Friday, January 13, 2006

Should England Have its Own Parliament?

When I was in North Norfolk I got to know a wonderful lady called Christine Constable. She is Vice Chairman of the English Democrats, whose main aim in life is to secure and English Parliament. Christine ought to be a Conservative. Indeed, she ought to be a Conservative MP. But she thinks the Conservatives have failed her because of their reluctance to adopt the policy of instituting an English Parliament. English votes for English measures is not enough for her and her friends. Never having been a great fan of devolution and a critic of bloated bureaucracy I have been singularly unimpressed with what either the Scottish Parliament or Welsh Assembly have achieved. Any yet, and yet... there can be little doubt that there is a great feeling of injustice among many in England, particularly as a disproportionate number of our leaders seem to be Scots. The Liberal Democrats, and Simon Hughes in particular, seem quite keen on an English Parliament and I am concerned that we Conservatives may be outflanked on this if we are not careful. We ought to be attracting Christine Constable back to the Conservatives. Let the debate begin.


Anonymous said...

If the Conservatives had made more of this in the run up to the last election, I have no doubt they would have been the government now.
England now has to suffer Prescott's infernal imposition of un-elected and unwanted regional assemblies.
I notice Mr. Cameron is threatening
Conservative MEP's with de-selection unless they leave this pro euro faction.Could he please do the same with Conservative councillors who sit on these un-elected assemblies?.


HowRidiculous said...

Surely England already has a Parliament - the one at Westminster which the English kindly let the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish (and not forgetting Cornish) attend and participate in.

Anonymous said...

Let the debate begin? We've already begun it, but feel free to join in, the more the merrier.

If you feel up to a challenge you may like to respond to this, surely at least one Conservative should.


Gareth (CEP)

Gavin Ayling said...

I find it quite strange to observe the Conservative Party's policy on this. EVoEM is obviously a fudge that is not only unworkable but insulting. Reliance on the majority party in England being the majority party in the UK to satisfy any concerns about a minority government in England's MPs in the British Parliament is naive at best.

The answer, though, is not the EDP -- they seem to have forgotten that they're a single-issue party. What needs to happen is genuine change in all the party's policies on this. And you're right, there's a risk the Tories will be out-flanked.

The Campaign for an English Parliament should be a compelling prospect for all parts of the Conservative Party's broad church. The larger the membership, the more influence the CEP has, and the more chance of changing the Tory's broken policy.

Anonymous said...

Being a lifelong, (60+ years) conservative, I am not easily driven to criticise the Party. However, their reluctance to engage this matter is one that is testing my tolerence to the extreme. Devolution and the Scots Parliament has rewritten the rule book. The tories have nothing to lose in appealing the English vote, after all, Blair uses the Scots vote to his own advantage.

wonkotsane said...

EVoEM is, as Gavin says, an insult.

To give devolution to the rest of the UK and not even offer England a referendum on the subject is a disgrace.

Not only that but it is discrimination.

A judge ruled that English and Scottish are different races for the purposes of a racial discrimination case in which BBC Scotland sacked an English presenter because a Scottish voice would be more popular.

The relentless discrimination against the English has to be illegal - the state has to work within the law too.

An English Parliament is an absolute must. If it wasn't for English apathy brought on, in part, by the policy of Britification by the coming from Westminster we would have our parliament by now. We are 80% of the population of the UK, why should we have to put up with this from a British government that we didn't even elect?

Ifan M Jones said...

England should definitely have a English Parliment!

"Surely England already has a Parliament - the one at Westminster which the English kindly let the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish (and not forgetting Cornish) attend and participate in."

If you didn't want us to participate, you shouldn't have invaded us. We'd be happy enough to be able to make our own laws, free from your empire, thank you very much. ;)

Anonymous said...

If you didn't want to participate you should have put up some defence.

Alfie said...

OK - where to begin?
Iain, you worked for a man that did a 180 degree shift in belief. In 2001 Davies was all for an English Parliament.Then 2005 came along and power beckoned..... and hey, guess what, time for an EVoEL fudge.

"Let the debate begin" sounds a bit hollow don't you think?

Some advice - DO NOT START TO WAX LYRICAL about 'bloated bureaucracy' in your post ...For your information, I watch PMQs every Wednesday lunchtime as 650 free loaders spend their time wafting white paper around and thinking about their mega inflated pensions. NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL BLOATED!!!!!!

