Who will  speak for England?

Robert Henderson

It is a singular thing that the question of English votes for English laws let alone  an English Parliament  has gone almost unmentioned during the 2015 general  election. There has been a great deal of noise made by the Tories about the threat offered to England  by the SNP in coalition with Labour ,  but precious little if anything has been said about how the SNP threat could be neutralised entirely by  establishing  a federal system for the UK.  This would require an English Parliament, something which could be created  quickly and with little extra expense by simply allowing  MPs for English seats to sit as the English Parliament.   The few UK federal policies such as defence, management of the Pound and foreign affairs could be dealt  with by  representatives from the four home countries  sitting as a federal Parliament in the House of Lords.

Such an arrangement would remove the SNP’s ability to operate as Irish MPs under leaders such as  Charles Stewart Parnell and  John Redmond  operated  before the Great War when Irish MPs sitting at Westminster supported liberal governments  and in return pressured the Liberal Party top grant   Home Rule for Ireland.

Stripped of their ability to interfere with English affairs the SNP would lose  any meaningful power over English politicians. They could of course continue to seek independence or at least more and more powers until they were on the brink of becoming independent, but there would be a great difference in the way such ambitions were treated by English politicians.  There would no longer  be an  incentive for English politicians to pander to the Scots, as they  now do in the most craven fashion, because  the great  prizes  in UK politics would be to become the  Prime Minister of England (or whatever  the position might be called) and take part in the government of England.  As the government of England  would be decided only by the English electorate, there would be no need to make compromises with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which would affect English interest adversely.

There would also be a general change in mentality amongst English MPs because they would have  an English Parliament with an English electorate to satisfy.   English politicians of necessity  would have to look to English interests before the domestic interests of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland .  Most importantly, the Barnett Formula that determines Treasury disbursements  (which favours not only  Scotland but Wales and Northern Ireland over England)  would be unsustainable.

The extent  to which  England is disadvantaged by the formula is startling.   In 2013 the Treasury funding for each home country was as follows:

  1. Ireland £10,876 per head  (£2,347 more than England)

Scotland    £10,152 per head (£1,623 more than England)

Wales          £9,709 per head    (£1,180 more than England)

England      £8,529 per head

The ONS estimates of each home country’s population for  mid-2014  are:

England 53.9 million

Scotland   5.3 million

Wales       3.1 million

  1. Ireland 1.8 million

If  the per capita Treasury payments to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2013 had been  reduced to those received by England, the money paid to these three home countries would have been reduced by:

Scotland    £8.6 billion

Wales         £3.6 billion

  1. Ireland £ 4.2 billion

Grand total of reduced payments £16.4 billion.

Such a reduction would be a very sharp wake up call for those wishing to break up the United Kingdom. It would give them a taste of what independence would mean.

If there was such a reduction, the SNP would doubtless keep chanting their mantra about the oil and gas extracted in British waters  being Scotland’s oil and gas. But  even if  all the oil and gas in the North Sea was in Scottish waters, which it is not,  it would be a poor argument because while Scotland is part of a nation state called the United Kingdom, the oil  and gas around British waters is not Scottish oil and gas but the United Kingdom’s oil and gas.  They also need to bear in mind that oil and gas revenues have only flowed since 1980, so there is the previous 273 years since 1707 to be accounted for, much of which time Scotland  was Churchmouse  poor and produced little by way of tax revenue.   Moreover, oil and gas extraction from Scottish waters is expensive compared with much of the oil and gas being extracted elsewhere  and consequently very vulnerable if the price of oil drops below $100 a barrel. If the price remains as low as it is now, hovering around  the $50-60 dollar a barrel mark, even the most naïve Scot would begin to worry about basing Scottish independence on oil and gas revenues as heavily as the  SNP do now.

Apart from the Barnett Formula abolition, the Scots might well find that with an English Parliament the English did such things as taking the SNP at its word about wanting rid of the Trident nuclear submarine base in Scotland and removed the base  to England with the thousands of jobs which go with it and decide to repatriate English public sector jobs administering  services  such as English welfare payments and taxation  which have been sent to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Faced with an English Parliament looking after English interests first,  the prospect of Scottish independence could  fade rapidly. The problem is no party in this election which is likely to win seats is proposing an English Parliament and only two -UKIP  (see the Political Reform section) and the Tories –  support the idea of  English votes for English laws. Even there the Tories are ambiguous about exactly how far their proposal would go in stopping non-English seat MPs voting on English only laws, not least because while the Barnett formula exists  – which it would continue to do while there was no English Parliament to cut the Gordian knot of a misshapen devolution settlement – – there would be few bills of any significance which did not have direct implications for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland because their funding is linked to English funding.: England gets more money for something; the other three home countries get a proportional increase. Even the strictest possible interpretation of what was an English only measure was adopted,  the problem with non-English seat MPs pressuring a party without an overall majority in the Commons  to grant favours to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would remain.  Moreover, under English votes for English laws, it would not be the English seat MPs  only who initiated English-only legislation.

Labour and the Lib Dems are resolutely opposed to  any form of devolved power for England as a nation and are attempting to fudge the question of the imbalance in the present devolution settlement which leaves England out on a limb by Balkanising England by giving power to local and regional bodies in England with the Lib Dems having the particularly fatuous idea  ”devolution on demand” whereby local  areas ask for devolved powers with the consequence of this being a superfluity of differences between parts of England.

