Monday, 18 December 2006

Reply from David Cameron MP, 1st Dec 2006

I received a reply to my letter (below) from Oxfordshire MP David Cameron.

The Conservative Party leader stated that he has "fully taken onboard" the points I put across to him. David also believes that an English Parliament would "undermine the Union, which has served us all well and can continue to do so".

So, Mr. Cameron can't have taken on board what I said, because I spelt out quite clearly in my first letter how England is being so badly treated by the Union.

The letter also said the CEP leaflet I enclosed "had been noted". Noted, or read? Noted, then.

Writing to MPs, especially party leaders, is never done with the wild hope that a single letter will bring about a policy change. That's ridiculous. But it's all part of the general noise the Campaign is trying to make. Letters in newspapers and to MPs, as well as postings on websites and blogs and so on is all about creating that "chatter" that will eventually get your issue noticed. The opinion polls are the milestones in our efforts. Opinion polls are also what MPs will start to listen to.

So, my message to campaigners, on any issue, is this: keep plugging away, carry on writing, blogging and talking. If enough of you do it, you can and will make a difference.

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Letter to David Cameron MP, 28th November 2006

Dear Mr. Cameron,

Please thank Mr. Ian Pendlington for his letter of 20th November in reply to my letter to you of 19th October. He made an admirable attempt to answer some the concerns raised in my letter, such as my resentment at the continuation of the Barnett Formula. As the Sunday Telegraph’s ICM Poll revealed, 60% of those polled agree with me that the higher spending in Scotland is unjustified; just 28% agree with you that it is justified.

One of the issues that Mr. Pendlington didn’t reply to was that I argued we should have an English Parliament. Again, 68% of the people polled agree with me that there should be an English Parliament, whilst just 25% agree with you that there shouldn’t be. I am convinced that an English Parliament is both necessary and practical- that is why I wrote my politics dissertation on the issue.

You said English people’s ignorance of Scots and Scotland is damaging the Union. I said that what is damaging the Union is that the people of England are not being given the respect they deserve. The result is that the UK is close to breaking up.

There is a solution. Start treating the people of England- who constitute 85% of the UK- with some respect. Support the calls for an English Parliament, and put yourself on the same side as the people of England and Scotland against this Labour Government that has done its best to tear the Union apart.

I do hope you read this letter.

Yours sincerely,

CEP Oxfordshire member

Monday, 11 December 2006

Letter published in the Oxford Mail, 11 Dec 2006


There was a time, long ago, when I believed that our elected representatives in the Westminster Parliament were there to represent the people.

But as Tom Waterhouse pointed out (Oxford Mail, December 5), a recent ICM poll found that 68 per cent of the English are in favour of England being brought into line with Scotland by having its own parliament. While it is blatantly obvious why Scotsman Gordon Brown wishes to maintain the status quo, it is less clear what David Cameron is up to.

If Mr. Cameron is serious about trying to win the next General Election, he would be well advised to refrain from making trips to Scotland and describing the English people as “sour little Englanders”.

If he thinks he can win an election without the votes of millions of “sour little Englanders”, I can only assume that he’s even dimmer than he appears to be.

John Sandalls (Dr) Locks Lane, Wantage

Friday, 8 December 2006

Why Unionists and Nationalists must support calls for an English Parliament

The Sunday Telegraph's ICM poll a fortnight ago has generated plenty of column inches in discussing Anglo-Scottish relations. Passionate defences of the Union matched by bitter calls for separation (by nationalists on both sides of the border). But among all this, the most popular option among those polled- an English Parliament- has mostly been ignored.

68% of English people polled said they want an English Parliament with similar powers to the Scottish Parliament, while just 48% want complete independence. But the idea of a devolved English Parliament has been attacked by unionists and nationalists alike: the former believing an English Parliament will eventually lead to the break-up of the UK, the latter arguing the Union should be broken now. However, instead of attacking the idea, both unionists and nationalists should be supporting calls for an English Parliament.

What all unionists must understand is that England’s disenchantment with the Union stems from the asymmetric devolution settlement created in 1999. While Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been granted devolved assemblies to handle domestic affairs and provide a voice for that nation within the UK, England remains the only part of the UK governed solely by Westminster. Instead, England has been balkanised into regions, despite the fact that people in England do not want their country divided so by regional assemblies. Indeed, the only part of England to be given a referendum on a regional assembly voted overwhelmingly against the idea- only to have an unelected regional assembly forced upon them, the same as across the rest of England. It is not right, and the ICM poll showed that the people of England are not happy about it.

