Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Why MPs don't want an English Parliament

There are many reasons given by opponents of an English Parliament about why such a thing would be a bad idea. “Unworkable… it would rival Westminster… another layer of government… etc. etc”. But there is actually something in these excuses. MPs fear what they call “another layer of government”. But not because it would be an unnecessary cost for the electorate. Heck, if cost were the measure of everything, we wouldn’t have elections. They are scared…

I recently met with an MP to discuss the case for an English Parliament. I drove to his office in the south-west of England after a promising letter to one of his constituents who is also a CEP member.

I arrived in good time and had no trouble whatsoever in finding the office without detailed instructions- I found it by chance by driving down one of the streets in the town centre. Above the office was a huge sign alerting everyone to the fact that this was indeed the office of their MP. Emblazoned with the Party colours, this was more than just an office- it was Campaign central.

Inside were 4 people at work on computers- answering e-mails, writing letters and sending faxes to constituents, journalists and colleagues and so on. I wondered what life was like in the offices of the MP’s local political rivals. Nothing like this hub of activity, you could bet. This place really was buzzing, and all the time humming the tune of “This is your MP”. Everything it did was geared for one thing: getting this MP re-elected at the next general election. Not only did the MP’s livelihood depend on its success; so did the careers of those working in the office, this no doubt being the stepping-stone to pastures greener. Make a good job of working for this MP and, who knows? They might be the Party candidate running for election in 10 year’s time. The fuel for this Party machine is the parliamentary constituents of the area. Every constituent is a potential voter. Every problem solved is a potential vote winner. The more time and energy you put into your constituents, the more likely they are to re-elect you.

Now imagine we had our way and an English Parliament was created. This MP would have to share his honey-pot of constituents with another political animal. No longer having a monopoly on being the constituency’s problem-solver-in-chief could seriously hamper one’s efforts to get re-elected. Heaven forbid, they might even have to share the constituency with someone from a rival Party.

Closely related is the fact that MPs will feel their role will be reduced in prestige should an English Parliament be created. At the moment, an MP is the top dog. Lending their name to something immediately catches the eye, or adds weight to something. But what if there were to be someone with almost the same ability to make a difference?

There is also the fear of the unknown. The way an English Parliament is elected- i.e. the electoral system used, would have a dramatic effect on MPs. Indeed, Scottish voters elect two MSPs to represent them- double trouble for a UK MP that’s not keen having others on his patch.

Many MPs see an English Parliament as a direct threat to their majorities, their seats, their prestige, their way of life. When they say “people don’t want another layer of government”, they mean they don’t want the competition. An English Parliament wouldn’t be another layer of government- and that’s the problem. It would take over responsibility for things currently done by Westminster, and see English Parliament Members take over responsibility for things currently done by UK MPs. When they say, “it would rival Westminster”, what they are really scared of is a new rival.

We must not let their disgraceful self-interest stand in the way of Justice for England.


Anonymous said...

Brave indeed, and necessary, to try to understand the thinking of incumbent MPs.
I think this is a very good point. I also think there are other aspects to the fear and self-interest of such as the MP you speak of.
MPs have been awarding themselves pay sises way over inflation for so many years now that they must view any proposed changes to their remit with more than a jaundiced eye.
Surely we need to point out to them the benefits of an English Parliament in such a way that these individuals might be tempted rather to join in and become part of the new system themselves.
Unfortunately, due to the same increases in MPs pay over the decades since the war, any one with a genuine desire to serve his constituents is elbowed aside by those who see themselves embarking on a lucrative career path. So appealing to such nest-featherers is not going to be easy.

Essential though.

Haven't got an answer to that one . . .

. . . yet . . .

Let's keep thinking.

Anonymous said...

I'd never thought of things that way, but now that you say it makes sense.

Would they also be scared of being paid less?

Anonymous said...

The answer is to stand as a candidate for the English Democrats, over 100 people who passionately believe in an English Parliament will do so in May 2007 all over England.

Joining the Conservative & Unionist (at all cost) Party is not a credit to you, as an Engilsh Nationalist.

Who ever advised you to do this advised you badly.

CEP Oxfordshire said...

If you feel so strongly about it, why write anonymously?

Anonymous said...

anonymous bloggers are cowards, man!