Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So, why don't the English get a say?

So, the leaders of the main parties in Westminster are to have 3 debates settled over Sky, ITV and the BBC. Of course there are rumblings of discontent from minority parties particularly the SNP about how unfair this is, though to be honest the SNP are never going to be the majority party in Westminster, though at least they have the decency not to vote on matters pertaining only to England.
Yet as a sop the minority parties in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are to have their own debates, yet there's one glaring omission and that is of course England.

BBC.
The BBC and Sky have promised to hold separate debates between the parties in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
But the SNP and Plaid Cymru have attacked their exclusion from the main UK-wide prime ministerial debates as unacceptable and undemocratic.
SNP leader Alex Salmond says he will fight it in the courts if necessary.
The first of the 90 minute programmes, with Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg will be on ITV, the second on Sky and the third on the BBC.
ITV's Alastair Stewart will host the first, Sky's Adam Boulton the second and the BBC's David Dimbleby will host the third debate.
Now I don't have a problem with the minority parties in the other parts of the UK having a debate, though as I've pointed out they are unlikely to hold a majority in Westminster, but the same could also be said of the Lib Dems too. However the exclusion of England from any such debate rankles quite a bit. Yes any such debates would probably involve the same political parties as the main debates however it would be interesting for say Gordon Brown to answer questions directly pertaining to issues that he has foisted on the English that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament and he has never had to answer to his own constituents over. The main debates will be on UK issues, they wont be on English issues and with no comparable debate for the English as there is in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, this strikes me as terribly wrong.

Some people believe that Westminster is the English Parliament, they are wrong, Westminster's remit is to the whole of the UK. People point out that the majority of MP's are English, yet fail to see the voting goes on party lines, not national and again debate tends to run on what's best (in the eyes of the politicians) for the UK, not necessarily for England. England is effectively disenfranchised from the political process, even our current PM can introduce English only bills knowing he wont have to answer to his constituents for the resulting changes yet he and his Scottish MP's can smugly vote to force such legislation on my country, they have in the past and until it's resolved they will again.

These debates probably wont change much, yet they show to England's nationalists just how powerless we are and so our anger grows, this can't and wont go on forever, but the main parties as well as the media still choose to ignore us, the end result will probably be messy, but that's often the case where people who don't get a say finally demand one, and yes, we will finally demand our say and I doubt anyone outside England will like it much if it's allowed to fester as it has for much longer.

8 annotations:

Anonymous said...

Andy:

I have made a complaint to the BBC;

Today I was reading of your news article of the SNP and Plaid Cymru threatening legal action because they wouldnt be included in the BRITISH election debate.
Yet the BBC have promised to hold seperate election debates in SCOTLAND,WALES and NORTHERN IRELAND.

This is blatently discriminatory. You have totally ignored the largest nation in Britain, just a reminder, its called ENGLAND.

So you will have a British debate talking British policy

You will have a Scottish debate talking Scottish policy

Ditto on the Welsh and Irish debates.

But you will have NO representation for England.

WHO will represent the English on any of your debates? Nobody.

The SNP, Plaid represent their own nations while Labour, Conservative and the Lib Dems represent Britain.
The BBC is funded in the main by the citizens of England yet you, like the British Westminster treat us as if we dont exist.

Britian includes Scotland and Wales so any policy discussed on your British debate will concern those nations.
Yet you intend to discriminate against the English by having a Scottish, Welsh and Irish debate while ignoring ENGLAND.

Fausty said...

By the same token, the LibDems will never get a majority in the HoC, and yet they're included in the debate. UKIP pulled more votes in the EU elections with a fraction of the LibDems' resources and despite the fact that they barely got any air time.

All oppositions should be heard, especially when the major parties agree on every major issue - the EU, climate change and liberty, etc.

Join the facebook group and help put pressure on them to include a real opposition - UKIP. Whether or not you are a supporter, you have to admit that their willingness to discuss any subject will force the three main parties into the the open - or look shifty!

tris said...