A devolved English Parliament- i.e. a parliament within the Union, is essentially a unionist response to devolution. Treat each part of the UK the same and it will remain united. To state that an English Parliament will lead to the break-up of the Union is wrong: no-one knows for sure what the future holds. And besides, it was not a barrier to those creating assemblies for the rest of the UK. An English Parliament is the only hope the Union has of taming the rising anger in England, because quite simply, if the people of England have to forego a devolved parliament of their own for the sake of the Union, they will seek the end of the Union instead.

But while unionists must support calls for an English Parliament, nationalists in England must too. The fact is that, if the prospect of a devolved English Parliament seems unlikely in the near future, then England breaking from the UK altogether is even further off. Political parties hold most of the cards in setting the political agenda, and while sections of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties are coming round to the idea[1], they are not at all warming to the idea of independence for England. In Scotland, however, it is different. If the polls are correct, there could be a Scottish National Party-controlled Scottish Parliament in 2007, with an independence referendum following soon after. Had Scotland voted SNP beforehand, a betting man would put his money on Scotland voting in that referendum for independence.

Now, some of the most difficult, complex and controversial negotiations in Britain’s history would then take place: negotiating the end of the Union. Separating Scotland- so closely integrated within the Union- from the UK, would be extremely complicated. Who would have the North Sea oil? If Scotland took the lion’s share of the oil, would the rest of the UK be compensated for the investment in the facilities used for obtaining the oil? What of the UK’s land-based nuclear weapons, all based in Scotland? How much of the UK’s national debt would Scotland take with it? Suffice as to say, it would not be easy. But just as important as the issues themselves would be the people negotiating them. For Scotland, their First Minister. For the UK, the Prime Minister, Tony Blair? Born and educated in Edinburgh, responsible for the balkanisation of England, and someone who believed the West Lothian Question wasn’t a problem?

One could assume that, should Gordon Brown be UK Prime Minister by that time, that he would leave the UK Parliament, as his constituency would soon no longer be part of the UK. But should we assume? Who is to say that Mr. Brown, who sees no problem in being the West Lothian incarnate on becoming UK Prime Minister, would not resign until his country had formally left the UK after negotiations had finished? Of course, Wales and Northern Ireland, just as they have a voice in UKRep in the UK’s dealing with the EU, would have a voice through their national Executives. But England? Not only doesn’t England have a parliament and Executive of its own, there isn’t a Secretary of State for England, nor does England have a formal representative on UKRep, no separate voice within the UK. Just as has been the case in recent times, while all other parts of the UK have a separate voice, England would be represented by the UK.
Ridiculous? Absurd? Would never happen? Why not. It is ridiculous and absurd that England has been treated as it has by the UK in recent times, so such a scenario should not be dismissed. England must have a Parliament if the Union is to survive, but equally it must have a Parliament before the Union nears its end. Unionists and Nationalists take note.

[1] An Ipsos Mori poll from June 2006 found that an English Parliament was the most popular of three options among Lib Dems (50%) and Conservatives (46%).

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Frank Field MP on an English Parliament

It is always encouraging to hear MPs speak up in support of an English Parliament, especially when they say it so plainly.

Labour MP and former Welfare Minister, Frank Field, said today: "I hope to still be around when we see an English parliament established because that is what voters want and what justice demands".

You just can't say it better than that. Nice one, Frank- why not get in touch with the CEP?
Full interview at:

Letter published in the Oxford Mail, 6 Dec 2006


Dear Sir,

Yet again you have recieved a clutch of letters complaining about the way our hard-earned money is misused (Oxford Mail, December 2).

But I wonder just how many people know that Messrs Blair and Brown continue to apply the Barnett Formula and hand over more than £10bn a year of English taxpayers' money to Scotland.

This means an extra £2,200 is spent on schools, hospitals and other public services for every person living in Scotland compared with England.

This massive amount of money should be used for the benefit of people living in England and could go a long way to offsetting taxes, council tax in particular.

Even Lord Barnett, who devised the formula for payments to Scotland in the 1970s, says it is no longer relevant and should be cancelled forthwith.

If your readers are concerned enough to write to newspapers, they should also a) write to their MP and b) join the Campaign for a Parliament for England.

Details of the campaign can be obtained from Box 125, 61 Great Underbank, Stockport SK1 1LE. Alternatively, readers can telephone 0707 122 0234, or to get full details online, log onto

John Sandalls (Dr), Locks Lane, Wantage

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Letter published in the Oxford Mail, 5 Dec 2006


Dear Sir,

Mr. Robin Spokes (Oxford Mail, November 29) is not alone in finding that the nationality of “English” has been deemed politically incorrect.

