Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Blair Says the English Want Their Own Parliament

This is rather interesting from today's Yorkshire Post.

Mr Blair also turned to recent grassroots pressure on the subject of an English Parliament by saying he would be "surprised" if people really did want to break up the Union of England and Scotland: "I think just to break the Union would be completely regressive step, totally wrong and totally contrary to where the modern world is living, which is countries moving closer together," he said. Mr Blair acknowledged that if people in England were asked if they wanted a Parliament like Scotland's they would overwhelmingly agree. But he added: "I think to then take it a step further and say, 'Actually we want to bust up the UK'... no, I don't think people want to bust up the UK."

So the PM agrees that the people of England want a Parliament. In 1997 he said it was what the people of Scotland wanted and so he granted them a referendum. Why won't he grant the same courtesy to the English?

57 comments:

Andy D said...

If Blair wants a legacy, why not do this. Of course it would shatter Labour, but then again he's probably been wanting to do that for years.

Pogo said...

In answer to your final question... Because England is Tory. :-)

Anonymous said...

I do agree with you Iain on this. There is a massive democratic defecit that the English (sorry, we English) have, and I think more and more people will resent the lack of an English Parliament the longer it goes on.

I also think it does no favours to the united Kingdom for the largest part of the Kingdom to feel a bit hard done by. This is more likely to cause a break up than anything else.

Anonymous said...

This is such Passport to Pimlico nonsense. We're a United Kingdom. And long may it stay united. The sum of whole is truly greater than those of its parts. Let us not forget what together we have achieved. And let us not be tempted by the appeal of long dormant nationalisms which were put aside to form of common nationality from which we can all draw pride. In an uncertain world we should stick together. Those who argue for an English Parliament are not patriots but are in fact Alex Salmond's useful idiots.

javelin said...

I can't find it - can you post the actual link?

javelin said...

http://www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=55&ArticleID=1900767

javelin said...

OK - I've seen the link wow - this is political dynamite.

javelin said...

At last a real legacy for Tony to be proud of.

Anonymous said...

He won't give us a referendum because we would vote yes and that would mean that Labour couldn't do anything to England because England are more conservative.

GWB said...

Cos' he's a two-faced wanker?

no longer anonymous said...

Modern for nations to move together? I thought large multinational states were a thing of the past.

Austria-Hungary
Yugoslavia
Russian Empire/USSR
Etc

Neil Craig said...

Before Labour got in there had been a long constitutional convention in Scotland between Labour, the Lib Dems, unions, business & church leaders to discuss what sort of devolution we should have (the SNP & Tories didn't join in because they were opposed to the principle, from different viewpoints). This meant there was effectively a Scotland Act to hand ready to be passed by Parliament & referendumed on.

I don't think you have had anything like such an organised widespread relatively cross party movement to hammer out details yet.

clive said...

Why doesn't he give the English a referendum on a parliament? Because he doesn't mean what he says. Its his usual game: say what people should hear then do nothing, or something else entirely.

I don't think he really believed in devolution to Scotland and Wales but he couldn't get out of it. He thought he had finessed it by letting it go ahead and then given it the powers of a glorified parish council (his words more or less).

That decision was just one of many that had dire consequences they could have foreseen if they had worked at it and listened to wiser head.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Blair only gave the Scotts a referendum to gain votes for Labour.
He knows an all English Parliament would kick him and his party out.

towcestarian said...

Sounds like TB is doing some preparatory shit-stirring ahead of his good friend BG esq taking over the reigns of power. Simon Heffer did an interesting article on this today.

"I begin to suspect that the likely timing of Mr Blair's departure from office — in the late spring or early summer of next year — has been set to cause the most difficulty to his probable successor."

Anonymous said...

Discrimination against the English

The politics of each country in the United Kingdom is clearly different with Labour and the Liberal Democrats doing far better in Scotland and Wales. These political parties have therefore ended up with a free hand in running aspects of their own national affairs. The same is true in Ireland where political parties with specifically Irish characteristics are left to run their own affairs. In England there is no assembly so there is no means whereby the politics of England finds expression.

