Tuesday, March 2, 2010

So, what did you expect after leaving a job half done?

There were many reasons for Labour allowing devolution to the Scots and Welsh, they included the desire of those nations to have (some) control over their destinies in the union, fairness and freedom from Westminster, particularly Tory interference. The hidden reason that was never mentioned of course was that Labour felt that they would always be in control over those nations via their assemblies and parliaments.
Well things change and 10 years down the road, the SNP are the largest party in the Scottish Parliament and are setting the agenda and in Wales Labour govern only with the help of Plaid Cymru although they are the largest party.
The English were of course taken for granted in all this, it never even crossed Labours mind that there would be sooner or later a resentment in England of the devolved powers given to Scotland and Wales.
Slowly but surely though the chickens are coming home to roost and Labour are suddenly having to deal with the "English problem" as the desire for an English Parliament grows.

Support for an English Parliament has grown from 18% to 29% in the past 10 years, according to a survey.
The poll shows the trend is matched by a rise in the number of people in England who feel Scotland receives more than its fair share of UK public money.
Out of 980 people questioned by think tank the IPPR, 40% now feel the system is unfair, compared with 22% in 2003.
The IPPR said English people were "increasingly frustrated" with "the impact of the devolution settlement".
The research was carried out by the left-leaning Institute for Public Policy Research and NatCen, a social research institute.
Just under half of those polled said England's laws should continue to be made at Westminster.

Prof John Curtice, who wrote the report, said that if the trends continued, politicians "may no longer be able safely to assume that England can be ignored in the devolution debate".
It goes further Politics.co.uk.
John Denham will demand greater celebration of Englishness today, just as new research reveals the union is more vulnerable than ever.
The communities secretary will make a speech to the Smith institute tonight which is expected to call for greater celebrations of Englishness – a distinct change from previous government statements concerning Britishness.
But it is set to be delivered on the same day as a joint IPPR/NatCen report revealing increased resentment among those in England who associate themselves with England rather than Britain.
The research found 40% of people in England believe Scotland gets more than its fair share of government spending, compared to just 22% in 2003.
Yet even this doesn't tell the whole story as Toque of the English Free Press points out.
The British Social Attitudes survey is flawed because it asks the public to choose between a *new* parliament for England or the UK parliament, which historically is the English parliament, and finds that only 29% would like a *new* English parliament.
It does not attempt to measure support for an English parliament at Westminster or a "parliament within a parliament" - an English Grand Committee or "English Votes on English Laws", the latter being the model that commercial polls find most support for.
Asking people to choose between Westminster (England’s traditional parliament) or a new English parliament presupposes that an English parliament must be new and/or distinct (ie not dual purpose).
Commercial polls usually put the desire for an English Parliament at 67% when you remove the either/or part of the question.

So, no there isn't a backlash yet, there might nor exactly be one anyway if Salmond's Scottish independence referendum gives the right result (from Salmond's point of view) Though I doubt the Scot's are quite ready to go it alone if the polls are too be believed. However English nationalism is on the rise, has been since devolution to the point now that the English rarely use the Union flag to demonstrate their patriotism anymore, it's far more likely to be the Cross of St George, small things I know, but the changes are becoming apparent. Still politicians are taking notice, well Labour ones anyway, Cameron's Conservatives are still taking the English for granted with their EvoEl fudge as well as coming out with Cameron's "Scottish blood flows through my veins" comments when trying to revive Conservative fortunes North of the border. Yet it's becoming ever more obvious that the English as a whole are no longer prepared to be ignored, that we want the same rights as our Celtic neighbours to run our own affairs without the interference of the UK parliament and its pan Britannic outlook and ties to EU controls.

Change is coming and it will be far better for politicians to move with it rather than fight it, in this Labour are at least noticing the trend rather than trying to ignore it, well English Labour anyway.

2 annotations:

James Higham said...

The EU is the factor so many are ignoring in this. E.g. Nigel fined today in Brussels.

Anonymous said...

How Brussels saw it.


How McLabour 'see' it.


Perfect match, no coincidence.

McLabour are working for the EUSSR, to carve 'Britain' up into EU Regions, in particular England, Scotland Wales and N Ireland already come in Brussels bite size, and have been easily devoured as a feeble irrelevant appertizer, no carving needed for those Regions.