political commentator * author * publisher * bookseller * radio presenter * blogger * Conservative candidate * former lobbyist * Jack Russell owner * West Ham United fanatic * Email iain AT iaindale DOT com
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Justice for England
As many will know from previous postings, I am in favour of an English Parliament. It is now Conservative Party policy to "make devolution work". The only way of doing that in the long term is for the English to be given the same constitutional rights as the Scots and the Welsh (whose Assembly should now become a Parliament). There is a new campaign called Justice For England, which has some rather nice merchandise. The objective of Justice for England is to try and get as many people as possible to purchase a ribbon or badge and wear it with pride, to demonstrate support for ending the discrimination that England faces. Click HERE to learn more.
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Iain - Just ordered enamel pins for me and my better half I - and they will also double in terms of expressing support for our great country throughout the Wold Cup campaign - "Come on England!"
England already has a very nice parliament, thanks very much. We keep it in a pointy building, by the Thames at Westminster, where it's been on and off for nigh on a thousand years. The question is, how do we get the bloody Celts out of it?
Although living and working in the Far North I fully support this. So far all the 'wee pretendy Parliament' as Billy Connolly calls it has brought to Scotland is jobs for some of the most useless people in Christiandom and increased waste. The SNP are currently increasing their votes up here thanks to labour's stupidity and the willingness of the LibDems to sell their souls for a Mondeo. Latest from the SNP - have customs and immigration officers at the Scottish/English border! Call their bluff and see how fast the Scots want to stay in the UK! If we and the Welsh can run our lives then give the English a Parliament (based OUTSIDE London and make sure that clown Livingston gets nowhere near it (or Prescott for that matter!))
Thanks for posting the links Iain, it would be nice to see equality of government for all citizens of the UK rather than the unequal system we have now.
It's long past time that the West Lothian question was sorted out.
The "Justice for England" website reads like it was written by a bunch of statist BBC reporters.
There is little mention of any kind of justice, but lots of mention of "we want free (aka taxpayer-funded) nursing care / university education / free Herceptin / other state handouts".
Now, if there was a "Justice for England" movement that didn't want that stuff, just didn't want to pay for the Scots to have it, it might be interesting...
PJ, Westminster is the British Parliament - there's no question about it. Read the Act of Union.
So many parliaments, so little gunpowder.
What's the point of this? It appears to be nothing more than an E-tail outlet for a rather nifty looking enamel badge. The 'policy statements' seem to have been thrown in as an afterthought. I thought The Campaign for an English Parliament had this market covered? Are you on a commission, Iain, for every badge or ribbon sold? Is it your website?
I have already purchased the family a matching set. Lovely job.
As I type, there are people across England (myself included) who are in the process of organsing public meetings to spread the word, following on from the success of the Penrith meeting recently.
Democracy always comes from the bottom up and the 21st century is no exception to the rule.
The major flaw in any English Parliament proposals is that the vast majority of people actually want less government nor more!
The "West Lothian" issue just has to be sorted and Dave should be majoring on this as an absolute priority commitment - after all he has virtually nothing to lose north of the border.
It is also wholly unjustifiable within the UK as a whole, where we all pay the same rates of tax (leaving aside congestion charges and the like), that the Scots enjoy huge benefits such as free nursing home care for the elderly, free university fees, etc, etc, etc, not available in England or Wales but paid for in the greater part for by English and Welsh taxpayers - these grotesquely unfair issues have to be addressed and soon. If the Scots wish to continue to have all the additional benefits they alone enjoy, then it it is they who must bear the cost.
I'm sorry Iain, but you've not got my support on this. I don't feel like I'm ruled over by the Welsh and Scottish and I really have no appetite for more elected people in an English Parliament. Most of all, I don't think having seperate Parliaments / Assemblies / whatever you want to call them is good for the Union.
It'd take an awful lot to convince me that such moves are a good idea.
Well they just got a tenner from me! Thanks for the link.
larry, I rather resent the immplication. This site has absolutely nothing to do with me and I have no financial gain to make whatsoever.
That's me told.
"It'd take an awful lot to convince me that such moves are a good idea".
Scotland has its own National Parliament, they have also "hijjocked" the "British" Parliament to keep a strangle hold on England, wales also has its own National assemby and its powers will be increasing, neither Scotland nor Wales national Parliament and Assembly will EVER be scrapped, and if England does not get parity in this so called "Union" then England will be abolished, with the remains ("regions") handed over on a plate by this Scottish hijocked "British" Parliament for Brussels to rule.
Only tonight on the Channel 5 weather the dizzy blonde "Weather girl" said lets look at the Weather in the "regions" beginning with the "nations" - Ireland, Scotland and Wales, then after reporting on the weather in the "Nations" she proceeded to inform us of the coming weather in the "NW, NE, Midlands, SW and SE, yes, the country formerly known as England, the worlds first nation state, has been "abolished", it is now "regions of Britain".
Forget whats "good for the so called 'Union' as the Union is already void and a total sham, lets think whats good for ENGLAND, afterall England does predate this null and void "Union" by a "mere" seven centuries!, and let no English person forget that England needs Scotland (nor wales) for absolutely nothing!.
Thanks Mr Dale for again highlighting England's plight, lets hope English people continue to wake up and realise whats going on to our country, unfortunatley though some people never will.
Larry you bumhole
Ian Dale makes a f****** fortune selling books about some very ill people to others who for some reason are interested in the shenanigans of those people, it's a niche market, I don't think he needs to grub up a few extra pennies flogging badges.
Oona King is on question time with Hoon,Im already hyperventilating with rage.
They are not having a penny from me! I have never been a big fan of devolution, and while I do accept that now we have it, Scottish MPs should not vote on English only issues in Westminster, I have no desire for another layer of government in the form of a separate English Parliament.
I find it rather tiresome the way that people constantly refer to an English parliament as 'another tier of government' or 'more politicians'.
It doesn't have to be the case. It would be perfectly feasible to create an English commons and have the Lords as the UK parliament and revising chamber, or to have dual-mandate English-UK MPs.
True, neither of those options has the appeal of a proper English parliament but it is at least preferable to explore the options rather than to just bury your head in the sand and tolerate a democratic injustice for the sake of money.
Democracy can be expensive, if you have a problem with that then you should support a military junta, or unelected regional assemblies.
Certainly an English parliament would cost, on a per capita basis, a much smaller amount than the Scottish or Welsh assemblies. It would not create another tier of civil service because Whitehall departments would switch from being accountable to the UK executive to being accountable to the English executive, and would, hopefully, be relocated from London to ease the overburden on the capital - a much more cost-effective decentralisation measure than regionalisation (which really would spell big government).
Justice for England!! And more power to our collective national elbow, I will be ordering my merchandise forthwith.
torque, I accept that devolution has created something of a democratic anomaly regarding England, and like I said I think that only English MPs should sit in Westminster when all English matters are being debated, like you say we could have 'dual-mandate English-UK MPs', but I am reluctant to support what this campaign is calling for.
This Labour government has got us into one heck of a constitutional and democratic mess!
Ash, assuming that devolution to Scotland and Wales is the settled will of the people and cannot be reversed (more likely it will continue to 'roll') then how would you make the UK constitution fair again without introducing an English dimension?
The only alternatives are English Votes on English Matters which, by any stretch is totally flawed, or the totally unwanted federal 'Europe of the Regions' model.
Things do need to be sorted. This current situation is plain unjust. Great to see a new organisation starting up. Thanks for the pointer, Iain.
"The United Kingdom of Great Britain shall be represented by one and the same Parliament, to be styled the Parliament of Great Britain." (The Act of Union, 1707)
Like I say I have never been a fan of devolution. Once we give England a Parliament (and Wales) we will slowly just move the question onto the point of what’s the point of having a UK wide government, why not move towards independance - and since devolution it seems we have not been walking down this route but running down it! - And I suppose it is this that makes my gut feeling against an English Parliament. However reading that quite subjective link you provided Torque on EVoEM's I can understand the arguments in favour of an all out English Parliament.
Iain, good to see you posting on this subject again. Every little bit helps. I trust you are now a member of the CEP?
Guido, sometimes you are just too funny.
Having spent a few years campaigning for our own Parliament, I have noticed that those who feel the injustice keenly are getting more and more angry about it. I only read on the internet about people saying things should remain the same and the English don't want more layers of government, don't mind the scots ruling them, blah, blah, blah.
But I'm a working class voter and live in the north of England. I mix with ordinary people in real life, not the airy fairy Westminster bunch. I can say categorically that the majority of people want their own Parliament, especially when they learn what's going on. They don't just say, Oh well, it would be nice. They react with absolute fury in the majority of cases.
This situation will not be allowed to continue indefinitely. There is real anger out there and I know which side I would put my money on.
The pacifists will not win this argument, because our democracy is not a bargaining tool for the unionists.
The ironic thing is, the longer the so-called unionists fight against an English Parliament, the quicker they will propel us towards the complete break up of the UK.
I take it from Toque's comments that the CEP is backing this, but I'm not convinced myself we need yet another campaign group on this when we already have the CEP and the English Democrats. What's the relationship between them all, if any?
tyke I can honestly say I have never been bothered (or noticed really) that we have been 'ruled' by the Scots, as we all live in the United Kingdom, and Scots are just as much subjects/citizens of the UK as the English.
