Thanks to Neil Harding for e-mailing us regarding his racist comments about "mongrel" England. Below, Mr Harding withdraws some of his comments, perhaps we, and all nations, are "hybrid"?
We get the usual train of thought - an English parliament would break up the gravy train, sorry, we mean "UK", etc.
Below are Mr Harding's thoughts, followed up with a few of ours.
'Mongrel' is a very emotive word with sometimes negative racial connotations but I was not using it in that context at all - just to mean 'mixed origins' - which of course (as you suggest) all nations are. Perhaps in hindsight I should have used the term 'hybrid'.
An English Parliament poses many problems - a federal UK system with one parliament having 85% of the population would just not last very long - it would inevitably lead to the breakup of the UK. Maybe that is what some people want, but not the majority I imagine. I could live with an EP elected by PR (but it would still signal the end of the UK), but one where 35% of the English vote would give a majority to one party is as unjustifiable as Labour currently having a majority on 35% of the UK vote. Whichever party dominated, either the Tory South or Labour North would be alienated just as socialist voting Scotland, Wales and London were alienated by Tory UK rule and led successfully to their own devolved governance. How much better to have regional assemblies - give them the same powers as Scotland and this just as easily solves the west lothian question. What is the problem with this?
Firstly, Mr Harding, the UK Government has never suggested regionalising England to the extent that each region has parliaments with the same powers as Scotland.
The regions on offer are tinpot talking shops, designed to muddy the waters and stop the English from asking questions about devolution. "You ARE a region - not a nation! You HAVE devolution!" is the UK Government's stock argument for these areas of England. But nobody voted for these regional bodies. And the North East, the only area allowed a referendum, voted 78% AGAINST!
Would the type of devolution you suggest, each English region on a par with Scotland, really work? All these NATIONS with different health, education transport policies, etc? Because that is what it would take to bring the so-called English regions onto a par with Scotland. Each would have to have its own fully fledged, national parliament. Enormously expensive. Rather nonsensical. England would cease to exist, of course, which would please you no doubt, but the UK would be a very odd and fragmented place indeed.
No, the only route forward is for the UK Government to give the people of England all the facts and let them decide if they would like a national parliament via a referendum. This is what happened with Scotland.
Useless to go on about the Scots being tired of "Tory" governments foisted on them by England. The old unitary system sometimes worked against England, too. It was flawed but did not involve health apartheid, etc.
As for the internal governance of England, first we need a national parliament, then other decisions should be made. If you are seriously suggesting to us that Gordon Brown, a non-accountable MP for a constituency in Scotland, should have the main say over the internal governance of England, then we must reply that we do not think you understand what democratic rule is!
We were old Labour supporters, Mr Harding, and now we support no party. We are care workers and we see what the UK Government is doing to care services and the NHS in England via the likes of the odious "Supporting People" organisation. Did you know that care and NHS workers in England are now gagged as part of their contracts so that they cannot speak out?
Nope, England needs a parliament. It may not suit you, or other "UK rump" politicians riding the gravy train, but England needs national recognition within the UK. It's needed it ever since Scotland and Wales were awarded it. And now Northern Ireland is following suit.
The UK is a union of nations. The UK Government should serve those nations, not seek to abolish one of them just because it doesn't suit!
New Labour is not a Socialist party. That's nonsense. We see what's happening on the ground in health and social care, we know that people die in England for want of medication available on the NHS in Scotland, we know that people in England scrimp and save for prescriptions free to millionaires in Wales.
England needs its freedom to decide its own future. The UK needn't break up. But if it is the will of the people, so be it.
Personally, we think a federal system could work very well, if it is the will of the people.
UK politicians are all about suppressing the will of the people of England, to preserve a status quo that is no longer fit for purpose.
But please don't tell us that you are a Socialist. Your party's uncaring attitude, skewed devolution settlements and your own rantings against England and the English prove that both you and your party are very far from being Socialist.
CHRIS ABBOTT, DREW & FIONA