UKIP – Job done or only just started?

With the resignation of both Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless, many in the media are now saying that UKIP has achieved its goal and it is no longer relevant on the political landscape.

Indeed, the aforementioned Mr Carswell has been gloating on his Twitter feed about a council byelection in his area where the Tories have taken a seat from UKIP , claiming that many Kippers think ‘job done’.

So, what is the reality? With the triggering of Article 50 and the initial founding reason for UKIP (Leaving the EU) looking like a reality, what have UKIP got left to offer?

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Desperate Labour playing the ‘English’ card in Stoke

Last weekend saw a massive mobilization of UKIP supporters for the Stoke Central by-election, with over 200 members turning up on Saturday and another 70 on Sunday to support our party leader and candidate, Paul Nuttall.

I spent two days on the doorsteps with Freddy, Jim and Patricia as a four man canvassing team, talking with local residents and receiving a tremendous reception – I was even greeted with a big sloppy kiss on one occasion, albeit from a very friendly fox terrier!

The Labour campaign team had been around one street before us and what I found left me absolutely incredulous.

Playing the ‘English Card’

Left in the road was a Labour leaflet carrying the image of their candidate, Gareth Snell.

To my immense surprise, the Cross of St George was prominent at the top of the leaflet – did anybody run this past Lady Nugee, Emily Thornberry MP, who openly sneered at the sight of an English flag during a previous election campaign in Essex?

Indeed, I find the whole idea of Labour putting the flag of our country on their leaflets quite ridiculous in view of their disdain for our national identity as shown in their policy.

Let me explain……

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The anti English voice of Jeremy Corbyn

Much has been made during the Labour leadership election of the democratic credentials of frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn MP

However, whilst he has been very vocal on the issue of self-determination for the Palestinians for a number of years, the following article from Eddie Bone of The independent lobbying group, Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP) shows that he is not so keen on extending self-determination to the English – Indeed, he supports the EU plan of breaking England down in to regions as can be seen on the following video!

 

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The Tale of Snow McWhite

The seven dwarves always left home very early each morning to go to work in the mine. As always, Snow McWhite stayed at home doing her domestic chores.

As lunchtime approached, she would prepare their lunches and take them to the mine.

Scottish flag and hands

One day as she arrived at the mine with their lunches, she saw that there had been a terrible cave-in. Tearfully, and fearing the worst, Snow McWhite began calling out, hoping against hope that the dwarves had somehow survived.

‘Hello. Hello!’ she shouted. ‘Can anyone hear me? Hello!’

For a long while, there was no answer Losing hope, Snow McWhite again shouted, ‘Hello! Is anyone down there?’

Just as she was about to give up all hope, she heard a faint voice from deep within the mine,

“VOTE YES FOR ALEX SALMOND AND INDEPENDENCE ”.

Snow McWhite fell to her knees and prayed, “Oh, thank you, God! At least Dopey is still alive!”

Salmond St George flag

McKay Commission fails to answer West Lothian Question

Following on from my posts about the FOI requests concerning the 1997 Devolution Act being ignored, the post from the Wonko’s World blog reprinted below dissects the findings of the McKay Commission and how the discrimination against England within the Union is at best being ignored by the British Government.

 

The McKay Commission on the West Lothian Question has reported today with the conclusion that not addressing the West Lothian Question is unsustainable and that nothing should be changed to address the West Lothian Question.

Sir William McKayBritish government puts Scot in charge of commission deciding whether Scots should vote on English laws(Photo above)

The report says that English-only legislation should be supported by a majority of British MPs representing constituencies in England and that they should pass a resolution saying that they’re not going to do it again.

And that’s it – no ban on British MPs from constituencies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from voting on laws that are devolved in their own country, nothing to prevent a repeat of the shameful way Scottish MPs voted through foundation hospitals and university tuition fees for England.  The procedures of the British House of Commons “should be changes to encourage MPs to follow this approach” (my emphasis).

The report says that instead of requiring a majority of MPs representing constituencies in England to pass a bill affecting England only, they should just publish the voting record of MPs representing constituencies in England alongside the final result.

If a government was seen to have failed to attract the support of a majority of MPs from England [or England and Wales] for business affecting those interests, it would be likely to sustain severe political damage.

