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I am prepared to support the Union provided the West Lothian issue is dealt with. I doubt England's economic ranking would be greatly diminished were the Union to cease. As for our miltitary efficacy, one is tempted to say the least said the better at the moment. Even Switzerland (TomTom's comments about German emergency planning the other day got me to look at the Swiss (who arew often my bemnchmark) can put over 200,000 men under arms in time of war; I wish we could emulate them).

We should not waste an ounce of effort on this.

Labour created this mess and the Scots barely give us 20% of their votes. Labour and the LDs have more to gain from keeping Scotland in the union, so leave it to them to fight those wanting independence.

We cannot stop Scotland going independent as this will happen it is just a question of when.

What we should be focusing effort on is building up our base in Scotland.

In England we need to recognise the reality of the "half-pregnant" independence that has happened and crack on with only having English MPs voting on English matters. That would finish Labour in one swift move.

Well said HF. Unfortunately Gordon Brown may shoot our fox by introducing PR.

Cut off the subsidies to Scotland for a start. Ensure that all money raised in Scotland is spent in Scotland and all money raised in England is spent in England.

We won't defend the Union (which I am emotionally attached to, regardless of economic arguments or political arithmetic) by hanging around in the current halfway house. HF's phrase "half pregnant" is gruesome but highly accurate.

We need to:

1) Leverage the West Lothian question in the short term to do everything we can to damage Labour and in particular the dour, uber-Scottish Gordon Brown. There's no reason why we shouldn't tactically benefit from Labour's constitutional f*ck-up. That could mean pushing the simple and effective "English [members] votes for English laws" at the next election coupled with an undertaking to appoint a one-year commission of enquiry with a commitment to legislate by two years into a Tory administration.

2) Accept a more federal state for the UK in the medium term. This could be a short-to-medium term issue if the SNP do take Holyrood from Labour this year, because they will push for an Independence referendum. The idea of letting Scotland's current population decide such an issue unilaterally and for all time would be even more of a constitutional monstrosity than was the original devolution referendum (John Smith's "unfinished" business, it seems to me, referred more to the (lack of) depth in his thinking about the constitution, than about any "justice" for my fellow Scots).

3) A federal structure could be made to work, because it obviously works in places like Germany. It would imply a drastic and permanent reduction in the number of members returned from Scottish seats to the UK parliament, which is a strategic Tory fit in any case.

I'm aware that the very term "federal" raises Tory hackles, because we associate it with the European leviathan. It also sounds a bit "lib demish". In fact I mean "federal" in the proper sense of devolved decision-making bodies taking their authority from a central UK parliament.

If we don't do this:

(*) the tabloids will (correctly) do their best to wake up the English about the dreadful current settlement
(*) leading to a rise in English voters' demands for total separation from Scotland.

That might be what we get but I would prefer to maintain the union. Continuing to say nothing about it - whether in the party or in Telegraph editorials - is the least effective strategy for its maintenance. For once (see for example boundary discussions for a more low level example) as a party we need to take the lead in a debate of national importance and not just wait and see what happens - it's not a bad thing that there's such a match between the Tory objective of a Westminster majority and using the current dog's breakfast to screw over the party which brought the Scottish Disaster Parliament into existence.

Richard @17.26
Cut off the subsidies to Scotland for a start. Ensure that all money raised in Scotland is spent in Scotland and all money raised in England is spent in England.

Of course this is exactly where we will go if we don't improve the current settlement. And yet, it's not how anyone would really want to live (spend all the money in London that is raised in London for example -- really?). The reason that a unitary state puts up with the movement of money through the taxation system from one area to another is that everyone within that state has faith in the national status of their government. I have exactly the same emotional response as does Richard, but I think that's a function of the current political mess, rather than a solution to any real problem (if Scotland didn't feel now like not-UK then we wouldn't emotionally object to sending money there, any more than we would to any other parts of the UK).

What "Union" is that?

Oh the one that ended in 1998 when scotland and wales voted YES for their "own" Parliament and assembly!.

England needs scotland for NOTHING, lets not fall for any nonsense.

We need the Barnett Rules to be abolished -. Not modified or played around with in any way . Just simply abolished .

We need a true and public acounting of British national money NOT done by Brown or anyone at the Treasury since they effectively are an arm of the Labour party . A new British governmental body with full public examination and accountability must be incepted . The present Treasury should be closed down . It is beyond redemption .

The only way to end the resentment over the WLQ is an English parliament . Nothing less and certainly not the quagmire of EVOEM in the British parliament .

Fiscal independence for England and self government for at least everything that has been allowed to Scotland .

That's a start . Otherwise you can kiss good bye to the United Kingdom .

Remember England's fall back position is that we will be just fine without the UK - and probably a lot more prosperous .

For starters, where is the evidence that people in England are in fact subsidising people in Scotland? See for example this letter today:


"London was on its knees at the time and needed Scotland's oil to get it out of a big hole. It seems also that the Treasury was not confident it could win the economic argument against the SNP. It still cannot, which is why it invented the GERS figures, which, amazingly, exclude the vital commodity of that time - oil. The GERS figures are not even credible in other areas, such as Scotland's corporation tax contribution, given that the Royal Bank of Scotland alone manages to pay Scotland's alleged GERS amount."

and this comment posted after it:

"Angus a charaid.
Your researchers failed to mention that the three biggest players in the North Sea oil Industry contributed £5.3 Billions in Corporation tax. The two biggest Scotch whisky distillers paid another £2.2 Billions. That makes £7.5 Billions conveniently forgotten by the GERS report because the head offices are in London and therefore not Scottish reciepts. Oh and by the way why not ask why £1.3 Billion worth of Crown estates seabed wayleave rights was not included? The GERS report has more holes in it than a gorgonzola cheese and like it stinks to high heaven.
'S mise le meas

Graeme, I don't understand why a federal structure "would imply a drastic and permanent reduction in the number of members returned from Scottish seats to the UK parliament". Surely if it was a "federal" Parliament for the whole of the UK, dealing only with "federal" matters which affected the whole of the UK, then voters in every part of the UK would deserve an equal level of representation? Which is pretty much the case already vis-a-vis England and Scotland, but not yet Wales.

