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When will you call a General Election?

Now that you have been in the job for 14 days, do you think you are ready to answer any questions, or would you like a bit more time?

Does he think that environmentally friendly cars are a good thing?
Q2. So, yes, he does, and that is why he introduced a tax break to encourage them in his last budget. So, does he think marriage is a good thing?

In the light of this week's convictions of the 21/7 attempted suicide bombers, will he now agree with this side of the House that Britain's needs a National Border Police Force?

Why after 10 years of Labour government has the Prime Minister decided that housing is to be a priority for the Government as a matter of urgency? Can the Prime Minister expand on what the government is planning to aid ''first-time buyers' - and those that cannot afford to buy their own homes, in their own communities, and have severe difficulty in obtaining a council house?

Would he have the guts to ask his predecessor to write a report on social breakdown in this country?

Brilliant David (1107) - you made me laugh out loud!

Lay off him David. Browns only been on the job 12 days...

The stability of marriage in families would be a good line to take. That sauid, weve not accepted the report and we havent said where the money would come from (lets not forget, we rejected the Tax Reform Commission report).

Terrorism is a good bet with the news about the leader having been trailed. Then again, weve known that for ages as well since the press printed the pictures months ago.

Cameron will go on the attack this week since he knows Brown got caught out last week. I would go with schools. Gove set a good precedent yesterday against Balls and Cameron could do well following up. Brown will retort about the IDS report but he can shrug it off easily.

Q1. The prime minister has told us that housing policy is critical to his 'new' government. Could he tell us where he has been for the past ten years while this crisis has been escalating?

Q2. Oh, and just as a matter of interest - the measures being outlined by his housing minister, to solve this crisis. Will they apply to his constituents or just to mine?

In view of EU commission president Barroso's statement yesterday about the EU being an "empire", how does he feel about being prime minister of a province, and whether he will allow the British people a referendum to allow them to express their view about this status?

Arent the French supposed to be trying to wriggle themselves out of the Stability Pact again by changing the rules? I know its supposed to be on the agenda for the ECOFIN meeting...

As the man who signed off on the Olympics budget, forgot to add VAT, retained the discredited minister in charge of the Olympics can he give us the final cost figure for this project?

Steve 1136

Very good.

Why cannot England have a national parliament with the same rights and competencies as Scotland ?

Why cannot England have self rule in the same way as Scotland ?

Why should he , as the MP in the British parliament for Kirkaldie and Cowdenbeath , have any say whatsoever in the internal governance of England ?

Why must England be endlessly targeted by the British state for discrimination in British governemnt expenditure and denial of basic democratic rights ?

When were the English ever consulted as to whether they wanted this Union ?

What does England get out of this deeply constitutionally flawed union ?

How long does he think that this state of affairs can continue ?

Brown a queen ? Naughty naughty !

How much longer do we have to listen to this nonsense about how ID cards will be the magic bullet to stop terrorism? Unless they are issued to everybody who lives in the UK or intends to enter, legally or illegally, and unless the holder fills out "terrorist" as their occupation, I fail to see how on earth they will do anything to prevent terrorism

Brown is simply awful. Better than last week but still awful.

"How much longer do we have to listen to this nonsense about how ID cards will be the magic bullet to stop terrorism?"

I think it's called 'stuck in a rut', Labour probably realise how much of a dud this policy is but simply refuse to climbdown as it would give a 'victory' to Conservatives etc. It is simply they do not want bad headlines despite the end of spin heralded by one G.Brown.

Well, a narrow win for DC this week. Labour's tactic- to bolster GB in the Commons! He even had a security blanket sitting next to him ( wee Duggie Alexander)! Bless! Dc comes across as more authoratative- and poor old Brown does not come across as a Prime Minister. He's even greyer than John Major and no amount of bluster from the Labour benches will change that.

Four MP's asking similar questions, one suspects a strategy! If so it is to be welcomed.

One MP asked to see the first draft of the intelligence on which was based the decision to go to war. GB refused, declaring that the Government had its rights as well as the public i.e. it sounds as if it could embarrass HMG.
Go for it!

