons as well as the "vote against another layer of politicians."

One reason was: "...the romantic stirrings of Yes 4 the North East failed to resonate among a population that is probably more 'English' – rather than British, with vague notions of Englishness – than many realise. One of the authors was struck by the number of times respondents in straw polls raised worries about the impact a partly-devolved North East would have on the unity of England"
— Peter Hetherington, Constitution Unit, Devolution Monitoring Programme, November 2004

The balkanisation of England aside, people were also concerned about the EU dimension and

Anyway, as previous commenters have pointed out an English parliament can mean fewer politicians, not more, so it is disingenous of you to imply that it must mean more. Why on earth would we keep 800 Lords or 600 British MPs if we had an English parliament?

We'd abolish the Lords and have a smaller federal parliament with some powers of revision over the national parliaments.

Anonymous said...

Having an English Parliament does not mean 'another 500 MPs'. The British Parliament could be reduced proportionately. Or as suggested by Lord Salisbury a decade ago, a reformed elected House of Lords could become the (smaller) British Parliament, making a very significant reduction in the number of parliamentarians.

Chris Whiteside said...

I am quite certain that there were a number of reasons why the proposal for a North East regional assembly was voted down, and the possible breakup of England may well have been among them. So might the fact that it was being proposed by John Prescott!

I do remember that slogans like "politicians talk, we pay" and arguments against another layer of politicians" were a significant part of the "No" campaign.

Particularly as the then Labour government did create jobs for a lot more politicians in the way they set up devolution in Scotland and Wales.

I didn't say, either in my original wording or in the slight edit that I have just done, that an extra 500 politicians would have been inevitable, though it would have been about what we would have got if you added an English parliament on the same basis that the Scottish parliament and Welsh assembly were created.

If you set up a separate English parliament as another tier of government, then other things being equal you will increase the number of politicians. I have slightly amended the post, in particular adding the words "other things being equal" to accept this point.

You could of course replace the House of Lords by a smaller elected senate, and cut the size of the House of Commons, whether or not you have an English parliament.

In fact, the government DID try very recently to replace the House of Lords by an elected senate, and also tried to cut the number of MPs.

The former proposal fell at the first hurdle: the latter went all the way through the Boundary Commission proposing a new set of fewer constituencies before Nick Clegg had second thoughts and allied with Ed Miliband to vote them down.

Unfortunately, as these defeats both on reforming the House of Lords and cutting the size of the commons showed, reducing the number of politicians is extremely difficult. It usually falls foul of turkeys who don't want to vote for an early Christmas.

However:

there is more than one way you could deliver equal votes for national laws. I have written on this blog many times before that the sort of solution I would like to see involves members of the UK parliament sitting some of the time as a whole UK body, and some of the time in their national groups to deal with business which has been devolved to the four nations.

Such a settlement emphatically does not have to mean any increase in the number of politicians, and whether you call the MPs for English constituencies sitting together the "English Grand Committee" or an English parliament is a matter of semantics rather than substance.

It now looks like we are heading for such a solution, and I welcome this.

Independent England said...

"Why do I think there is no great enthusiasm for the idea of an English parliament? Because during the decade since the student fees outrage I have never once, when knocking on thousands of doors during election campaigns, had a voter tell me on the doorstep that they want an English parliament"

So all the opinion polls which show consistently a demand for an English Parliament are wrong are they? Which is right? The opinion polls or your anecdotal evidence? Why not put it to the test of a referendum as has been afforded the Scottish Welsh and N.Irish on numerous occasions?

Incidentally how many times have people on the doorstep asked you about gay marriage? Presumably quite a lot given the fact that DC is giving the matter such a high priority?

Stephen Gash said...

The Conservatives have just diverted £700m of EU cash earmarked for England away from England to the Celtic Fringe. We in cash-strapped Cumbria could have done with some of that. The Scot Michael Fallon crowed about how it was done "for the sake of the Union". Fallon would no more be voted into office in his native Scotland than his compatriots, Gove, Fox, Stewart and the other 27 Scottish Tories with English constituencies.