Do all those above arguing about subsidies etc therefore go along with Tony Blair's view of the Euro - it's just about the economics? So if Europe offered to subsidise the UK they would all rush into an ever closer union?

The British union is more than whether or not the English/Scots gain or lose in the division up of tax revenues. The UK, the Union Flag, the joint history of our nations, the contribution to culture, the military. science & all that makes up this United Kingdom - those matter far more.

Offering anything less than an English Parliament is an insult to the people of England.
Can someone please explain why England is less deserving, than the other nations that make up the UK?

Alexander! I didn't know you were a closet nationalist. See you at the Pub on the Park at 8? :-0). Yes of course England should have its own parliament, but we won't get one in the 3 months between now and the Scottish elections, so I was proposing that we go NOW with the simple/elegant/attractive policy of "English (members) votes for English laws" while working up a fully fledged federal solution, which would have an English chamber as one facet of its solution.

Denis makes fair point (federalism doesn't necessarily imply a reduction in Scots' representation), but I think the no. of Scottish members would have to fall because historically Scotland was over-represented within Westminster in order to make up for "sacrificing" its parliament. The average number of voters in a Scottish seat is ridiculous and should be roughly doubled. I admit, this isn't part of a federal solution per se but I would argue it should be part of any final settlement.

I really, really do understand the logic and the correct anger of the people who post "why don't we just get rid of Scotland", but I'm hoping that the romantic unionism which beats, surely, in the heart of every Tory, will allow our party to come up with workable evolutions rather than simple disintegration. On the other hand, since if Scotland were to be independent, you might have prevented me from moving to London (because I'd be an immigrant and I can't imagine getting points for being useful for anything, to be honest) then Alexander for one might favour complete breakup!!

Graeme, Scottish constituencies now have the same number of electors as English constituencies, as close as that can be arranged given the constant movements in the population and changes in the proportion eligible to vote in Westminster elections. So now only 59 of the 646 MPs are elected in Scotland, which is 9.1%, while on the 2001 census numbers the population of Scotland was 8.6% of the total UK population, but I guess with rather lower proportions of non-voting immigrants and children in the population. As you'll realise there are limits to designing equal constituencies, especially when there are islands and sparsely populated areas. On the other hand voters in Wales are significantly over-represented, with 6.2% of the seats for 4.9% of the UK population.

Some seem to think that in the event that Scotland goes all "independent" the Tories would rule England in perpetuity, I don't think so. the West Lothian Question has only been superficially touched upon by Dave but even if he somehow miraculously solved the problem, to the total satisfaction of all concerned, he would still need to address:
1. Immigration (not only from within the EU but without)
2.How English tax revenue is spent (at the moment the world, especially the EU countries would seem to benefit more than the contributors, it's only the 2nd of January and already the UK will be billed £1.5bn to prop up the Bulgarian and Romanian benefits system)
3.Multiculturalism (it ain't working)
4."Regionalisation" (for the sour, disrespectful and uneducated little Englanders) (the ones he hopes to vote for him)
5.Red tape (that is hamstringing businesses up and down the country) (Redwood in charge)
6.The Common (except France) Agricultural Policy.
My typing finger grows tired.
I predict that vote numbers for all three "mainline" parties will dip and that "National" vote numbers will be the largest they have ever been since records began.
Dennis - do you live in Wales because if you do your NHS prescriptions will, this year, be free, if English, expect a rise in prices.

Legislative devolution must be repealed and replaced by an Act of Equal Representation which will require that all 646 UK constituencies have equal and common powers, procedures and practice in the House of Commons.

Agreed, Ted, and if we started shedding parts of the UK just because we thought they were being subsidised then chunks of England would have to go as well. In fact there might be no end to it, because by definition there'd always be parts with below average per capita GDP which were apparently being subsidised.

No, Patrick, I live in Berkshire, and I'm no happier than you are at the present inequities. But a) I don't think that there's any need to resort to such a drastic solution as dissolving the UK to deal with those inequities, and b) I'm not about to further the EU's "divide and rule" agenda by supporting the dissolution of the UK, any more than I would ever support the dissolution of England into euro-regions.

The first question of all politics is Who Governs? As British people, we answer the Crown in Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. As Ted and Dennis above have indicated it is not about money it about who we are. At the 2005 general election all constituencies in Scotland returned MP's to sit in the UK Parliament. Zero MP's were elected in Scotland on an abstentionist ticket.

hello Ted - you've made a friend in Dennis.
So democratic parity has no place in the present arrangement and everything is hunkydory. I thought we were fighting a war to restore democracy in Iraq, Northern Ireland has been promised £50bn (over ten years) to get their democratic process up and running. all I want is equal democratic shares for all of the UK and at present it means, I'm afraid, an English Parliament.

I reckon the EU's "divide and rule" agenda is advanced by the Union being kept together. The longer they can stop England asserting its national identity the more time they have to Balkanise it.

Connell - what and vote for top-up fees for English students knowing full well that "real" Scottish MPs had rejected the idea in Scotland - give me a break.

Connell - To send British troops to war ill equipped and unprotected. another break required.

The North of England suffers because of Scotland's financial settlement - why be in Newcastle or Durham when Scotland offers so much more ?

It is amazing that in England prescriptions will rise from £6.62/item in April yet be free in Wales

Conservative and Unionists,
As we can see by Patrick Harris @ the 19:59 the separatists are using the weapon of legislative devolution to attack and tear apart the UK : Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly, the Assembly in Wales and now an English Parliament is this minutes fashion.
If you believe in the Union you better start fighting for it.

The Telegraph article is right, we should not split the United Kingdom, which has achieved so much. To let 300 successful years be ruined by a Labour policy as daft as devolution would be a great shame. To let the union fall over a question as simple as the West Lothian Question, a travesty.

Give power to counties and towns, EVoEL, option of WVoWL and SVoSL (one set of MPs for both Westminster and devolved body). More financial autonomy. Written list of devolved matters to limit devolved bodies, instead of the current list of 'Westminster reserved matters'. Problem solved.