This is pie in the sky stuff from the Scotsman the Brits ironically put in charge of this English commission.  It was well publicised at the time and has continued to be well publicised that it was British MPs elected in Scotland who imposed tuition fees on English students yet despite all the campaigns and violent protests about them being introduced (and then tripled) there has been no mention of this fact by the campaigners, protesters or the media.  In fact, the executive summary of the report also fails to mention these votes, raising the prospect of it happening but then dismissing it by pointing out that the party with a majority in the British Parliament has only had a minority in England twice which is completely irrelevant.

Specifically it raises the possibility that a majority opinion among MPs from England on such laws could be outvoted by a UK-wide majority of all UK MPs. But it is extremely rare for this to happen. Since 1919, only in the short-lived parliaments of 1964–66 and February–October 1974 has the party or coalition forming the UK Government not also enjoyed a majority in England.

The report recognises that “people in England are unhappy about the existing arrangements and support change” but ignores – by cherry picking the surveys it quotes – the fact that the majority of that support for change is for an English Parliament.  It goes on to say that British MPs representing constituencies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should not be banned from voting on English matters because that “would create two different classes of MP” completely missing the point that there are already two different classes of MP – those who can vote on domestic affairs in their own constituency and those who can’t, those who can vote on laws for another country where the people affected can’t hold them to account and those who can be held to account by every voter their decisions affect.

The commission report says that the democratic deficit in England as a result of the botched devolution deal that left England out is accidental:

In the absence of change in the way the House of Commons works, the consequence – clearly unintended, but nonetheless important – may be to impede the voicing of any distinctively English concerns, or perceived concerns, that exist on wholly or mainly English matters.

I don’t believe for a moment that the way England is treated as a British colony is accidental and the refusal of the British government to release the minutes of the 1997 Cabinet meetings on devolution makes me all the more suspicious.  The spurious excuse for withholding the minutes is that it would undermine the principle of collective decision making but last week Margaret Thatcher’s papers from the Falklands war were published which showed that Ken Clarke – a current member of the Cabinet – opposed kicking the Argentinians out of the Falklands and favoured collaboration with them instead.  If those papers don’t undermine the principle of collective decision making then what does?

McKay and his researchers make it very clear that they have sought opinions from all parts of the UK on how England should be government:

Any reforms undertaken to respond to English concerns must therefore be mindful of possible impacts outside England and seek to mitigate such impacts.

In 1997, however, nobody in England was asked for an opinion on how Scotland and Wales should be governed.  We weren’t even asked for an opinion on how England should be government and we’ve been refused the right to voice our opinion on it ever since.

The report dismisses an English Parliament within a British federation out of hand, claiming that “the great majority of evidence submitted to [them] was, however, set firmly against the idea of an English Parliament”.  This “evidence” was:

There are no precedents of federal systems in which one component makes up over five-sixths of the overall population of a state. There is a wide view that such a big unit would destabilise the state as a whole, both in relation to the three much smaller units in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, but also in relation to the federal UK parliament and government, to which an English parliament would be likely to be a powerful rival.

While there is no precedent of a federal system with one constituent part comprising 80% of the population working, there is no precedent of it not working.  There is evidence of discrimination or poor treatment of a native population bringing down entire empires though so the commission is shown to be very selective in what “evidence” it considers.

The argument that an English Parliament would somehow dominate a federal British government is a nonsense – in a federal structure the English Parliament would be concerned only with English domestic affairs, the same as the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Irish Assembly are now.  If a reserved matter was of such specific national interest that the English Parliament and one or more of the other national parliaments were at loggerheads over it then it is clearly something that should be devolved anyway.

Any federal system requires a delineation of competences, which are usually arbitrated by a supreme court that would be able to overrule the UK parliament, as well as binding the devolved institutions. This would be a radical departure from UK constitutional practice. In this and in other respects, the “massive upheaval in governmental arrangements that would be needed to create a new Parliament for 50 million people” would not appear a proportionate response to the current sense of disadvantage in England.

I fail to see the problem with a constitutional court and in fact proposed this as part of my case for a British confederation – a solution that the McKay commission didn’t consider.  The British government (and devolved governments) should be bound by the law.  Changing the law to legitimise breaking the law is clearly wrong and a constitutional court should be able to bind a government in its judgements.  Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  Nobody and that’s why our politicians have been able to lie, cheat and thieve their way through their political careers with relative impunity.  A constitutional court is an eminently sensible suggestion.