The 2001 Census allowed people to state they were either Scottish, Welsh or British. This is because, according the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, “there is no such nationality as English”.

This is simply outrageous, and people like Mr. Spokes are not going to put up with it. Indeed, last weekend’s ICM poll found that 68% of English people want an English Parliament. An English Parliament will speak up for England- not just to stop our money being given out to all and sundry, but also to stop this disrespectful treatment of the English people. Of course, the likes of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Menzies Campbell oppose the idea, arguing that it may break up the United Kingdom. No-one knows for sure what the future holds, so instead of gazing into their crystal balls, our politicians should be listening to what the people of England are saying right now: “we want an English Parliament!”.

Tom Waterhouse
Oxfordshire Branch
Campaign for an English Parliament
Winterborne Road

Monday, 4 December 2006

68% support an English Parliament

The Sunday Telegraph's ICM poll was a massive boost the campaign. As the ST puts it, the figure of 68% support is an "historic high".

In the three years that I've been campaigning for the CEP, we have regulalry been quoted figures showing support at around 16%. In June, an Ipsos Mori poll in the Observer put support at 26%. But these polls were always multiple-choice- a referendum on an English Parliament would be a straight-forward "do you want an English Parliament?". Judging by the latest ICM poll, 68% would say "YES!".

Reply from David Cameron MP, (sort of)

Just over a month after my letter to David Camron (below), I got a reply.

The letter, from a member of Mr. Cameron's staff, sought to "assure" me "David and the Conservative Party are committed to the Union". I didn't need reassuring of that, I needed reassuring that Mr. Cameron was prepared to stand up for England.

Not so. Although David agrees that "it is important that we have a fair and stable financial relationship between the different parts of the Union", the Conservatives want to keep the Barnett Formula. This is despite the fact that, last year, spending per head was over 20% higher in Scotland than in England*. Nice one, Dave.

Nothing was said of the discriminatory top-up fees, conditions for the elderly, an English Parliament or his outrageous remarks about English people.

I'll be writing back.

* See HM Treasury, ‘Total central government and public corporations' identifiable expenditure on services by country and region per head, 1999-00 to 2004-05’, Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses, Cm 6521, (London: HMSO, 2005) p. 113. It's all there in black and white.

Letter to David Cameron MP, 19th October 2006

Dear Mr. Cameron,

Last month, you said: “… the union is supposed to be a relationship of equals”. With this in mind, may I remind you of the following.

Scotland has a Parliament to deal with Scottish domestic issues. England is the only country in the UK to be governed solely by the UK Parliament.

English students pay up-front tuition fees of £3000 a year. Scottish students pay around £2000 once they have graduated. The only reason for the difference is that, while Scotland’s Parliament rejected the idea of tuition fees, the UK Parliament voted for them in England- against the wishes of the majority of English MPs.

In 2004, according to Help the Aged 21,000 elderly people in England died through lack of adequate central heating. In Scotland, central heating is provided for free by the Scottish Executive.

According to Treasury figures, had public spending between the four nations of the UK been equal in 2004-5, England would have received an extra £12 billion in public spending. This is because of the Barnett Formula, which Lord Barnett himself has said should be scrapped.

And then, to cap it off, the leader of the only major party I thought could be relied upon to speak up against such injustices has the sheer gall to argue that, being English, my “ignorance” about “Scots and Scotland” is damaging the Union.

No, Mr. Cameron. What is damaging the Union is the ignorance of people like you who assume that, because of my ethnicity, I am ignorant about Scotland. What is damaging the Union is that it is the people of England who are not being given the respect they deserve. What is damaging the Union is that, while ordinary English and Scottish people have respect for one another, the top politicians in Britain in the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and now the Conservative Party, are intent on tearing Britain apart.

I would be grateful if you could try to convince me that I am wrong to include the Conservative Party in the group of parties intent on wrecking the Union.

Yours sincerely,

CEP Oxfordshire member

Sunday, 3 December 2006

Welcome to the CEP Oxfordshire blog

Hello and welcome to the weblog of the Oxfordshire branch of the Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP).

As co-ordinator for the Oxfordshire branch (that's me on the left!), I intend to keep readers up to date with the local campaign, and also highlight news stories relevant to the national campaign.

Please visit for more info on who the CEP are, and what we're all about.