When general election time comes round and thousands of people put themselves forward to represent us as our Members of Parliament, does anybody ever bother to read their party manifestos, or do they continue to vote tribally as millions usually do?
If one was to read a Scottish manifesto, does it contain full reference to what these candidates intend to do? For example, does it tell people that they will not only represent Scots voters on non-devolved issues such as defence and taxation, but also the full tranche of England-only issues?
You see, Scottish MPs have far greater powers in England than they do in Scotland. Because of devolution, their mandates are extremely limited. They have, for example, no say in Scottish health and education, but have powers to vote on these matters in England. This is a very strange and absurd situation to have. How is it possible for MPs from Scotland to have more power in England than in their home country? Whether the British like it or not, that is the ridiculous situation they have engineered. Perhaps they do like this situation.
One would think that British MPs elected to the British parliament would deal with Britain-wide issues only. Not so. The British have introduced different forms of devolution to three out of four of the ‘home’ countries. They retain an iron grip on English affairs. In effect, this means that Wales and Scotland are self-governing to different degrees, while England is totally governed from Westminster.
The English are getting fed up with British rule, especially when they see the benefits devolved government is delivering in other parts of the union. For example, the Scots are able to provide, via their parliament, free university education. The Welsh are able to deliver free prescriptions through their Assembly. England has none of these things because the British decide otherwise.
Devolved government is often praised among the British because it provides a national voice and localism to people. This theory of course doesn’t apply to England because it’s considered too big for self-government. Well then, if England is too big, why is it in a union with the other countries? Is it not time to change things?
One solution would be to rename the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Kingdom of England, and turn Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland into Crown Dependencies, as is the case with the Isle of Man. After all, England has a population ten times that of Scotland, and around 85% of the total population of Britain.
Whatever happens, one thing is clear; England cannot continue to be ignored. It cannot be allowed to be fragmented into English/Euro regions. And it cannot be allowed to disappear from the world at the behest of the British. A devolved English parliament is the minimum requirement, but my favoured option is an independent English nation state.
One way or another, we English need to see the end of British rule in our country.