Labour Think Tanks suggest breaking England up?

Published on November 14, 2012 by in News blog

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IPPR North has released a report entitled:-

Borderland: Assessing the implications of a more autonomous Scotland for the north of England. (See link below).

-       http://www.ippr.org/publication/55/9885/borderland-assessing-the-implications-of-a-more-autonomous-scotland-for-the-north-of-england

The BBC have also produced their own take on the issue via Douglass Fraser, the Business and economy editor for Scotland. (Again, see link below)

-       http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-20316256

Here, the Campaign for an English Parliament gives our response to what has become a genuine push for England to be dissected into regionalised pieces, supposedly for the ‘benefit’ of the UK…

The synopsis and title of the IPPR report refer only to the north of England. What is this amorphous imagined area? The aspects covered affect the whole of England, north, south, east and west and have done so for the last 14 years. So the north of England, however that is composed, wants greater autonomy from Westminster but the two failures referred to, regionalisation and localism, surely indicate to the most challenged that the people of England do not want their ancient unity destroyed piecemeal.

The synopsis seems to assume that a fiscally independent/semi-independent Scotland would have more funds than the north of England with which to continue and enhance its competitiveness. That seems to be too great an assumption to make, unless the infamous Barnett Bung continues. A Parliament for the whole of England would be in a much better position to compete than a ‘north’ begging powers or money from Westminster. Moreover if such powers were granted would the ‘north’ be able to compete without the financial backing of the rest of England and would that be willingly given by those still in the thrall of Westminster?

It seems very strange that northern ‘leaders’, whoever they may be, have only just woken up to the discrimination suffered by all of us in England. Apparently, unlike Scotland and Wales, the British government cannot afford to fund education, health, welfare in England to the same extent as the rest of the UK so that we cannot have free prescriptions, help with university fees and so on. This even though we are paying more taxes, charges and levies than the rest of the UK; graduate tax, increased prescription charges, bridge tolls, (all abolished in Scotland), hospital car parking, workplace parking levies, the possibility of rubbish collection charges and congestion charges, and proposed granny taxes. Not to mention Westminster’s attempt to sell off our English assets to be used for the benefit of the whole UK; English forests, the port of Dover, the Channel tunnel rail link, the bridge and tunnel crossing over the Thames at Dartford, the government’s 32% stake in the uranium processing company URENCO (in England), the student loan book (mostly needed by students from England), the meteorological Office (located in England), the Royal Mint (Wales) and the betting company Tote (located in England).

Where have the northern ‘leaders’ referred to been during the last 14 years? Why were they not aware of the disaster that devolution would be for the whole of England, not just the ‘north’, in 1998 when 5 ordinary members of the public foresaw these inequalities and incorporated the Campaign for an English Parliament? To be concerned only for the north of England infers a blinkered and parochial approach.

 

Scilla Cullen

Membership Secretary

The Campaign for an English Parliament

Tel: 01206 767729