As someone who campaigned for many years for us to leave the European Union, I am excited at the prospect that the UK Government will soon begin the negotiating process to make Brexit happen. The majority of people in England I know feel the same. The time is drawing near when we will leave the hated EU and for many of us it cannot come too soon!
Supporters of Brexit want out of the bureaucratic EU and most of all we want control of our borders. We want the government and the parliament we elected to once again have control of the laws and institutions that govern our lives.
However the political arrangements in the United Kingdom are now very different from when we entered the European Economic Community back in 1973. Then there was only the Parliament in Westminster, and it set the laws that governed the whole of United Kingdom. Over the last 20 years though the UK Parliament has given away many of its powers to the Scottish Parliament, and the Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies.
So, as the negotiations begin for our exit from the EU, just exactly what powers will be returned to Westminster and which powers will go elsewhere? I believe that we live now in a dis-United Kingdom, where the governing party in each of the 4 Nations is different. Yes we have a Conservative Government in Westminster, but in Edinburgh the Scots are ruled by the Scottish National Party (SNP). In Cardiff the Welsh have a Labour Government supported by the Liberal Democrats and in Northern Ireland we will probably have another coalition of Unionists and Republicans.
The Conservative Government will conduct the negotiations but it will inevitably have to take into account the views and wishes of the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We have already seen how the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has made a great deal of the fact that the Scots voted to remain within the EU.
Does anyone see the anomaly here? There are 4 nations within United Kingdom but only 3 have a separate voice. Who speaks for ENGLAND?
I am sure that the Tories will claim that they speak for England, they are after all the largest party in England. The Prime Minster Mrs May will face many challenges though. What will she do if the SNP in Scotland or the Labour Party in Wales does not get what they wants from the negotiations with the EU? The SNP is already threatening a second Scottish Independence referendum if the Brexit deal is not acceptable to Scotland. What will the Conservative Government do if faced with a situation where one or more of the separate nations of the UK does not support the deal?
My view is that the Conservative and Unionist Party (to give them their official title) will put the UK before England. At heart the Tory Party is a Unionist party and they will do what is necessary to get an agreement for the whole UK. The consequences of a deal acceptable to the whole UK is that England will be the worse-off.
The history of the last 40 years has shown that it is England who pays to keep the Scots and the Welsh happy. It is only in England that we pay NHS prescription charges, and it is the people of England who have the least amount spent on them by the UK government.
I believe that the people of England deserve their own separate political voice. This is our democratic right, just as it is for the Scots and Welsh. It is not acceptable to argue that England is too large to have its own poliitical structures. If that were so why are we so poorly treated compared to the other nations within UK? ENGLAND voted to leave the EU so we must make sure that England is not ignored or disadvantaged by the BREXIT.
Over the last 20 years there have been a number of initiatives and campaigns to further the idea of a separate political voice for England. The Campaign for an English Parliament is the oldest but the English Democrats have also had some electoral successes with a similar platform of a separate Parliament and Government for England. However these organisations and others have been unable to engage the majority of people in England, even though independent polls have suggested that there is a majority in England that support their ideas.
Given this problem of under-engagement, I have organised a conference on behalf of the ENGLISH CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION (ECC). The difference that the ECC provides is that it does not start-out with a fixed solution. We believe simply that England deserves a separate political voice within the UK and that the people of England alone must decide what that separate voice should be. I hope you will support our petition and our forthcoming conference: