Ask Ed Miliband
I participated in 'Labour Chat' today, featuring Ed Miliband.
Steve Garrett says:
I was most dismayed to learn that some parts of the east coast of England are being allowed to drop into the sea. It has been decided that there is neither the money nor resources to stop coastal erosion in England. However, this is not the case in Scotland, where apparently there is both the resources and the money to repair existing and build new coastal defences. If we live in the UK, why is it OK for one country to preserve its coast and not the other? And if it's the case that they look after their own affairs, while we cannot, why has the English taxpayer 'invested' God knows how many billions saving two Scottish Banks - when that money could have been used to build English sea defences?
Ed Miliband MP says:
Steve--thanks for your message. We are investing significantly more in flood defences and the Pitt report has given us recommendations on the way forward on flood defences. This emphasises the importance of tackling climate change.
Gareth Young says:
I'd like to ask Ed when he is going to comment on the campaign for a National Conversation for England. With all the discussions going on in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland now seems the ideal time to begin the debate on England's future.
Ed Miliband MP says:
It's good to see that labour space is a forum to post ideas. I believe devolution has made us stronger as a United kingdom and given democratic accountability for decisions in Scotland and Wales that used to be made centrally. But across the country, we need to see whether there are ways of devolving power.
Derek Marshall says:
Ed, In answer to Gareth Young's question you said "It's good to see that labour space is a forum to post ideas. I believe devolution has made us stronger as a United kingdom and given democratic accountability for decisions in Scotland and Wales that used to be made centrally. But across the country, we need to see whether there are ways of devolving power". Will you allow the people of the nation of England a choice by referendum in the same way that the people of Scotland and Wales were allowed? Or will it just be rehashing your regionalist agenda? Will the choice of an English Parliament be put to the English people? Or will we be denied the choice offerd to other UK nations?
Ed Miliband MP says:
Derek---and indeed others on the English Parliament----I have to be honest and say I dont think it is the answer nor have I met anyone I can remember in my constituency who has said the answer to the issues in society today is a new parliament for England. The population of the UK is comprised of 84%, I believe, who live in England, so the vast majority of the Uk Parliament is comprised of English MPs. There is no reason to believe that an English Parliament would lead to different outcomes or more accountability. My view for what its worth is that those who are concerned about issues in England should tell us specifically what they want done---I dont see a new Parliament as the answer.
Thanks to Derek for the follow up question. What Ed doesn't seem to appreciate is the fact that what he thinks is far, far less important than what the people of England as a whole think. Ask the people, Ed.
Specifically, what do I want done? Hmmm...Well, the Ministry of Justice (nee Department of Constitutional Affairs) have never actually commissioned a survey on what level of support there is for an English parliament. Instead they have just repeated the mantra that there is "no support for an English parliament" despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. One former secretary of state at the Dept. Constitutional Affairs (An unelected Scottish mate of Tony Blair's named Falconer) went as far to say that there is "Absolutely No Demand for an English Parliament" and clarified his position by telling us that there would never be an English parliament, "Not today, not tomorrow, and not for any kind of future we can see!". So let us begin with a nationwide poll of the options before us (an English parliament, independence, regional assemblies, regional ministers, English Votes, an English grand committee or the Westminster Status Quo) instead of the Government telling us what's best.
We could call this A National Conversation for England.