Brown looked very weak.

However, we should stop banging on about the Scottish question. We are supposed to be the Unionist party, and these questions suggest we want to break up the Union. An English parliament would be the next stage in that process.

This week has been wonderful for us. The last PMQs were a great start, then the policy reviews, a stellar by-election campaign in Labour's heartlands, now another solid DC performance.

If I read this right, Brown plans to shut your local hospital.

Tories can campaign on this all day long.

The WLQ and the EU will not go away either. I really hope that more "Project" sceptical posters are coming around now to what I have consistently argued, namely that Cameron is a true, solid Tory

Tory T, I hope your A List application is in train. You talk unexpurgated garbage on a regular basis. looking at today's PMQ, it was a score draw. Total contrast to Dave's slam dunk last week. Calm down and take the pills.

Can we all please remember that Politics is a long-game and not get overheated over who won one weeks PMQ's or by what margin. It is a cumulative effect that we need and today's performance coupled with the IDS report and many other things will feed into public perceptions of both parties.

Will someone tell Jenny to eat something !

Tell Jenny no such thing. I am the only one who watches PMQs to see this lovely bit of totty on the box?

I was delighted to have lunch with Jenny yesterday. We were at the Bank of England together in the 1990s. She is a great person.

Blue Patriot, demanding an end to the unfair and lopsided devolution settlement has nothing to do with breaking up the Union. Indeed doing nothing about this my well hasten the end of the Union, because there is no chance of reverting to the pre-1997 arrangements. The only party which supports the status quo is Labour which wants to be able to wheel in its Celtic lobby fodder to impose its will on those who live in England, many of whom are Scottish, Irish and Welsh. This is just another form of colonialism.

I do not agree with this English votes for English issues stuff. We should aim to ultimately reverse devolution.

It's a personal view only but I hope there are Britons out there who passionately care about our Union. Devolution is by nature divisive and I fear it could ultimately undermine our national integrity.

12.01pm: Henry Bellingham MP asks Gordon Brown about the fact that one of the 21/7 bombers was a Hizb ut-Tahrir member and had thwarted UK border controls. The Prime Minister said that he would keep Hizb ut-Tahrir's status under constant review and that ID cards would help the fight against terror.
Brown is spinning and the disinformation is breathtaking.
A recent trial found a terrorist suspect, subsequently jailed, with a dozen or so passports, so the lack of an ID Card would not have been a deterrent to this chappie. If he can get a doz passports, then ID Cards would be a breeze.
We mustn't let Gordo get away with this cr*p on ID Cards. It will cost a fortune and serve zero purpose, and most certainly will not prevent another terrorist outrage, attempted or successful, internally organised or using imports.

So Andrew Rosindell and Angela Watkinson are the public faces of the Party at PMQs, kneejerking rather than thinking before they speak. Can't the leadership get a handle on the backbenchers?

Baskerville (11.16)
"the measures being outlined by his housing minister, to solve this crisis. Will they apply to his constituents or just to mine?"

What a great question - and it could be adapted to any occasion.

If Scottish MPs cannot vote for English laws, Tory Scots who cannot get elected North of the Border should stand down from English seats.

Is the Conservative Party going to amend its constitution, is it going to put in a clause that states, that no Conservative MP representing a Scottish constituency can aspire to be party leader and therefore PM, if not leave this subject alone.

I thought Brown did a lot better than he did last week. I wouldn't say he lost and cameron won but he was uncomfortable with the scottish questions.

Bearing in mind the quality of the present (one?) Tory MP for a Scottish seat, David's question at 15:20 will not arise for some while yet...

Tend to agree with David, the arguments about which part of the country you come from are divisive and especially so in the absence of a real idea of what such questions are leading to. Where does this lead - are we also to say an MP from one part of Englnad can't vote on issues in another part of England, not to speak of the fact that we too have elected reps from across nations in the Union. Also we are generally in davour of localism which is just more rational devolution. The problem is not devolution per se, the issue is cock-eyed devloution left half done. The answer is to devolve properly as close to people as possible in which case all the arguments and celtic name calling become irrelevant,


Tartan Tim: MPs elected to English seats should vote on English laws.