The current "New Labour" government has a "majority" of some 66 MPs in the Parliament of Westminster. This essential majority for the survival of this government comes from Scottish and Welsh MPs who contribute some 70 MPs to the Labour Government's double counting system. There is therefore, in the case of England, an imposition of a United Kingdom assembly where the government of the day has manipulated affairs to guarantee a built-in "majority". This is a minority government which has the "support" of less than 22% of the electorate. This grossly unfair system survives because of the ability of Scottish and Welsh MPs to sit in two houses while preventing the English MPs the same priviledge; this is an unacceptable act of discrimination against the English.

Erosion of vital English values

Historically, in terms of the development of democracy, Englishmen have been unique in identifying, defining and giving voice to seminal values which so many hold dear. These include the right to the pursuit of happiness, the setting of individual freedom as the hallmark of a successful system of justice as reflected in the typically English legal imperatives as the right to equality before the law irrespective of status, the assumption of innocence, the right to trial by jury, habeas corpus and freedom of, and the defence of, free speech. These have largely rode on English Common Law and the ability of Judges and Juries to do a fair job free from political interference.

Such imperatives for the survival of freedom were promoted by the Levellers during the English Civil War and by the group associated with John Lilburne. Cromwell had these inividuals kept in prison. With the collapse of the English Republic and with the return of Royalty their essential writings were very much kept under wraps. The spark which gave rise to a mass revolution in the American Colonies was when the British Crown moved to ban juries because too many were preventing the state enforce arbitrary decisions on innocent "colonists". It is notable that the American Constitutional components which relate to the pursuit of happiness, individual liberty and freedom are largely based on the early writings of Lilburne written in the Tower of London, 150 years before.

Unfortunately there has been a slow erosion of this essential spark, this recognition of the importance of the defence of individual freedom, as a typical English value. This has occurred gradually since the ascendency of the Scottish influence in United Kingdom politics. Scotland, it should be noted, has a legal system based on the European system, Corpus Juris, a codified Roman Law which is completely distinct and almost alien from English Common Law. This sustains a position which keeps the influence of the community conscience in legal affairs and court decisions at arms length.

Elimination through a political Europe

The lack of an English assembly prevents the English from protecting their rights to sustain their nationality as English. The European project, Corpus Juris and the European Constitutional Draft are aimed directly at "standardizing law" which means, in the United Kingdom context that Scottish Law will eventually reign supreme. The breaking up of England into so-called EU regions has been a subtle and politically destructive means of destroying the coherence of the English nation. England has become the only country in Europe to have been eliminated without a war but rather as the result of the manipulations of Brussels bureaucrats and dishonest and irresponsible politicians in Westminster serving their party interests over country.

http://www.realnews-online.com/rn0001.htm

Anonymous said...

How DARE England, the country that gave parliamentry democracy to the World now want its own Parliament! (again).

Anonymous said...

Heres a few "helpful maps", one from the Brussels Broadcasting Corporation, and one from the early 70's, they say it all really, funny how the Labour regime "regions" fit in EXACTLY with the EUss map isn't it?.

http://tinyurl.com/fmnv8

http://tinyurl.com/y72s6s

hatfield girl said...

The United Kingdom, as its name makes clear, is united under the Crown. The powers of the Crown are, for the large part, delegated to the leader of the majority party in the House of Commons; but there is no reason why powers other than Crown powers should not be exercised appropriately by the countries making up the kingdom. The United Kingdom parliament would then decide (after constitutional reform on Parliament, not the prime minister of the day, taking Crown powers' decisions) on major, nationwide matters; and, for example, the brass neck displayed in having a Scottish Minister of Transport for Scotland and another Scottish Minister of Transport for England, would be dealt with.The real problem is Gordon Brown and his acolytes trying to keep up their deficient democratic claims to office.

javelin said...

Here is the link - it didn't show up last time.

http://www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk
/ViewArticle2.aspx?
SectionID=55&ArticleID=1900767

Anonymous said...

Iain, we really don't need yet more politicians do we? How about English independence, now there is an idea.

Anonymous said...

It's time for a new relationship between the nations of these isles - a relationship respecting both our independence and interdependance.

It's time for a new government Scotland can trust... It's time for the SNP. A new government and a new future for our islands...

Independence for Scotland and independence for England - forward together as friends!

Anonymous said...