The UK Westminster Parliament spends 80% of its time discussing purely English matters...... So what are the Scots and Welsh MPs doing for their 60k a year with exceeees?

Cameron stated yesterday that "the money had to come from somewhere" regarding students tuition fees. What a pity he failed to identify exactly which section of the UK population he was talking about. OBVIOUSLY, Scots, Welsh et al will be subbed via their Assemblies and Govs, OBVIOUSLY English students will have to pay. coz that's the way it's always been......

Iain, mate, just a little note here. My eldest lad left Uni 2 years ago with a 20k debt. 2 years on, and hey,guess what, he stil has no job!!!. But don't worry, my 3 remaining Sons will not be going to Uni, I cannot afford to sub them and the entire Scottish student population all at the same time!!!!!!

I won't even mention prescription charges, old people's residential care, bowel cancer testing, free eye tests, breast cancer drug availability etc, etc.

And where are the Tories while all this apartheid is going on? Cosying up to Bob Geldorf for God's sake..
You people should be ashamed of yourselves.

'Let the debate begin'? What utter arrogance. Don't you know what is going on in this crappy country? People in England are dying RIGHT NOW because of lack of investment and the Barnett agenda..... So while you are sucking on your pipe, scratching your arse and going all 'blue sky', people like my Dad are snuffing it.....

Iain, my advice is to go and sniff the Nescafe - and discover some spirit and humility. The Tories are an absolute joke. They got more votes that anyone else and 60k more votes than Labour in the General Election in England - yet got 50 odd seats less. H-E-L-L-O, wake up and complain. Remonstrate, cry foul for God's sake.

Now is the time for making a fuss, not to waffle on about agreeing with Tony Bliar...... Somehow, the Tories just cannot accept that thanks to Thatcher, they hate your guts in Scotland - and you are treated with the utmost suspicion in Wales..... And yet you still follow, still sell yourself on the corner of Sauchiehall Street, hoping to pick up a Scottish vote here - and bugger the rest of the UK population.

The week before Christmas, I had a meeting with Christine - and Iain, I have to tell you that you just do not get it do you? During our 1 hour chat, Christine showed more vim, more passion and more honesty than the fraud Cameron and the traitor Davies could muster in a hundred years. Why? Because she believes in what she does......

Now there is a phrase that is an anathema to the mainstream politician.......

Iain, for your information, I am a life long Labour voter of 32 years standing. I only woke up after 2001 - and now I hate Blair, Brown, Prescott et al with the utmost alacrity. But I think the barmy Tories and the rubbish LibDems have failed me, and my democratic rights appallingly........

I do not want fudge. I'm not interested in the Union, I do not bloody give a damn. I want democracy for everyone in the UK, don't you?

And regarding your post, the first 2 words of the title are the wrong way round (and you should lose the question mark as well).....

Anonymous said...

I don't remember invading any one you stupid welsh bugger.

HowRidiculous said...

Ifan M Jones, I agree with you, but sadly not enough people in the constituent countries of the United Kingdom believe in independence for their countries.

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would all be better places if they were making their own laws and running their own lives.

Henry VIII said 'England is an empire entire of itself'. How different and better the history of the last 500 years would have been if our monarchs and political leaders had subscribed to this view.

Della & Sarah said...

Yes, let us have our Parliament. Let's make the first discussion on why the people in England are denied the same cancer drugs that their taxes fund for the Scottish and Welsh. Let's discuss why Scottish MPs forced top up fees on England's students and why the English tax fund free prescriptions for the Welsh - amongst many other discriminatory policies of this current Scottish Mafia.
England is the only country in the whole of Europe not allowed its own Parliament. Iraq has its own. It's time we did, too.

Anonymous said...

As the Conservative Party in this Parliament allows its MP's from non English constituencies to vote on English only Laws, how can anyone believe that they are serious about solving the English Question.

Wat Tyler said...

We'll take these responses as a "yes" shall we.

I must say I agree with Iain's concerns about yet more layers of bureaucracy...and yet...

Alfie punchily expresses the frustration a lot of us feel about Scotland's privileged fiscal position- last time I checked the numbers, they were getting a fiscal transfer from us equivalent to 10% of their income, much bigger than those famous EU transfers.

