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Toque's blog

Blogging Off

Due to lack of time and, to an extent, a lack of motivation, I have decided to stop blogging here.

I thought I'd find the debate about the Scottish Independence Referendum enjoyable but I'm bored of it already, which is unfortunate because the Scottish Question is, once again, dominating everything, as if the Scots are the only people whose opinion on the Union and how they wish to be governed matters.

As far as the political classes are concerned the English Question can be answered by mitigating the West Lothian Question (see IPPR paper England and the Union: How and why to answer the West Lothian question), devolving power to city regions or electing mayors. What they definitely won't do is what they should do: ask the people of England how we want to be governed, which is actually the only way to answer the English question. It even sounds as though Nick Clegg's constitutional commission will treat England as a collection of disparate entities rather than as a nation.

Q: The committee's next inquiry will be on the need for a constitutional convention in the UK. The committee will meet people from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. But who does it meet to discuss England?

Clegg says he agrees with the need to decentralise power within England. Sometimes reform can happen in a piecemeal way. The government's city deals will give eight cities unprecedented powers. Yesterday he had a meeting with colleagues who said, if cities can get these powers, why not Cornwall. That shows how these initiatives develop.

The government has move "relatively fast" to give powers to cities, he says. But these powers have not been properly deployed yet. For example, business rates have been devolved.

In the event that the Scottish nationalists lose the independence referendum, which I fully expect them to, and start to push for greater devolved powers, the political class will then have to discuss England. In other words I think we have to wait until we know for definite where the Scots stand. There are other groups too who need to work out where they stand. UKIP for example. Are UKIP for an English parliament or against it? And the English nationalists of the Tory party, are they prepared to fight for England to be self-governing, or will their 'English nationalism' - such as it is - be mollified by a more EU sceptical stance from the UK Government (see John Redwood's England Expects and my Euroscepticism: A very English disease?)? And then there's the English Democrats. Are they the modern, acceptable face of English nationalism, or are they the final bolt hole for BNP rejects? The available evidence seems to point to the latter. Steve Uncles' policy of recruiting BNP into the English Democrats appears to have been a success.

I'd like to think that I've done all I can to promote an inclusive civic nationalism and reign in the idiots who control the English Democrats. At this present time it looks as though I have lost that battle. But in the great scheme of things I think it is of little consequence. Common sense and decency will eventually prevail, it's just a shame that the English Democrats have been allowed to do so much damage to the Campaign for an English Parliament. I haven't been a member of the Campaign for an English Parliament for a couple years now because of their association with the English Democrats, but as of now I am cutting all links with the CEP. I feel that the non-partisan nature of the CEP is compromised by it being top heavy with English Democrat supporters, and because many of the national council seem to be inexplicably in thrall to Robin Tilbrook. I'm tired of being slapped down by CEP members for criticising the English Democrats and have no wish to be associated any longer with an organisation that has intimate links with the English Democrats and which consequently therefore is increasingly linked by association to the BNP and their racist ilk.

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