13 June 2006

The West Lothian Question.

The Tories (as usual) are completely partisan about this. An English parliament will allow them to control the North of England with the support of their wealthy voters that are mainly in the rich South and Midlands.

What we need is proper devolution for the regions on a par with the powers that the Scottish Parliament has, this also means increased powers for Wales and London. The present Labour hotchpotch is not acceptable and the cynical Tory plans will (like Jackie Ashley suggests) mean the effective end of the UK as a union.

Labour tried to fudge real devolution by offering something far too weak to the voters of the North East, which is why they rejected it. They didn't want a talking shop, they wanted real power devolved and who could blame them?

If the Tories get their way on an English parliament, how long before the disenfranchised voters of the North get fed up (like the Welsh and Scots did) with being run by the Tories from their South East powerbase?

26 comments:

  1. Why not an English parliament based on regional lists?

    That way England gets constitutional recognition (remember that the Union is a union of nations not regions) and devolution can be acheived through democratic means rather than bulldozing through a centralist EU-of-the-regions agenda.

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  2. "If the Tories get their way on an English parliament, how long before the disenfranchised voters of the North get fed up (like the Welsh and Scots did) with being run by the Tories from their South East powerbase?"

    Any parallels with your shitty NuLab ruling England with Scottish MP's?

    I respect anyone's 'right' to an opinion but it must be plain for all to see that you are a blinded socialist knob.

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  3. toque: England is a country of 50m people, Scotland and Wales are 5m and 3m respectively. 50m is just too big for effective devolved government.

    Regional lists would be more representative (but I'm sure that is not what the Tories are suggesting), but it would still mean the majority of seats in the South (allowing the South effective carte blanche on English decisions over the North.

    mbe: Scotland have less than 10% of the MPs, Labour have a majority of the English MPs. It is far more likely that the Scots are ruled by English MPs than the other way round. England is a massive country compared to Scotland and Wales. This unequal relationship inevitably leads to dominance by England which is why the Celtic countries demanded devolution in the first place.

    The 'West Lothian' anomoly can be fixed by devolving power from Westminster to the English regions. This would enable each region to make its own decisions without being South East/London dominated.

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  4. The "English Regions" are an artificial invention devised by the EU. No matter how many times the Labour Stazi argue that the EU is not behind regionalisation, they cannot argue with the fact that the regionalisation of England was one of the conditions of joining the EU.

    I am English, not a West Midlander. I do not want a regional government. Hardly anybody in England wants regional government. The North East euroregion got a referendum on regional government because that was the euroregion the UK government decided had the highest level of support for regional government. 95% of people in that euroregion voted against regional government. The fact that the regional assembly still exists in the north east euroregion is an affront to democracy and a clear message from the Labour Stazi that what the electorate want and what the electorate get are two different things.

    Regional government with the same powers as the Scottish Parliament is a ridiculous concept. The Scottish Parliament is a national devolved government, the regions are an EU invention answerable to Fatty Prescott (or whoever the minister for regions is now) and to the EU. The regions are told what to do by the EU Committee of Regions to ensure that they comply with the EU's regional model of governance.

    I'm not opposed to regional governence per se but it has to be on terms acceptable to the English people and it must preserve the English nation. The Labour Stazi's plans for regional government all involve the disolution of England. EU maps don't even show England any more, just the euroregions.

    If England is best government on a regional basis then they must be set up by, and answer to, an English Parliament. It is an English Parliament that should have the same powers as the Scottish Parliament. Regional governments, if the democratically elected English Parliament decides to establish them, should answer directly to the English Parliament, not the the British government and definitely not the corrupt European Federation (see Schuman Declaration).