Yes Scotland costs England money, but the same can be said for lots of places in England as well. With Scotland we also get oil, a large part of our Armed Forces, and the benefit of being an island (no borders to guard or have delays at). A broken Britain is just what the EU loonies want.

Why have the Tories ignored this issue for so long? Was it because they were too lazy to be interested until they realised the electorate were interested? Or was it because they were afraid of losing more Celtic votes? Or am I wrong, and the leadership is still not interested other than making a bit of mood music?

Copnnell @ 20.18
You mistakenly called me a "separatist", my last words were "equal democratic shares for ALL of the UK", I didn't start all this devolution malarky, I just want some of it. What about my 20.02 and 20.14?

It's good to agree with Denis again - not always the case - and he makes very good points on the real economics.
TomTom, the point of delegating powers downwards is that communities can make the choices they want - so the Welsh decide they prefer no charges for prescriptions and therefore accept a loss of public subsidy somewhere else.
I'm not necessarily against levelling the playing field as regards EVoEL/Parliament sitting as English Parliament on three days a week. Even an English PM in a truly Federal set up. I tend to agree with greater tax devolution but I also want a strong Federal UK Government.

The Scots should be offered full independence with a single condition - they can have it, but only if they all go home.

What's next?

Wrong again Ted @ 20.38. They suffer no loss because they get a greater share per capita of the UK revenue pot.

It is important that the difference between Individual devolution and Legislative devolution is put in the public debate.
Individual devolution (Right to Buy council housing, direct funding of patients and pupils etc) largely deals with resource/economic decisionmaking and poses no threat to the unity of the nation. It is conservative in character and outcome.
Legislative devolution is about breaking up the UK by attacking the authority of the elector. It is not Conservative or Unionist.

'the decentralisation of power to English counties and cities would solve the West Lothian Question'

That's as big a load of ill thought out nonsense as EVoEM.


Re 'the decentralisation of power to English counties and cities would solve the West Lothian Question'

You are of course quite right. It suggests no intention to sort out the Wet sorry I mean West Lothian problem. And is decentralsition code for aquiescing in the EU's desire yo Balkanise England.

The Scotish nation and thre English nation are like Siamese-Twins dysfunctional together.

Many of the arguments that surround the issues in this article are based on misconceptions. Central to the problem was the way in which England was interchanged as a term with that of the UK plus massive misunderstandings about the history of the peoples of the British Isles. Anyway that is a major topic for another occasion, but to return to one key aspect of the thread that some have touched on, namely that of not subsidising certain areas. It seems to me that if we were to start doing this we would balkanise the whole island as many parts of England could be interpreted as receiving favours. The real issue is how can we as a party take Britain forward positively. We believe in the Union and most people in most parts of Britain also do but they many also feel forgotten by distant bureaucracies (the EU, Westminster, Cardiff etc) and yearn for something else. In the past Conservatives have tended to be negative about these issues and we need to be bolder and more proactive, we need to take forward real devolution and localism and use this to bring the Union back to life,


Matt you say that

'we need to take forward real devolution and localism and use this to bring the Union back to life'

By 'real devolution' do you mean equal devolution ie an English Parliament with powers equal to the Scottish Parliament?

Matt Wright refers to the "massive misunderstandings about the history of the peoples of the British Isles". I wonder what he means.

Most people used to have a pretty good undstanding of our nation's history until the educationists and social engineers sought to spoil our understanding for their own ends. Perhaps that explains the recent success of non-pc interpretations of our history.

Derek, in simple terms I believe that we should devolve more powers to the lowest appropriate levels possible. Some powers would rightly remain in Westminster, some in Holyrood and Cardiff and many others in the counties and parishes of Britain. This is one of a number of opportunities our party has to go out and lead positively. We need to resist the negative reactionary elements who see Conservatism as merely about preserving the past, we should harness the tide not stand King Canute like trying to stop it! Let us be the leaders of our destiny not distant bureaucrats in Brussels, London or Cardiff.

Esbonio, it seems to me that the history of the British Isles is far more complicated than some like to portray. We are all far more intermingled and have been the subject of numerous waves of peoples coming and going across the continent and the Isles. In the past, elements in England, made a big mistake in portraying the UK as mainly an English concept and this contributed to faultlines in the Union,


There are of course numerous advantages to the Union from the English perspective, mainly revolving around defence. 70% of the SAS is Scottish, for example.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't the percentages of Scots wanting independence gone down by 10-20% since before devolution?

We should stop talking about what we'd like, and start talking about what is.

It is hard to see how Scottish independence can be avoided. Devolution is a ratchet process, just like the leakage of powers to the EU. It is extremely difficult to reverse; there will always be another concession demanded and eventually conceded. And any political Party that proposes rolling back develotion will suffer massive electoral damage in Scotland.

Since Scottish independence seems inevitable, we should consider how we would react to it.

E.g. who gets the public sector assets; do we relocate British military bases to England; does Scotland want to raise its own armed forces; does Wales want to split off as well; where does NI want to go; does England get the Security Council seat; do Scots living in England become citizens of Scotland or England; etc?

I think that it's obvious that as divorces go, this one would be pretty messy - and very expensive. Unfortunately, Nulab's devolution is a complete constitutional mess. They engineered it for short-term political gain, and as usually happens, the Tories will be left to clean up the mess.

The only alternative is for the Tories to take the political hit on the chin, and unwind devolution. In the 1980s/90s, we suffered hideous political damage for bringing some sanity to the economy. In the North and Scotland, many still hate us for taking decisions that Labour was too scared to take. Are we prepared to sacrifice ourselves again?

Connell @20.59
Individual devolution, legislative devolution, The right to buy a council house (what about the right to keep it in old age), tell the rest of England that they don't get the life saving drugs, that they have to pay for tertiary education, that it's alright for Scottish elected MPs to vote on matters English but not matters Scottish all because we got the wrong devolution, I don't particularly care how many types of devolution there is floating about. I want and will get, the same as Scotland.


And there I was agreeing with you on the other thread.