Patently, England’s interests are being wilfully neglected in this election. Is there really no one in British politics who will call for an English Parliament,  no one who will  speak for England?

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13 Responses to Who will  speak for England?

  1. Peter Brown says:

    In general, I agree with you. However the ‘Federal’ component of what you espouse would give equal status to each of the ‘home’ States when their is total numerical disparity between the size of the States. Such important issues such as nuclear disarmament or even cessation from the EU could be decided by a coalition of States which, although numbering around 12% of the population could completely disrupt the will of the majority.

    • William Gruff says:

      I’ve made that point repeatedly for the past seventeen years, yet no advocate of a ‘federal’ system has addressed it. We are expected to believe that a system that cannot but disadvantage England if it doesn’t perpetuate the source of Celtic grievances can succeed where a system that disadvantages England while perpetuating the source of Celtic grievances has failed.

      Dissolution of this laughably misnamed ‘union’ is the inevitable outcome of devolution and the only way to sort out the current constitutional mess.

      Here’s to independence for England.

  2. Matthew Roberts says:

    The only party which speaks for England and an English parliament is the English Democrats! See their manifesto.

    • I am all for the English Democrats, but they are unlikely to gain any Westminster seats. Nor have they as yet gained enough electoral traction to get much media attention.

      • Mike Fletcher says:

        If they do start to get any media attention, you can bet your last dollar that the media will major on the ex-BNP people the EDs were stupid enough to allow to join. Robin Tilbrook., the party’s chairman, is a solicitor by profession, so he should know how the Establishment views anybody with even the most tenuous links to the BNP.

      • Peter Brown says:

        I am assuming that secession is the basis for this discussion as any such discussion on the political regionalisation of the UK will become moot unless we first remove the threat of a Federal EU which will relegate the various parts of the UK to mere administrative regions within the EU.

        However, the introduction of yet another Party that advocates secession will be counter productive and will be subject to the same vitriolic attack that has been levelled at UKIP. Worse, it will further fragment any vote which can only benefit the ‘Establishment’ who wish to maintain the status quo.

        The English Democrats accuse UKIP of advocating ‘Britishness’ rather than ‘Englishness’ as though that is detrimental to their cause. But first, secession must occur before any form of British federalisation can happen for the reasons laid out in my first paragraph. Having watched ‘Question Time’ last night, I heard Paul Nuttall say that the only obvious answer was British Federalisation which brings us once again to the question of how England will fare under such a scheme given that a large proportion of the other countries work under an entirely different political agenda.

        An English Parliament just cannot work under the present scheme because, as the SNP point out, British politics are far too intertwined as much legislation is applicable in varying degrees to all of the constituent members. The only possible solution that I can see is the complete breakup of the United Kingdom as an entity and we all go our entirely separate ways. Such a move would entirely diminish us individually and collectively.

  3. Pingback: Cameron is unwittingly preparing the way for Scotland to become independent | England calling

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  5. Antony says:

    Why would anyone speak for England from a political and media elite that hates us and wants us destroyed? As to Balkanization, that’s being going on since the Windrush docked in 1947.

  6. eewindsor says:

    What’s killing England is that there is zero leadership coming from the Monarchy. Leadership is not entertaining. That’s not it. Leadership is confronting conflicts of interest. And the current lady in her new weekly zootsuits is clueless about conflicts and disputes. She does not lead the Church, which she vowed to lead. She does not fortify English Common Law with her Wisdom. She does not stand for British or Commonwealth interests in the tug-a-war between Brussels’ belief in its own sovereignty over everybody else’s. Elizabeth II is a wuss, a war-profiteer, a global Luciferian. And what must happen next is that the Bloodline itselfl must come together and choose its next Monarch. Giving Pitches to industry will not save England nor the alliance of four diverse and separated British cultures: English, Welsh, Irish and Scot. Long Live A NEW SKILLED MONARCH, not this silly lady.

    • paderb says:

      What you seem to fail to realise is that legally, under EU Law to which UK Law is completely subordinate, the Queen is not even a titular Head of State anymore but simply a Citizen of the EU as we all are.

      She is far from clueless, in fact, she is one of the leading experts on British Constitutional matters; she has lived them all of her life as she has been schooled in them by all of her forebearers.

      As to contributions to Common Law, she simply is not allowed to make them as to do so would risk a Constitutional schism. It is the prerogative of Parliament to make or alter Law and then propose to the Queen that she gives Royal Assent which is a foregone conclusion as for her to refuse, would again cause a schism. The simple truth is that the limit of her powers is purely honorary. She may only, and in private, advise the Government which she is known to do with great authority. Why else would the Prime Minister have regular audience with her?

      Despite that, how could you have the effrontery to call her a ‘wuss’? She has lived her whole life in the service of the Country. Her duties that she still carries out whilst well into her Eighties would make many younger people wilt. She has brought great prestige to Britain despite it being subjugated by the EU. How else if anyone in the World should mention ‘The Queen’, everyone would immediately think of Queen Elizabeth.

      I trust that your sobriquet is a made up name because you shame it. Your bitter, twisted interpretation of the worth of the Queen shows a very small mind to criticise a person who can rarely respond.

    • You either have a constitutional monarch or you don’t. Are really saying you would want a monarch who made all the political decisions?

  7. Pingback: Who speaks for England? | The Old Inheritance

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