    As for English MP's ruling Scotland, don't make me laugh! Over 80% of legislation (UK government's own figures) in the British parliament relates only to England. The other 20% relates to Scottish, Welsh, NI and everything else the UK government has responsibility for - international affairs, the Commonwealth, Crown dependencies and colonies, etc. Scottish, Welsh and NI MP's can (and do) vote on things that only affect England but thanks to devolution, hardly anything that English MP's can vote on affects the rest of the UK. The cabinet has far more Scottish MP's than their pro-rated "share". England is 85% of the UK population but we don't have 85% of the politicians and we certainly don't have 85% of Tony McBliar's cabinet. Why do we have a Transport Minister elected in Scotland when transport is devolved? Why did Scottish MP's vote for university top-up fees and foundation hospitals in England, passing both bills, when the majority of English MP's voted against them? Neither of those bills applied to Scotland because education and health are devolved.

    The size of England should not preclude England from have a single devolved government. The false argument put about by Labour Stazi propogandists that England is too big and would dominate the smaller euroregions (Scotland, Wales and NI) is complete rubbish. An English Parliament would only deal with devolved matters and would have no interest or influence over the affairs of our neighbours.

    The reason the Labour Stazi is so opposed to an English Parliament and so in favour of regionalisation is because of where they get most support. Labour has support only in Scotland and Wales, they lost the popular vote in England by 66,000 votes and only got the majority of English seats through rigged electoral boundaries. By carving England up into regions they can virtually guarantee to control at least half of the euroregions because they are areas of traditional Labour support. This would leave the Tories with just a couple of euroregions in the south of England and the Lib Dems out on their ear. It would turn the UK political system into a two-party race and ensure Labour control for decades to come. No doubt Labour would elect the UK government based on the results of elections in the euroregions meaning they would get at probably 75% of the seats in the UK federal government.

    You can shove your euroregions up your arse.

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  5. "What we need is proper devolution for the regions on a par with the powers that the Scottish Parliament has..."

    Are you seriously suggesting that each of these unpopular regions should decide its own education and health policies such that we might see free prescriptions in some but not others? Can you imagine? If this is not what you suggest then these regions would not at all be like the kind of devolution that has been given to some of the nations in Britain.

    Also, 50 million too large for equality of representation? Are principles a numbers game in NuLabour?

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  6. Home rule for England.
    English taxes for England. Dissolve the union asap.

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  7. "50m is just too big for effective devolved government."

    Says who? Please cite your sources. California is 36M and they seem to do pretty well.

    Who cares whether the Tories are suggesting regional lists, what the fig does that have to do with a perfectly good suggestion.

    Regional lists would get rid of the requirement for expensive bureaucratic and unwanted regional assemblies. They could also be based on actual areas that the English people have an affinity for instead of having EU regions opposed upon them by this evil New Labour regime of yours.

    I would rather the UK was broken up tomorrow than have your ideas instituted. Be careful what you ask for because people like me will use it to break up your precious union. The Scots say Scotland first Britain last, the Welsh say Wales first Britain last, and I say England first Britain last.

    Screw regional assemblies. We'll have an English parliament, and if that's a problem for Wales and Scotland - who might feel intimidated by a neighbour that's 'too big' exercising its democratic right - then they can just bugger off. What you regionalists fail to realise is that the Union is a union of nations and if it cannot be run on those terms then the people of Scotland, Wales and YES England want nothing to do with it.

    As a northerner I couldn't give a crap about being 'ruled' by Englishmen in the South East. What I object to is being ruled by Scots unelected in England and unnaccountable to any voter - be they Scottish or English - over vast swathes of polcy areas (education, transport, health). I also object to being patronised by imbeciles like you who want to see my country broken up to preserve the priveleged financial and constitutional position of Scotland within the UK., along with New Labour's gerrymandering of the electoral map (devolution to Labour supporters only).

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  8. England is a country; the UK is a moribund state. The Scots want out – they are more than halfway there – the Welsh would be too, if NuLabour gave them a parliament and the English are sick and tired of being the piggy bank for our neighbours.

    New Labour's UK is broken, it was by their hand

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  9. "New Labour's UK is broken, it was by their hand"

    Quite right and by their own admission they didn't really know what they were doing.