Having Welsh ancestors as well as spending three years reading history at uni I fully appreciate the extent to which our nation's wider history has in the past been overlooked. That does not however excuse the biased politically correct left leaning reinterpreation of history we have suffered over the last forty odd years.

Esbonio, I think we have similar thoughts on this at least. I have strange mix of family blood which has given me a foot in two celtic camps as well as England but really we are all quite closely related and I am suspicious of some nationalist arguments and where they lead. The Union has been good and many people want to keep it but they also feel that they want things to work in their areas and communities,


A very good debate for a change on this subject (apart from the contribution from Don Jameson).The edotorial in my opinion is correct the fight for the Union needs to be fought right across the UK.
For me, Graeme Archers' first post seems a good solution to a difficult problem. I hope that these ideas are seen by those in authority within the Conservative party.

Matt Wright said :
" in simple terms I believe that we should devolve more powers to the lowest appropriate levels possible. Some powers would rightly remain in Westminster, some in Holyrood and Cardiff and many others in the counties and parishes of Britain. This is one of a number of opportunities our party has to go out and lead positively. "

Oh mealy mouthed words .
By " Westminster " I assume that you mean with the British parliament . You still cannot bring yourself to accept that England should be treated equally with Scotland ie that she should have her own parliament .
That is the crux of the matter . Once that is done then , sure , we will get on and consider the merits / demerits of the Union . I would prefer to stay with the Union but only with a federal British Union in which England rules herself via her own parliament and government .

If the Conservatives are serious about regaining power, now and in the long term, there is no case for the union. Scotland (and Wales come to think of it as well) has always dented strong Conservative showings in England. Were it not for Scotland in 1992 for instance Major would've had a much bigger majority. I really want the SNP to get in this time.

I agree with Malcolm, a very good debate and i have enjoyed and agreed with many of the comments posted by ConHom regulars.
Excellent thread which has finally grasped the real problems of the WLQ by identifying the real threat to the Union. I can honestly say that I have seen NO upsurge in support for any kind of independence, just a groundswell of justifiable anger at the unfair way Devolution has treated some parts of the UK on sites like ConHom.
Devolution has in many ways deflated the demand for independence here but has had the opposite effect South of the border.

"Some seem to think that in the event that Scotland goes all "independent" the Tories would rule England in perpetuity"

Not a chance jimmy! Ha! ha! ha! The English will not easily forget that it was the "unionist" conservatives, amongst other fifth columnist, who sold us down the river to the E.U. (which union do you favour then? The european union or what? ha! ha!)

The English folk will not easily forget that the conservatives DID NOTHING to reinstate THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT.



Jake, why add more bureaucracy to a somewhat botched and partisan devolution process. I think it would be best to work with the current system to positively identify how we move from where we are now to a proper system of localism.


It is far more likely that Counils in England will disappear and be replaced by Shared Services Centres sending out invoices and bills from various national centres using local letterhead..............these will probably be run by KPMG or a High Street Bank.

I expect the Leeds City Region to mean councils in Bradford, Harrogate, York, Kirklees and in-between to be abolished and everything to be centralised in Leeds City Region.

This is the way the Govt is pushing things and hospitals are already being pushed into Regional PCTs and Fire & Ambulance Services also - I expect these will be merged.

The Govt has advanced plans to scrap many district and metropolitan councils


Treacherous and unpatriotic has been the conduct of the Scots since they received their so-called parliament.

Let them go and let us have our own parliament. Without English subsidy they'll soon regret their disloyalty

It is sad to read so many of the above comments. We are the Conservative AND Unionist Party and we should do all within our power to defend a Union that this year celebrates its 300th anniversary.

As has already been pointed out by someone else, it was be a travesty if we allowed - what is in my opinion - the world’s most successful union to collapse simply over the issue of the West Lothian Question and how much "English" money is spent in Scotland.

Instead of complaining and being selfish we should be making the case for Union and looking at solutions to the current anomalies between England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

We are all British so it is British money that is being spent in Britain on British people, be they in the North, South, East or West. The real issue is why does one particular part of Britain require so much subsidy and what can we do to improve the economy and the private sector in that part of Britain.

Have the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament actually done anything of any real significance to improve the lives of people in Wales or Scotland? In Scotland they have abolished tuition fees and introduced free care for the elderly but when you consider how much has been spent on the Scottish Parliament was it really worth it? The answer must be no. The millions of pounds that have been wasted on the Scottish Parliament and the mostly second rate politicians that fill it is a disgrace.

The Welsh Assembly came about with the smallest possible majority in a referendum and since then it has done little to improve the lot of the Welsh. During the last General Election I spent a week living and campaigning in Wales and I didn't come across one person who thought that the Welsh Assembly had been a good thing.

As the Conservative and Unionist Party we need to come up with policies that will benefit all people in the Union equally; lower taxes, choice in health and education, less red tape, limited Government more power devolved to a local level and fewer politicians. We should be making the case for the abolition of the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament, not just accepting the status quo.

Maybe people on this website feel that because no b*gger in Scotland votes for us that it does not matter if they go as we as a party won't be any worse off. Well with that attitude is it any wonder people in Scotland don't vote for us. The policies espoused above of lower tax, freedom, Euro scepticism and smaller Government do not just appeal to the English they appeal to all people and with those polices clearly explained we can once again begin to win back the votes of the Scottish. The last election showed that it is already beginning to happen in Wales.


Wales will never be Conservative. Nor will be Scotland

Let's centre our future triumph on Tory England notably the South-East where people can be trusted.

Another good reason for stopping immigration too.

We are one country with one parliament (i.e. scrap devolution) or we are separate nations (i.e. self-determination for England; the others can do what the hell they like). Whichever, the Barnett Formula should be scrapped. Regional aid should be based on regional need, not on nationality, as there is no justification, say, for the poor of rural Cumbria or Norfolk to subsidise the well-off of Edinburgh. That is just one part of the iniquity of being treated differently according to which part of this now Disunited Kingdom one inhabits.