So Scottish Liam Fox would have a vote. It's about the seat and the electors, not the MP.

"are we also to say an MP from one part of Englnad can't vote on issues in another part of England"

If Yorkshire suddenly obtains a devolved Parliament similar to that in Scotland where the region's own MPs and MPs representing the rest of the UK can't vote on certain issues, whereas the region's MPs can still vote on those issues when applied to the rest of the UK, then yes.

Otherwise, it's a rather stupid analogy.

This one takes the biscuit for blinkered , out of date ,idiocy ,

" However, we should stop banging on about the Scottish question. We are supposed to be the Unionist party, and these questions suggest we want to break up the Union. An English parliament would be the next stage in that process. " T Blue.

er TT , you might have noticed that there was a Scotland Act of 1998 which drove a coach and many horses through the Union which had prevailed since 1707 to 1998 . There are now competing and highly privileged parliaments to the British parliament within your beloved Union .You might also have noticed that the English have been singled out for denial of a parliament like Scotlands's whilst being rquired to pay the bills .

Effectively this ended the old Union and what we have now is a weird , post Union interregnum where the constitutional absudities and injustices multiply by the day .

What sustains it , though with increasing difficulty , is the nostalgia of people like you who simply attempt to deny the reality of all - heavily traded on by the Labour government and the British political class who must marvel in wonder as to how gullible you are and how long they can get away with it .

If you care for the British Union then support an English Parliament because without it there will , in due course , be no Union .



I agree with your comments. Only once the English Parliament is agreed can there be sensible discussions as to what a new union might be.

I would go further and say that if people do not believe in an English Parliament, the only Union that is certain to remain ultimately will have European in front of it and our great country will just become anonymous regions governed by the likes of Tessa Jowell (God Forbid!)

According to the BBC Gordon Brown made the extraordinary comment in response to the proposal for 'English votes for English laws' that he didn't want 'two classes of members' in the Commons. Doesn't he realise that that is exactly what the government's botched devolution has already created ?

Q.1. When are you going to stop handing out British passports as if they are bus tickets, Mr. Brown?

Q.2. You could redeem yourself if you resolved to take away the British passport of recent immigrants who resorted to terrorism having just been given a much desired British passport! Would you consider doing this??

Maybe I missed something but might we ask GB why he came out with a soundbite about there should be a world database on terrorists when there is already one and his government doesn't use it. I thought the intervention of the head of Interpol was humiliating to Britain.

This philosophical heartsearching about whether there will still be a "Britain" as known since the Act of Union is all very well. It is not a question of whether devolution was right or wrong.

Surely logic alone shows that electors in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have an advantage over those in England. Their legislators at Assembly level debate and vote on domestic matters concerning their own country only, and only they have a say. England has no similar arrangement. That can't be fair.

MPs from all four countries at Westminster debate and vote on foreign affairs, defence, the economy, etc, which affect all four countries of the UK, and then those from Scotland, Wales and NI get to vote on English domestic matters as well.

And don't cloud the issue by talking about devolution for Yorkshire, (regardless of the fact that my late partner, a proud Yorkshireman, always thought it the best place on earth!). Yorkshire is an English region, not a national country. There are four nations of the United Kingdom:- England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; and England is rapidly becoming the underdog.

Sepoy Agent | July 11, 20:29
"..England is rapidly becoming the underdog..."

Which is why I wish the Tories would steal a leaf out of the English Democrats' manifesto, i.e. an English Parliament (and btw also a referendum on whether or not to remain in EU)

Do you really believe the threat to this country from terrorism is 'criminal' or is it really Islamist? Don't you have a duty to be honest with people and explain the difference between Islam the personal faith of many and Islamism the totalitarian ideology of a few?

Anglo-Welsh Dragon - who do you mean by 'you'?? Who are you suggesting should be doing the explaining of the difference between the two types of belief/behaviour? The people who think of themselves as members of those groups, or us the outsiders??

