Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Whatever Scotland decides, it's time for an English Parliament

The Scots will vote in their first ever independence referendum tomorrow and it's statistically neck and neck. Most polls have a 3% margin of error and there's less than a 3% gap in two of the five polls conducted in the last 30 days and a whopping 7% in favour of independence in one.

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The referendum really could go either way but whatever the result the next piece of business that needs taking care of is how England is governed. This is something that should have been taken care of in 1997 when the Scots and Welsh voted for their devolved governments but that didn't suit the regionalisation agenda so the union has been left seriously unbalanced for more than a decade.

Gordon Brown on Monday demanded guarantees that Scotland would have a say in how England (or "the regions" as he calls England) is run if they vote no tomorrow, that England's wealth would continue to be redistributed to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and that the Barnett Formula which subsidises Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will remain in place forever. David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg all agreed to those demands yesterday.

David Cameron is facing a revolt by his own MPs after agreeing to Gordon Brown's demands and promising more powers for Scotland with nothing for England. Some Tory MPs have promised a "bloodbath" if he tries to get the extra powers through the British parliament and several Tory MPs have said they want to ban MPs elected in Scotland from voting on things only affecting England. This means an English Parliament would have to be created because anything that costs money affects the amount of money available for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland get, thus giving their MPs a vote on it.

Social media and the comments sections on newspaper websites and blogs are awash with outrage at the promises being made to Scotland and demands for an English Parliament. UKIP has long had a policy of redressing the balance with an English Parliament of sorts, first with the daft English votes on English laws idea that could never work and lately for a devolved English Parliament. Nigel Farage has said many times that UKIP would create a devolved English Parliament and Paul Nuttall wrote a policy paper on how it would work. It has always been sidelined at the last minute by whichever Big Britisher has been in charge of policy but now is the time to dust off Paul Nuttall's policy on an English Parliament and show the people of England that we really are the peoples' party, listening to what they want and promising to act on it.