Iain, sorry but I disagree with you on this. As a welshie, I used to be all in favour of devolution / splitting up etc. - but it isn't in the national interest to do so. We would be more ineffectual split up within Europe.

Our forefathers fought in France as 'British' soldiers and I think there is more to unite us than divide us.

prefer to be a non said...

I don't necessarily agree that B.Liar doesn't want an English Parliament because England votes Tory. Labour has had a majority of English seats at the last three elections.
However, as a Scot living in England I have increasingly noticed the grumblings and discontent which many English feel because New Labour treats their nation with disdain and whips its useless Scottish Labour MPs to interfere in English issues.
It's time for the 82% of MPs in Westminster which represent English constituencies to get off their asses, represent their constituents properly and then give them what they want. Then we can be a United Kingdom of equals. Well, except for the Northern Irish. I haven't a clue what we're going to do with them...

I would be interested to know your thoughts on why Members of an English Parliament would be more likely to represent the true interests of England, given that the currently elected English MPs in the Westminster Parliament currently do not. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

And what does our Mr.Cameron think?He with Scottish blood flowing thru,his body,neither him or his merry men ever give England a thought never mind a mention.

no longer anonymous said...

Blair knows that England is sick of subsidising other parts of the Kingdom. Yet he lacks the economic sense to realise that cutting off subsidies is the best thing for Scotland.

Anonymous said...

This is a European Trojan Horse I don't know how you can't see it!

The UK will be regionalised and you all think great I am English Scottish whatever but you are being shafted royaly from the mainland.

I am astonished that your nationalistic English myopia cannot see through this, played like a fiddle yet again the stupid British people.

Anstice said...

I agree with 'anonymous said.'
My husband is Scottish - his grandfather an 'old comtemptible' -he fought under the United Kingdom Flag and was proud of it.
My husband's scottish friends say they will move to England if Scotland becomes an independent country!
My Northumbrian friends are furious that to get a good education for their child they have to put him into a Scottish school; to get adequate medical attention -go to a scottish hospital!

United we stand and succeed, divided we turn into a mini Balkans.
So far we have been bullied and bullied but the breaking point may just be coming into sight. For heaven's sake let the politicians of courage to speak truthfully come forward the resentment is overwhelming.

But -just watch -when things get too hot here -our PM will be off to save the world. He forgets that he was elected to serve this country.

james higham said...

Afraid I agree with the Druid. sometimes from inside one can't see the forest for the trees. Any chance Britain has is as the UK, though I don't expect many will agree these days.

Anonymous said...

If Cameron doesn't move quickly enough on English national feeling he's even going to find himself eclipsed by Blair. The model for an English Parliament is already available with the Scottish Parliament so what's he waiting for? Westminster was called the Imperial Parliament at one time because it dealt with the big issues like defence and foreign affairs. It would increase it's standing if it could return to such a status rather than this obsession with "localism" brought in by the Liberal Democrats.

Chuck Unsworth said...

"I think just to break the Union would be completely regressive step, totally wrong and totally contrary to where the modern world is living, which is countries moving closer together," he said

Why is it that Blair always, but always, fails to address the actual question?

Is a 'break up' what is being suggested? Absolutely no. But what is being demanded is that the English should have the same rights of representation as the Scots and the Welsh and, for that matter, the Northern Irish.

It suits Blair's book at present to discuss it in those terms, but who knows what he'll be saying tomorrow, next week, or next month?

towcestarian said...

One of the anonymouses said "the UK will be regionalised..."

As fatty Prescott found out, there is not really any such thing in the electorate's heads as an English "region" except possibly for Yorkshire and Cornwall. What is in people's heads is the concept of Englishness, and this only replaced our sense of being British after Scottish and Welsh devolution (nice one TB! destroy a perfectly good 300 year old institution in your first 100 days).

Regionalisation of England could not therefore be done at a political level. That leaves the regional guangos, which are set up without any democratic mandate so will suit Brussels down to the ground.

HM Stanley said...

