RACIST? ILLEGAL? NOT WHEN IT CONCERNS SCOTLAND.
A VOICE FOR SCOTLAND? OF COURSE -A SECRETARY OF STATE AND A WHOLE PARLIAMENT.
A VOICE FOR ENGLAND? NONE AT ALL.
JOBS FOR SCOTLAND? PERFECTLY LEGAL.
JOBS FOR ENGLAND? ILLEGAL AND RACIST.
‘The past week has highlighted how differently Scotland and England are treated’, said Michael Knowles member of the National Council of the Campaign for an English Parliament. ‘A leaked memo from shipbuilders BVT revealed the possibility of large-scale redundancies on the Clyde, affecting both its Glasgow shipyards, Scotstoun and Govan (but, interestingly, not Rosyth in Fifeshire which borders on the constituency of Gordon Brown). Immediately both the UK Scottish Department and the Scottish Parliament swung into action. ‘The UK government is determined to stand by the Clyde,’ announced Jim Murphy Scotland’s Secretary of State. ‘The order book is full. Jobs are guaranteed for at least the next 7 years. We have a commitment to the Clyde, we’re here for the long-term.’ And SNP MSP for Govan, Nicola Sturgeon, deputy First Minister in the Scottish parliament waded in behind. ‘We must have a guarantee from Gordon Brown that the Ministry of Defence will not force the closure of any Scottish shipyard.’
‘Contrast all that with how England is dealt with. The shipyards of Devonport, Portsmouth, Appledore, the Medway, Camel Lairds in Birkenhead, the Tyne and Barrow in Furness, they have all either been reduced or closed, even on occasion work taken from them and transferred to the Clyde, and not one single UK minister even speaks out. There is no voice for England, there is no minister for England, there is no parliament for England. England simply has no recognition. None whatsoever. It’s lost somewhere in the bowels of the UK state.
‘When English workers demonstrated recently for British jobs for British workers at the Lindsey refinery in Lincolnshire, they were told that their demand was illegal. Even racist. But Scottish law demands that in Scotland preference is given to any workers living within 40 miles of a site. The Scottish Parliament exists for no other purpose except to get what is best for Scotland. The legislation for the Welsh Assembly even states that the whole point of the Assembly is to ‘focus on the concerns of the Welsh nation’
‘The CEP welcomes anything that can give the people of Scotland and Wales the best of everything. All it asks is that the same is done for the people of England. A voice for England. A First Minister for England. A Parliament for England. In other words, Equality within the Union for England. How refreshing it would be to hear a First Minister for England announcing in the face of the threat of job cuts: ‘The UK government is determined to stand by the Tyne or Appledore or Devonport or Barrow…We must have a guarantee from Gordon Brown that the Ministry of Defence will not force the closure of any English shipyard.’. The deep truth is that no UK minister is happy to employ the word ‘English’. That is the one taboo in UK politics that has still to be broken.