I recently read the following post on Richard Aitkin’s blog site, ‘From England’. He makes some very valid points about the democratic deficit that exists within the United Kingdom, where the devolved nations have their own parliaments and assemblies to make decisions on certain areas such as the NHS, whilst England does not have a similar institution to represent the views of our part of the Union.
Then there are other areas such as education, health, and sport. Does the British government have full authority over these matters? Since devolution, the answer is NO.
Because the British government has devolved various powers to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, many issues have now become non-British, because the policies carried out by the British do not apply Britain-wide. And if those policies are not Britain-wide, what legitimacy does the British government have for imposing their policies on just a part of Britain?
I have never seen a political party manifesto from the big three parties, nor have I ever seen a statement from them, that clearly states they are standing for election to govern Britain in its entirety on the whole spectrum of issues. Why? because they’re not standing for election on all these issues. When the big three parties publish manifestos, it isn’t made clear they are standing for election for two jobs: one, the government of Britain on areas where it has full authority, and two, the government of England. Where has it ever been stated by any of the political party candidates they’re standing on a dual-role ticket? Indeed, where is it ever stated by candidates in Scotland that they’re standing for election to Westminster to represent the electorate on non-devolved matters, AND the government of England? In fact the reality is they have the authority to do so.
Because of the perverse nature of the devolution settlement, it is entirely possible that state departments which are now England-only, can be headed up by Scottish MPs who have no accountability to English voters. Take for example, the National Health Service. This is now a department that is divided according to nation with each nation setting its own policies and agenda, except England’s of course, which is entirely managed by the British government. A Scottish Labour MP in a safe seat for example, could be given the job of running England’s health service, make a complete disaster of it, yet never be accountable to a single voter who uses the service.
It seems logical that if you stand for election to the British parliament, you should only be allowed to deal with Britain-wide issues. The health service in England for example, is NOT a British issue, it is an England issue. The same with education and some other matters.
Removing the British government’s authority to manage England’s affairs would of course create a vacuum in politics. If not the British government, then who? The answer is blindingly obvious. If it is right for the Scottish parliament to govern Scottish affairs, then an English parliament should govern English affairs. Having an English parliament would balance the imbalanced devolution settlement, and free up the British government to deal with Britain-wide business, which, after all, it is elected to do in the first place.
If you too believe that England needs to be heard, contact The Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP) via the link on the right of this site, or contact Richard via the link to his site to learn more about the UKIP 1997 Group