I have previously expressed myself on this matter here. English nationalism is an oxymoron. England has never been ruled by the "English", whoever those may be. Recall Duke William of Normandy,the Welsh Tudors, the Scotch Stewarts and the present long line of Hanoverians...even before they lost effective power. As long as the "English" were left alone [not overly taxed, no torture by order of star chamber, no forced religious practice], they were happy to go along and get along. Ideas like "democratic deficit" continental European obscurantisms to an English common law ear. As one from the colonies, I know that the real foot soldiers of the British empire were the Scotch, and what a good job they did in transposing good old "English" values.

What is needed is to throw off the yoke of the overbearing, Orwellian, illiberal Blairite state. Once that is done, the bogeyman of English nationalism will return where it belongs...on the political fantasy dustbin of history.

Og said...

There's not a lot of point in ignoring the democratic right that Scots have to secede from the Union. So if they vote that way, and following a messy divorce settlement, that's what will happen.

And as a Born-n-bred Scot living in England, I say let the buggers do it. There are hundreds of thousands of educated, industrious and Union-supporting Scots who will not deserve such an outcome, but they are overwhelmed by the state-dependent population who believe that being " a nation again" is the future. Conservatism is dormant in Scotland and may take a generation or two before making a comeback, probably after decades of appalling mismanagement from Edinburgh SNP/LAB/LIB consensus high tax lunacy, with the eminence grise of Brussels overshadowing it.

The threat to English Conservatism lies in the desperate attempts by Cameron to indulge in leftie outreach, but he wouldn't be forced to continue such prostitution were the Celtic fringe MPs to disappear from Westminster.

So whilst Scotland ploughs a lone furrow, in thrall to Europe, England will spend the next decades in a centre-right hegemony, outperforming her neighbours and growing confident enough to treat Brussels as a servant rather than a master - perhaps even pulling the plug on EU membership (oh happy day).

And we can expect an England of "all the talents", because it will be a magnet for the most able Celts (and the most able and/or rich refugees from Europe).

And when the EU experiment disappears up its own backside in a frenzy of bitter recrimination, Union can be discussed again. On English terms, I dare say.

MayorWatch said...

Mercifully we in London already have devolution, our own tax, our own foreign policy and soon our own currency.

Not quite sure how we turn it into full independence but I'm sure Ken's mulling the question even as I type.

Anonymous said...

mayorwatch - your comment reminded of something that Michael Parkinson said [or was it quoted?] on his Sunday Supplement show. Yorkshire has at least as much right to independence and self-government as Scotland !

Perhaps William Hague could float this idea. Or he and his wife could float getting Yorkshire included in the Welsh Assembly, on the basis they fought on the same side in the Wars of the Roses [so I understand].

permanentexpat said...

80% of the politicos I hear on TV have Scottish accents but what that says is open to interpretation &, frankly, I'm past caring.
I'm grateful that I was able to live in the days when Britain was powerful & a force for (mainly)good in the World. How quickly it has all changed. I have no doubt that the decisive catalyst was the ditching of the Commonwealth as our main trading partners in favour of creeping subservience to the present EU whose directives only bring suppression. The utter lethargy & stupidity of the state-suckled electorate cocooned it into a death-wish mindset. Now The Septic Isle has devolved irreparably & the final nails are being hammered in. All gone. Finished. History will show that the British committed protracted suicide.

Anonymous said...

Why should an English Parliament mean more politicians?

Simply replace the House of Lords with an elected UK Parliament of 100 seats (like the US Senate) to deal with Defence, Foreign affairs etc. - and replace the Commons with four National Parliaments totaling 500 or so seats. Bingo *less* politicians than now.

mark williams said...

Mr Heffer writing in the Telegraph today may have a point. Giving the English their own parliament makes life hard for G Brown if he wants to be PM. Going one step further and making Scotland independent would make it impossible.

NotEuropean,English said...

"The UK will be regionalised and you all think great I am English Scottish whatever but you are being shafted royaly from the mainland."

This is probably so but don't centuries of history teach us that one day we will be at war with them on the 'mainland' again? It is only 60 years, ignoring Kosovo, since the last European war.

David Lindsay said...

Pogo, there are proportionately more Labour MPs in each of the North East, the North West, and "Yorkshire and the Humber" than in Scotland. There always have been, and there always will be.

New Labour is very Scottish, but Old Labour was very English, and secondarily Welsh. Labour suffered for years in Scotland from the Tories' successful presentation of it as English, which has never quite gone away, but has largely been taken up by the SNP.