Similarly, the Liberal Democrat, Vince Cable, bragged about giving the Green Investment Bank to bank-busting Scotland, again "for the sake of the Union". It should have gone to the UK's second largest financial services centre, Leeds. Fat lot of good it did the north of England returning Tories to office after decades in the wilderness, like in my home town of Carlisle.

The Tories are even more anti-English than Scots-led Labour were under Blair and Brown.

England gave the Tories a landslide victory in 2010, yet Cameron scurried up to Scotland to lick Salmond's boots. This despite the SNP going into that election with six MPs and coming out with six MPs.

Now all we English are being offered is a "Grand Committee" of the kind Scots rejected nearly two decades ago.

The only reason Tories are in power is the English vote, and all the English have been rewarded with is not only more of the same, but even worse than Labour dished out.

Anonymous said...

Mr Whiteside, I couldn't help but notice your comment that whether we call a grouping of MPs with English seats an 'English grand committee' or an 'English parliament' is matter of semantics rather than substance. I disagree.

All MPs are officially British MPs in the British parliament, and are there to serve British interests, although all this Britishness doesn't stop the Celts from raping England. When it comes time to decide on English-only laws, do you expect MPs from English seats to start serving English, rather than British, interests? Even if MPs from the other nations are barred from the House, they will still be loitering around the Palace of Westminster, and reminding their colleagues with English seats that they must never do anything that 'might jeopardise the Union'. The conflict of interests is clear, and it is equally clear that English interests will suffer every time.

Westminster is not only the UK-wide Parliament, but the de facto parliament of England and, frankly, this conflict of interests makes it unfit for either purpose, whereas the devolved legislatures have no such problem.

As other posters have said, the matter of governance should be decided by the settled will of the English people, not by the British political class.

Chris Whiteside said...

Independent England - If you look at the whole picture of opinion poll evidence, the response varies according to what question you ask.

At a time when the issue wa a little higher up the radar and therefore asked more often, surveys which asked about an English parliament without any reference to how it was to be paid for did often show majority support for an English parliament, although when a question was asked which referred to the cost or to an extra layer of government, that majority evaporated.

But there has never to my recollection been an opinion poll asking people which are the most important issues facing the country in which "An English Parliament", or any other answer touching on England's place in the union, has reached 10%.

Recent polls asking that sort of question suggest emphatically that people are concerned about bread and butter issues like the economy and jobs, and constitutional issues are very low priority to them.

The most recent such survey that I have seen, IPSOS MORI's monthly tracking survey for the Economist, June 2013 round, which is entirely in line with the other polls I have seen this year, cites the following issues named as being among the most important ones facing Britain, with the proportion mentioning each in brackets afterwards:

1) Economy (50%)
2) Race relations/immigration (35%)
3) Unemployment (32%)
4) NHS (26%)
5) Crime/Law and order (19%)
6) Poverty/Inequality (15%)
7) Education/schools (15%)
8) Pensions/Benefits (14%)
9) Inflation/Prices (12%)
10) Defence/terrorism (11%)

These results were from a "spontaneous" or unprompted survey, e.g. IPSOS MORI didn't give the people they were surveying a list to choose from but let them pick the issues they wanted to name. They surveyed a respresentative sample of 982 adults from around the UK.

I'm not setting up my own anecdotal evidence against the opinion polls, my view that there is no great enthusiasm for an English parliament comes both from my own experience and from hard polling evidence such as the survey I have just quoted.


If I'd said that a majority of the electorate are against an English Parliament, you would have a much stronger case to disagree with me, but that really isn't what I said.

What I initially said was that the public do not appear to be keen on an extra 500 politicians: I have also said that the public are not keen on the idea of another layer of government.

If you think you can provide a scintilla of evidence that the public is in favour of either of those things, I would be most interested to hear of it, but I don't believe you can.