David @ 16.20 - yep barely had I posted that when I thought it wasn't the best analogy but I stand by the main thrust of what I was saying in the post as a whole. I think we are stronger working together in a Union but I don't think we can seriously try to hark back to a particular form of Union (although given a referendum on staying in the Union I think all 4 nations would). However I think people want things to move on within that relationship. Certainly the system of Govt overall is broken and if we believe in localism it offers a great opportunity for Conservatives to get ahead of the argument again by offering real devolution to local levels.


"...these questions suggest we want to break up the Union. An English parliament would be the next stage in that process."

No, an English parliament is ultimately the only way to STOP that process. Assymetrical devolution is fundamentally unfair, unstable and delegitimizing. Since the nationalist genie is out of the bottle for good, you will never repeal devolution, so the only alternatives are to end the Union, or to create a fully federal UK with equal devolution for its component nations. The current status quo simply cannot last very long. And as an American looking in from the outside, I find myself perplexed that anyone would have a problem with an English parliament as a matter of policy: the only reason to oppose it would be sheer partisanship by someone who perceives they'd personally have a lot to lose.

A little bit of history required here .

Considering those debates both in England and Scotland of 1707 and the years immediately before , it is as well to absorb the fact that Scotland had , by then , broadly accepted that some sort of Union was the best way forward . The total antis were more or less the same as the total antis of 2007 ie the SNP gang hut mentality of possibly 30% of Scotland - which leaves the 70 and odd percent who did want and probably still do want Union .

The debate and the reluctance in Scotland finally devolved(!)as to what sort of Union .

Probably most Scots , certainly most influential Scots , wanted some sort of Union with England but were put off by the prospect of the Incorporating Union which did in fact come about , in which would Scotland would lose her own parliament . There would now be a British parliament to which Scotland would send members , but many Scots perceived this ( wrongly , but there you are ) as actually just a continuation of the English parliament .

There was a long and complex debate over Union in Scotland made more complex with members changing sides frequently .

Large numbers of pamphlets were published for and against both in Edinburgh and London. The fairly anti-union pamphleteer George Ridpath published several eg " an Historical Essay Showing that the Crown and Kingdom of Scotland is Imperial and Independent".

What Ridpath wanted was a federal British Union in which both countries retained their own parliaments and institutions . Presumeably , he foresaw an overarching British parliament as well .

The great Scottish patriot Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun was another critic . He disliked the incorporating nature of the prospective Union which he foresaw as leading inevitably to Scots subordination to England. What Fletcher pressed for in a series of speeches in 1703 in the Scottish parliament was better terms for Scotland .
He wanted the powers of the monarch to be subject to parliament ie the Scottish parliament . He looked back to the short lived federal Union of 1641 and wanted to reinvent this and adapt the existing Union of the Crowns .
He was not entirely against a Union with a severe retriction of the powers of the Crown .
What he did want was federal Union .

Of the 20 or so Scottish commisioners to the Union negotiations all were for Incorporation except one George Lokhart of Carnwarth . He was probably more in tune with broad Scottish opinion of the day but was shouted down . He wanted federal Union too .

Bear in mind that opposition in the English parliament to Union was principally Tory .It was the Whigs , the forebears of the Liberals , who were all for Union .

eg John Pakington denounced the union in the House of Commons thus He said it ‘was like the marrying a woman against her consent: a union that was carried on by corruption and bribery within doors and by force and violence without’

George Hooper, bishop of Bath and Wells, said the union was akin to the ‘mixing of strong liquors, of a contrary nature … which would go nigh to be burst asunder by their furious fermentation’

What the Scots now have in 2007 is more or less the sort of Union many of them sought in 1706. Not quite but close . If England is too stupid to grab back English self rule just as the Scots have for Scotland then Scots feel that is no concern of theirs .

We in England should stop being stupid . Grabbing back English self rule via our own English parliament , far from threatening the Union ,will fulfil a a 300 year old logic .

And will conserve the British Union .

Setting up new parliaments is a step towards increased union? Rubbish.