I'm not interested in patronising sops such as English days at Westminster. As to "decentralisation of power to English counties and cities would solve the West Lothian Question", it most certainly would not, unless as an incidental democratic improvement under the aegis of an English Parliament (and a process that could equally well apply across the UK anyway). Otherwise it would be a further denigration of the concept of England as a nation and a fragmentation of power leading to further immersion in a Eurostate.

At the Scottish Parliament elections in May, the mantra should be:
"Set England Free
- Vote SNP"

Will someone please tell me what thought has been shown by a a single member of the Tory high command on the imminent train crash?

It is impractical nonsense to suggest that powers equivalent to those devolved to Scotland (that include the power to
make primary legislation) could be devolved to "the Counties and Cities of England". William Hague once said that no one would be daft enough to suggest it. Of course the Liberal Democrats try to imply it is possible and John Prescott did so for Regions until the NE rejected it because all real power would remain with Westminster. The only effective solution is an English Parliament.

Anthony Scholefield:

"Will someone please tell me what thought has been shown by a a single member of the Tory high command on the imminent train crash?"

Little if any I would imagine. Can anyone tell me the last time they heard a senior Conservative MP, AM or MSP making a speech in defence of the Union?

There are essentially two ways to approach this question:

1. Start with hatred of the Scots (and the Welsh as well), who are allegedly ruling the English, allegedly scrounging off the English, and will never vote Tory.

2. There are serious imbalances within the UK which need to rectified.

Despite all the vitriol from some of those who adopt approach 1, it is simply not true that the Scots are ruling the English, and even if it was true it would be the fault of the English for voting in MPs who despise their English constituents; it is unclear whether the English are slightly subsidising the Scots, or vice versa, and in any case the amounts of money involved pale into insignificance compared to the money both are losing through EU membership; and many Scots did use to vote Tory, until the Tories kicked them in the proverbials because the European Union was seen to be more important than the Anglo-Scottish Union.

Don, in reality the powers of the Scottish Parliament and Executive are broadly comparable to those enjoyed by a county council before the war (and arguably some of those powers should be devolved down within Scotland). This is why the Parliament and Executive find it difficult to fill the available time with useful work.

“…it is simply not true that the Scots are ruling the English, and even if it was true…”

So Denis, do you believe it is true, or not true?

“…it would be the fault of the English for voting in MPs who despise their English constituents”

Now, this is not true., viz…

A majority of English MPs voted against “Top up Fees for English students”, but lost because Scots MPs voted for it.


A majority of English MPs voted against Foundation Hospitals, but the vote was again carried ONLY because Scots MPs voted for it.


No one at all voted for or against Sunday opening in England, because Scots MP Alistair Darling used his executive powers to deny the English what his constituents enjoy.


we don’t get to vote for an English Parliament, because an unelected Scotsman (Faulkner) told us ‘ not now, not ever in any future I can see’
The English MPs did vote (when they could) for the interests of their constituents, It was the fault of Scots MPs voting (or Scots ministers using Executive powers) in matters that did not concern them nor their constituents, that forced the legislation through!

I agree with Sheridan Morley about the Scots! He would feel more at home with the Americans than he ever would with the Scots!Quite right. For years the Scots have played the 'we're so disadvantaged' card for years to wangle more political and economic power from the 'English' within the union at present. And the gutless wonders in the establishment have fallen for it hook line and sinker. Living in Scotland I've had 'nats' saying to me 'the English won't gi' us indipendince tha noo!' To that i say- 'bugger off- you Jocks ain't voting for it in sufficient numbers and the majority of us English don't give a castlemaine about you!' The looks on their faces afterwards is priceless. The union is dead. Deal with it.

The one and only referendum on devolution in England, Well at least in the North of England, was roundly rejected but ignored by this despicable Government, Did the English have a say in devolution for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?, after all, England makes up 82% of the United Kingdom. "Regionalisation" of England goes on apace and the 529 traitorous English elected MPs stand idly by and do nothing, they blindly follow the whip and nod through the plethora of unecessary and costly legislation pouring forth from Brussels, their unEnglish behaviour will be punished at the local elections in May and hopefully they will be cast out in 2009.

Re-build Hadrian's Wall! Now!

The real issue is why does one particular part of Britain require so much subsidy and what can we do to improve the economy and the private sector in that part of Britain.

As the Conservative and Unionist Party we need to come up with policies that will benefit all people in the Union equally; lower taxes, choice in health and education, less red tape, limited Government more power devolved to a local level and fewer politicians.

Unfortunately you seem to have misunderstood the current argument. Industrial policy, health and education are all devloved matters. As English Conservatives, "we" can do nothing to bring prosperity or efficiency to Scotland's industry or public services.

"Instead of complaining and being selfish..."

This is known by Englishmen as a Daveism and deprecated accordingly. The English have paid the Danegeld for quite long enough.

The Union was formed on 1st May 1707 and dies on 1st May 2007. There's the end of an auld sang. As Ken Stevens so catchily remarked

Set England Free
Vote SNP

" Jake, why add more bureaucracy to a somewhat botched and partisan devolution process. I think it would be best to work with the current system to positively identify how we move from where we are now to a proper system of localism. "
- thus Matt wright .

er Matt , leaving aside the incorrect assumption that an EP would add more beaurocracy , I assume from what you say that it is code for " the English must be singled out and stopped from ever having a parliament like they used to have " .

" a proper system of localism " sounds rather Libdem to me but I am not against it . In fact , in England we already have counties , boroughs , parishes etc - all rooted in our past and present . I daresay that an English parliament and government will - probably enthusiastically - endorse such a system of local government - but that is for the English , not the British , to decide .

@anthony schofield
Will someone please tell me what thought has been shown by a a single member of the Tory high command on the imminent train crash?

The Tory High Command has forbidden any public discussion of these issues.
Whether this is due to
blimpish Unionism,
their time being fully occupied hugging trees and hoodies or
the forlorn hope that the Scots will do their thinking for them by voting SNP
I will leave for kinder men to judge.

Set England Free
Vote SNP

Blue Rinse 12:43:
"Re-build Hadrian's Wall! Now!"

I realise that you are speaking metaphorically rather than literally, so allow me to get in first before some smart-alec pedant sneeringly points out that rebuilding Hadrian's Wall would hand over a sizeable chunk of Northern England to the Jocks!