And as he implies, with an English parliament, we might already have a
Tory government- without needing to resort to centrist mush.

So yes, an English parliament combined with full fiscal autonomy.

As for Ifan, I thought Henry Tudor was Welsh- surely he grabbed our controls rather than vv.

Ifan M Jones said...

It was Edward I of England who invaded, built castles everywhere, made his son Prince of Wales, and passed a law making English the official language of Wales.

"I don't remember invading any one you stupid welsh bugger."

Well, it's unlikely you would have been alive in the 14th Century.

"If you didn't want to participate you should have put up some defence."

We did. But Wales is very small and England very big. Don't let the Bible fool you, in most David vs Goliath situations, the giant wins. :)

Don't think that my wanting independence for Wales means I dislike England or the rest of the UK. I love every country, but each has its own culture, people and traditions. You can define Welsh, English, Scottish quite well but how do you define Britishness other than a mix of those? If you mix together a few vibrant colours you just end up with a gray mess.

Anonymous said...

Was my comment posted last night not considered?

Bishop Hill said...

Might I suggest that the Conservatives set up an English Parliament modelled on that of New Hampshire where delegates to the legistlature are paid $100 per year and meet for just a few days each year. This has the great advantage of stopping the flow of daft legislation, and makes the corrupt buggers go and earn an honest living.

Stop the gravy train now!

Anonymous said...

Well as the comment propbaly got lost somewhere I'll repeat it. I am just concerned that we are trying to promote new beureacracy rather than seeking to reduce it.

If we have an English parliament we expose the taxpayer to another layer of totally pointless costs. More people will 'represent' our interests and get paid an extroadinay amount of money to do so. They will sit in a shiney new parliament building which will doubtless be 10 times over budget (as it was in Scotland) and spend happy politicians will continue to find ever more innovative ways to throw away our hard earned money.

No, I certainly do not support any moves to establish an English parliament... indeed I would have thought we should be concentrating on restricting the enormous political sector as it is today.

Richard Allen said...

I certainly appreciate the anger caused by NuLabour's consititutional vandalism but I cannot condone a course of action (English parliament) that would further weaken the Union.

Ingy said...

There is a much needed drastic change in politics these days, and the English democrats are that much needed drastic change, the English people are starting to realise this and Christine Constable has already realised this. All the other main parties are coming over as anti English and therefore loosing the English publics interest.

Anonymous said...

I used to vote Conservative, but with the current messages coming from the "opposition?", no more.

I am not convinced about an English Parliament, too expensive and do not forget most law now emanates from the evil EU empire. The United Kingdom worked well until a bunch of intolerant scroungers wanted out, but still take the money. "United we stand, divided we fall" still applies".

Anonymous said...

I am astonished at some of the comments on this site.Has anybody heard of plaid cymru and the snp?

Would they be accused of being a one issue party? No, why then are the EDP?

Whoever thinks we are a one issue party i am afraid they are wrong,i must assume this person has never heard of a 'Manifesto' yes this describes what the party wants to achieve,i take it the EDP's manifesto has not been read by this person,yes the main ambition is parity for England as was plaid cymru's for Wales and the Scottish National party for Scotland.

Nobody can argue that the current situation is right,it simply cannot go on that we have members of other Parliments voting in Westminster on English only issues until this is addressed and the way monies and funds for the various nations is calculated is looked at again i am afraid this will always rumble on.

Isnt it about time the UK played fair?

I think our first port of call is to withdraw from Europe though.

When will the EXACT figures be published and posted to all households free of charge on what we give to Europe?

If that does happen lets see if anyone thinks we should stay within it,i mean i was never consulted,when was the referendum?

Iain Dale said...

God, what have I started?!

Anonymous said...

The referendum for a Welsh assembly was passed by a margin of only 0.1% on a low turnout and given the current unpopularity of the entire Welsh political establishment its clear to me, a Welsh Tory (lucky enough to have a Tory MP), that the solution is less devolution not more.

Anonymous said...

The Leader of the Welsh Conservatives is in favour of more devolution, its only the Conservative MP's in Wales, who will lose ther jobs because of boundry changes due to the reduction in the number of Welsh MP's that a a new Conservative Government would introduce, that are harping on about the National Assemby's abolition.

wonkotsane said...

What have you started indeed Iain!

The first sensible and (presumably) uncensored debate on English devolution from a senior Tory in a long time actually.