Federalisation is a step towards the break up of the Union. Once we have four parliaments, they will inevitably take more and more power away from the center. The next step will be a successful cry for Scottish independence which will see its future in the EU.

I suppose the one advantage is that England, with its in-built Tory majority will be right wing pretty much forever. But I don't want to lose the Scots - they have contributed and continue to contribute to Britain in massive disproportion to their numbers.

So what do you suggest Tory policy should be True Blue? Simply maintaining the status quo?

So what do you suggest Tory policy should be True Blue? Simply maintaining the status quo?

That's a really tough question. Labour have made a pig's ear of the whole thing.

Ideally, to reverse devolution, but I realise that's unlikely to happen. I don't think it is helpful to our cause to push this, as appears to be tactics in the house, because of where it will lead. So, I'd have to say keep the status quo, poor though it is, otherwise we'll lose the Scots.

We should not be arguing for EVOEM or favouring an English Parliament. The latter, in particular, would constitute the end of the Union.

Jake is quite wrong to believe that the Union was dissolved by the creation of a large-scale regional form of local government for the Scotland and Wales regions in 1998. For, let us be absolutely clear, that is what has happened. There is no devolution of sovereignty to Scotland or Wales. These assemblies exist purely by the writ of the United Kingdom Parliament and could, with a change of opinion over the UK as a whole (regardless of the majority opinions in these regions) abolish these local government assemblies.

Now, the reality is that there is not going to be any change of public opinion on these matters any time soon. And I have no more appetite for trying to abolish these forms of local government than does anyone else. However, there is a problem if some regions of the United Kingdom, and in particular of England and Wales (there are not, incidentally, four "nations" in the United Kingdom - there are three countries: Scotland, England and Wales, and Ulster (though whether the last is a whole country is obviously a matter of debate)). What we should do is to neutralise the desire of the likes of Jake to have an English Parliament (which would be truly a disaster for the Union, and in particular would destroy the 700 year old union between England and Wales) by establishing a common form of local government throughout England and Wales. We should have regional assemblies everywhere. Then there would be no nonsense about the "Welsh Prime Minister" or about the idea that the Scottish and Welsh assemblies were anything more than forms of local government.

I don't think there is a snowballs chance in hell that either the status quo can be maintained or that the United Kingdom can be divided into regional government as you suggest Andrew as there is no evidence whatsoever that this form of government is desired by anybody.
Personally I think that EVOEM is the only chance at all that we have to continue the Union. Even then, I fear for its future.

Andrew Lilico | July 12, 12:41

The Union has in effect already died. In 1997 I was changed from British to English and I demand my own whole-country parliament, not as an add-on but as an instead-of.

Regional English government would not be acceptable as a compromise measure, not least of all because it would constitute divide & conquer as regards absorption into EU.
This swivel-eyed nutter usually enjoys and ponders your insightful contributions, whether or not in agreement with each one. However, your remark "What we should do is to neutralise the desire .. to have an English Parliament" at best is patronisingly dismissive of the genuine sense of unfairness of a growing number of people and on its worst interpretation is the terminology of patrician arrogance towards the great unwashed. We are your (potential) voters, not the enemy.

Either take devolution to its logical conclusion or else restore the UK, in which case maybe a permanent post of Deputy Prime Minister could be reserved unto an MP of a Scottish constituency, as opposed to a MoS for Scotland. (It would then once again be geographically irrelevant as to which UK constituency the PM was elected by, even if happening to be also Scotland, as well as Dep PM). Principality of Wales and Province of NI don't warrant similar provision, though leave NI fairly much as is, en route to a long term solution such as the Irish, north and south inclined, learning to love & trust each other.

Devolution should be via localism; no need for additional layer of regional government, just put it downwards to counties/shires.

The only people who care about this stuff are political nerds and policy wonks. No normal voter gives a monkey's about it. They care about it even less than the 4% who think that Europe is the most important issue (in the recent poll quoted by the editor where immigration is the most important thing). It plays well in the House, but if we keep banging on about it, it can only lead to bad things.

You are totally wrong Andrew . You are befogged and confused by that word "region".

