Open Letter on the West Lothian Question
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
The Under Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, recently said;
I have always expressed the view that there is no desire for an English Parliament—and the same two people have always written to me afterwards to say that I am wrong.
To afford the honourable gentleman some variety in his correspondence, I sent him this email;
Dear Mr. Mundell,
You said recently in Parliament that there is "no demand" for equal constitutional treatment of England and Scotland. You will forgive me if I don't agree. You said in Parliament that only the same two people ever write to tell you that you are wrong about an English Parliament. Allow me to make a third.
It is offensive and wrong that you can vote on English issues equivalent to those reserved to the Scottish Parliament. It is unfair that the Barnett Formula values your constituents more than my wife, my children and me to the tune of £1,800 each per year. Not to mention "free" prescriptions, higher education, care for the elderly etc.
The injustice of the present constitution is creating hostility where there was (on the part of the English at least) none. Polls suggest more English people now favour an end to the Union than Scots. No wonder, when the Scots are voting themselves privileges without fiscal consequences! Perhaps people in England seething at this injustice don't all articulate it in the same formal way, but that is no excuse to dismiss their legitimate concerns so lightly. A Parliamentarian is a representative, not a delegate and should consider the interests of the whole country.
I have no desire to layer on more government. There is already far too much. It could be perfectly economical, however, to introduce an English Parliament as part of a scheme both to equalise the constitutional settlement of the UK and to democratise the Upper House. The Scottish, Welsh, English and Northern Irish Parliaments/Assemblies could sit together in the Lords' Chamber as a Grand Senate of the United Kingdom, with entrenched powers to prevent constitutional changes adverse to the interests of any single constituent nation. Both Houses would then be elected without significant extra expense as the English Parliament could share the chamber with the Grand Senate and the costs of the House of Lords would be saved (as well as perhaps half the costs of the House of Commons). I suggest that the overall number of elected representatives (and therefore expense) could be kept the same or even reduced.
You may recall the poem Margaret Thatcher famously quoted in EU budget negotiations; Rudyard Kipling's "Norman and Saxon"
"When he stands like an ox in the furrow,
With his sullen eyes set on your own,
And mumbles 'this isn't fair dealing' My son, leave the Saxon alone."
The British Constitution, as perverted by Tony Blair's Labour Party in the vain hope of political gain, is by no means "fair dealing". I respectfully request that you stop being so flippant on this issue and consider a just and equitable reform.
I shall post a copy of this letter to my blog, www.thelastditch.org, where I write under the nom de plume "Tom Paine." Please feel free to reply publicly there. Otherwise, if you give your permission, I shall post your reply there.
I await a reply wih interest.
It's exactly what I want now too. A few years ago, I stood at the Wallace Memorial listening to a working-class Scot "explaining" it (ahistorically) to his wide-eyed toddler son. Hearing the hatred poured into this innocent's ear, I realised he would grow up an unquestioning enemy of the English and that no reasoned argument would ever change that.
Scotland needs to be independent for its own good, so that it can grow up and stop blaming everything bad in life on the English bogeyman. It's sad and stupid but so was Irish separatism. We on these islands are all one anglo-saxon-celtic people, with the same nursery rhymes, the same sense of humour, the same sports, the same tastes in literature, food, etc. but this petty, despicable nationalist vileness will never be cured.
Posted by: Tom | Friday, July 01, 2011 at 03:30 PM
'"Polls suggest more English people now favour an end to the Union than Scots"
This is exactly what Salmond wants.'
Indeed, but Salmond is hardly a machiavellian genius. The real issue is the continuing refusal of the Westminster parliament to deal with the problem. All that would be needed it is to stop non-English constituency MPs voting on English-only legislation. That, I believe, would remove a lot of the rancour.
Posted by: Trooper Thompson | Friday, July 01, 2011 at 01:16 PM
"Polls suggest more English people now favour an end to the Union than Scots"
This is exactly what Salmond wants.
His whole strategy is to stir up as much trouble and strife between England and Scotland, Westminster and Holyrood, as he possibly can. Witness the latest spiteful - no other word will do - measure to make English (and ONLY English) students at Scottish Unis pay the full £9000 a year whack, while those from everywhere else in the EU pay nothing.
And it's working.
Come the time of his referendum, we will all hate each other so much that he will get his way.
It is a tragedy in the making, and we're all playing along with it.
Posted by: Andrew Duffin | Friday, July 01, 2011 at 11:16 AM
The Tories are still fighting the Boer war. Mundell is the only Tory MP in Scotland so nobody takes any notice of him.
He's out of a job in his native Scotland because the Scottish parliament looks after his constituents. He and every other MP would be made redundant overnight across the whole of the UK by an English parliament.
That is the only reason he and every other MP oppose an English parliament.
An English parliament would mean the UK parliament being vastly reduced in size to look after foreign affairs and defence. This would result in fewer poilitician not more.
Anyway, who cares what MPs think, we should demand a referendum on an English parliament. Wales has had three on its assembly and I don't see what so damned special about them.
Posted by: Stephen_Gash | Friday, July 01, 2011 at 03:04 AM
If you re-read the proposal, you may note that it involves (a) abolishing the House of Lords, (b) reducing (I suggest halving) the House of Commons and creating only a modest English Parliament instead to sit with the existing Celtic ones as a new Upper House of the UK Parliament. It would save money (and could give an opportunity to set some entrenched boundaries to the powers of the state).
Posted by: Tom | Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 02:22 AM
I Would have thought having seen the complete balls that labour made of it, Cameron and his puppet are making of it and the fact there are absolutely no competent politicians in sight the last thing we would want is to create yet another parliament of fools. We should be culling the parasites not giving them more bodies to feed on.
I shall rant on this issue of why we shouldn't lower ourselves to the level of the Celtic fringes when I have completed my list of lying politicians (yes I know the list of honest ones would be shorter, well actually non existant but I wanted to rant about why the english sheep are stupid enough to accept a basic rate of taxation of 50% so liars it had to be)
Posted by: David | Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 01:48 AM
I too would like to inform your misguided parliamentarian that the desire for an English Parliament is not only wide spread - but is growing almost daily.
Reported comments such as his only quickens the anger and increases the determination to put an end to this 'unfair dealing.'
Posted by: Michele | Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 12:13 AM
The MPs ignorance of this subject is only fuelling the flames, the high level of resentment and growing hostility within England will eventually go in one big Bang!!!
The above open letter to Mr Mundell is fair correct and right, a full democratic Parliament for England her people and culture is the last chance to keep this very fractured union together and should be thought of as paramount.
Mr Mundell should not be waisting his time on English matters which do NOT concern him, or any MP from Scotland, Northern Iriland or Walse, perhaps he ought to look more at his homeland and the Independent direction it heading in. (Supported by the English)
Either way Mr Mundell is flogging a dead horse, me thinks, between a rock and a hard place. That's discriminatory assymetrical Devolution for you.
Posted by: Chris Green | Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 08:45 PM
Anita Annand of daily politics has decided there is no desire for an English parliament too,it appears this disease is spreading fast among politicians and presenters especially the ones that don`t have healthy roots in England ,makes you wonder what frightens them.
Posted by: HARRY | Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 06:07 PM