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  10. It's quite simple - Ask the people in England in a referendum if they want Regional Assemblies. Oops, you already did that, didn't you?
    Then give the people in England the same choice as Scotland had. Ask us if we want our own Parliament and let's see you ignore that result!
    If the Conservatives are offering us our own Parliament - and they are not - then they would most definitely get the votes in this household

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  11. "Scotland have less than 10% of the MPs, Labour have a majority of the English MPs. It is far more likely that the Scots are ruled by English MPs than the other way round".

    * You waffle fucking rubbish you idiot! Most of scotland's legislation is enacted by the scotch parliament NOT Westminster. There are no English people sitting as m.p.'s in the scotch parliament. Not one.
    Now what you lying sack of fucking shite?

    "England is a massive country compared to Scotland and Wales".

    More shite talk masquerading as fact. Bollocks. England isnt massive compared to scotland and wales you idiot. Even if it was it makes no difference to what we're arguingabout. Come up with some truths you moron.

    "This unequal relationship inevitably leads to dominance by England which is why the Celtic countries demanded devolution in the first place".

    Can you be realistic? Lies, lies and more lies. Unbelievable. "Celtic countries" ? aha! ha! Kilt = Norse word. Dumfries = Hill of the Fresians. Edinburgh = Edwin's burgh (Burgh = walled Anglo Saxon town) Welsh castles = Built by the Normans. Welsh language = full of Roman words. I could go on but you get the point jimmy.
    If youre a jock get back where you come from you c*nt.
    we will get our parliament back jimmy and then well sort you wankere out. Now fuck offffffffffffffff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  12. Here's an idea, don't have any regions or assemblies or parliaments except the UK Parliament and they can run the whole of the United Kingdom. Oops sorry, the EU won't like that will they? OK how about giving Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland their own Regional Assemblies/Parliaments and completely ignoring 50 million English people because just over 9 million voted Labour into government! Oh sorry done that as well. OK then how about an English Parliament to even things up a bit?
    And I didn't swear once ;o)

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  13. Partizan is the name of a Serbian football team.

    Perhaps the word you were after is 'partisan'?

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  14. I am thoroughly enjoying the momentum that is gathering for an English Parliament. The more Nu Labour ignore it, the angrier people are getting. Could this be their "Poll tax moment?" I certainly hope so, because after the way they've shafted England, they deserve it.

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  15. In your model of devolution where the North gets to free itself from being run by the South East, who gets to decide by how much the rich South East subsidies the poor North?

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  16. Thanks for everyone's comments. It's good to see some of you still know the more colourful anglo-saxon words.

    aaron: Thanks for correcting my spelling. I had just watched Serbia in the world cup.

    The main points are;

    I accept that the current situation is UNACCEPTABLE, just as England inflicting Tory policies like the Poll Tax etc, on Scotland was UNACCEPTABLE when Scotland massively rejected such policies. Devolve powers to the English regions and Scotland would no longer have a say.

    My point about an English parliament is that IT WOULD BE THE END OF THE UNION. If that is ok with you, then fine. None of you see a problem with the North of England having to suffer the policies voted for by the South East.

    If there is no difference between the regions, then why does Labour do much better than the Tories in the North and vice versa in the South? An English parliament would ignore this and exacerbate the problem. The North-South divide accelerates under this system because the current electoral system encourages the Tories to ignore voters in the North and to a lesser extent for Labour to ignore voters in the South (once they are in power). It also encourages the urban/ suburban/rural divide in politics as well.

    My position on this is quite clear. I want to see a referendum on changing the electoral system to a more proportional system so that the majority of votes are not wasted in safe seats and a more diverse range of opinion is properly represented in parliament.

    The North East rejected a talking shop not regional government. If they had been offered real devolution, they would have took it.

