Campaign for an English Parliament
Witness this screenshot from Conservative Home. Very interesting that they should identify the Campaign for an English Parliament as a 'Conservative Movement Campaign'.
The CEP, of course, remains opposed to the Conservative policy of English Votes on English Matters and the Conservative Party remains opposed to the CEP's policy of an English parliament. And as the CEP has always been a cross-party non-partisan venture it's hard to see why it has been identified as a Conservative Movement Campaign.
Devolution to Scotland and Wales was always a Labour campaign, and they did very well out of it; securing a LibDem-Labour coalition government in Scotland, a Labour government in Wales, and; gerrymandering English politics so that Labour's Welsh and Scottish heartlands could unfairly influence English politics.
There are perhaps some within the Conservative Party that are now realising that an English parliament might be just the barrel over which to bend New Labour and beat their sorry arse. It's a piss poor way to conduct politics, and it ain't gonna help the union, but in a way it would be an entirely justified tit-for-tat measure.
It may just be that, in linking to the CEP, Conservative Home are reflecting their readers views on the subject. A recent poll conducted by the website revealed that 82% of the 1,519 Tory members who took part in the latest ConservativeHome survey favour English and Welsh MPs being given sole control of laws affecting England and Wales.
The same poll revealed that 21% of respondents would favour an independent English Parliament. In the next poll Conservative Home will instead ask what number would favour a devolved English parliament - bringing it in line with CEP objectives.
By linking to the CEP Conservative Home has now gained links from Little Man in a Toque, the CEP News Blog and the Witanagemot Club. Good to see that some Conservatives are supporting the campaign whatever their personal motives might be.
It seems that the chairman of the Campaign for an English Parliament agrees with me:
The Campaign for an English (CEP) parliament has said Conservative suggestions to exclude Scottish MPs from votes on English matters are "crazy".
Chairman Michael Knowles agreed the current situation was "extremely discriminatory" against England.
Scottish MPs were "accountable to no-one" on English issues, which "contradicts the basis of parliamentary democracy", he told politics.co.uk.
However, the Tory policy would threaten the continuation of the union, leave Scottish MPs with a further reduced workload and politicise the role of the speaker, who would be responsible for deciding which debates were exclusively English, he said.
Mr Knowles said the only answer was devolution to England, with a reduced Westminster parliament to deal with union wide matters.
Well said Mike. Keep up the good work.
Those of you that follow this blog may have noticed that I support the Campaign for an English Parliament.
The UK Government has granted devolved legislatures to three of the four nations of the United Kingdom so that they can they determine their own policies free of political interference from the other nations of the UK. England, however, is still ruled in its entirety by the UK Government, with Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish politicians drafting our legislation and voting on our laws, despite us English not having any say in the concommitant legisltion in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
It is highly undemocratic. It is unfair. It is leading to constitutional instability and friction between the nations that comprise the United Kingdom.
You may think that an English parliament is an obvious answer, and it is, but the UK Government will not allow the English a referendum on how they wish to be governed. They granted referendums to the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish, who all voted for their own parliaments, but they will not extend this principle of national self-determination to the English.
In a new paper 'The English Question' Britain's self-styled leading constitutional expert, Robert Hazel, explains why:
An English parliament would appear to be a neat solution to the fundamental asymmetry in the devolution arrangements. It would create a federation of the four historic nations of the United Kingdom, each with its parliament enjoying significant devolved powers. It is an idea that was considered by the Speaker's Conference on Devolution in 1919. More recently, it is the solution propounded by the Campaign for an English Parliament, a pressure group founded in the late 1990s in response to devolution in Scotland and Wales. (1) But it is one thing to create such a federation, quite another to make it work. The fundamental difficulty is the sheer size of England by comparison with the rest of the United Kingdom. England, with four-fifths of the population, would be hugely dominant. On most domestic matters the English parliament would be more important than the Westminster parliament. No federation has operated successfully where one of the units is so dominant. Examples are the West Indies federation, in which Jamaica had more than half the population, and the first Nigerian federation and early Pakistan, where in both cases one of the states had more than half the population. In the postwar German federal constitution of 1949, Prussia was deliberately broken up into five or six different states to prevent it being disproportionately large and dominating the new Germany. Although all federations have some units much larger than others, as a general rule among existing federations no unit is greater than around one-third of the whole, to avoid it dominating the rest. If this logic were accepted, England would need to be broken up into smaller units for a federal solution to work--something that is anathema to the Campaign for an English Parliament.
So you see, we English are being denied fair representative democracy, and the right to national self-determination that was granted to their neighbours, because we are too big. Too big for democracy; too big to be consulted by referendum.
The British Parliament at Westminster is often referred to as the 'Mother of Parliaments'. This is a misquotation of John Bright MP who, back in 1865, declared "England is the Mother of Parliaments". England is now being denied parliamentary democracy because Westminster, the 'Mother of Parliaments', is worried that it will become subserviant to the very nation that gave birth to it way back in 1265. It must be the biggest political irony of all time.
Despite the fact that the English have overwhelmingly voted against their nation being broken into federal sub-units (78% to 22%) the UK Government continues down this path with relentless abandon.
So now you know why England cannot have its own parliament and why we must be balkanised into federal sub-units against our wishes.
If you are an English, Welsh or Northern Irish undergraduate student studying in Scotland then you are being discriminated against by the government, and you can sue them under European Human Rights legislation. What's more it's free to do this because you are entitled to full legal aid.
* If you can't open the film using Firefox then use IE (it pains me to say that).