Scotland and Wales are sometimes referred to as regions -usually by those devious people in the Labour party and Libdems .
In fact they are , and always have been , nations .
It is as nations that they have been awarded parliaments /assemblies.Not as regions .
Try reading the Scotland Act and you will get the gist .

Within both Scotland and Wales there are , in fact , areas which could be referred to as regions I suppose . However , it has never been suggested by the champions of Scotland or Wales or by the British state that these regions within Scotland and Wales be awarded parliaments . Only that those ancient countries and peoples have national parliaments which represent those peoples , countries and nations .

I am surprised that you imagine that the ersatz regional asemblies imposed on England are in any way a substitute for an English parliament . They are secretive , alien , undemocratic and have no historical roots . In the one part of England where Labour tried to engineer a regional "parliament ", the idea was rejected in 2004 by a massive 78% against .

Even Prescott said at the time
" It is an emphatic defeat for the possibility of an elected regional assembly . The North East have answered in an emphatic way . I am a democrat and I accept that ".

There are not many topics in a democratic society where a 78% majority is obtainable on anything at all - Blairs own constituency of Sedgefield was 84% by the way - but there was on this one .

England is an ancient parliamentary nation and has a perfect right to a national English representative body just like those for Scotland and Wales which you seem to support .

Your remark about " the 700 year old union between England and Wales " is incredible . There is already a Welsh National Assembly which they are increasingly happy with .

You also appear to be unaware of the United Nations Charter 1945,signed by the British government , which says in Article 2
The purposes of the United Nations are
" to develope friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principles of equal rights and self determination of peoples - -"

It appears that you would specifically deny equal rights and self determination to the English .

Consider also the UN Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 - also signed by the British government .

Article 1.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Article 2.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 15.
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 20.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 30.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Far from damaging an already severely damaged British Union - much more damaged than the inhabitants of Westminster Village appear capable of realising - I am convinced that an English parliament will bring about renewal for the Union and rectify a major and worsening constitutional injustice .


Thankyou for your kind remarks.

I do not mean to patronize and I'm sorry that you take it this way. The reality is quite the reverse. You and those that think like you are the enemy, on this issue, and I rarely try to patronize my enemies. I consider your point of view important and worthwhile and sufficiently dangerous to be worth arguing against, or declaring myself in opposition to.


You are a nationalist, and a believer in the doctrines of self-determination. I am neither. I am a Conservative and a Unionist. You are, of course, perfectly entitled to be an English Nationalist, but that point of view has no more (or less) to do with Conservatism than does Scottish Nationalism, Welsh Nationalism, or Irish Nationalism, and I have no more (or less) symphathy with your point of view than I do with theirs.

On England and Wales, it is not at all true that most people in Wales have always thought that they lived in a different country from England. That may have been true of some Welsh-speakers, though by no means all. For much of history, indeed, the whole area was just known as "England". I was brought up near the Welsh border, my sister's back fence lay on the border, I went to primary school in Wales, many of the children at my school came there from Wales. I used to go with my mates to sit on a hill in Wales and look back over my plain. The idea that when I went to Wales I went a different country is, to me, just ridiculous, and feeds into some notion along the lines of "Wales for the Welsh", as if only Welsh-speakers were truly native. Wales and England are one country, not two. That the Welsh form of local government is different from that across the border is unfortunate, but I will not accept that it makes them a different country.

One last bite at this. Ken and Jake, I feel that I understand your point of view and I can see that you feel strongly about this, but try to see it my way for a moment. Imagine how you feel at the idea that your country is no longer *yours* - say because you object to something about the EU. Now imagine how I feel when you declare that a large part, Wales, that part of England and Wales on the edge of which I grew up and that I have always thought of as the environs of my home - how I feel when you declare that that large part of England and Wales is not merely no longer *mine*, but it isn't even part of my country! It's somewhere else; a foreign land; somewhere I happen to be permitted to visit because the visa arrangements permit it for now. And this after being unified for 700 years - longer than the entire history or modern of the State.