    I don't see a problem with devolving power over health and education to the regions rather than it all being controlled from London. Look at how well Germany is run, better public services all round over there. London doesn't know what works best in Birmingham or Rotherham etc.

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  17. Well, Im glad that you see that the current situation is unacceptable (even if your masters in office cant). However we dont just need a referendum on the electoral system, as that still ignores the asymetrical devolution situation that we have now.

    At the very least we need a referendum on how the English want to be governed - whether that be via an English Parliament, via the false european "regional" assemblies, a return to the County Council / Parish model or some other variant / combination. Unfortunately we wont get this as the current NuLab idiots in office would be petrified of the actual result. Id also suspect any government run referendum (if it appeared) would we worded / weighted in such a way as to get the most desirable result for their EU masters.

    As to an English Parliament leading to the break up of the UK - well, frankly if it happens, it happens. The "Union" has always been a fragile thing, and Labours devolution sledgehammer has turned the hairline fractures into breaks. Personally I think we would be better off without Scotland draining the English economy. If Scotland wants to be devoled - let it, along with all the responsibilities that come with it like managing your own country's economy.

    An English Parliament wouldnt necessarily lead to the break up of the uion though - we could move to a more federal based form of overall government, with the main issues (foreign policy, taxation & defence) being decided by a small group of representatives from each nation as and when required - no need for a large, standing "national" government and all the costs that entails.

    With regards to your comments on why Labour do much better than the Tories in the North and vice versa in the South - Id suspect this is more down to where the north was the manufacturing heartland (so a labour stronghold) than anything else. I could see that changing in the not too distant future though, given this governments blatent disregard for the remaining manufacturing industries in the north of England - Just look at how Labour treated the breakdown of Rover for example.

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  18. "My point about an English parliament is that IT WOULD BE THE END OF THE UNION."

    Writing in capitals doesn't make it true you know.

    I seem to remember the Tories telling us that Scottish devolution would mean the end of the Union and they were roundly rubbished by your kind.

    You are going to have to do better than trot out the same tired arguments as they did. Tell us why an English parliament would mean the end of the Union. As far as I can make out the union is on a slippery slope thanks to the logic of you and yours.

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  19. It was the unrepresentative electoral system that gave us a Tory govt ruling on a minority of the vote and ignoring the wishes of Scottish and Welsh voters etc that led to demands for devolution.

    Devolving power to all the UK regions solves the West Lothian question.

    An devolved English Parliament would be so powerful that the Scots and Welsh would correctly ask what was the point of having a UK parliament.

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  20. But it would only have power over England - so why would Scotland and Wales have any say? After all, it would be none of their business. A UK parliament would be reduced to areas that affect all nations in the union, such as defence.

    Sorry, but your argument isn't particularly logical. Neither is bringing in the iniquity of our electoral system - this argument is a discrete one. We have devolution partially in place. This partial mess is unfinished business and disadvantages England; a nation that seems to be the latest whipping boy. If you believe what you hear, it is England alone that was responsible for the Empire and all the ills that went with it - Scotland and Wales seem to be washing their hands of their involvement. How convenient.

    Completing the devolution cycle may result in the break up of the union. If it does, well, so be it. Scotland and Wales will find out the hard way that maybe the union wasn't such a bad thing after all.

    Frankly, the last thing I want is devolved regions and would vote against such a monstrosity in a referendum. I do not live in an EU created region, I live in England.

    The break up of the union, I can live with - the break up of my nation, I will oppose vigorously.

    While I have never been particularly nationalistic, I along, I suspect, with many others, am becoming increasingly tired of the inequality that is going on here. Scots and Welsh nationalism is being proud of one's heritage. Being proud of being English is fascist or racist. Sorry, won't wash. What's good for Wales and Scotland is good for England. And I am proud of my national heritage - I'm English and proud of it.

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  21. I agree with Longrider. If the Union is to survive then it must do so on merit and because the people of England, Scotland and Wales wish it to.