However, a solution to the problem, sometimes known as the "West Lothian Question" after Tam Dalyell's constituency when he first asked it, which doesn't involve lots of extra politicians would very probably have public support, which is why the government is trying to find such a solution.

On gay marriage you are quite right that the issue didn't come up much on the doorstep - about twice during this year's election.

This is another subject which some people are terribly concerned about but which is just not on the radar for many others.

Particularly not at a difficult time like the present when many people are worried about holding on to their job if they have one, getting a job if they don't, and finding the money to put food on the table pay for all life's other essentials, never mind luxuries.

Chris Whiteside said...

Anonymous - I know some people get very excited about whether you call it an English Parliament or not but the key issue for me isn't what you call an organisation, it is what powers it has and how it uses them.

Anyone who has ever held elected office knows that there is ALWAYS tension between looking after one's own constituents and considering the interests of the authority or nation as a whole.

There is simply no way to avoid this tension and no universal right answer on how to deal with it either. A person who has been elected to office has to find a balance between the two and be prepared to justify that balance to his or her constituents.

JUST ENGLISH said...

"Why do I think there is no great enthusiasm for the idea of an English parliament? Because during the decade since the student fees outrage I have never once, when knocking on thousands of doors during election campaigns, had a voter tell me on the doorstep that they want an English parliament."
Staight question MR Whiteside,how many people of all the doors you have knocked on in England were asked---DO YOU THINK ENGLAND SHOULD HAVE HER OWN PARLIAMENT IN LINE WITH SCOTLAND AND WALES ?

Independent England said...

I don't see further devolution to Wales, City mayors or elected Police Commissioners in your list either. I have already posted one English Parliament poll result. I don't buy the cost argument for reasons outlined below. What we really need is a proper debate in England to look at the option of an English Parliament and not jut be offered the seriously flawed and inadequate EVoEL's. McKay dismissed the idea of an English Parliament out of hand with no real justification other than the usual 'no appetite' comment.
With devolution to Scotland and Wales the unity of the UK from an English perspective was seriously undermined. One of the basics of democracy is that people elect those who make their laws. This link is seriously damaged when a British MP elected in Scotland or Wales can vote on laws which do not affect his own constituents (other than the Barnett Consquentials which even Joel Barnett said should have been scrapped years ago). EVoEL would have some minor impact on this and that is all. However it does not address the issue of who formulates new laws. For example, a PM representing a Scottish constituency would undoubtedly have input to the English NHS, English Education, English local government etc. etc. Why should he or she? Are the Tories seriously suggesting that a 'Scottish' PM would be excluded from the 4th reading? It really is unbelieveable that they are suggesting such a bodged job.
As for an additional layer of politicians, that has been addressed in other posts. However it is interesting to note that the US with a population five times the UK's has a Lower House with 450 representitives and an Upper house of 100! There is plenty of room for economy in the UK system but not at the expense of English democracy. Do we really need 650 MP's and 300 elected to the new upper house? Lets get the axe out there and make room for proper democracy in England.

Independent England said...

There is an excellent summary of polls finding in favour of an English Parliament here:

http://toque.co.uk/english-parliament-opinion-polls

Chris Whiteside said...

Independent England - as I have aready pointed out, the present government DID try both to replace the House of Lords with a smaller elected body and to reduce the number of MPs. I supported both proposals.

Unfortunately the proposal to replace the House of Lorde by an elected chamber was killed by an unholy alliance of the Labour party and a block of rebel Tory backbenchers.

The cut in the number of MPs was then cancelled at the last stage when the Lib/Dems, apparently as an act of revenge for the defeat of Lords reform, voted with Labour not to implement the new constituency boundaries which the boundary commission had proposed after millions of pounds of work and extensive consultation.

None of the parties come well out of this, but note the common thread that the Labour party always talks reform while voting to block it.

Chris Whiteside said...

What has happened on EU regional funds is this.