Whether the creation of an English Parliament is considered by politicians and academics to be “proportionate” or not is irrelevant.  It is an integral part of the only two workable solutions to the democratic deficit experienced in England that maintains a British union and is what most polls show that most people in England want.

It seems unlikely in the current climate that citizens would favour having more politicians than now, or the costs associated with establishing a new institution.

The “more politicians, more cost” argument about an English Parliament is so discredited that it really shouldn’t have made it into this report containing “expert” evidence and opinion at all.  The vast majority of legislation currently passed by the British government is either English-only legislation now or would be under a federal system of government.  There is no need for over 650 British MPs with most of their work being the responsibility of another government.  Simply taking the number of British MPs representing constituencies in England and applying that number to a devolved English Parliament and redistributing the difference would result in no net increase in politicians but by being a bit more ambitious, the total number of politicians in the British and English parliaments could easily be decreased.

The cost is also a non-argument.  Former Tory MP, Chris Gill, wrote a paper on creating a British federation when he was still an MP.  The paper proposed turning the House of Commons into an English Parliament and the House of Lords into a federal British Parliament and found that in today’s money, it would save almost half a billion a year.

The report touches on cross-border effects of English legislation and uses that as a reason not to ban British MPs representing constituencies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from voting on English laws.  It fails to examine the existing example of the Scottish government being given jurisdiction over sections of the River Tweed in England and its English tributaries which means English people accused of unauthorised fishing on an English river can be summoned to appear before a Scottish Sheriff in a Scottish court to be tried under Scottish law.

Cross-border effects of English legislation under the British government are also not fully explored.  The requirement of all young English people to remain in education until the age of 18 is a perfect example – the British government has passed this law without considering the cross-border effects resulting in there still being unanswered questions as to how people moving from England before finishing their post-16 education will continue to be educated in Scotland and Wales or if Scottish people will be exempted from post-16 education despite the fact that it comes into force this September.

EU legislation is given a brief mention, pointing out that it is applied differently to England than it is in Scotland, Wales and northern Ireland and that there is no differentiation between English and British interests.  The report fails to point out that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own representation to the EU.

So, that’s the report in all it’s inglorious mediocrity but what’s wrong with the proposal itself?  The proposals put forward by the report won’t actually change change anything in any material way.  The standing orders for committees might change but that’s just a framework.  Most English people have little interest in how these committees are formed, they’re bothered about the fact that British MPs representing constituencies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland get to vote on English laws and sometimes get to overrule the wishes of the majority of British MPs representing constituencies in England.  The McKay commission’s proposals don’t address this at all.  It isn’t even the unworkable “English Votes on English Laws” constitutional fudge, it’s a fudge of that fudge and a waste of everyone’s time, money and effort.

There are only three workable solutions to the democratic deficit experienced by England in the British union.  The first option and the one that causes the least constitutional upheaval is a federal structure which sees England given a devolved English Parliament with at least the same powers as the Scottish Parliament.  The second option is a more ambitious constitutional change, creating a British confederation.  The third option is English independence.  English Votes on English Laws and any of the variants proposed now or in the past just can’t be made to work.  A politician can’t exclusively represent British interests one day and exclusively represent English interests the next.  English laws need to be proposed, amended and voted on by politicians elected in England to represent English interests in an English government.  English Votes on English Laws would give us British politicians elected in England to represent British interests in the British government making British laws for England.  It would be an unworkable mess.

The unwritten brief of the McKay commission was to come up with a way of maintaining the status quo whilst appearing to be addressing the concerns of English people about who gets to make English laws.  In this respect, the commission has successfully met its objectives and the British government now has an “independent” report telling them that the answer to the West Lothian Question is to con English people into thinking that they’re doing something about it whilst doing absolutely nothing to address it.