Glasgow City Council was Tory-run even in the Seventies. Contrast that with, say, Durham County Council, the first authority that Labour ever won, and which has never been lost in the intervening eighty years, not even when the Leader was sent to prison over Poulson.

Scotland contains several Liberal-held four way marginals which could turn (back) into Tory seats with only a little bit of work, while the Tories and the SNP are largely competing for the same middle-class votes.

Scotland, Wales, the North and the Midlands are where General Elections are won and lost. The Tories have now won back most of their 1997 losses in the South East, but so what? And Cameron and his crowd play horrendously in Scotland, Wales, the North and the Midlands.

Anonymous said...

The reason he will not agree to an english parliament is rather simple if one looks at it from an economic perspective... It will not be easy anymore for parliamnet to transfer funds to Scottish causes from a predominantly english tax paying public once they achieve a certain autonomy as regards how they wish to spend local funds....

The Remittance Man said...

There are many examples of federal nations wherein matters are handled at different levels of government. There is nothing intrinsically threatening in creating a federal United Kingdom.

Each Home Nation could have its own parliament with the authority to manage those affairs best dealt with at that level. The Union Parliament in Westminster would then manage only those affairs that are applicable to the Union as a whole.

Of course such an arrangement would mean that the United Kingdom would need a written constitution for the first time in its history. But Blair's constitutional meddling has shown that we can no longer trust politicians to abide by the constitutional arrangements of the past.

As for the number of politicians I don't see that this has to rise by much. Each Home Parliament would have a given number of representatives and the number of bench warmers in Westminster could be reduced since their responsibilities would be equally reduced.

The same logic would apply to the bureaucracy.

Go to http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Eng-Parliament/ to add your voice.

Roger Thornhill said...

I think we would be better served if we sacked the members of the Scottish and Welsh Assemblies and had the MPs for the respective nations debate and decide upon the topics that are covered by those houses. Then the English can discuss them at the same time in Westminster (why build another expensive leaking "Holeyroof House"?).

Creation of another layer just allows these interfering bureaucrats to interfere even more. Cut out the layer and the MPs will think twice about expanding their remit, if anything, roll it back, please!

Neil Craig said...

"his grandfather an 'old comtemptible' - he fought under the United Kingdom Flag and was proud of it."

This may be seen as tokenism but he didn't. At the time he fought under the flag of Great Britain. I think that is a name that it is easier to be proud of - particularly if monarchy strikes you as a little dated as I think it does most people. Technically the name by act of Parliament is "The United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland" (it is refered to as Northen Ireland butb the Act wasn't actually changed). Lesser Britain is Britanny.

I don't say it is a big thing but when did we change from GB to UK? & who decided.

wonkotsane said...

"The sum of whole is truly greater than those of its parts"
Can you back that up with facts? Any facts? England has contributed more, financially, culturally and intelectually, to the UK than the rest of the UK combined. Why else do Scottish MP's have to resort to rebranding English achievements as "Britsh" so it looks like the Scots have achieved something?

"This is a European Trojan Horse I don't know how you can't see it!"
What planet are you on? The EU has divided the UK into 12 regions - Scotland, Wales, NI and 9 English regions. The biggest barrier to an EU federal state is national identities. Establishing a single English parliament in place of the 9 euroregions is working against the EU, not helping it. How can you not see this?

At the end of the day, whether you value the union or you think this is playing into the hands of the EU, if the majority of the English public want it - and they do - then we should have it. It's not up to politicians to save us from ourselves, they are elected to serve us.

David Lindsay said...

Scotland has not contributed culturally and intellectually? Come on!

Chris Nelson said...

Personally, as a Liberal Democrat, I quite agree. Simply cutting off Scots and Welsh votes just won't solve the problem - for there is a worrying anti-Scottish culture developing in English commentators that would only get worse which makes us today a rather dis-United Kingdom.

I'm increasingly feeling that an English Parliament may, paradoxically, be the only way to hold the Union together.

But of course Blair won't give us a referendum on one because it would remove him of his power. However, it'd be a perfect way to shaft Brown, and on that basis ought really to be proceeded with immediately. :-p

Anonymous said...