I am in favour of keeping the Union, and for that reason I have never been fond of devolution, and have feared that an English Parliament would only hasted the break up. However I accept the point that the more that this democratic anomaly as has been put is brought to the publics attention by such campaign and the English Parliament idea ignored the more the risk the union is under anyway. It’s a case of dammed if you do, dammed if you don't. If I follow my heart I say no, if I sit down and think about it logically I say yes. I just can't nail my colours to either flagpole - but i must admit that after reading some of the CPE arguments you are winning me over.
Ash, it's a hard internal fight I'll give you that. But, as you suggest, doing nothing will likely result in an increased feeling of injustice and a weaker Union as a result. I'm a unionist in many respects but I do have to admit that my unionism has been severely damaged by the inaction over this issue.
Rather than set up a separate English Parliament, why do the MPs representing English constituencies not form an English Grand Committee. Parliament could meet the first three days a week discussing purely English legislation with only MPs from English constituencies voting, the remainder of the time could be spent discussing UK-wide legislation with all MPs participating.
Or, Labour could also follow the lead of Scottish Liberal Democrats, the SNP and our sole Scottish Tory in Westminster and not vote at all on issues that affect England only.
We should be attacking the Labour Party for this constitutional outrage, not using the matter to try and deliberately stir up hatred against our fellow Britons. After all, Iain's 'friend', the Scottish-born-but-representing-English-constituency Eric Forth has only been in his coffin a week so I'm sure he must find comments such as "hijocked" and "get the bloody Celts out" rather distasteful!
Actually, these comments - "hijocked" etc, remind me of anti-English venom on one or two Scots/Welsh websites and we must avoid sinking to that level.
A grand committee for England, anonymous? Yes, let's demote Scotland's parliament to the same level and then all will be fair.
We need a fair and equal system of government across the "UK", although why we now need the "UK" is beyond me.
Maria, England can have whatever it wants, we live in a democracy and if England wants its own full parliament, or, indeed, independence, as you do, it is up to the English to elect MPs to Westminster who will support that. But the last time I checked, the majority of English MPs were Labour and Liberal Democrat and in favour of the current devolution settlement. Indeed, the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of English MPs voted for the existing devolution settlement, so let's scrap all this "England wasn't consulted, etc...".
As a Scotsman, I'd be perfectly happy to demote the Scottish Parliament to a grand committee, or even scrap it altogether. I actually happen to like the English, so, considering what a monumental cock-up the Scottish Parliament has been, I wouldn't want wish you guys to go through the same thing.
I get the impression, thought, that the "England" you favour is one where everyone is a south-east Oxbridge hooray-henry or sloane ranger, with none of these awful blacks, muslims, northerners, what-what, jolly good show old chap, etc...
Paul, it's nothing to do with the CEP. The relationship between the CEP and EDP is really just dialogue and some overlap of membership. We work together on some matters but both organisations are independent and membership of the CEP does not indicate support for the EDP. However, the EDP was originally set up by members of the CEP who felt that there needed to be an English nationalist party. Personally I think that the way forward is through campaigning and converting the existing political parties and public to our cause.
The cause of an English parliament is a just one and one that can be won on its own merit - this is what the CEP are trying to do. Conversely the EDP choose to involve themselves in other matters (as a political party must) none of which, in my opinion, are strictly relevant. The risk of this policy is that English nationalism, in the eyes of the public, becomes conflated with, or synonymous with, the policies of the EDP (in much the same way that Scottish and Welsh nationalism is often judged on the policies and actions of Plaid and the SNP). This is why I am a member of the CEP rather than the EDP.
Thanks for the info Iain - will be ordering shortly!
Why do we have these comments that an English Parliament would apparently be the end of the UK, when Scottish and Welsh ones were only "spreading democracy"! Let's spread some of that democracy England's way then. Our part in this wonderful old UK seems to be to pay for everything and be criticised by everyone, and have laws imposed on us by virtue of the votes of Scottish MPs, who know their own constituents won't be inconvenienced by said laws.
Did you see the comments of the Scottish First Minister this week about the World Cup? He got quite bilious with rage at the suggestion he might cheer for England when there's no Scottish team playing. I gather in some sections of the Scottish media Gordon Brown has been called a traitor for saying he wants England to win. (Whether he does or not is another question - that man is so desperate to be PM he'll say anything)
Vastly more public money is spent in Scotland than in England - and it's England's money. Nor is the whole of England filthy rich and living in clover - huge swathes of Northern England could do with spending their taxes on themselves, rather than a bunch of ungrateful Celts.