Looks like: Democracy 1 - Conservative Unionism 0.

Im not at all sure that England is subsidising Scotland. Take the GERS figures as the start point as they deal with identifiable revenue and expenditure. Revenue was £36 billion and expenditure £47 billion leaving an initial gap of £11 billion. However, oil is completely excluded from these calculations as are the corporations tax contributions of large Scottish companies due to the peculiar way in which GERS is calculated. As has already been pointed out above the Royal Bank of Scotland's Corporation Tax contribution is excluded from Scots reveue figures and this is an enormous sum of money. Futhermore, the total whiskey and oil Corporation Tax contributions deal with almost all the alleged £11 billion subsidy. Only highly distorted figures are behind the illusion of an English subsidy to Scotland and if there is indeed such a subsidy then it is miniscule ie 2/3 billion which in the great scheme of public spending is nothing. personally i think the subsidy is either going the other way or is hardly in existence at all.

As for the WLQ there have now been a few issues on which Scottish Labour votes tipped the votes on English only legislation. However, this is very mild compared to the influence English MP's exerted over Scottish only legislation in the 80's and 90's ie law and education matters. Here barely a Bill was passed which did not depend on English MP's overriding the wishes of Scottish MP's and this occurred far, far more frequently than has scottish mp's changing the outcome of english-only laws. indeed as scotland had roughly 10% of mp's and england 75-80% the impact of english mp's voting on scottish-only legislation is of a wholly different order to the scottish minority voting on english-only matters. english mp's can determine scottish-only matters whereas scottish mp's are only a small minority and thus yiled considerably less influence.

thus i cant help but think that the current outburst of english nationalism on alleged subsidies and unfair voting arrangements is really based on a mixture of mythology and hypocrisy. Indeed, I cant see any grievances that England now has which the English have not inflicted upon the other nations in the Union within the very recent past.

There has to be a Federal UK wide solution and ending of extra funding for particular regions. This is the only way that the Union will work, but there also needs to be more decentralisation away from London and to a lesser extent away from South Wales and the Scottish Lowlands.

@scottish conservative
Two wrongs don't make a right. In any case the situation in parliament when we were one country is irrelevant to the one now, when we are not. In those days there was not Scotland and England but only Britain and we divided on Party lines. Your example is drawn only from the period of Lady Thatcher and forgets the periods of Wilson and Callaghan when Scottish MPs voted to overcome English, predominantly Cons MPs. In those far off days it didn't matter.

Now post-devolution, it does

Set England Free
Vote SNP

Scottish Conservative

Could you elaborate on legislation that was passed on English votes, that was aimed only at Scotland?

Has it ever been the case where English students were granted free tertiary education but the Scots had to pay for it?

Have the English elderly ever been granted free care whilst the Scottish had to sell their homes to pay for theirs’?

Has a life prolonging cancer drug (or anything else) ever been denied the Scots whilst the English were given it free on the NHS?

Have the English ever had their own Parliament, plus over representation in the UK Parliament, plus their own office…whilst the Scots had neither?

Has there ever been a formula that resulted in England getting 30% more public funding than areas poorer than it?

Has Scotland ever been the only nation in Europe that doesn’t have its own Parliament?

What, in your opinion, has been the greatest injustice, where English MPs (in the face of a minority of Scots MPs) enacted legislation in Scotland, that was never enacted in the rest of the UK?

For Scottish Conservative to say

"As for the WLQ there have now been a few issues on which Scottish Labour votes tipped the votes on English only legislation. However, this is very mild compared to the influence English MP's exerted over Scottish only legislation in the 80's and 90's ie law and education matters. "

- demonstrates a lamentable inability to comprehend the current situation . Essentially it is this . Prior to 1998 and the setting up of a Scottish Parliament , the whole of the UK was governed as a unitary state with a single British parliament in which all the MP's were equal regardless of where they came from or which constituency they represented . That was the essence of the Act of Union - it abolished England and Scotland - from 1707 to 1998 there was only Great Britain . Thus whatever happened prior to 1998 was and is irrelevant .
Simple .

As from 1998 all was changed . Scotland became massively overrepresented in that she now had two parliaments ,her own , from which the English are excluded and yet still the same old powers for Scottish MP's over England .
You will note that England was not offered a comparable parliament within the Union to that of the Scots'

Now think very hard and try and spot the inequity in this .

I am yet again disappointed that an excellent editorial, which produced some thought provoking posts from some of the ConHom regulars should be hijacked by a group of posters whose bile ridden anti Scots rhetoric blinds them to the real debate.
There is one overriding reason why both Conservative and Labour governments have sought to keep the Union, it benefits everyone and would damage us all if it fell apart.
The WLQ has brought about inequality in parts of the UK and this must be addressed and corrected. I do not think that anyone would be against this, but we need to stop blaming the Scots or Welsh for voting for Devolution in their local affairs.

My family came from Scotland originally.

However, whenever I am in the Old Country I wince at the revolting Political Correctness and sense of whinging "victimhood" that has taken hold there.

Switch on the TV and the chip-on-shoulder mentality pours out.

The "Braveheart" crowd, wearing their ridiculous skirts (as opposed to handsome tailored kilts) whenever soccer rears its ugly head, really are the pits.

De Maistre said every country had the government it deserved and I am afraid the many decent people in Scotland will have themselves to blame for doing nothing to stop their country being hi-jacked by a pack of far-left scum.

Many Welsh people did not want devolution hence the results of the first vote. So what do you know, they vote again so that the right answer is made (and only just).

scottish conservative at 14:49:
"... the current outburst of english nationalism ...is really based on a mixture of mythology ...."