And you say that I should just accept this as a reality on the grounds that, a few years ago, a few people voted to have a glorified parish council set up there. Well, I don't accept this, and it will take a lot more than a assembly overseeing precisely how various expenditure items (raised and set elsewhere) to make me accept it.

Belief in an English Parliament translates as "We can live without the Welsh." Well, I don't want to.

Agree in part with Ken but only really on the need for devolution to counties etc which would achieve the same aim as his but for a logical reason, ie better democracy. I am essentially a unionist but we have to understand that you can't try and have an English notion of a form of Union that many in the other nations don't actually want. There is no doubt that the vast majority of people in all 4 countries want a partnership for our island but it isn't necessarily the old Union. Maybe this is an opportunity, but certainly any attempt to turn the clock back is doomed,


Andrew Lilico | July 12, 21:07 "Belief in an English Parliament translates as 'We can live without the Welsh.' Well, I don't want to."

Nor do I particularly (and likewise re the Scots; having married one of them a few decades ago, I've got used to having her around). I am most certainly not an English Nationalist by innermost hearts desire. I was unwittingly redesignated as an English national, despite previously being perfectly content as a British national. I just want to regularize the status imposed upon me.

Wales and Scotland have set themselves up with parliament/assembly based on proud nationhood. Thus it was the Welsh and Scots who said that they could live without the English, not vice versa, and it didn't arise by diktat from Westminster. It was inevitable that one day we in the nation of England would look round and say "hey,wait a mo, where's our parliament."

You proudly proclaim yourself a Unionist (and why not, indeed). In that case I would expect you to advocate the reversal of devolution. It is patently not just a little parish council in a fancy wrapping to bamboozle the natives.

Restore the Union, i.e. one nation/one parliament, or proceed with the decree absolute.

Ken, I know what you are trying to say and yet in fact its akin to trying to go back in a time machine. Its almost irrational really. Also many in Wales, and I strongly suspect in Scotland, want a Union, just a different kind of Union to the one you perceive. I was quite amused by a letter in the DT the other day talking about funding and saying why should Wales have a better NHS at the expense of England (or some such drivel). They obviously had never been to Wales and used the Welsh NHS!



You are right - it was the Scots and Welsh that started this. But that doesn't mean that the English have to finish it.

Andrew , I take your point about the relationship of England and Wales . It is quite different from that between England and Scotland and always will be . Your nostalgic wish that the Wales/England of your childhood might be so now is just that-a nostalgic wish fuelled by nostalgic recollections .

All the while that you were ignoring it , a state of mind was building up in Wales in the minds of a very influential minority which wished , for ancient unresolved historical and nationalistic reasons , to alter the status quo of your childhood and replace it with a Wales for the Welsh and a Welsh parliament and Welsh self rule . With the Assembly , that is pretty well what they have got .

The push for an English Parliament is reactive . I would far rather the old British staus quo were still in place but it isn't . The United Kingdom has become a furious competition for scarce resources based on competing national claims . As of yet , England
( ie the British political class which the English have trusted to represent them ) has refused to engage in this free for all and is being raped and plundered daily and without mercy as a result .

We need specific English representation in this melee , both to safeguard our own enforced interests and to bring the spirit of moderation to this scramble which is conspicuously lacking and which will remain lacking until England is engaged .

"Belief in an English Parliament translates as "We can live without the Welsh." Well, I don't want to."

Too bad. Politics is the art of the possible, and that involves confronting political realities one may not like, and possible futures one may not want. That devolution opened a can of worms is undeniable. It isn't going to be "unopened" by devolution being undone. The alternatives you face are a federal UK or no UK. That's it. Personally since you call yourselves unionists I would think you find the former to be the preferable alternative.

Still chuckling at your "glorified parish council set-up" analogy. Cardiff & Edinburgh parish meeting rooms are a hell of a lot better than our local one!