But the Scottish Parliament will NEVER be "demoted", its only going to gain more and more power and not less.
No English Parliament means that England, the country that gave Parliamentary democracy to the world, will ultimately be abolished, sorry an English Parliament is the only solution, if we are going to have a so called "UK" then all nations must have parity in any "Union".
We already have the building, Westminster, i dont see how it would be "creating another tier of government" if we tell the Scots, Welsh and N Irish to leave and go back to their own country's National Parliament or Assembly, after all theres plenty of room for them in those buildings as no English (or no MP's with English seats) are allowed in!.
And if the only way for England to gain its own parliament is to break up the so called "UK" then so be it!, however paradoxically the only way to save the "Union" is for England to have it's own parliament.
Its the comments of those like maria that make me nervous about an English Parliament. If we do get an English Parliament it should strengthen the union, which has been weakened by the current democratic anomaly created by this Labour Government through devolution in the first place.
The union must remain as far as I am concerned.
David said... "Latest from the SNP - have customs and immigration officers at the Scottish/English border!"
I think you'll find they said nothing of the sort.
The R of Ireland has been independent since 1922 and never had immigration officers at the border. Little thing called the Common Travel Area.
They did have Customs Officers up until the Single European Act but not since then.
So where exactly were the SNP saying that they would have "have customs and immigration officers at the Scottish/English border"?
Or is this just the usual hysterical propaganda with graphics of the tectonic plates moving and Scotland moving next to Iceland because it has has done something really, really awful...like Canada, Australia, Iceland, Norway...
Anonymous said... "It is also wholly unjustifiable within the UK as a whole, where we all pay the same rates of tax (leaving aside congestion charges and the like), that the Scots enjoy huge benefits such as free nursing home care for the elderly, free university fees, etc, etc, etc, not available in England or Wales"
And which they pay for out of the same Block Grant they recieved pre-devolution.
Anonymous said... "but paid for in the greater part for by English and Welsh taxpayers"
And how did you calculate that since the entire UK is in fiscal deficit and Brown is raising North Sea taxes to try and bridge that gap - taxes which in the main come from the Scottish jurisdiction?
Anonymous: Please do not cheapen your arguments by mud slinging. I live happily on a council estate with neighbours of many different ethnicities, and I'm absolutely dirt poor. How you can make assumptions about me without knowing a single thing about me makes me very concerned for the validity of your arguments.
I don't really understand your nervousness, ash. Why MUST the Union remain in your opinion? We're living in the 21st Century - we could abolish the outdated Union and perhaps build better links with our neighbouring countries.
There are over 50 million people in England - around 8 million in Scotland and Wales combined. Is the current state of increasingly undemocratic rule really justified to keep a Union which discriminates against the vast majority of "UK" inhabitants?
Though previously a supporter of the Union...the more I watch the present scandal unfold, the more I realise that England would have nothing to fear from independence. The present unfairness would be ended, the money that flows to Scotland could be used to relieve the English taxpayer, and the SNP and Scots Labour could be allowed to wallow in their own filth.
The Tories, after they have ended the silly dithering of Cameron, would be the natural party of Government. The Welsh could be given the option of joining, but there would be none of this assembly rubbish. Given the virtual abandonment of Nothern Ireland to gangsters, and the surrender to terrorism and a foreign state, I have lost any love I have for what the Union represented. Just a thought...
Anonymous said... "Labour could also follow the lead of Scottish Liberal Democrats, the SNP and our sole Scottish Tory in Westminster and not vote at all on issues that affect England only."
The Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs do vote on legislation that affects England. But since they are always giving misleading impressions to be all things to all people you can be entirely forgiven for thinking they do.
maria said... "I don't really understand your nervousness, ash. Why MUST the Union remain in your opinion? We're living in the 21st Century - we could abolish the outdated Union and perhaps build better links with our neighbouring countries."
Most rational post of the thread so far. What is this "Union" people speak off that's so important to keep?
Placing singular sovereignty in one institution and allowing it to project the state it has as a nation only creates the tensions between the nations of the British Isles.
You can still have unity without a singular sovereign parliamentary union on the areas where there are common interests. Other nations pull it off without getting teary eyed about keeping some bums on green leather.
Michael Oakshott said... "The present unfairness would be ended, the money that flows to Scotland could be used to relieve the English taxpayer, and the SNP and Scots Labour could be allowed to wallow in their own filth."
How charming. Please explain where that money which "flows" to Scotland comes from since the Chancellor is using North Sea revenues to plug his black hole?
The unfairness is constitutional in England's case and most in the SNP agree it is unfair. Talking about wallowing in filth hardly endears you.
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