The British elite express their hatred and fear of England

John Prescott’s office in the Department of Nations and Regions (sic) in response to a question as to why we could not tick English in the nationality box on our census forms – “there is no such nationality as English.”

The official answer to the West Lothian Question has always been not to ask it. Once England enters the mix as an acknowledged grievance, stand back!

Anthony Barnett

New Statesman, The Staggers, 19 May 2010

There is no need for an English parliament because there is no England.

PETER ARNOLD

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

Cllr Peter Arnold

Letter in the Independent, 17th March, 2006

 The average Englishman thinks that they have got a Parliament which is the Westminster Parliament and I think resentment could perfectly well be sorted out so long as we could tackle what I regard as this niggle that sometimes English matters are setlled against the majority of votes of the English MPs. This English Parliament would be quite a dangerous remedy to that because it will just take a little step further this sense of separate identity.

Ken Clarke

House of Commons’ Justice Select Committee, 20th February, 2008

 You hear people yelling about some looming crisis. What do you do? You sit back, sip your cooling tea and don’t bother your fat backside. How else can we explain the utter lack of interest in the possibility of the breakup of Britain, at least as far as the English majority is concerned?

Andrew Marr

Guardian, 18th April 1999

 Sometimes people say to me ‘You know, David, it would be easier to be Prime Minister if you wanted just to be Prime Minister of England’. And I say ‘I don’t want to be Prime Minister of England, I want to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, all of it, Scotland included’. I believe in the United Kingdom head, heart and soul. I would never do anything to put it at risk. People need to know that.

David Cameron

Press Association, 14th May 2010

However much we disagree about issues, we should try to work together for the benefit of the whole of the United Kingdom and for the benefit of Scotland as well.

David Cameron

Speech in the Scottish Parliament, BBC, 14 May 2010

I don’t care whether pandering to English Nationalism is a vote winner. The very fact that in my two years as leader I haven’t ripped open the Barnett Formula and wandered round England waving a banner shows you that I am a very convinced Unionist and I’m not going to play those games.

David Cameron

Telegraph, 10 Dec 2007

English resentment of the Scots should never be underestimated as an emotional or indeed a political force. No home-grown Conservative descanting on the iniquities of the modern political system can last more than a minute without noting that Labour’s stranglehold over the Commons rests on its 50 or so Scottish MPs. The West Lothian question, whereby Scottish Labour MPs can intervene in English domestic affairs but not vice-versa, burns unappeasably on.

DJ Taylor

Independent, 6 December 2009

Since devolution there has been a growing English consciousness and that has given credence to the unfinished business of devolution. The issue is not an English Parliament. It is how you reform the way in which the House of Commons operates so that on purely English business, as opposed to United Kingdom business, the wishes of English members cannot be denied.

Malcolm Rifkind

Daily Mail, 28 October 2007

The creation of an English Parliament is likely to threaten the stability of the Union. For this reason an England-wide solution to governance of England is unsustainable.

John Tomaney

Empowering the English Regions, 1999

Whether in the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party or the Ulster Unionists—all of us who share the desire to preserve the Union, must insist that this House does not become an English Parliament. It must be a British Parliament as long as the Union exists, and for it to be a British Parliament it must have roughly comparable powers and responsibilities for the four countries of the Union.

Malcolm Rifkind

Hansard, 14 November 1977

The average Englishman thinks that they have got a Parliament which is the Westminster Parliament and I think resentment could perfectly well be sorted out so long as we could tackle what I regard as this niggle that sometimes English matters are setlled against the majority of votes of the English MPs. This English Parliament would be quite a dangerous remedy to that because it will just take a little step further this sense of separate identity.

Ken Clarke

House of Commons’ Justice Select Committee, 20th February, 2008

The re-emergence of Welsh, Scottish and indeed English nationalism . . . can be seen not just as the natural outcome of cultural diversity, but as a response to a broader loss of national, in the sense of British, identity.

Linda Colley

Britons: Forging the Nation

Government has attempted to tackle the question of national identity before, most recently with efforts by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. These were expressions of nationhood concocted in Westminster against a benign economic backdrop. Now all our political parties must search for an animating, inclusive and optimistic definition of modern England to choke off what the EDL taps into.

John Cruddas

Sunday Times, 24th October 2010

Everyone pays the same taxes so public expenditure should be on a fair basis. Scotland has done very well, so it shouldn’t be subsidised. There is a danger to the union if extremists in England start saying, why is Scotland getting all this money? The Barnett formula needs to be looked at again.

Peter Bone

Sunday Times, 10 January, 2010

I was never a passionate devolutionist. It is a dangerous game to play. You can never be sure where nationalist sentiment ends and separatist sentiment begins… I supported the UK, distrusted nationalism as a concept and looked at the history books and worried whether we could get it through. However, though not passionate about it, I thought it inevitable. We didn’t want Scotland to feel the choice was status quo or separation.