Original Source material – http://www.wonkosworld.co.uk/wordpress/2013/03/25/mckay-commission-fails-to-answer-west-lothian-question/

 

 

Cabinet Office refuses to release minutes of 1997 Devolution Meeting

In January I re-posted from the Wonko’s World blog details of the author’s request to the Cabinet Office to see notes from the meetings concerning the 1997 Devolution Act under Freedom of Information .(See Below)

 https://englishpatriot.co.uk/2013/01/11/devolution-what-have-they-got-to-hide/

 

A number of us sent in an FOI request as suggested and last week an answer was received – As we all got pretty much the same answer, I have once again copied from the blog and that answer can be seen below.

One thing that did strike me as being very interesting is the part just above the link to a section of Hansard, the record of debate in the house. In it, the FOI team refer to ‘devolution to Scotland and Wales and the English Regions – Not England, but the English Regions!

 

Part of EU policy is to break England in to nine regions as our country is ‘integrated’ in to the European Union – Does this part of the letter hint at that policy, and is this why release of this information has been suppressed twice before and this FOI request has been also been rejected?

Parliament from the Thames

 

From Wonko’s World

 

Original link – http://www.wonkosworld.co.uk/wordpress/2013/03/13/cabinet-office-refuse-to-release-minutes-of-1997-devolution-meetings/

 

In January I put in a Freedom of Information Request to the Cabinet Office asking for a copy of the minutes and Terms of Reference of the 1997 cabinet meetings on devolution that resulted in Scotland and Wales getting devolved national governments and an agreement that England would be dismembered along EU regional lines with huge glorified county councils begging for scraps under the table.

These minutes have been requested more than once and on every occasion they have been refused.  The Information Commissioner has ruled against the Cabinet Office withholding the minutes and been overruled.  The Information Commissioner has been to court and obtained a court order instructing the Cabinet Office to release the minutes and it has been vetoed by the Home Secretary.  Twice, by Home Secretary’s of different parties.  Clearly these minutes are a smoking gun and we have a right to see what’s in them.

Here is the response from the Cabinet Office:

Dear Mr Parr,

Ref: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST

I refer to your request where you asked: “Under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, I am requesting a copy of the minutes of the 1997 Cabinet meetings on devolution. I am also requesting a copy of the Terms of Reference for the cabinet committee headed by Lord Irvine that the minutes relate to and any legal or departmental advice provided to the cabinet in relation to these meetings.”

I am writing to advise you that following a search of our paper and electronic records, I have established that the information you requested is held by the Cabinet Office.Some of the information you have requested is exempt under section 21(1) of the Freedom of Information Act. Section 21 exempts information if this information is reasonably accessible to the applicant by other means. Section 21 is an absolute exemption and the Cabinet Office is not required to consider whether the public interest favours disclosure of this information.

The terms of reference for the Ministerial Committee on Devolution to Scotland and Wales and the English Regions (DSWR) were published in Hansard on 9 June 1997. I attach a link:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199798/cmhansrd/vo970609/text/70609w03.htm

The remainder of the information you seek is exempt under section 35(1)(a) and (b) of the Freedom of Information Act. This is a qualified exemption and therefore subject to the public interest test. The information is exempt under section 35(1)(a) and (b), which relates to the formulation or development of government policy, and Ministerial communications. We accept that there is public interest in improving public understanding of the development of Government policy on devolution and the way Cabinet Government operates more generally. We recognise that the decisions Ministers make have a significant impact on the lives of citizens and there is a public interest in this process being transparent. We also recognise that greater transparency makes government more accountable to the electorate and increases trust.

However, there is a countervailing public interest in protecting the constitutional convention of Cabinet collective decision-making. Ministers will reach collective decisions more effectively if they are able to debate questions of policy freely and in confidence. The maintenance of this convention is fundamental to the continued effectiveness of Cabinet government, and its continued existence is therefore manifestly in the public interest.

In relation to the specific documents you have requested, the policy discussions in this area are ongoing and the adverse effect of disclosing these documents now would not be diminished by the fact that the documents date from 1997. The matters discussed at Cabinet are not matters of purely historic interest, but are important matters of current discussion and debate. We therefore conclude that the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

Once again I have to ask: what have these traitors got to hide?

I am of course appealing to the Information Commissioner and I would ask that anyone else who joined me in requesting the minutes also appeals.  We can’t allow these people to continue to hide behind a veil of secrecy when the very existence of our nation is in their hands and negotiations with the Scottish separatists are being conducted in our name.