I think you need to consider that the bulk of the points that will be raised in these debates will not pertain in Scotland.

Heath, education, law, crime, local authorities, fire, police, planning, environment, agriculture fisheries... all of these things will have no relevance whatsoever to us. I can’t see them being discussed, because the people concerned in the discussion have no remit, and in any case, after the election regardless of who gets in, the SNP will still form the government in Scotland. Labour may be able to influence the government in Wales, but it can’t do anything about Edinburgh.

The Westminster parliament is indeed the UK parliament, but it is also the English Parliament, and it deals with all the matters above... for England. The law is different there.

We are told that the leader of Plaid to SNP cannot be the Prime Minister of the UK and that is why they and others cannot be included. Of course that’s true, but it’s pretty much stretching the imagination to believe that Nick Clegg, nice lad though he is, is in the running for that job.

In a way, it’s a storm in a tea cup. Only political anoraks would consider watching these three for an hour and a half at a time, (especially with the dreary establishment figure Dimbleby. Why not some journalistic heavyweight like John Humphries, Sue McGregor or James Nauchty?).

Iain Macwhirter has an excellent article over on his blog (with your permission QM) about this. Bioth the article and some of the comments are very good. (And Iain is no nationalist.)
http://iainmacwhirter2.blogspot.com/2009/12/excluding-snp-is-unfair-and.html

Bugger said...

Bugger (The Panda) December 22, 2009 at 17:30

I agree, why should England not have its own debate?

I posted this on The Anna Racoon blog before I realised that there would be a Scottish dimension. However the point that the SNP will be making is that this is not a vote for Holyrood but for Westminster and they should have the right to challenge the Magi on behalf of the Scottish dimension. I guess that Labour will try and field the Scottish Imperial Vice-Roy whose job spec is to represent Scotland in teh UK cabinet. In fact he represents Gordon Brown's sticky snotty fingers in Scotland.

Anyway follows the Anna Racoon post.

The real question is what will the SNP and Alex Salmond do, having been excluded by the 3 Faux Magi?

They, the Magi, will bump their gums about the SNP being a Scotland only party and irrelevant to Englandshire etc.

Leaving aside Salmond's reaction to this and, by which I mean a legal one, which the SNP would probably win, not one the golden 3 would stand a chance of a snowball in Hell against Salmond in such a debate. He would wipe the floor with them. Gordon knows and has never crossed swords with him for that reason. Dave "boy" Cameron also has been so advised and will steer clear of getting a kicking from Salmond. The Liberal guy, whatever his name well, he hasn’t a clue and would be eviscerated publically.

If you don’t believe me, go to the Holyrood Parliament website and watch him paint the walls week in week out with the Labour and Liberal spokesmen. It is often an embarrassment to watch them floundering about and it must take real cojones or rank imbecility to come back each week for another drubbing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_Yk8KMGgwo&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB-C9AYMmOs&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ifseg7LpWY&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ht5pfrfbxhc&NR=1

Here is a wee sampler.

Sit back and laugh.

Read more: http://www.annaraccoon.com/politics/three-stooges/#comments#ixzz0aRcXyW2O

Again, I am all in favour of an English only debate.

tris said...

Aye Bugger: We Iain Thingy has some nerve... and he always gets it wrong. You'd think he would just fire his researchers... but no. He comes back for more every week, with the same dumb questions, and the same floor washing, or wall painting.

The thing is that if he acted more like Goldie he would earn more respect and WE might get some questions answered. That's what we pay him for after all.

James Higham said...

The answer, of course, is that England no longer officially exists.

Junius said...

"...the end result will probably be messy, but that's often the case where people who don't get a say finally demand one"

I know it is terribley nonPC to quote Ronald Reagon - but here's what he said about another totalitarian government

"Any system is inherently unstable that has no peaceful means to legitimize its leaders. In such cases, the very representiveness of the state ultimately drives people to resist it, if necessary, by force."

Anonymous said...

Check out "The Outlaw Gordon Brown"

@ youtube.com/thisisjohnnyblack