This here is a comparatively mild-mannered debate. If you want rabid mythology, try The Scotsman's comment site whenever the subject of Union v Independence comes up. Comments have included reference to: redcoats bayonetting wounded highlanders; the English ruining the 17th C Darien Venture; Scottish nobility and the Provost of Ayr bought with English gold; etc, etc!
Having observed over several weeks recently the strength of feeling on that site for Scottish independence (whether through proudly rational argument or moronic Braveheart slogans), compared with the often rather lukewarm defences of Union (at times giving the impression more of timidity at the thought of leaving the comfort zone than positive British patriotism) I formed the conclusion that it would be better if Scotland went its own way. Actually, I think that there is a significant prospect that the nationalist "threat" will turn out to be a damp squib in May, as all those dependent upon the largesse of NuLab, whether for non-jobs or social security benefits, vote accordingly. I would be delighted to be proved wrong in that respect

As to who subsidizes whom, that is really rather irrelevant because one can't base a decision on something as fundamental as sovereignty -in this instance, separation or unity- upon considerations of economic benefit or disbenefit. I had similar feelings some while ago, when the Chancellor said that a decision on adopting the Euro would not be made until economic circumstances were appropriate. My sovereignty is not for sale.

The question to be resolved is whether 'my nation' is the United Kingdom or England. Don't mind which, as long as it has just the one Parliament.

Interesting posts in the thread although latterly plagued by blind nationalism. Ok lets turn this round and put it the other way. Maybe we should ask the people of Britain if they think there is any mileage in a form of Union. Given sensible debate I am certain they would say yes there is although equally I am sure they would say they would like more decisions to be made more locally to them. It makes complete sense, it has nothing to do with the EU etc and for once we need to be get into the driving seat.


Terry @ 11:50 -

" "… it is simply not true that the Scots are ruling the English, and even if it was true…”

So Denis, do you believe it is true, or not true?"

Of course it's not true. Ask people in Scotland "Do you think the Scots are now ruling the English?" and they'd rightly think that it was a ridiculous question. The English and the Scots are both ruled by the Crown in Parliament, the voters in England elect 82% of the members of the dominant chamber of that Parliament, while the voters in Scotland elect only 9% of those members. Yet somehow it works out that nevertheless "the Scots are ruling the English"? I don't think so.

You're confused because at present there are a disproportionate number of Scots at high levels in the Labour Party and therefore in the Labour government. To see how that has come about, you have to look back to the internal history of the Labour Party coupled with the geographically divisive policies pursued by the Thatcher government. For the same reason, left wing ideas only tend to be more predominant in Scotland because there are now few Tories left to oppose them.

"“…it would be the fault of the English for voting in MPs who despise their English constituents”

Now, this is not true., viz…

A majority of English MPs voted against “Top up Fees for English students”, but lost because Scots MPs voted for it."


"The English MPs did vote (when they could) for the interests of their constituents"

No, a large minority of the MPs elected in England voted against the interests of their constituents, which is why it was possible for the government to swing the vote using the MPs elected in Scotland. Saying "where they could" just means that you accept that most of them will put loyalty to their party before loyalty to those who elected them.

-------Those that are absolutely Right
Scottish Conservative
Tory Loyalist
David T break
------Those that are absolutely Wrong
A Ellis
Graeme Archer
Patrick Harris
Tom Tom
Don Jameson
Hereward the Wake
Downsize the NHS
Ken Stevens
Don Beadle
Blue Rinse
------------Not Quite sure
Sam Tarran
Once Bitten
Anthony Schofield
Yet Another anon

CONHOME please take note - that's about 2 to 1 agin you.
, at least think about it.

Patrick. I am absolutely right in every sense of the word.

Many Welsh people did not want devolution hence the results of the first vote
As with the vote in the North East of England there were arguments over the structure of devolution and the powers that any devolved assembly(s) would have - many in Wales want the assembly to have the same powers as the Scottish Parliament and there were also worries about what appeared to be a South Wales dominated body, in the case of the North East England vote the boundaries didn't match historic boundaries either - I have no doubt though that if there was a vote in Yorkshire, Northumberland, Lancashire, Devon, Cornwall etc... to give those areas a parliament covering that county with the same powers as the Scottish Parliament that there would be a huge vote for this and if there was to be a vote to give Scottish and Welsh counties the powers that the Scottish Parliament currently has and turn the Edinburgh and Cardiff based bodies into a sort of meeting of the more local bodies to decide a limited number of things it was felt neccessary across Scotland and Wales rather than locally that in fact many who voted for devolution would be opposed and many who opposed would be for because it would be a different settlement.

The plan is to break up the union, destroy the historic unity of the nation, and weaken all opposition to supra-national control.

It's coming from the EU. Is anybody stupid enough to deny it?

Not sure how I could be absolutely right Patrick when my post agrees with that of Graeme Archer who you seem to think is absolutely wrong.
I am a supporter of the Union both for romantic and practical reasons but firmly believe that the West Lothian question must be answered.

There seems to be an undercurrent of resentment here, based partly on dodgy financial figures, but more on a perception that devolution was solely motivated by anti-English sentiment.

To get some more reasonable idea of this, think of your feelings towards law emanating from Brussels, then consider that London to Brussels or Paris is only 200, but to Edinburgh is 350 miles.

If you're in the north of Scotland or the Isles, then it's almost 500 miles - the distance between London and Milan, or Bilbao. For Shetlanders it's even further, the equivalent of London to Slovenia.

Certainly geographical distance doesn't always dictate political sympathies, but the above should give some idea of the widespread disdain in Scotland for London-based rule. It's just too distant, and frankly clueless about Scottish matters.

Ian at 9.19 is entirely correct in his analysis except that you do not have to be simply stupid to deny it, how about dishonest.

My Welsh relatives, who spoke Welsh as their native tongue long before they could speak English, and the males of who serve(d)in the armed forces, were strongly opposed to devolution and would find comparisons with Brussels hilarious.

I don't disagree with a single word of your post.

It follows logically then that London is 350 miles from Edinburgh and is too distant to be ruled by Scots who are frankly clueless about it and of whom the English are becoming increasingly disdainful.
Hence we would like an English Parliament without any Scots or at least EVfEL.
We might be mollified of course by the fact that Scots allow us 25% more public expenditure than they themselves enjoy... er no that isn't it, is it?

Pat what do you mean 'absloutely wrong'! I'm 'absloutely right'! Anyways, you're in the unionist minority! The Scottish Parliament is 'piss poor' and the msp's are even worse( Jamie Stone's impassioned speech on dust mites remains a favourite!). I absloutely despair of the Conservative group in the Scots Parly -led by a Hattie Jaques' matron and Mrs Slocombe double! At best, a bunch of nobodies in an inane body. The previous poster who stated that the Scots have got the Parly they deserve is spot on. I didn't vote for it in the referendum because it didn't take much to forsee that it would be a complete horlicks- and an absolute joke. Best let em screw up THEIR own country than have remaining influence in England so they can screw up ours!

"The Scottish Parliament is 'piss poor' and the msp's are even worse"

And an English Parliament would be no better, and the MEPs or MPEs would be no better, UNLESS there was an entirely new breed of politician. But if we could get that entirely new, improved, breed of politician, the Labour MPs elected in Scotland would not allow themselves to be used to swing votes on English-only matters, and the Labour MPs elected in England would not allow them to do it, and there would be less need for a separate English Parliament in the first place.

Thank you Denis . I hadn't thought about it but MEP will probably be the employed acronym - but then again -- its already in use for something else .
Hm . A minor point which soon be fixed .

I think that Andrew has a point when he says :

" Certainly geographical distance doesn't always dictate political sympathies, but the above should give some idea of the widespread disdain in England for Scotland based rule. It's just too distant, and frankly clueless about English matters. "

He might have been entirely frank and added " hostile " as well .

yes Jake
.. and the easiest way to resolve it is to pull out of the EU and abolish the other sort of MEP

QED :)

or we could go on calling them MPs. We invented the parliament and like stamps that means we dont have to put our name on them to differentiate from the original


Whether top up fees are good, or not, for their constituents does not matter. What matters is that a majority of English MPs thought they were bad, and a minority thought they were good.

The vote however went the other way because Scots MPs blindly followed the whip becaue it would have no effect on their constituents, whatsoever.

I think this a bad situation, do you?

Yes, Terry, I do think that it's bad, because the Labour MPs elected in Scotland were voting on a matter which affects England but which has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament to decide for Scotland. We don't disagree about that at all; where we disagree is that you then go on to blame every one of 5 million Scots, and say we should get shot of them all, while I blame the scumbag Labour MPs elected in Scotland for doing it, and the scumbag Labour MPs elected in England for allowing them to do it. Now explain why an English Parliament would not also be populated by similar scumbags who would put loyalty to themselves and their party before loyalty to their English constituents and the country as a whole.

Repeal of legislative devolution and introduction of an Equal Representation Act(Equal and common representation - powers, procedure and practice for all 646 constituencies) would unite most contributions on this thread and the electorate in general.


I don’t blame the 5m Scots, I blame Labour. In fact, pre 1998 I didn’t even think in terms of Scots or English. I considered myself to be British, although I did favour devolution of power away from Westminster to a more local level.

After NuLab decided to devolve powers to old nations of Scotland and Wales (whilst simultaneously attempting to neuter England into regions), I decided that we deserved no less that the Welsh and the Scots!

I think the Union has served us very well for the past 300 years, but Labour has broken the union by offering asymmetrical devolution. I am vehemently against the Balkanisation of England and can only see an EP to be a viable way forward.

If anyone can see a way to remove the SP and WA...and then devolve power to NE Engand, Scottish Lowlands, North Wales, West Midlands, Highland & Islands etc...I'll vote for it, but I can't see it happening

Sheesh - this is what I mean. My post wasn't intended to be hostile, but simply to give some perspective on how government from a distance creates certain problems of legitimacy. Devolution eased that tension to a degree - although certainly created others also...

Incidentally, if the English want devolution, either to regions or a separate Parliament, no Scots would object - we never wanted special treatment, merely a more democratic setup. By all means, remove absurdities like the votes of Scots' MPs on English matters.

Of course, regional parliaments in England will be somewhat arbitrary (except Cornwall, and perhaps Yorkshire?), and a full-sized English parliament will be a bit ungainly and oversized, but that's your choice to make.

A full sized English Parliament will not be at all ungainly or oversized . We always used to have one and I cannot recall from my historical reading that that was ever a criticism . There was plenty of criticism of Parliament but not that an English Parliament per se was innapropriate for England .

England - a country of great variation , is nevertheless one country and people . It has always been the agenda of the British and Scots to break up and divide England . I
find the continual assumption in Scottish minds that England must be broken up into artificial "regions " with fake parliaments really quite offensive . There was no suggestion that Scotland be broken up into regions + potty little parliaments in 1997-8 . In fact the Scottish parliament was greeted by Blair and the Conservatives as a national parliament of Scotland - which it is . I am aware that some English commentary has suggested that there be Scottish regions but this has usually been a facetious reference to the totally undemocratic and unjust attempt to regionalise England .

Speaking as one from Cornwall I can assure you that Cornwall is an integral part of England - as is Yorkshire .

Mind you , the Shetland's and Orkneys part of Scotland ?

- - hm .

It has to be borne in mind that the Labour government's plans for "devolution" were shaped by a report by Bruce Millan, who had just finished his term as the European Commissioner with responsibility for regional policy and relations with the Committee of the Regions. (I hesitate to add that previously he was a veteran Labour MP in Glasgow, because some people will immediately say "Ah, another Scot", when they should be saying "Ah, another traitor, like almost all of those who have ever been sent to Brussels as European Commissioners".)

Anyway, the plan involved setting up regional assemblies in four parts of the UK - Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London - and subsequently using those as examples and precedents to argue that so far "devolution" was "assymetric" and "incomplete", and so the rest of England should be split up into eight EU regions with elected regional assemblies.

It's a great shame and in my view no coincidence that some of the people who helped to successfully oppose the EU plan to split up England, at least as far as denying the assemblies the apparent legitimacy of being "elected", have since been diverted into doing the EU's work for them by another route, by arguing for the break up of the UK. I happily protested outside SEERA meetings alongside members of the Campaign for an English Parliament, when they only wanted an English Parliament to prevent the break up of England, even though I don't believe a separate English Parliament is essential. Now that some of them have become virulently anti-Scottish and want to break up the UK our ways have parted.

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