Because of the 6% cut in the EU budget there will be a 5% cut in EU regional aid to the UK.

The UK government decided that the fairest way to allocate this between the four nations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales was to apply the same 5% cut to regional aid to each of the four nations.

This so-called transfer of EU money to Scotland does not mean that the Scots are getting more money, they are getting the same 5% cut in EU development funds as the North East and North West.

There is something of an unholy alliance on this subject between supporters of the UK government in Scotland and opponents of the UK government in the North of England, particularly the North East, with the former suggesting that the government have helped Scotland and the latter that they have disadvantaged English regions.

What both have done is compared the impact on Scotland of the uniform 5% cut which is actually happening, with what might have happened if Scotland had taken a greater than 5% cut, because Scotland is wealthier than some parts of England. Some people have suggested that the difference has therefore been "transferred" from England to Scotland.

I find this argument dubious, whether it is being made by the Lib/Dem secretary of state for Scotland North of the border, or by opponents of the government South of the border.


Any calculation of a supposed transfer of money from England to Scotland based on such hypothetical arguments does not bear much more resemblance to reality than the Enron or Worldcom accounts.

And any attempt to quantify the supposed impact on Carlisle, Cumbria, the North East or the North West of the loss of this hypothetical money is like trying to nail jelly to the ceiling.

Anonymous said...

Mr Chris Whiteside, Please, Please Read the comments, Why don't you go out and ask the Correct Question with Correct explanation, Do you agree the English should have its own governing Devolved Parliament to run their own affairs as the rest of the counties of the UK with the reduction of British MP's and Lords ,, YOU would find the same answer as I do through out the Country, The answer,? You should go and ask,, surveys ask the first person they come across, not really the ones who have much interest in England, and not the right question,

Fulub Hosking said...

Sorry but from a Cornish perspective neither Votes for England or an English parliament go anywhere to solving our problems. The centralisation of power in the UK/Englands capital is the problem. We have already collected a petition of 50,000 signatures calling for a Cornish assembly and two jags admitted that a referendum on devolution in Cornwall for Cornwall would likely have been a success. Many in Cornwall are ready, if given a clear choice, to state a Cornish national identity rather than English, so please beware of English nationalists bleating about how the only nation without recognition is England.

Craig Weatherhill said...

I suppose this means the usual raw deal for the Cornish, then. Or is it that, once again, it's been conveniently forgotten that Cornwall is one of the four constituent nations of the island of Britain, with a constitutional status which is unique, at law, in the entire UK? Its title is not "county". It is Duchy (Royal Commission of the Constitution 1973).

Chris Whiteside said...

Anonymous - I did read the comments. I agree with some of them but not all and have already answered the three questions in your post not once but twice.

When I knock on doors it is to find out people's views about issues of concern to them, the election campaign I'm fighting, or both. If people are really bothered about an issue, they will mention it, and I will be interested.

It is not reasonable for me, iot any other party activist or candidate of whatever party, to expect people to spend hours on the doorstep so I can ask their views about dozens of issues: they don't have time and would not put up with it. So we ask about the issues of most concern to them. If an English parliament is one of those issues, they can raise it.

Fulub Hosking and Craig Weatherhill - I'm a very long way from Cornwall, so I am not in a good position to make assumptions about what people in Cornwall want.

I note that in this year's elections to Cornwall Council the Cornish National Party, Mebyon Kernow, took four out of 133 seats and 5% of the vote.

I would hope that if the people of Cornwall and their elected representatives come up with proposals for devolution to Cornwall which have clear support in the area - if they can pass a motion at Cornwall Council, for instance - then such proposals should be carefully listened to and seriously considered.

Fulub Hosking said...

Hello Chris,

So what reaction should our petition of 50,OOO signatures have generated in your opinion? Is the Government of Cornwall Bill from LibDem MP Dan Rogerson what you had in mind? : http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2008-09/governmentofcornwall.html

Here it is in pdf: http://www.cornishassembly.org/GovernmentOfCornwallBill.pdf

There is more to Cornish devolution and Cornish national identity than Mebyon Kernow. If nationalist parties are the only gauge of a nations aspirations then the English Democrats and EDL are a very poor reflection on the English nation don't you think?

If you are really interested you can read more here: The Cornish Constitutional Convention : http://www.cornishassembly.org/

Chris Whiteside said...

Fulub Hosking - when I've been close enough to the area affected by a petition to judge how it is being organised and how strong its' support is, I've seen some that deserved to be taken very seriously indeed and others that were less so. I'm too far away from Cornwall to be in a good position to make a judgement.

I take your point about nationalist parties entirely.

Thanks for the links, I will have a read.

Fulub Hosking said...

Having said that I'm a very proud member of Mebyon Kernow a centre-left environmentalist party and member of the European Free Alliance. I must say it always surprises me that regions in the north of England don't have regionalist parties trying to break out of the London stranglehold. There is the Yorkshire devolution movement I suppose:

Independent England said...

London stranglehold? How do you work that one out Fulub? London has 73 MP's out of a total of 650!! London is out numbered 9 to 1!

Anonymous said...

Personaly I do not care what the political party's think regarding England. England and it's constitution are far older than political factions which are "British". There are movements to get Conservative ministers jailed for violating the English common law of treason. Any Conservative party member is in joint enterprise with traitors, this is true of Labour and the Lib dems also. The law is above political factions which are unknown to the law, England is greater than political factions, our main "political party's" are infact unlawful combinations, they have no say on any matter in England, just because uneducated people vote for co-conspirators, this still does not give legitimacy to rogue representatives. This is the real reason why they are trying to devide England and promote the EU, to save their traitorous necks. There is a petition to get the Met to make arrests for treason, if they fail to enforce the law the public are going to start to arrest political criminals, under English law, in England. You see the British parliament does not have "unlimited power", this is a total lie, and political criminals will regret the day they used the British parliament to attack the English nation. I suggest those who are members of political factions start to study the law and constitution of England, if they have any sense. I will quote David Cameron "if the law has been broken the proper consequences should follow". England will have it's day and that day is coming fast. England has right on it's side, England has the law on it's side, the game is up for the Anglophobes, your "British" parliament is nothing.

Fulub Hosking said...

Independent England,

Where is the UK's financial industry and economy based?

Where are the houses of parliament?

Where is the Monarchy?

Where is the the civil service centralised?

Where are the vast majority of HQ's for 'British' cultural institutions?

Oh and which city also has a devolved assembly?

Neither the UK nor England have a federal sharing of power as can be found in Germany for example.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see Cornwall go independent if that's what its residents desire. I think there are certain islands off Scotland where some people think they are not truly of Scotland. That's up for the people of those areas to decide via referenda, too. But the UK Government must release its stranglehold on England. We don't live in a democracy here, nothing like. When the country is being run for the convenience and benefit of politicians, then things have to change.

Nigel Sollitt said...

Since Scotland, Wales, N Ireland and London, have been empowered to make decisions on matters only affecting their own parts of the UK via their own devolved parliamentary institutions, the only way 'Equal Citizenship' can be achieved is by empowering all UK regions to the same extent.

An English parliament is not the answer! If it were why devolve powers to London separately? Powers have been devolved to London because of its uniqueness in terms of identity, culture and socio-economic needs; but does that mean that London is the only part of England that is unique and that all the other parts of England are the same? Not at all! You only need to compare Yorkshire to Surrey or the North-East to the South-East to see that they are each just as unique as London. An English parliament would not empower Yorkshire folk to the same degree of decision making on Yorkshire matters as Londoners have on London matters, Scots have on Scots matters etc and would therefore fail to achieve 'Equal Citizenship'. For 'Equal Citizenship' Yorkshire folk would have to have a devolved Yorkshire parliament! It therefore follows that to achieve 'Equal Citizenship', power must be devolved to the regions of England, not to England itself!