Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Oh dear

A rather misguided article on the Golden Strawberry. All about how an English Parliament would break up the Union, even how the Barnett Formula is the “basic principle of redistribution of wealth in action”!! Oh dear. I posted a response: (we'll see if it they publish it....)

Who speaks for England?

The Conservatives have not become an English party. They opposed the creation of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly because they thought it would weaken the Union. Lop-sided devolution has weakened the Union.

This brings me on to another point- the Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP) believes an English Parliament is the only way of saving the Union. But that is just our belief. No-one can know for certain what the future holds. What we must not do is ignore the wishes of the majority of the people of England (as you rightly point out, 61% of people in England want an English Parliament), out of a fear that it may weaken the Union.

The Barnett Formula is most certainly not the “basic principle of redistribution of wealth in action”. Far from it. The Barnett Formula allocates resources throughout the UK based on population sizes, not need. Only when we have a formula that allocates resources throughout the UK on the basis of need will we see proper redistribution of wealth.

You ask, “Who, then, can speak for Britain?”. The question should be, in an asymmetrically governed UK, who can speak for England? Westminster is the UK Parliament. We have a Scottish Parliament, a Welsh Assembly and (hopefully) an Assembly for Northern Ireland. Who speaks for England? There is no political institution to speak up for England, even though England’s students are the only ones in the UK to pay University tuition fees. Only England’s pensioners have to sell their homes to afford personal care (in Scotland it is provided free), and only in England are life-saving cancer drugs like Herceptin unavailable on the NHS, denied on the grounds of cost (they are provided free in Scotland). And all the time, it is England’s money used to make University education, long-term personal care and life-saving drugs FREE in Scotland.

We need an English Parliament and Executive to speak for England. Otherwise, the Union, from England’s point of view, is simply not worth saving.


Anonymous said...

I do wonder how articles like the one on the Golden Strawberry can be written in the current day and age. People can die in England for want of medication available free elsewhere! We are dictated to by Scots and Welsh MPs. Unfortunately, out-of-date and, I would say in this case priggish, views are distressingly common.

CEP Oxfordshire said...

I agree, it is depressing to see such articles. Describing the Barnett Formula as the "redistribution of wealth in action" was, frankly, shockingly ignorant.