There are signs of growing awareness in the Major Parties at long last that the main electoral battleground is (as it has always been) England! Consciously or otherwise, this stems from the comprehensive rejection in last May’s general election of all the Major Parties, Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, Greens and UKIP in the second largest of Britain’s electoral regions, Scotland!
Following in July, Chukka Umunna felt moved to call for an English Parliament and a federal UK. SEE: Chuka Umunna calls for English Parliament & Federal UK
Chuka Umunna To Call For An English Parliament As He Urges Labour To Modernise
Yes, England should have her own national Parliament, complete with separate Bill drafting facilities and Executive plus an annual budget of circa £300 billion commensurate with Scotland’s and fixed by the British Parliament. An English Parliament should decide what form local government should take in England just as the assembly in Holyrood decides Scotland’s.
England should be given the referendum she has never had on this matter. Quite simply, we do not need the half-baked gimmick of directly elected mayors and certainly not in the absence of referendums creating the mandate for them!
The Conservative Government purports to be devolving power whilst arbitrarily inflicting austerity, but funding is power and funding is being reduced. Therefore, in reality, the Government is devolving responsibility without the necessary funding (ie power) to discharge those responsibilities; we see this (for example) where local libraries are being run by volunteers because councils, (Conservative dominated) have drastically reduced funding for such services.
One of the biggest, if not the biggest, obstacles to England being given a referendum on the question of whether we should have our own Parliament is the decimation in the number of MPs which would logically follow. Ironically, opponents of a parliament being created to safeguard England’s interests and maintain an inclusive English identity often claim that there would be more politicians when that would not be the case.
Many of us believe that the best chance of saving the union is to create a separate parliament in England within a federal Britain, but the Conservative Party have usually dragged its heels over much needed reform.
The question is: will the Labour Party continue to be as reactionary about England and the English?