I too am nostalgic about the Union that existed during my first half century. I now perceive that many Scots did not share my blissful contentment (I have no personal experience of Welsh attitudes on the subject). My suggestion of a Dep PM post reserved to a Scots representative was intended as an indication of general measures to reinstate and improve the Union. However, that would not resolve the aspirations of Scottish nationalists, who regard devolution not as an end in itself but merely as a step en route to independence.. The genie is loose; do you have any feasible ideas for how to get it back into the bottle or should we acknowledge that the present neither-here-nor-there situation is untenable and needs resolution?
"Neutralise" is not an available option!

Ben 'Braveheart' Wallace MP is Scottish and a former member of the Scottish Parliament. Come the next election and his seat will be one of the safest Tory seats in ENGLAND. English candidates for English constituencies?

Bill Brinsmead | July 13, 14:24
"English candidates for English constituencies?"

Absolutely no!

The WLQ objection is about MPs elected by constituencies in Scotland dealing with England-only matters and, in particular, that our new Prime Minister governs England, yet represents a constituency in what is now a "foreign" electoral jurisdiction since devolution.

"Scottish MPs" is shorthand for that situation. The national origin of a candidate in an English constituency is not an issue. Even George Galloway qualifies for legitimacy in that respect!

The problem I have with this debate is not so much the specific proposals like EVoEL or an Englush Parliament whatever problems these may create. Its the unpleasnat sentiments that underpin so many of them.

For instance Jake says that England "is being raped and plundered daily and without mercy as a result".

The notion that the Scots and Welsh are raping and plundering England shows more about the bigotry of those who post such remarks than it does about the current funding arrangements. When the Thatcher revolution was sustained by Scottish oil revenues I dont remember people such as yourself complaining but its a different stroy now that the financial boot is on the other foot. if its sauce for the goose its sauce for the gander old boy.

And remarks like "English candidates for English constituencies" - so only ethnically English people can stand for English seats? If you replace the word Scottish with the word Pakistani in Bill Brinsmeads last post youll no doubt see my point.

As for Ben "Braveheart" Wallace u must be joking. The anti-Scottishness in the English Tory Party seems to make the Eric Forth's and Ben Wallaces's of this world feel the need to overcompensate by showing just how unScottish they have become by forever confessing the sinfulness of their Scotticisms - like David Hume without the brains.

Surely the basic cause of all the various posts above, arose because this benighted government decided to make use of their Scottish Labour MP's, to get all their legislation through over the last ten years, and without them, as everybody knows the legislation (or quite a lot of it) would not have been passed. Of course, now that the SNP have a majority - just, the SMP's can still be 'used', but the government is and will be faced with other demands from the SNP, all of which they have brought on themselves!

I have Scottish friends also who are perfectly content with the union. All I would like to see is SMP's not being allowed to vote for legislation affecting only England!

As a matter of principle, SNP Westminster MPs abstain from voting on England-only matters.

A splendid example!

I have just read Scottish Conservative's remarks re my remark
"For instance Jake says that England "is being raped and plundered daily and without mercy as a result".

Incredibly , he states that this says more about the bigotry of those who post such remarks than it does about the current funding arrangements .

And this at atime when we now know that Scotland has had at least £57 billion out of England over the last 10 years alone . Last year public spending per head in Scotland was £8,623 per head, while England received just £7,121.

Bigotry !? He tries to employ the tired old trick of accusing any English protester at the obscene discrimination of the Barnett Rules of bigotry .
( there is such a thing as Barnett Plus which the governemnt keeps very quiet about )

Strewth . Difficult to know where to start .
It ain't bigotry SC. It is normal , rational resistance to the fact that Scotland has been getting away with grabbing England's money for far too long . It is normal in any
federal state for the component countries of any federal country to champion their own countries for federal funding . We are not a fedration yet but getting there .

Better get used to the resistance from England , SC , because it is not going to go away . So keep your toys IN the pram , stop whimpering and grasp the new reality .

re your last two points , the Scotland Act 1998 changed everything , a point which you do not appear to appreciate - from a union state to unbalanced , unfair and bizarrely malfunctioning mishmash.
the central point is that there is no longer any validity in the MP in the British parliament for Kircaldie and Cowdenbeath in Scotland having any say , good , bad or indifferent , in the internal affairs of England .

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