England ignored and taken for granted. As always. It is 60% of the Union landmass, 85% of the Union population, it produces 90% of its wealth, its subsidies the three other countries and keeps them solvent. But anyone looking at the agenda for discussion on the Union at the 2009 Conservative Party conference in Manchester this coming week would think the Union consists solely of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. England isn't even mentioned, let alone discussed.
This is the list of speakers for the discussion on The Union at the conference:
Cheryl Gillan - Shadow Secretary of State for Wales
David Mundell - Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
Owen Paterson - Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Nick Bourne - Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the National Assembly
Sir Reg Empey - Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party
Not one single speaker for England. Its affairs not mentioned, its identity not recognised, its existence totally ignored.
That, states Veronica Newman addressing a meeting of Hampshire CEP members, well sums up the attitude of the UK Establishment towards England. It just refuses to give to England its rightful recognition. We are a distinct nation within the United Kingdom. We have a very ancient identity, we are the first unified nation in Europe, we have a distinct national culture which doesn't only go back centuries and includes some of the great cultural names in world history, and the greatest writer in the person of Shakespeare, but which is also vibrant and exciting to this very day.
It is time to ask why the party which might well be the UK government within nine months treats England with such injustice and bias. Love and respect for England could be a huge force for a revitalised Union. It is time the Conservative Party started to ask itself why it can be so generous towards Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, yet so negative towards England.