Devolution for England, a modest proposal

Here’s my submission to Compass’s How To Live In The 21st Century project:

Devolution for England

“It’s worked in Scotland and Wales!”

Contrary to the opponents, an English parliament would provide constitutional balance within the UK; an English parliament would have a progressive majority.

2. How does it fit with Compass’ core beliefs of equality, solidarity, democracy, freedom, sustainability and well being?

An English parliament would give England the same kind of representation that Scotland and Wales were granted in the late nineties and put an end to the anomaly of England-only laws being voted on by MPs whose constituencies lie in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.

It would allow the articulation of a civic conception of English national identity – based not on race and exclusion, but on place and participation – as has happened to some extent in Scotland and Wales.

The arguments against: it would make no difference to ordinary people; it would encourage the break-up of the UK; and it would reduce England to Tory domination.

3. How does it build the institutions of social democracy, like social groups and collective and cooperative forms of ownership and control?

An English parliament will provide a focus for those issues that are currently decided by the British government – which is comprised of MPs from across the nations of the UK – issues such as healthcare and education.

The establishment of devolution involved referenda in both Scotland and Wales; there is every reason to expect that there would be a public vote within England on the question of a national parliament and this will reinvigorate a sense of popular soverieignty, perhaps leading to more decisions being made through the use of plebisites.

4. How much will it cost or raise and where will any cost come from?

An English parliament could sit in the Commons at no extra cost.

5. Which groups in the electorate are likely to support or oppose this measure? Is there any polling evidence you have on this?

In November 2006, an Ipsos Mori poll for the Sunday Telegraph found 68% support. In January 2007, a telephone survey conducted by ORB (Opinion Research Business) for the BBC last year found that 61% of people in England were in favour. In April 2007, an opinion poll conducted by ICM for the Campaign for an English Parliament found 67% in favour.

Opponents have long suggested that an English parliament would lead to the break-up of the UK, but polling suggests greater support in Scotland and Wales for an English parliament than for either nation’s idependence!

6. Is there a place or country where it’s worked? Please provide some information.

As above, it has worked in both Scotland and Wales.

7. What are the three main arguments in favour/against it?

The arguments in favour: it’s popular amongst the general public who have seen the benefits in Scotland and Wales; it would allow decision-making on issues specific to England; and it would lead to the transformation of the UK into a federal republic.

3 Responses to “Devolution for England, a modest proposal”

  1. Chris and Maria Abbott Says:

    I’m not sure of a contact address for Rebellion Sucks! but the “Why England Needs A Parliament” blog desperately needs help in exposing the work of a Government organisation called “Supporting People”. Any links that can be provided to our post on the subject will be greatly appreciated –

    “Supporting People” and the PCTs and Mental Health Commissons are the motors of the UK Government’s approach to health and social care in England. They are currently undertaking a fresh round of savage cut backs under the guise of “empowering” vulnerable adults.

    So far they seem to have slipped under the radar of political bloggers and operate unchallenged. Please help us to change that.

  2. kevin dykes Says:

    the motivations for a suggestion that an english parliament is now established are undefined, but the idea that the english parliament would sit in westminster strongly suggests the motivation is about claiming superiority for one country in the UK, which also points towards why the welse and scottish want out! come on, what is so special about the english?

  3. PaganPride Says:

    What’s so special about the Scots and the Welsh that they can have a devolved parliament denied to the English. That the Parliament should sit in Westminister is perfectly acceptable as it has historically been the English parliament before the union of England/Scotland in 1707. The Scottish Parliament has been returned to its historic home at Holyrood, so what’s your problem with returning an English Parliament to its historic home.

    Unfortunately it is people like you that give Scottish and Welsh nationals a bad name. What is special about the English is that they make up the largester nation in these islands, have the largest income raising capacitiy and exisit without fair democratic representation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: