The UK establishment avoids addressing the most outrageous constitutional injustice of all. It is the way England is being treated.
'The whole UK Establishment of politicians and media are rampaging about, like ferrets in a warrren of their own making, frothing, slavering and sweating over constitutional reform. But very deliberately they are all, every single one of them, ignoring even to mention, let alone address, the biggest political and constitutional injustice of all in the UK system of government. It is the way they are treating the nation of England.' That is the message of the National Council of the Campaign for an English Parliament which met in Holborn in London on Wednesday May 27th to discuss the political crisis now facing Britain and its implications for England.
'And not just the politicians and the media. The academic Establishment as well. The very day we met Professor Vernon Bogdanor fellow of Brazenose College, professor of politics at Oxford, former tutor of David Cameron, advisor to the House of Commons Justice Committee on constitutional matters, was writing in the Guardian newspaper that there had been 're-distribution of power to politicians in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and London'. We can only suppose that journalists and members of parliament can be excused the glaring mistakes they make when it comes to understanding the UK political system when the Oxbridge dons they consult can get it so hopelessly wrong. Likewise in the course of last week the Justice Committee itself and the Institute for Public Policy Research has produced publcations on devolution which deliberately shy away from addressing the fundamental shortcomings of the 1998 legislation.
'In the 1998 devolution legislation Scotland and Wales were given political, constitutional and legal recognition as distinct nations within the UK. Not England. They got independent self-rule through having their own parliament and assembly, Scotland got as much as 75% independent self rule. England got nothing. England politically and constitutionally does not even exist. Scottish and Welsh MPs can legislate in what is historically England's own House of Commons on every single aspect of English life. No English MP can as much as discuss Scotish matters, let alone legislate on them. Scottish MPs like Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling can make laws about education, health and social services, culture, sport, media, the list is endless, in respect of England. But the utter constitutional stupidity is that they have no say at all as MPs in those very same affairs in their own Scottish constituencies. Only Members of the Scottish Parliament have. Thanks to devolution Scottish students pay no university fees, Scottish pensioners no personal care charges, do not need to sell their houses, all Scottish council tax is frozen, the Welsh pay no prescription charges, the Scots and the Welsh pay no hospital parking charges. But the English people have to pay in every one of these instances. And worse than that, much worse, through their taxes, to the amount of £281 extra per person per annum, the English people pay for the benefits which the Scots and the Welsh receive and which they themselves are denied.
'The Guardian newspaper, just to take one example, devotes pages after page to pundits like Vernon Bogdanor pontificating on constitutional reform of government. The three Party leaders, Brown, Cameron and Clegg, are competing with each other to come up with the most sellable and vote-winning, programme. Not one of the whole lot of them throughout the UK Establishment, thinks of England. But we are thinking of England. The People of England are 80% of the UK population. Our people deserve justice. They deserve national recognition. They deserve the same degree of self-rule as the Scots have got. They deserve the same benefits the rest of the UK has been given, and given so lavishly. We will not rest from the 'mental fight' the English poet and mystic Blake demands of us, to achieve Jerusalem, the goal of justice and equality, for England.'
CEP Media Unit. Tel: 01260 271139 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org