Thursday, 18 January 2007

A Good Day at the Office

Tuesday, 16th January 2007 was the 300th anniversary of the signing of the Act of Union that brought England and Scotland together as Great Britain. Tuesday was also the biggest day in the CEP's 8 year history.

I was on BBC Radio 5 Live at 8 am going head-to-head with the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer , with an audience of 2.3 million people. Nicky Campbell was clearly sympathetic to us, giving Falconer a hard time and allowing me a good run of things. This all followed a BBC poll to mark the 300th anniversary of the Union, and found that 61% of people want an English Parliament. Even 51% of Scots polled want England to have its own parliament!

On the way back from the studio, BBC News 24 phoned to ask if I could be on at 11.30- no problem! So it was back to BBC Oxford, mic plugged in and straight on the air. The CEP's first appearence on live television! I was up against former editor of the Scotsman, Magnus Linklater. Those that saw me could probably have guessed that I was more than a little annoyed at yet another Scotsman telling England what was best for us. When Mr. Linklater said that an English Parliament was a bad idea and that people didn't want one, I couldn't but help interupt and point out that a) 61% of them do, and b) it's got nothing to do with him. He respsonded by saying that, as Scotland was still in the Union, many in Scotland had a view on whether England should have a parliament. I interupted again to say that many people in England probably had a view on whether Scotland should have had a Parliament, but weren't asked, and have never been asked anything.

We got on, inevitably, to talk about Scotland, and the SNP's economic case for independence. Mr. Linklater doubted the SNP's figures, but when I was asked what I thought, I simply said that Scottish indepedence was a matter for the Scots, so I wouldn't comment. If more high-profile Scots took that attitude towards England, we wouldn't be in such a mess in the first place.

I also got to answer some of those questions arising about an English Parliament- a new building, the break-up of the UK etc. I said that we could use the West Midlands Regional Assembly building, as an English Parliament would see the regional tier of government in England stripped away. Also, that many people are in the CEP because they believe an English Parliament will strengthen the Union.

Did it feel weird to watch myself back on t.v? Yes, it bloody well did! But the name of the CEP and what we stand for was broadcast on live television for the first time. You can't knock that!

At 15 minutes notice, I also got to speak to Simon Mayo on the 5 live lunchtime news. The Prime Minister had said that morning that an English Parliament was "unworkable" and "unneccesary", as England was 85% of the UK population. I got a chance to talk about this attitude of the British Establishment towards England- that because it was so big it didn't need to be represented properly (I highlighted how England doesn't have a devolved parliament, a Secretary of State and that political parties ignore England in the way they are organised; Scottish Labour, Welsh Labour but no English Labour etc). I said that this was causing resentment in England to grow, and that this kind of attitude is what will cause the Union to split. A good interview all round, I thought.

At around 5pm, I was on the Bill Heine show on BBC Radio Oxford. Again, I had a chance to answer all those questions about more politicians, more buildings etc. etc. I also got to explain about the CEP itself, and that the efforts of ordinary people up and down England for the last 8 years are starting to pay-off. Writing to MPs and newspapers, leafletting, e-mailling t.v. programmes and putting in the hard work has got us to where we are. I also talked about the Barnett Formula, and about how unfair the current situation is. Mr. Heine did his best to give me a hard time, but I think I held my own.

What a day! As you can imagine, I was pretty tired by the end, but absolutely buzzing nonetheless. People in the CEP have looked forward to this milestone-of-a-day for 8 years, sometimes thinking we would never see it. But it came. And so will the day that we have an English Parliament.

A great day at the office!


Anonymous said...

Superb. Great work, Tom!

TB, England

M. said...

Good work, well done, shame i missed seeing you on tv though.

Anonymous said...

Great work Tom, you and all at the Campaign English Paliament are indefatigable.We are a moving target,this is people power. people who will never meet each other and from all walks of life have come together in common cause.
We will win out.

John said...

Good work .

John Hutchings .

Dee said...

I saw you on Sky news. I was so proud of you and in my opinion, Falconer made you look very reasonable. Which of course, you are.
It's not just you who is fed up with the number of Scots being rolled out to deny us our own Parliament. They can only strengthen our case with these tactics.
Well done and thanks on behalf of everyone in my whole family. We will win this, not them.

Anonymous said...

Well done mate.

Chris Abbott said...

It did my heart good to see you on the telly speaking up for democracy, Tom. Well done and best wishes to you from Drew, Debs, Maria and I.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic to have someone with your
TV skills representing the CEP, Tom.

When I saw the screen shots for the CEP on News24 my heart leapt with joy. I knew instantly that I was seeing something not seen so far.

Totally agree that this is a momentous breakthrough for the CEP.

Andy said...

Well done, Tom - keep up the good work!

Greg said...

You did a great job,Tom.Very well done!

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