    I do not accept that an English paliament will mean the end of the UK. An English parliament will certainly mean a change to the union but that is no bad thing, it needs to adapt to survive. The surest thing you can do to hasten its demise is to do nothing to address nationalist concerns.

    At the moment Westminster is viewed as an English parliament ruling the UK by the Scots, Welsh and Ni-ish (devolution has done little to alter that view), and as a British parliament ruling England by the English (devolution has created that view). We simply cannot continue like that, there must be a federal system bestowing constitutional parity between nations, and separation of powers allowing us to end the Barnett Formula - which is unfair to Wales and Enland.

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  22. "It was the unrepresentative electoral system that gave us a Tory govt ruling on a minority of the vote and ignoring the wishes of Scottish and Welsh voters etc that led to demands for devolution."

    And it's the unrepresentative electoral system that gave us a Labour govt ruling on a minority of the vote and ignoring the wishes of English voters that is leading to demands for devolution in England. I think you've just backed yourself into a corner mate.

    There is no reason why English devolution would end the union and nobody ever seems able to actually give a single feasible argument as to why that would happen. Scottish and Welsh voters would be left wondering what was the point in having a UK parliament? Why? They currently elect MP's to represent their interests in Westminster on reserved matters. They don't elect their MP's on the basis of their manifesto on English education or what they intend to do about transport in the West Midlands. Why would the Scots and Welsh see any difference at all? Scottish affairs are dealt with by the Scottish Parliament, British affairs by the British Parliament. If English affairs come under the remit of the British government or an English government is of no concern to them as matters devolved to England will not affect them.

    Your opposition to English devolution is totally baseless and without any facts to back it up. I suspect that your opposition stems more from self-interest - ie. Labour has hardly any support in England - than from a genuine belief that giving the electorate what they actually want will lead to the break-up of the union.

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  23. "It was the unrepresentative electoral system that gave us a Tory govt ruling on a minority of the vote and ignoring the wishes of Scottish and Welsh voters"

    Why should a Labour govt ruling on a minority of the vote in England be allowed to ignore the wishes of voters in South East England?

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  24. snafu: "Why should a Labour govt ruling on a minority of the vote in England be allowed to ignore the wishes of voters in South East England?"

    It shouldn't, which is why they should have devolved power in the South East just like London already has.

    wonkatsane: "And it's the unrepresentative electoral system that gave us a Labour govt ruling on a minority of the vote"

    Agreed, which is why I want to change it.

    "I suspect that your opposition stems more from self-interest - ie. Labour has hardly any support in England - than from a genuine belief that giving the electorate what they actually want will lead to the break-up of the union."

    I don't give a **ck for the Labour party. I just want democracy, but it just happens that Labour are the closest realistic option for achieving this (by quite a long way).

    I support (and have supported for over a decade) a proportional electoral system. This would mean Labour losing it's monopoly on power. Everybody's vote would count. I believe this would dramatically improve our government.

    I suspect you want power centralised in London ruling over the whole of England so that the voters in the North of England (which favours Labour over the Tories) is ignored.

    "Why would the Scots and Welsh see any difference at all?"

    Are you kidding? An English parliament would be so powerful (with it's electorate 10 times larger) that it would be a massively unfair relationship. It would drive policy in what little was left of a UK parliament.

    The West Lothian question of Scots etc voting on English law is wrong and has to be solved and regional parliaments will solve this problem just as well as an English parliament would but without all of the drawbacks.

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  25. Since 1707, England has not existed as a political unit. This has not diminished England's sense of nationhood. I really doubt that splitting England up into regions will result in a loss of national identity. English identity is primarily cultural, ethnic and geographical. It is not a political identity.

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  26. After reading through the comments I have come to the conclusion that the Scots wish to keep the status quo as they seem to have a ridiculous level of influence on matters pertaining to England that they should not, for the English, I fear that a wave of Nationalism is sweeping the country due to the incompetence of the present Goverment and it's predecessors in resolving this anomaly.

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