Devolution – What have they got to hide?

Re-posted from the ‘Wonkos World’ Blog….

 

How you can help to get cabinet devolution minutes released

Parliament from the Thames

http://www.wonkosworld.co.uk/wordpress/2013/01/10/how-you-can-help-to-get-cabinet-devolution-minutes-released/

The SNP have asked the British government for the minutes of the 1997 cabinet meeting on devolution in which it was decided that the Scots and Welsh would be allowed self government whilst England would not.

This important document has been requested a number of times under the Freedom of Information Act and blocked every time.  The Information Commissioner has ruled that release of the minutes is in the public interest and ordered their release but they were blocked by the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve.

What are these traitors so desperate to hide?

Vetoing FOI requests requires the unanimous agreement of the cabinet.  When Jack Straw and Dominic Grieve vetoed their release in 2009 and 2012, these people conspired to keep the minutes secret:

Jack Straw Dominic Grieve
The Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP The Rt Hon. David Cameron MP
The Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP The Rt Hon. Nick Clegg MP
The Rt Hon The Lord Mandelson PC The Rt Hon. William Hague MP
The Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP The Rt Hon. George Osborne MP
The Rt Hon David Miliband MP The Rt Hon. Kenneth Clarke QC MP
The Rt Hon Jack Straw MP The Rt Hon. Theresa May MP
The Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP The Rt Hon. Dr Liam Fox MP
The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP The Rt Hon. Philip Hammond MP
The Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP The Rt Hon. Dr Vince Cable MP
The Rt Hon John Denham MP The Rt Hon. Iain Duncan Smith MP
The Rt Hon Ed Balls MP The Rt Hon. Chris Huhne MP
The Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP The Rt Hon. Edward Davey MP
The Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP The Rt Hon. Andrew Lansley CBE MP
The Rt Hon Shaun Woodward MP The Rt Hon. Michael Gove MP
The Rt Hon The Baroness Royall of Blaisdon PC The Rt Hon. Eric Pickles MP
The Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP The Rt Hon. Philip Hammond MP
The Rt Hon Jim Murphy MP The Rt Hon. Justine Greening MP
The Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP The Rt Hon. Caroline Spelman MP
The Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP The Rt Hon. Andrew Mitchell MP
The Rt Hon Peter Hain MP The Rt Hon. Owen Paterson MP
The Rt Hon Bob Ainsworth MP The Rt Hon. Danny Alexander MP
The Rt Hon The Lord Adonis MP The Rt Hon. Michael Moore MP
The Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw MP The Rt Hon. Cheryl Gillan MP
The Rt Hon Nick Brown MP The Rt Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP
The Rt Hon The Lord Malloch-Brown KCMG PC The Rt Hon. David Laws MP
The Rt Hon John Healey MP The Rt Hon. Danny Alexander MP
The Rt Hon Pat McFadden MP The Rt Hon. The Lord Strathclyde PC
The Rt Hon The Lord Drayson PC The Rt Hon. The Baroness Warsi PC
The Rt Hon Jim Knight MP The Rt Hon. Francis Maude MP
The Rt Hon The Baroness Scotland of Asthal PC QC The Rt Hon. Oliver Letwin MP
The Rt Hon Dawn Primarolo MP The Rt Hon. David Willetts MP
The Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP The Rt Hon. Sir George Young Bt MP
The Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP The Rt Hon. Patrick McLoughlin MP
  The Rt Hon. Dominic Grieve QC MP

The minutes are really of more interest to the English than the Scots as they got what they wanted and we got shafted so we shouldn’t be leaving it to the Scots to get these minutes into the public domain.  If every English person interested in seeing what decisions were made at the cabinet meeting that have resulted in over 15 years of institutional discrimination against the English made a Freedom of Information request for the minute, it would be extremely damaging to the British government if they tried to block their release to hundreds or thousands of people.

If you want to help force the release of these minutes, you need to send an FOI request for them to foi.team@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk.  My request is as follows:

Under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, I am requesting a copy of the minutes of the 1997 Cabinet meetings on devolution. I am also requesting a copy of the Terms of Reference for the cabinet committee headed by Lord Irvine that the minutes relate to and any legal or departmental advice provided to the cabinet in relation to these meetings.