One of the Anonymous posters above says that less devolution is the answer because of the poor Welsh referendum. To this I would answer that it is impossible to use this as an argument against English devolution because we have never been given the choice. The Scots wanted it by a wide margin and I'm confident that the English would too.

Iain Dale said...

A senior Tory, eh? god knows what the junior ones are like then...

Anonymous said...

I was always surprised that the Scottish and Welsh devolutions were actually pronounced legal. I thought that in order for a major constitutional change to occur there had to be a referendum of the whole Union.

Which there wasn't.

I have never really received a cogent argument from a Conservative (including David McLetchie) as to why we should support continued devolution.

Anonymous said...

The argument for Conservatives continuing the devolution process in Scotland and Wales can be based on the fact that Conservatives in both countries want it to continue and if for no other reason than it is a way to restore the fortunes of the Conservatives in those countries.
That Conservatives in England fail to understand how far Conservative party members in Scotland and Wales have moved from opposition, to now open embracement of devolution suggesting that perhaps the party should spilt into English, Scottish and Welsh Conservative parties respectfully.

Gavin Corder said...

Frankly Iain, I'm surprised you're surprised!

Those of us who are concerned enough to blog about the lack of English representation support the CEP and many of us are members of the Witanagemot Club. Between us we have a wide readership and get a great deal of feedback. There is a very strong groundswell of disgruntled English people.

The Conservatives would do well to take note and not to rely on the English NOT to vote for Gordon Brown (out-and-out Scot whereas TB was incognito).

Anonymous said...

You mention that you should get Christine into the Conservatives - if the Conservatives adopted the policy of an English Parliament you would get several thousand extra potential members. Many of us English Nationalists are ex Conservative members and activists who now support movements that are fighting for the survival of our Nation - England. This has to be our priority and until the Conservatives realise this they will continue to lose support to the movement.

witenagemot said...

In the interests of democracy, and to ensure the preservation of historic England in the face of moves to replace her with nine EU regions governed by unelected assemblies, it is vital that we have an English parliament.

There is no need for this to involve extra cost and bureaucracy because Westminster can simply be converted into the English parliament and fly the English flag.

The UK parliament would then become homeless, and would be held at each of the national parliaments on a rota basis, using the same MPs. It would only meet occasionally because most issues would be devolved to the national parliaments.

Editor said...

I am yet to be convinced of the arguments for an English Parliament.

1: Another tier of bureaucracy is not desirable in my view. I want to see more local accountability at county level first.

2: If we introduce english votes for english issues - surely you then have an English Parliament, which just happens to become the UK Parliament on certain issues?

3: Most importantly I welcome and enjoy the unique characterisitics of the individual parts of the United Kingdom, but as it seems an increasingly few people now believe, my country is Britain. Anything that undermines that unique and valuable union is of concern for me and I am yet to be convinced that an English Parliament would not undermine that - although some may argue the opposite and I can see that argument.

I am not saying I could not be convinced of the case for an English Parliament, but the three initial reasons above stop my belief in that.

Yes I would look at various means of improving the balance for us English voters, but I am uncomfortable pursuing an English Parliament.

Editor said...

Gerald - you make an interesting point about getting several thousand more members.

But - that is not justification for changing a party policy unless you think it is wrong.

We could get several thousand new members if we called for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU ala UKIP - but it does not make that policy correct.

Iain - good to see you at the pb.con party - sorry I did not have time to formally introduce myself.


wonkotsane said...

Gareth at the CEP has put forward so many arguments against EVoEL that I can't even remember them all. You should have a browse through the CEP blog and find them.

EVoEL will not make Westminster an English Parliament. Legislation will still be introduced by British MP's and the English MP's, regardless of the fact their constituency is in England, will still be British MP's and will put Britain first.

EVoEL is an extremely poor cop-out from a party that is so desperately trying to cling on to the past that they are scared to make changes that need changing.

Gerald - you make an interesting point about getting several thousand more members.

But - that is not justification for changing a party policy unless you think it is wrong.

Now I've stopped laughing I can write a comment. David Davis supported an English Parliament until he got a sniff of the leadership election and then dropped something that he has stood for for years to try and get more votes. Simon Hughes of the Lib Dems has done the same. In my experience as a lifelong cynic, politicians will do virtually anything they can get away with if they think it means they will win an election.