Blair spouted:
"I think...to break the Union would be completely regressive step, totally wrong and totally contrary to where the modern world is living, which is countries moving closer together."

*What a load of rubbish. Firstly, it was Blair (and the rest of the new labour scumbags) who wanted to allow scotland the freedom to do it's own thing. Oh and wales to. Who does he think he's fooling? He is acting like he doesnt know that it was new labour that started the ball rolling! Who does he think he's talking down to? I suppose he is (INDIRECTLY) admitting that he was wrong to start the devolution ball rolling then ah? Typically gutless waffle from Blair.
What a man ah? Can't even summon up enough blood to apologise and admit he was wrong.

"Countries moving closer together"? Really? I think he forgot about YUGOSLAVIA, CZECHOSLOVAKIA AND OF COURSE HIS OWN PARTY ALLOWING, NO POSITIVELY ENCOURAGING, SCOTLAND, WALES AND NOTHERN IRELAND TO GO OT ALONE!!
And now, he comes out with this rubbish posing as serious talk!
By the way, new labour thought it was such a great thing to help destroy Yugoslavia?
Blair has a SHORT MEMORY WHEN IT SUITES HIM.

All he is doing is trying to
distance himself from his own handy work.

Blair also acknowledged that if people in England were asked if they wanted a Parliament like Scotland's they would overwhelmingly agree. But he added: "I think to then take it a step further and say, 'Actually we want to bust up the UK'... no, I don't think people want to bust up the UK."

*Too bad Blair ALEX SALMOND IS GOING TO DO IT HA! HA! You'll be out of a job so why dont you leave and go somewhere else.

So the PM agrees that the people of England want a Parliament. In 1997 he said it was what the people of Scotland wanted and so he granted them a referendum. Why won't he grant the same courtesy to the English?

HE HATES THE ENGLISH MATE THAT'S WHY! TOO BAD FOR HIM THAT ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND WILL BOTH BE INDEPEDENT SOON! BLAIR'S LEGACY? WHO CARES HE'S THE MOST HATED MAN IN SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND.

We want an English parliament and we will get one. AND, it matters not what anyone else thinks about it.

wonkotsane said...

I didn't say that David, I just said that England had contributed more. Plenty of people (mostly Scottish MP's) say that we're stronger together and that the sum of the whole is greater than the parts but the best they can come up with as justification for that statement is family ties and shared values. Pathetic!

Anonymous said...

To those indoctrinated sheeple who cry "dont break up the UK"....DUHHHH its ALREADY broken up!!!.

The "British" Government, the Labour regime, have NO SAY WHATSOEVER on 80%+ and growing of scottish affairs!, or 75%+ and growing of Welsh affairs!!

The "British" Government is cram packed full of Scottish and other non English MP's, many with non English seats, in laymens terms.....they rule their own countries AND Rule England too!.

English Parliament NOW!

Greg said...

Why all this sentiment about retaining the Union? In 2006,how does the Union benefit the people of England? We have been denied a referendum and this is palpably unfair and undemocratic.The only rational and practical solution to the democratic deficit is to establish an English Parliament.Is it so unreasonable for the English to want national self-determination like the Scots and the Welsh?

Dee said...

An English Parliament is not enough for me anymore. The discrimination by the government and the opposing parties has gone too far to ever forgive them.

Surely there's an island somewhere where the Unionist Dinosaurs can be sent, so they can volunteer to be flailed by their Scottish rulers in repentence for England qualifying for the World Cup or whatever else it is that happens to be pissing them off about the English on any particular day?

Anonymous said...

It seems to me a mention of the CEP is long overdue on this thread: http://www.thecep.org.uk

Anonymous said...

The sooner Scotland sods off the better. Then England can get out of the EU and get back to being prosperous, and the Scots can get back to knifing each other: everyone wins.

Anonymous said...

Blair won't offer this because the EU doesn't want it, he's sold his sole to the EU devil just so he can become the president. Cameron wouldn't offer it either as he just doesn't see the need for England to be given equality with the rest of his beloved UK.

Shame, thank god for English 'CIVIC' Nationalism

we should all demand

JUSTICE FOR ENGLAND.com

Anonymous said...

The Economist published a fantastic editorial on Scottish independence this morning.

The last paragraph is particularly powerful. Read it.