Tony Blair

My father’s side of the family by being Camerons are predominantly Scottish. On my mother’s side of the family, her mother was a Llewellyn, so Welsh.

David Cameron

Telegraph, 10 Dec 2007

As the economies of Europe stutter and shrink, nationalism is on the rise almost everywhere. In Britain we have been blinded to it by our insularity and by the risible performance of the British National Party. But British nationalism is a red herring in this context. It’s the contest between Scottish nationalism and English nationalism that will do much to shape the future.

David Runciman

London Review of Books, Vol. 32 No. 10, 27th May 2010

The establishment of a Scottish Assembly must be a top priority to ensure that more decisions are taken in Scotland by Scots.

Margaret Thatcher

Edinburgh Rally, 1975

The danger is of a very virulent and unpleasant English nationalism arising after Scottish independence.

Vernon Bogdanor

Dinner with Portillo – Why Should We Care About Scottish Independence? BBC4, 15th Sept 2009

So far as I know, no one has yet put forward a positive case for devolution to England, based on a moral vision of what England and the English stand for or might come to stand for. Sadly, this is not surprising.

David Marquand

Our Kingdom, 7 January 2008

What moral vision does the revived English national consciousness embody? It’s pitifully inadequate to say that England should have a devolved government because that is what the Scots and Welsh now have, and leave it at that.

David Marquand

Our Kingdom, 7 January 2008

I believe that 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. Across the country, we need to see whether there are further ways of devolving power. However, I do not see a new parliament for England as the answer. The vast majority of the UK parliament is comprised of English MPs, and so there is no reason to believe an English Parliament would enhance accountability.

Ed Milliband

Labour Space

The break-up of the United Kingdom will give the best and the brightest of the English the decisive push which will take them off the fence in favour of the European Union, not because they love England so little but because they love England so much. For a nationalistic Little England will be a travesty of Britain’s former self, with all its vices bloated and all its virtues shrunken.

Peregrine Worsthorne

England Don’t Arise!, The Spectator, 19th September, 1998

There is no need for an English parliament because there is no England.

Scotland, Wales and Ireland are fairly homogeneous nations, each with its own clearly defined character and culture. That is why devolution (or independence) has been quite successful in all three. In England, the picture is far more complex. There are millions of Scots, Welsh and Irish living in England. The overwhelming majority of non-white migrants also live in England, along with many hundreds of thousands of other Europeans and people from other parts of the world. England is the genuine mongrel nation, and I welcome that. This fact however, makes identity far more complex and difficult than in the other British nations.

For example, I regard myself first and foremost as a Northumbrian, then as British, and finally as European. Here in the north-east we only began to be part of the nation after 1603. Before that, the independent kingdoms of England and Scotland played havoc with the area, and used it (and abused us) for their own dynastic ends. I have no loyalty to England. For me, the British state has meaning and relevance precisely because it has little connection with a brutal past based on ignorance and exploitation.

The answer to the West Lothian question is the creation of a fully federal United Kingdom, based on Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the regions of England. There would still be disparities of size, but these would be far less than a separate English parliament would create. The failure of the referendum in the North-east in 2004 doesn’t invalidate the concept. Devolution is working in Scotland and Wales; and independence has given most of Ireland a new lease of life. We just need to expand that successful formula to the rest of the United Kingdom.

PETER ARNOLD

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

Cllr Peter Arnold

Letter in the Independent, 17th March, 2006

It is not the English people’s fault that they make up 80% of the population of the UK, but it does mean that England cannot sit happily alongside the other nations as a political unit. The only sustainable federations are ones where the constituent parts are more or less the same size. This means revitalising the case for democratic regional government in England (not dismissing it, as the Conservatives are doing).

Richard Laming (Federal Union)

Letter to the Guardian, 19 February 2009

Let us not forget that in Scotland the Scottish Constitutional Convention had eight years to develop their proposals for the Scottish Parliament. Then those proposals were put to referendum. In England there needs to be an equally wide process of deliberation and consultation: the English deserve no less.

Robert Hazell

Public Law; 2001, Summer, 268-280

Coalition Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on  the 16th November 2010 stated, at the Hansard Society event, ‘that there is no evidence at all that devolution leads to inequalities.’ 

 Oliver Letwin’s  reply ‘that David Cameron is England’s First Minister’ when asked if England like Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should have a first Minister? – stated at the conservative party conference, fringe event, 2010

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2 Responses to The British elite express their hatred and fear of England

  1. Byrnsweord says:

    Some very revealing statements here.

  2. Pingback: Middle England Murders | England calling

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