On Thursday, 30th January 2014, the House of Lords staged a ‘debate’ on the motion: “That this House takes note of the implications for the United Kingdom of the forthcoming Scottish independence referendum.”
Given that England is (unfortunately) part of the so called ‘United’ Kingdom, and given that England with 53 million inhabitants accommodates by far the largest proportion of the UK’s peoples (84% and increasing!) in an area of territory which amounts to 130,395sq km out of the UK’s total of 243,789 sq km (ie over 54%), one might be forgiven for believing that in the ordinary course of events, there would have been frequent references to England and the interests of her people not the least by English peers (if any remain in the Lords).
It has to be recorded that there was scant mention of England’s interests, and none by any peer declaring themselves to be English and representative of England. Oh no! The charade enacted in the Lords demonstrated how unrepresentative it is of England and how dominated it is by non-English peers, in particular Scots!
I was so incensed by the events that day, I sent the following email to the instigator of that pantomime, The Rt Hon The Baron Lang of Monkton, previously Ian Bruce Lang, Conservative MP for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale 1983-97:
“FOR THE ATTENTION OF: The Rt Hon The Baron Lang of Monkton
Dear Baron Lang of Monkton
I watched much of what you (laughingly?) described as a ‘debate’ about taking “note of the implications for the United Kingdom of the forthcoming Scottish independence referendum”.
Given that a debate is generally understood to mean a discussion in which opposing arguments are presented, I waited in vain for proponents of Scotland seceding from the UK to expound their arguments. Instead, we had the spectacle of Scot after Scot sanctimoniously praising themselves and Scotland and, of course, you yourself for having created opportunity for the Lords to indulge in an intemperately saccharine and endlessly repetitative ‘love-in’ of all things Caledonian. I could not fail to be struck by the hugely disproportionate number of Scots now in the Lords. Of course, many of the traditionally English peers were removed from the House in the purge of heredities post 1999.
On the evidence, it is now beyond the collective wisdom of the Lords to mount a true debate in which both sides are actually heard. Consequently, last Thursday’s event can only be regarded as an elaborate exercise in British state propaganda.
It was impertinent of you to misrepresent PG Wodehouse’s remark: “It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine” as THE English view. Indeed, a feature of public debate about the forthcoming referendum in Scotland is the almost total exclusion of the English from any participation, whilst Scots take licence to pronounce upon any aspect including England’s interests. Consistent with this, you presumed to record your opposition to a separate parliament for England and suggested an “English Grand Committee” instead, citing the McKay Commission (another largely non-English group) in support. As Eddie Bone of The Campaign for an English Parliament told Alex Salmond and the SNP: “Mind your own business!”